The praise for this title surprises me, as I found it very unpleasant to listen to. An exhaustive (and exhausting) recitation of everything that Bonhoeffer apparently did, said, and wrote, it nevertheless gives little idea of the pastor's theological innovation. The sheer amount of trivial detail, and the sanctimonious tone of the prose,make it hard for the listener to get a feel for the actual man and his ideas. Despite the narration of Bonhoeffer's courageous attempts to stand up to the Nazis, the pastor remains a cardboard figure. The text and the narrator both seem to have little regard for the intelligence of listeners, as oversimplification, redundant and superficial explanation, and an overdramatic style of speaking make this sound in places like a children's book.
I enjoyed the first few chapters about the early church, especially the analysis of Origen and Augustine's theology, and the effects of neo-Platonism on Christian thinking. After that, however, I lost interest for different reasons: while the chapters on the variants of the eastern church were too detailed and sometimes just plain dull, subsequent chapters on the medieval and especially the renaissance church seemed rushed and raised more questions than they answered. The author seems more concerned with the "what" than the "why," which isn't unusual for a historian, but I would have liked more explanation of, for example, why the ideas of Lutheran and reformed theologies were so appealing to people at the time. Unfortunately when the author does explain the appeal of ideas, he's frequently reductive, as when he tries to explain iconodulia as a result of the need for certainty and tangibility in troubled times. I guess it would be an impossible task to achieve in a one volume history, but I wish he'd given as much play to the importance of ideas in later chapters as he did in those concerning the early church.
Maybe to those who want an overview. It's certainly a jumping off place for further reading.
I liked the chapters on the early church. There's a feel in those chapters for how compelling the new theology must have seemed to its early adherents and teachers. I also enjoyed hearing about the application of Platonist ideas to scriptural interpretation and to the development of theology.
Hasn't the BBC already done this?
The narrator deserves a lot of credit for his stamina and for the majority of times his pronunciation of foreign terms was correct. A few quibbles about the ancient Greek, but altogether an excellent job. I hope he got a lengthy vacation after narrating this work.
Growing up in an era in which American school kids actually read the classics in their English classes, I remembered Tale of Two Cities as one of my favorites. The audio version reinforced this impression. The brilliant prose style, the interplay of characters, the comic, the dark, and the melodramatic dextrously interwoven, and the surprises of plot development kept me listening with pleasure through the whole book.
It has a more sublime ending than any other book I can recall. Other than that, the scenes with Mme. DeFarge are darkly fascinating. Also those regarding Dr. Manette in the Bastille. I don't want to give anything away!
I haven't, but I enjoyed his narration. It is subdued and emotionally low key, which I guess could be perceived as boring, but I thought it was a great counterpoint to the melodrama of the book. Characters are easily distinguishable and the accents are well done.
You can't make a better choice than the opening phrase of the book!
Absolutely yes. I had to control myself from starting over from the beginning the minute I finished the first time through. The richness of the plot, the development of the characters, and the brilliant narration lend themselves to a second and maybe third or fourth listen.
The story is enthralling, with terrific characterizations, settings, and plot development. More than a mystery--although it is a great mystery--it gives the listener a vivid sense of the class structure of mid 19th century England that governed the social behavior of virtually all the characters. I loved the description of the fledgling attempts of women to assert some degree of independence, sympathetically portrayed through the character of Marion Halcolme. And there is the rest of the colorful cast of characters from the villainous Count Fosco to the courageous and moral Walter Hartright to get to know and enjoy. I loved that the story is told in the form of letters, which allows for the separate voices of characters to reveal their emotions and thoughts directly to the reader/ listener.
No, but this narration is so wonderful that you can bet I'll be listening to their other performances in the future. Prebble's skill in differentiating the speech of the various characters he gives voice to is amazing. He also handles the female voice particularly well, which isnt always the case with other narrators.
Yes, although the length of the book makes that impossible. By the end, I was in love with Walter and in awe of Marion. Finishing the book made me reluctant to start another. Honestly this is the best listen I've had from among the scores of audio books I've owned.
Do NOT pass this one up. It is a rare treat!
The story is one of the best I've listened to. The narration is another matter.
I love the eclectic style of social history in the book. The author melds an account of the British experience of trench warfare in WWI with a new expression of British sentiment for empire--namely, the drive to conquer the world's greatest mountain. For the British, having suffered unspeakably in the war and having failed in their attempts to be the first to explore either North or South Pole, the desire to climb Everest became both a symbol of imperial glory regained and an expiation of the horrors of the war. In addition, the author shows a deep appreciation for and sensitivity to the local Buddhist religion and its effects on both local adherents and outsiders.
The performance started out strong, but, as others have mentioned, stumbled over pronunciations of place names and events. It was also distracting that the narrator seemed to take breaths at random intervals, breaking up the pattern of the text. These problems were especially noticeable because the narrator has a lovely voice and this could have been a stellar reading.
I think the title and subtitle of the book say it all.
A rare social history. Don't miss it just because the narration isn't perfect.
