Bloody Crimes is a good book, but not a great one. Unlike Swanson's previous book in this series, about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators, this book does not have an adventure at its core, nor the pacing the a detective-story-like volume is the natural consequence of its subject. I would give the earlier book a "5" had I listened to it (I read it). This book gets a "3." But the book itself is bumpy, uneven. With respect to the flight of Jefferson Davis, there have been better books on this subject. Davis gets short shrift here, little new information. With respect to Lincoln, the new material relates to the funeral and the long trip from Washington DC to Springfield. This is interesting, in its way. In part I was interested because my paternal great-grandmother saw Lincoln's body in Cleveland on that trip (it is one of the few things I know about her).
Although the funeral portion is new, it is also the most uneven part of the book. Long passages describing orders-of-march, planning, peoples' clothing and such are interspersed with the politics of the time & the players (politics & players being the more interesting of these two). Swanson could have done some editing here to help the book move along (of course, one of the weaknesses of audio is that you cannot easily skim through such passages).
If you are willing to tolerate this uneveness, there are good parts too. The excellent narration by Richard Thomas helps to save it.
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).
Probably not. A whole book on a subject, including a comedy book, suits my taste better. These stories were of variable quality. A few hilarious, a couple just awful, very please when I got to the end. The narration of all the stories, excellent though. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon on this volume.
Very entertaining audio book for Princess Bride aficionados. People who haven't seen the movie wouldn't get it. It is largely from Cary Elwes point of view, but others -- the director, producer, screenwriter, & most of the players have greater & smaller roles (& have speaking parts. The book is a little uneven, with sections that are fall down funny, just interesting & a few portions that seem like filler. But altogether it is an enjoyable listen.
This book is a new interpretation of the U.S. antebellum period that powerfully combines the reality of slavery, the economics of the internal slave trade, international trade & the industrial revolution (first in the UK and later in New England), financial innovation & speculation, and banking. Baptist is able show how absolutely central slavery was to the American economy in the 19th century, north and south.
The sections that described how southern cotton planters & their overseers actually industrialized manual cotton cultivation to achieve a tripling and quadupling productivity in the field.
The narrator is outstanding, he does well with great written material.
The author successfully combines "modern" detective stories from the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries, archeological, linguistic & literary; with an approachable guide to the history of written language (focusing on cunieform); and the evolution of biblical literature (focusing on the Noah story, but not only that). The writing & the narration, excellent. I was so sorry when the book was over, I wanted to hear more.
Yes eventually. Very moving history book.
In the latter portion of the book, when Pasternak, his family & his mistress family were being unjustly persecuted by the Soviet state & it's corrupt literary hierarchy I got very mad.
Just a terrific book of political & literary history. Very moving & impossible to put down.
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