This book is a great listen. The author succeeds in bringing you into some version of the historical present of the early 1400s in France, & into a speculative but ultimately quite plausible view of Joan of Arc's own mind over the course of her very very short career. She is helped by an abundance of documentary evidence about "the maiden" warrior, much of it from her interrogation & trial, & a bit more from her reaffirmation 25-30 years after her execution. The book lacks the "drama" I recall from film & childrens' book treatments of Joan of Arc that were current in my childhood. But like many things of this kind, the real drama of her life & times is geometrically more interesting & compelling than the distorted portraits in the popular biography realm. I came away from the book feeling that I had "understood" Joan through her intense adolescent passions, manifested in religious ferocity & a peculiar sort of patriotism. But also seeing the complexity & contradiction always present in adolescent passions that helps explain some of the documentary evidence about what happened to her (especially once she was imprisoned & being interrogated). The odd thing about these short-biographies is that I always finish wanting to know more & a bit disappointed with the priority choices the authors must make to keep the volumes within prescribed length. In this volume, the author chose to shortchange the reader on the historico-political context, in my view, & to then include an extended analysis toward the end about how later writers interpreted & distorted the real story. But that section was interesting even though I would have preferred something else. I would advise the prospective reader that even if you are not particularly interested in learning about Joan of Arc, you will still enjoy the book & be happy in the end that you learned about her life & times.
Fabulous audiobook, surely the equal of "Hamlet - the Novel" by the same authors. Anyone interested in Shakespeare will find these more fleshed-out versions of the plays to be interesting. Anyone intimidated by Shakespeare, especially reading or watching the plays with their Elizabethan english, will find these books very approachable, suitable for the layman, and supremely entertaining. Macbeth will give you an unparalleled lens to the period and it will confirm the suspicion that Shakespeare may have been the greatest writer in the history of the english language. The narration is excellent.
Very enjoyable narrative history of the colonizing of N America, with particular focus on Virginia & New England, with side glances at the Caribbean & Bermuda. The author provides a new perspective on the period by including the relationship with the old country, Great Britain, how the tumultuous 17th century in GB influenced developments in the colonies & vice versa.
Highly recommended. This book is beautifully written, an interweaving of the author's biography, TH White's biography, the story of falconry & the interaction between the author, in her grief, and her goshawk. My one fear was that it would be gory, gory with the carnivorous behavior of a hunting animal. And another, that it would be a technical treatment of falconry.It falls into neither. The author indirectly & directly confronts the hunting aspect, not disturbing. And the book is not technical even though I came out of it with some sense of falconry but without feeling awash in the techniques of training. The book is poetic too, beautifully crafted sentences.
I was unable to put down this audiobook. The underlying book is very moving, it follows the Shakespeare version well, if not perfectly, but fills in the context, or an imagined context, both historical & with respect the the relationships between the characters. It does all this without the Elizabethan language that can mar Hamlet, the play, to the untutored ear. All this gives the audiobook great narrative power. The narration gives it some more. You shouldn't avoid going to the play itself because in the hands of a good group it too has great narrative power, but I loved this audio version just the same. I have already downloaded the Macbeth the Novel availability on audible.
Jonathan Eig has done a fabulous job bringing forward the little know (to me, anyway, a history buff) of the development of the Pill. Oh, of course I remember when it the scene (fuzzy, I was in elementary school & junior high) and its early appearance on college campuses not long after, but to me, it was as if the Pill sprouted from the ground, did not have a history. That is how all everyday things, things part of the landscape, seem to us. But Eig filled that gap, in a very entertaining way, for me. He does so by weaving together the history the the "sex," family planning (Planned Parenthood), and birth control movements, with the biographies of 4 individuals central to the development, and also drug testing, drug companies, the executives at Searle and so forth. The narration is compelling. I give this book 5 stars for each of the 3 attributes.
This book is so revealing about the Carter administration & the post WW2 history of the middle east. I remember vaguely this whole event, the Carter peace initiative, but Wright successfully brings the event, the key characters (not just the principals) & the contextual background to life. The book mixes biography of the key players with the main event. Sometimes this feels a little bumpy - it might play more so this way in the audio version, since listener cannot see chapter headings or other transitions that would appear in the physical book. The narrator is excellent.
This new series on audible looks to be a cool gold mine, although this is the first I've listened to. Griswold vs Connecticut is one of those cases you should know about as a non lawyer. I first heard of it from my late grandmother in law who used to shuttle women in need of birth control from CT to NY due to the medieval CT laws. This Oyez recording is a great piece of history. But it needs to be supplemented by a bit of side reading about the case. In the Supreme Court Q&A there is a lot of back & forth about constitutional arcana that is hard to follow without outside knowledge.
The sound quality isn't terrific. You can hear the 2 lawyers very clearly but often cannot hear (or identify) the justices. The lawyers do most of the talking so that was acceptable. I am sure the written transcript is available on the internet to fill in the blanks.
I have read or better said, listened to, numerous Teaching Company courses. On the whole they are terrific, even if on topics that are only on the fringe of my main interests.
Unfortunately this is one of the weaker courses. The professors is somewhat annoying in his accent & diction. And he seems confused about whether to be superficial or deep on the subjects he covers.
The problem here may be with me, since I know quite a bit already about the subject matter.
Bryson books are like confections, like a box of candy with multiple, surprising fillings. This book is no exception although it is the first I have listened to out of the Audible stable. Bryson tells & interweaves many stories to keep the otherwise too long narrative fresh & interesting. This book focuses on many personalities of the period, among the major ones Lindbergh, Harding, Coolidge & Ford. Lindbergh & flying is a particular focus as are the [now] minor or forgotten colleagues in flight of the period. Bryson's works are not deep, not analytical. I might say "shallow" but I never feel that way when reading his work. I know I can find other works (indeed he often refers to those other works in the text) if I want to dig deeper. I am pretty familiar with the 1920s & with his main characters but I did not find much to complain about in his narrative.
The author (& protagonist/narrator) made the hard science in the book very easy to listen to. He interweaves the drama & the process of science with the personal ambitions of scientists, annals of his own life & career. It all makes the science portion exciting, without the reader having to know all of the details he goes over. The narration is excellent. And I found it hard to put down my iPod throughout (thereby accumulating lots of podcasts, science-centric & otherwise, that I could enjoy when the book was done).
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