When Shilts' detailed history of the early AIDS epidemic was first published, it was received as a pathbreaking work of advocacy journalism. It's a story of brilliant although sometimes craven scientists, short-sighted and callous government officials, heroic AIDS activists and tragic victims. It makes for compelling listening, although it's clear that the account is not impartial. The frequent lack of objectivity is understandable (Shilts was not just a local journalist but also a member of the gay community), but is often irritating.
Shilts' anger at what is perceived to be government heel dragging regarding the epidemic is front and center, made especially so by the narration. The narrator has two voices: one is a sarcastic and furious tone aimed at officials, the other a soothing, empathic tone describing the victims of the disease. At times these are so exaggerated that they veer into near parody. The story is poignant enough that it doesn't benefit from the overdramatic narration.
I was alternately engaged in and taken out of the story. In parts it was beautifully written, the many personal details just right for the point that was being made. In other parts it was so slanted and even unfair that I couldn't listen without mentally objecting to what was being said. It's also marred by a great deal of redundancy, and over the course of 31 hours of listening, this became very tedious.
I'd recommend this to anyone who wants an eyewitness account of the early years of AIDS written by a someone who himself became a participant and even later a victim of the disease. It's impassioned and well detailed, but not always objective.
Best: Details about flora and fauna of Amazon landscape. History of rubber farming. Background on Brazilian Indian tribes, telegraph survey, military training. In short, most things except the central narrative itself.Worst: The book's overpowering tendency to redundancy. Repetition of facts from one chapter to the next with mind-numbing frequency. The author's tendency to precede narration of new event by dramatic foreshadowing--especially annoying when the events aren't particularly dramatic. The central topic is not made to seem especially compelling because the pace of the narrative is so tedious.
The overdramatization of the story. The redundancy that felt as if the author was padding out the material to make it a book. It would have been much better as an essay.
No, but I thought he was a good--if at times slow--narrator. He made Portuguese sound like the most beautiful language in the world.
No, I don't think so. It's ultimately tedious listening. Reading a book, one can skim over the numerous redundancies. Listening forces you to hear each one.
What the story needed most was a good editor not afraid to tighten up the narrative.
Talk about a riveting listen! This is a true account of the history of attempts to bring the Nazi monster, Adolph Eichmann, to justice. It was finally accomplished by the Israeli Mossad nearly 15 years after the end of WWII. The book recounts how Eichmann and many other former Nazis sought and gained refuge in Argentina, aided by the Peron government and organizations of anti-semites. The reason Eichmann and others--like Josef Mengele, who was never caught--were able to hide for so long is that West Germany, the US, and the State of Israel found it difficult to find reliable information in the wake of the war's chaotic end. Furthermore, there was fear that making the search for former Nazis a priority would reopen wounds of Holocaust survivors. And finally, some members of the West German government were complicit in keeping essential information a secret. One by one these obstacles were overcome by Israelis, many of them survivors themselves or relatives of Holocaust victims, who tirelessly and at great risk to themselves lay a trap ensnaring the Nazi mastermind of the death camps.
The book paints a fascinating scenario of the post war years in Europe and South America, with a particularly moving account of the new State of Israel, created mainly by survivors and torn by troubling moral dilemmas. The narrator is superb, dramatic but appropriate to the material. You won't forget this book.
This book fills in details absent in general histories of WW 2, taking the point of view of the British concerning their participation in the war. The book draws on primary sources that reflect the thoughts and feelings of British people from all walks of life, but the main focus is on Winston Churchill, the extraordinary prime minister who, through the elegance of his rhetoric, his cunning
intelligence, and an indomitable will, shepherded his people through years of defeat to reach an ultimate victory. To me, the most interesting parts of the book detail Churchill's attempts to persuade a reluctant Franklin Roosevelt to commit American resources to the war. The author is honest about the unpreparedness of the British military to fight the disciplined Nazi forces, and Churchill's many futile attempts to coax Roosevelt onboard. Churchill's diplomatic and social relationships with other powerful Americans are described in an equally candid way and give insight into Britain's strained relationship with the US at the time. This is a first rate history that is also brilliantly narrated by Robin Sachs, who does a credible job of Churchill's stentorian delivery.
I've listened to scores of books (not all from Audible), and this has to be the worst narration I've come across. The flat monotone and irritating timbre of the reader--not to speak of the jarring patches that intermittently change the volume--make it impossible for me to get through the book. The narrator projects some life into the reading only when quoting from this or that Russian, French, or German military figure. The quotes are delivered in English, but with an accent that's vaguely reminiscent of the quotee's native language. It's bizarre and awful, but at least there's some intonation in these quotes. The rest of the reading sounds as if it were generated by computer. My advice to anyone interested in the topic is to skip this audio and read the book instead.
A very short summary of WW1, with emphasis on the battles. I'd guess that it's fine for listeners who already have some background, but I found it hard to follow. As one reviewer already wrote, you need a map to make the account coherent. The book is more suitable as a quick review for those who've already studied the war than as an introduction to it.
Simon Prebble is, as always, a satisfying narrator.
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.