Mr. Sides has an astounding talent for taking otherwise dry historical accounts and making them into well paced reads for the non-historian.
To some extent, the precis on this book is deceptive, in that Narbona is not the core character. It would be much more true to say that Kit Carson is central to this book, as it largely follows his post-trapping career in the American southwest, and ends just after his death.
One thing which does come through clearly here is how much complete failure to comprehend cultural differences, ignorant bigotry, and narrow-minded military mindsets on the Mexican, Indian, and American parts combined to contribute to numerous needless atrocities by all sides shaped the character of the Southwest. Happily, many figures of the time (Carson, Kearney, Narbona) come out as clear of all of these factors. Unfortunately many others (Chivington, Carlton, Manualito) come through as clear contributors.
All together, this book came out as a very balanced characterization of a difficult time in American history.
The presentation is clear and the pacing is good. Mr. Leslie does a reasonable job of contributing accent to quotations to characterize them as distinct from narrative text.
Given the high-dollar talent which went into this production, I was hoping for a high-value return. And, by and large, I got what I hoped for.
While some of Mr. York's character voicings are awkward, by and large he gives his performance like a seasoned professional. Volume and pacing are excellent, and the intonations are appropriate.
As regards the story, it is what it is -- a classic. It is in many ways as relevant today as it ever has been.
This is an excellent first look into some of the internal world of autistics. I would caution, however, that it is NOT a manual on Aspergers Syndrome or Autism. I would refer to the famous saying within the autism spectrum community that "If you've met one autistic, you've met one autistic."
That said, however, this book gave a lot of insight into what the internal processes CAN be like for someone on the spectrum. I know, that as someone with Aspergers Syndrome, I could see parts of myself in Christopher.
The story is compassionate and sometimes heartbreaking. While I found a few elements pretty predictable, the overall story is very good.
The performance is excellent, although they weren't too much challenged for a wide range of voicing, since the story is written in first person. :-)
All and all, if you are recently diagnosed or are close to someone who is, this is a worthwhile listen for a peek into a little part of what autistics experience on a day to day basis.
Mr. Kinnaman has a wake up call for contemporary Christianity. There really is a call to action -- but it's not the one that the politically connected of conservative Christianity has been screaming for so long. It is a call to become... more like Christ (*GASP*).
The author has some very solid research to back up his position as well. Through extensive interviews with younger Christians and outsiders of the post-Baby Boomer generations, he makes a very solid position that these young people see Christianity acting in some very un-Christlike ways. And it's turning them away from Christ in droves.
He then proceeds to make an excellent case based upon this research that there are some very appropriate and Christian things that contemporary Christianity can (and in my personal opinion, should) to better reflect faith in Christ to these outsiders
Narration and production are as I have always had from audible -- impeccable.
Let's get the easy part of this out of the way first. The pacing and presentation of the material is outstanding, along with the narration, which perfectly fits with the tones of intellectual superiority with which the author writes.
The author actually starts quite strong, with some reasonably well presented chapters on Machiavelli through Hobbes. I agree VERY strongly with the author's early assertion that it is ESSENTIAL to read these books in their entirety to understand their implications (yes, even Mein Kampf.)
Now for the flies in the pudding. Beginning with his discussion of Rosseau, however, the author begins to reveal his biases and hidden agenda. He derides Rosseau's work as the beginning of all the misguided liberal agenda ever since.
For the balance of the book, the author is unashamed of saying that it is impossible to establish a legitimate standard of right and wrong based upon anything but the Judeo-Christian model. Essentially all of his discourse beyond that point consists of cherry-picked facts and ad-hominem arguments (particularly with respect to Meade and Kinsey.
In summary, if you want to read something to spare you the effort of reading those other difficult works and to reaffirm a world view intolerant of anything but extreme religious conservatism, this is the book for you. Otherwise, go read the original philosophical works yourself, and spare yourself the hypocrisy.
A splendid introduction to the concept of cognition traps, into which we all inevitably fall, and which we all need to learn to avoid and recover from. Well read by the author, who clearly has the a passion for the subject.
Once caveat for the listener -- if you have any problem hearing candid analysis of what went/is going wrong in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afganistan, then this may potentially offend you. However, be advised that the author DOES teach to various staff of DoD and the US armed forces, so he does, in my opinion, present these without and deliberate biases.
This is an entertaining overview of the basic biological sciences with regard to relationship behavior in men and women. Ms. Pincott does an excellent job of calling out her sources. Unfortunately, her use of statistics to state trends in quite lacking. In very few cases does she refer to specific percentages in the behavior studies she references (I would estimate about 20%.) In the other cases she relies upon the phrases 'significantly greater' and 'significantly less'. As such, while this is a good introduction for the non-scientist, I would not recommend this as any kind of meaningful scientific overview.
One thing which may somewhat disturb male readers is that Ms. Pincott's prose is clearly written intending a female audience. It didn't bother me particularly, but was somewhat disquieting at times.
Ms. Merlington does a clear, well timed reading, with appropriate inflections, and the audio quality is excellent.
Like many of the composers about which he writes, Mr. Ross appears have some disdain for mass appeal. Without at least some grounding in music theory, particulary the theories of harmony, this book can be expected to only mystify. I myself have only a brief and non-formal grounding in that area, and I was only able to get a small feel for the works being described. Unfortunately, without musical example, verbally describing symphonic works simply doesn't work.
Beyond that disclaimer, this is an interesting (though very selective) overview of the interaction between the sequestered world of classical composing and outward reality.
Unfortunately, what often comes through is simply the disdain the classical composer has for the rest of us. That along with Mr. Ross' delight in pointing out the homosexual composers whether or not it is germain to their works drags this work into a quite bleak view of the century.
The narration was good in pace and articulation, although a number of non-English words are poorly pronounced.
At first blush, the length of this work, combined with how dry it can be in print made it daunting.
However, this reading made a very viable presentation of the material. Mr. Hurt has good pacing and intonation. He makes reasonable character voicings, and does a really superb job of keeping the long monologues and introspections interesting.
The reading was also very well paced. I was particularly impressed that the length of the summary speech near the end of the work matches almost exactly the times in the text which reference it.
Overall, this is a very accessible and insightful presentation of subject matter which could under other circumstances be particularly onerous.
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