If you're like me, you are looking at this book because you loved old man's war, ghost brigades, and the lost colony, and you're hoping to get another entertaining, thought-provoking story. Here's a warning that I wish someone had given me:
In a prologue, the author basically states that he's good at writing dialogue and action, and wants to try a story without those elements. I wish I had just deleted the book at that point. I forced myself to listen to the entire book, although my mind kept wandering to topics it found more entertaining, such as fruit fly genetics. I kept hoping there would be something good later on, but there wasn't. If listening to a woman talk about her feelings for an hour and a half sounds like entertainment to you, maybe you'll enjoy this book, but I'm guessing that isn't the case for most fans of old man's war.
I think books like this are important to show people that atrocities still happen in modern times. If enough people were aware of such things, maybe in the future they would say "don't let there be another (Sudan, Rwanda, etc.)"
This book shows you what it was like to be a refugee by providing stories from 3 survivors. There are cases of surprising kindness and pointless cruelty, and many small details that caused me to imagine myself in the refugees' situations. While there is no actual discussion of the "history", I feel that the stories do a fairly good job giving the overall picture of the situation in Southern Sudan at that time.
I only had a couple of minor problems with the book. The story switched among the accounts of the 3 boys frequently, and this combined with my broken up listening during commutes and the fact that the boys' paths sometimes intersected, made it hard for me to distinguish between the three as individuals, even though each had their own narrator. One of the narrators has a strong African accent, which some people might have trouble understanding, but I felt it really added to the listening experience. One of the American narrators (at least on my audio device) made a sharp whistling noise every time he pronounced an "s".
Other audible books with stories of people surviving and escaping horrible situations include Long Way Gone about Sierra Leone and Nothing to Envy about North Korea. Going a little further back in history is The Rape of Nanking, but that one has a lot more victim stories than survivors, so it's really hard to stomach.
Unfortunately, this book reads like a series of case reports. There isn't much background to most of the incidents described, so you feel like you've gotten the facts, but not much of a "story".
After each of these stories, I thought about deleting the audiobook, only my stubbornness stopped me. These stories are so slowly paced and repetitive that they quickly lost my interest and had no entertainment value. They didn't have interesting characters, thought-provoking plot twists, or any kind or moral or message, so I can't imagine what anyone would like about them. I'm surprised that anyone ever thought they were worth writing down on paper, and doubly surprised that a second person then thought they were worth making into an audiobook.
I bought this because some time ago, I had read 'The Forever War' and enjoyed it, and also because the plot summary sounded interesting. However, there was nothing interesting beyond the summary in the book, and I had to sit through numerous explicit descriptions of sexual encounters.
This is an interesting and suspenseful story. I've been to Borneo recently, and had the benefit of guidebooks and the internet to learn about the island before I went, so it was interesting to hear that the airmen didn't have access to similar information before flying missions over the island.
As a side note, ignore the reviewer who complains about the narrator's accents. The accents are fairly mild, and not used very frequently. I can't believe someone could read this incredible story of courage and survival, and then whine about some accents.
For someone unfamiliar with post-colonial indian history and culture, this book would make a good introduction. I was a little disappointed, as I was expecting more anecdotes and local color. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this audiobook more if it had been unabridged.
I love collections of science fiction short stories, even if they aren't the greatest stories, they are one of my favorite things to read or listen to. Even so, I did not find this collection very entertaining. The "Astronaut from Wyoming" is an average story, worth killing some time with while commuting. The story about 9/11 brought up some emotions, but there wasn't much of anything to it. After listening to the other two stories in the collection, I felt as if I'd rather have rolled the window down and listened to the wind, I just couldn't find anything entertaining or original about either one of them.
When I got this book, I assumed it would be just an account of atrocities, and although the book could be classified as a tragedy, that's not its whole point. There are many characters who are positive role models dealing with difficult circumstances.
I was also surprised to learn to what extent modern South Africa's problems existed when this book was written.
Unless you really like history, I could not recommend this book to you. It covers its subject in depth, and I don't think the average reader would be able to sit through listening to it.
For the history enthusiast, I would recommend this book. You will most likely learn several things you didn't know about Charlemagne and possibly even history in general, even if you studied European history in college.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.