Readers of this review should not mistake my displeasure for any lack of regard for the book itself. This is entirely on the narrator.
The Lord of the Rings has been a touchstone for me ever since I was ten. Tolkien's love of language and the world of immense detail he created frame a story that stans on its own for excellence.
Absolutely not! I'm sure Mr. Inglis' talents would work for some British lit, in fact he might well do a smash-up job on Alice or something like that, but his delivery is altogether inappropriate for this story. And oh God, someone should have prevented him from trying to sing Tolkien's songs.
Hmmm, almost anger. I love the entirety of Tolkien's Middle Earth and all the stories therein. There is a music in his poetry and a poetry in his music that requires care to bring across in a spoken performance. Rob Inglis left this poetic music writhing in shame on the ground, its petticoats torn, stockings awry and generally in a state of violated disrepair that I could not abide.
J. R. R. Tolkien was a linguist and a lover of the sound of language. If one listens to the music that is in Elvish when properly spoken, one cannot doubt that to be read aloud was one purpose for the writings of his tales of Middle Earth. I applaud Audible for bringing an attempt to do this into its collection, but I cannot describe in strong enough terms how disappointing this effort is in ruining the rhythm of the language and rendering the whole thing into a children's farce, note I say farce, not tale. One must love this material deeply in order to do it justice, as shown by the Peter Jackson film adaptations. I do not feel the love here.
As the last veterans of World War II pass away, their stories are disappearing. This is a sad thing, because it is in the personal stories of important events that we can truly learn history that affects us. Robert Mrazek's book conveys this history in a compelling fashion that makes it possible for 21st century Americans to relive the experiences of the young men of the Eighth Air Force during their time of trial in Europe.
The personal touch Mrazek brings to each story manages to convey it at all scales from grand strategy to the happenings in individual planes. It's difficult to span this wide a scale, but Mrazek does it skillfully.
In the interests of full disclosure, Ray Theodore Wilken, one of the men Mrazek follows through the raid was my biological grandfather, so I had a reason to read this book. Doing so has taught me more about my own family history and the histories of the men linked to Ted by their joint service, and the German fighter ace who killed him.
This book ate an entire weekend for me. I find the narration of the events to be gripping, and the hour-by-hour time scale during the critical time span between the failure of Lehman and the rescue of AIG to give me a lot of insight into the course of the great train wreck of the financial collapse.
Sorkin is too sympathetic to the people he is narrating. Ifound myself annoyed from time to time by the gentleness with which he approached his subjects.
On the other hand, William Hughes' narration was fabulous and upped my rating by a full star. This truly is a case where the quality of the production made the material better.
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