I bought this in preparation for a trip to Rome but didn't have time to listen to it before or during my stay. I listened to the book shortly after I returned from Rome. It was still fun to listen to the author's thoughts on places I had recently visited but I wish I had listened to it before going to Rome. The book is short and very personal. Not a replacement for a good history or guidebook but a great addition to those sources.
Love the SPQR series and characters. Good mysteries, history and lots of fun. I like to listen to series books in order. For some reason SPQR IV is not available. Hope that will change soon. In the meantime, I will keep listening to this series.
The Good Soldier appears on some lists of the best 100 books of the 20th century. Maybe because it was groundbreaking in its day. Now the characters do seem very compelling or interesting and their stories are tedious. Ralph Cosham is a fine reader and does a good job with material that seems quited dated. I recommend Cosham's reading of the Dubliners by james Joyce if you want a match of good narrator and good story. Best thing about The Good Soldier is that it wasn't too long although I was ready for the story to end long before it actually did.
Great non fiction that reads like a thriller. Well told story about the scientist who worked to discover antibiotics and won a nobel prize for his work. Along the way you get lots of interesting stories about German dye industry and history during the years between the wars and after. Far more interesting and riveting than it may sound.
Superb way to start studying the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This book uses 1861 as a starting point but goes back and forth in time weaving relevant details and stories into the events of 1861. The book 1861 is a combination of great material and great storytelling. It makes a terrific audiobook.
The history of Texas is unique. This book was a great place to start my study of the state in advance of a visit to Austin, TX.
Historical fiction is not easy to pull off especially in audiobook format. This is a good one. Familiar names and characters from a different perspective. Looking forward to listening to the next one in the series.
First audiobook I simply couldn't finish. Way too much detail and not enough of it was interesting detail. Just piles and piles of minutiae and not a lot to tie them together in a meaningful and interesting way. Normally I appreciate details and prefer too much information rather than too little however, without a compelling story the details don't illuminate and excite they just become tedious.
Hearing an author read his or her own work seems always to be somewhat of a trade off. You can hear a deeper connection with the material but the overall quality of the reading is not equal to some of the more skilled and practiced readers of audiobooks. It is clear that John McPhee is obsessed with shad. With such a long book on one subject I hoped for more history and cultural history (there is some) along with all the fish stories. Too much detail on things like shad skeletons and ichthyology for me. In printed format I could have easily skimmed those parts. In audiobook format that dull minutiae was unavoidable.
Loved the first two volumes of this biography I hear the third volume is due out in 2011. Something to look forward to in the new year.
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