Unfortunately, the nature of Kurlansky's book made it difficult for me to enjoy in audio format. The disjointed presentation of many, many short selections of food writing, sometimes preceded by an brief explanatory paragraph from the author, led to a general sense of historical and thematic confusion. Even now, I'm not sure I listened to the entire book. You could easily miss an hour and not realize it. Perhaps more dedicated gourmands will find the chosen selections more gripping, but they often struck me as humourless and trivial. Kurlansky has left the largely unorganized material to speak almost entirely for itself, and the audio version suffers from this decision, as you cannot scan or skip as you might do with a paper copy.
So much is explained in this wry and hilarious book. All the sayings and tones of voice we've heard smatterings of come sharply into focus. The inflection of the author is mildly annoying at first, but I soon got used to it and eventually grew to like it. It matches the content perfectly.
I wanted to like this book, but a couple of drawbacks ultimately meant I never finished it.
First, the narration is indeed awkward. The reader always pauses before saying any proper noun, of which there are thousands in the book, which is off-putting. Further, the pronunciation of even common English words is often incorrect. Cavalry, for example, is repeatedly pronounced as "Calvary".
Second, and less trivial, is the sheer weight of names, dates and personal histories within the text. No doubt the book does explain how Islam influenced Europe, but I was still waiting after 6 hours for something more than a narrative retelling of the exploits of important figures on both sides. Without the Big Picture, the detail gets to be too much.
I admired the book, but could not finish it.
The real story of the submarine K-129 - as told in this book - is important, startling and deserves to be known. Unfortunately, the available facts of the case can support little more than a long magazine article. As a result, the book is quite repetitive. One can feel the author straining to fill the pages. Further, he mixes fact and 'speculative re-creation' too freely in the first half, leaving it unclear what is Definitely True as opposed to Probably True. Nonetheless, this book tells an amazing story with far-reaching and historic implications. A must-read for enthusiasts of Cold War history.
Compared with the Second, the First World War receives much less attention in popular history, including here on Audible. Macmillan has done a marvelous job of explaining the personalities and challenges faced at the 1919 peace conference in Paris. She sketches the leaders well and manages to explain the many interlocking issues without excessive detail or repetition. She avoids the conventional wisdom and offers a balanced view. The overall impact is a compelling narrative with humour and quite a few "aha!" moments when the modern outcomes of the peace conference ecome clear. The author might be faulted for an excess of focus on Woodrow Wilson, but the book does not suffer too much for it. An informative picture of moral relativism and Realpolitik emerges, both in the American camp and elsewhere.
A book about animals and autism written by a woman who has autism herself. Despite a slightly wonky structure which jumps around and sometimes repeats itself, the book is truly an eye opener, providing a fresh insight into the age old questions of consciousness and perception. Well worth the read, but be prepared to hear a lot about cattle chutes!
This is an interesting and balanced account of US espionage and reconnaissance efforts during the first part of the Cold War. The author mixes the personal stories and anecdotes of the people who built the U2 and the Corona satellites with a wealth of interesting technical detail and a solid account of the larger Cold War context. Eisenhower is well drawn and impressive. His concern about needless escalation and provocation shames his more militant advisors and generals and may have prevented a nuclear war.
This book is likely to be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the Cold War and the technology of reconnaissance.
I found this this book disappointing and repetitive.
It seemed a classic example of three interesting points spun out into a book-length treatment. The authors seemed unsure whether they were writing an instructional book for business networking, an academic treatise on networking theory, or their own curricula vitae. The result is maddeningly dry and circular.
The exhaustive explanation, discussion and criticism of obviously flawed and outdated networking theories is nothing but filler and occupies the bulk of book. Their unsupported extrapolations to politics and society are spurious and frequently laughable. Anyone interested in the subject should buy the paper version instead and skim aggressively.
There could hardly be a more damning portayal of the Stalinist Soviet State than this gripping book by Solzhenitsyn, brilliantly and clearly read by Frederick Davidson. Nonetheless, this is not solely a book for Cold Warriors - much as they may like it - but for anyone interested in hearing a compelling description of Russian Society and about what happens when things change far too quickly and too much power lands in too few hands. It is a captivating, entertaining depiction of Stalinist atrocities, but also a much wider condemnation of all forms of ideological fanaticism. Be prepared for a commitment, however, as this book is only the first of five parts, and you may find it hard to stop after only one or two.
A wonderful, mind-expanding book which touches on a phenomenal number of subjects. Bryson's style as writer and narrator is very engaging, and the book's organization holds together extremely well, even in the abridged version. His examples and explanations are very well constructed and provide great conversational fodder when you inevitably want to tell others about the book. A "Tour de Force" in the truest sense of the word, Bryson's book will be compelling for any non-specialist interested in the Big Picture.
I wanted to love this book. I really did. I was ready to cast off 21st Century expectations and delve into the "legendary charm" of this ancient writer. I wanted to find in Herodotus the "magnificent epic of human triumph over the forces of tyranny" promised by the Publishers. Perhaps the fault is mine, but I found instead a confusing littany of doubtful and frequently uninteresting assertions about long-forgotten tribes and peoples. Not knowing whether his tales are true or fanciful, it is difficult to be either impressed or amused by the accounts of Herodotus. This leaves us to rely on the quality of the writing alone, and Herodotus is certainly charmingly entertaining in this regard, often sounding more like a town gossip than a historian. This book remains a classic with good reason, and I can think of no contemporary writer who wrote with the style and exuberance of Herodotus. But his book's appeal is probably much narrower than the publishers imply. That appeal, unfortunately, largely eluded me.
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