I really enjoyed this book. I listened to Cicero before it (same author and same narrator). The narrator is phenomenal. One of the best I have encountered. The book is very well written. A very interesting story with elements of mystery well woven around historial details of Roman life of the time and details about the changes in nature leading up to the great volcanic eruption. Robert Harris is a marvelous story teller.
This is a favorite type of book for me. My all-time favorite is Stumbling on Happiness followed closely by Predictably Irrational and The Logic of Life. This book, however, managed to bore me. The ideas are right and the research referenced seems right and sound. But the mix of stories and examples and research here is, somehow, just somewhat more boring than some others in this type of class. I wanted to like this book a lot but I didn't finishe it.
This is a marvelous book about what a family can be and how families can stay close. It raises sobering questions about what is being increasingly lost for families in America. It is a heartfelt story of connection and building strong ties.
The audio book suffers from relatively poor audio quaility.
I find two problems with this reading of one of my favoriate books of all time. First, the reader is not to my taste. The voices adopted for Fyodor and Dmitri are particularly childish. Of course their characters are childish, but they are made to sound, by tone and inflection, like grown up children. It's annoying.
More importantly, while I have not made a detailed comparison, my impression is that the abridgement was generally done at the expense of the best parts of the book: the deep thoughts and reflections of Zossima and Ivan, etc. To me, it's the philosophical thoughts in the mouths of these characters that make the story of the book matter. What seems to be here in the abridgement is mostly the story of this horribly dysfunctional family. Minus a heavior does of the philosophy and arguments about life, the read suffers greatly.
Gates of Fire is a superb book. It is historical fiction at it's very best. I believe this is the best of Pressfield's works, so it is nice to finally see this book in audio. The reading is terrific. In fact, I have only one minor quibble, in that the voice adopted for Polynikes sounds like a 40 year old man rather than a 23 year old. Narrator should have used that voice for Dienekes. But truly a quibble. A wonderful book and a superb story of the bond between men and between men and women. I give it 4 stars vs. five merely because it is abridged, and there are some truly wonderful insights about characters (especially Suicide, Arete, and Dienekes) that are in the book that are not in this abridged volume. Still, if you like this era of history and you like stories of courage, valor, and frienship, you cannot do better. This book has some of the best quotes I am aware of for sacrifice and friendship. It is a literary achievement.
This book covers solid content on the subject. It seems kind of a cross between a book like Emotional Intelligence and Stumbling on Happiness. Where as Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness is written and read with whit and insights, this book on research related to Happiness is useful but it's likely a much better book to read than to listen to.
To start off, the narration of this work is among the very best I have heard. It is stellar. The story itself is marvelous. One of those stories that truly transports you to another place and time; in this case, in the hot deserts of African and among the French Foreign Legion. Having never read the novel, it was a total delight to come across such a fine work of story telling. If you like adventure stories and rich prose, you will like this book very much.
Having listened to many books on tape, I am careful to report that this is the most amazing narration I have heard yet in any audio book. It's worth the price just for the quality of the narration. The book itself is excellent, interesting, and engaging (if one does not take it too closely for exact history). It's a great story and superbly told and read.
I have listened to many books on Audible now. I was prepared to like this book a lot from ratings on Audible and reviews of Text book on Amazon. However, I found the narration so weak that it was hard to complete the first major part of the first book. Two specifics: 1) In contrast to a book marvelously narrated such as the Other Boleyn Sister, the narrator here is competent but not somehow right for this kind of deeper drama. Her voice and inflections seem all too American, and casual American at that (I am an American, so not dissing my own culture). Her voice does not seem believable to me as the voice of the heroine. 2) About the book itself. The writing and depth of details or nuance, and style of self-reflection in comments just did not see believable. So, between the actual words the writer uses and the narrator's voice quality itself, I could not get into the story. Perhaps it's working a lot better for others. I'd listen fully to the sample before buying it.
This is a fantastic book in terms of content. It is , however, too bad that either Mel or the publisher decided it made sense for him to read it. His reading style is so dry and monotonous it makes me think I would do better with the printed book rather than the audio.
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