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George

Tucson, AZ, United States | Member Since 2003

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 46 ratings
  • 391 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Gavin Menzies
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    Gavin Menzies presents astonishing new evidence that it was Chinese advances in science, art, and technology that set the European Renaissance ablaze.

    In 1434, a large Chinese fleet arrived in Tuscany. Official ambassadors of the Chinese Emperor met with Pope Eugenius IV and shared a wealth of Chinese knowledge, including world maps (which were later given to Columbus), astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, civil engineering, military machines, surveying cartography, and genetics. This gift of knowledge sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance - Da Vinci's inventions, the Copernican revolution, Galileo's discoveries, and much more.

    George says: "Interesting but its very bad history"
    "Interesting but its very bad history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A worthy listen. Just not very good history. A Lot of things could of happened in history, but it does not mean that they did.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Keith Lowe
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (100)

    The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the 20th century's most iconic moments. It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours. These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten. Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war.

    Christopher says: "Better in print?"
    "Externally Informative - Not for Casual Historians"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most people forget that wars don't just have an end when the fighting stops. Just like the Antebellum south the consequences are far reaching. Although i have gone through the equally good "Post War" it has not opened my i eyes to the actual depth of suffering and chaos from the years of 1945 to after the death of Stalin like this book. It is trully a miracle that Europe has recovered after the World War's. Although the current tension in the Ukraine and the ongoing tension in the Balkans does show the shallowness of the peace. The amount of death and suffering is shocking.

    Also the fact that Nazi Concentration / Death camps really just changed hands and were back at work killing Germans and Ukrainians and other suspect nationaltes etc, is crucial to understand the shades of grey within human morality and how hatred build hatred and vengance builds vengance. The concept of the "Last Great War" painted by some historians is out right insulting to the population of Europe.

    This book has also give great insight to my own family history since one of my grandparent 4 years in POW camps (Luckly american) and Displace Person camps untll returning home in 1949. As i child i knew this happened but not what it meant. Also the climate they had to live with a Volks-Deutch / Croatian family for 20 years seems frankly unbearable. So no ever talked about it.

    However this book is in-depth so its not an easy listen for some casual historian might want to start with "Post War" which covers a larger period but in less detail or "The Iron Curtain" the performance is dry but i like the narrator's work its just not possible to spice this one up.

    I also recommend listening to "Bloodlands" before to build the context of German, Ukraninan, Polish and Russian race relations (eg multi dimensional genocide) that did not stop for a long time after the war.

    This will give you the full context to understand the situation in the Ukraine today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Hans von Luck, Stephen E. Ambrose (introduction)
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (140)

    A stunning look at World War II from the other side.... From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front - von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers. Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman.

    Joseph Hayek says: "From a former tank commander"
    "A refreshing and well executed memoir."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So... Currently i am listening to Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder and this book. Bloodlands is by far the best work i seen on Poland and the Ukraine between 1920 to 1945 and the holocaust in general. It is does a great job comparing and contrasting the genocidal polices carried out by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. It is a great book but it will crush your faith in morality and humanity. Its has been one of the few books that caused genuine depression and anxiety for me.

    But both "Panzer Commander" and "Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying" do a great job restoring the human element and both authors are genuinely likable. I found both of these genuinely refreshing. I was vary about the Narrator since he played the horrible stereotype character of "Cousin Balki" in "Perfect Strangers" in the 80s. A show that was so offensive to me that i remember it to this day. But he does an excellent job and is crucial to translating the charisma of the book.

    So it has been very interesting to alternate between the two view points.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Kindly Ones

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Jonathan Littell
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    The chilling fictional memoir of Dr. Maximilien Aue, a former Nazi officer who has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France. Max is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man, we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

    Ruth Ann says: "Shocking yet compelling"
    "The Disgust of the Mind's Eye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of the most profound books of our time. Thematically is very disturbing both for it subject matter (the Holocust and the descent into Genocide) and its thematic matter (Orestes and the furries and a treatise of morality and teh law). This book will disgusts you . It will mock and punishes you for starring upon the horror of ourselves. It is challenging to overcome. But what do you expect from a book on this topic? A Pirates of the Caribbean version of the Holocust? We deserve this.

    With that said there were sections where i almost gave up, there are 2 sections of the book where Little uses sexual hallucinations to invoke the furries. However these are a too long even for me, i am in no way a conservative but, jesus there is only so many ways to #@$#$ your sister. Make your thematic point and then move on. Of course the irony of being disquested at the main character more for his sexuality than his role in the holocust is irony in in itself

    Far as history goes, As a educated amateur historian, i found this novel, extremely well researched and historically accurate except for a few editing errors. There is more accurate historical material here than most non-fiction books on the subject.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Victor Sebestyen
    • Narrated By Rick Reitz
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    In Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, Victor Sebestyen vividly recreates not only the days of the uprising but the events, meetings and days that led up to it. He goes back to give us snapshots of seminal moments in history that would decide Hungary's fate, such as the October 9, 1944, meeting in the Kremlin with Churchill or October 15, 1949, a day that marked the execution of Laszlo Rajk, a fierce Stalinist and one of the chief architect's of Hungary's police state and the beginning of the Bolsheviks starting "to devour [their] own children".

    Hans says: "Frustrating"
    "Great Book, Horrible Pronunciation of Names"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is great survey of Post 1945 Hungary the Stalinist terror and 1956 Revolution. Now... I know outside of the few hungarian speakers this won't be an issue, But the pronunciation of Hungarian names and places is atrocious. Ok, so i realize how arcane and difficult Hungarian is but, there was no effort at consistent and correct pronunciation of places and names. I found this a bit disbarring distraction to a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Spartacus War

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Barry Strauss
    • Narrated By Ray Grover
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    The Spartacus War is the extraordinary story of the most famous slave rebellion in the ancient world, the fascinating true story behind a legend that has been the inspiration for novelists, filmmakers, and revolutionaries for 2,000 years. Starting with only 74 men, a gladiator named Spartacus incited a rebellion that threatened Rome itself.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Concise Overview"
    "Not for Historians"
    Overall

    I started out enjoying this book, the author's style and the narrator are enjoyable. However by the last chapter i was purely cringing. The author makes constant use of "it is possible" or "he might of" to build large parts of the narrative. The historian job is to interpret the facts and present them in a digestible manner, using smart interpolation when necessary. Is possible that Augustus though of Spartacus on his death bed? Yes, does evidence support this even remotely? NO! This is just plain out bad history.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By Philip Madoc, Neville Jason
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire occupies an immortal place in the pantheon of historical masterpieces. This recording covers the final three volumes of Gibbon's work, tracing ten centuries in the life of the eastern half of the empire, whose capital city was Constantinople.

    George says: "Gibbon"
    "Gibbon"
    Overall

    Although not as nearly famous as the first volume, Volume 2 is great history of the Eastern Roman Empire from the fall of Rome in 476 to the sack of consantinople in 1453. This title has an excellent narrator and classical score, a must for Roman historian interested in the Eastern Empire.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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