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Kenneth

ratings
30
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
7

  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (669)
    Performance
    (543)
    Story
    (545)

    More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

    Amazon Customer says: "fasinating new perspective on history"
    "Interesting but limited"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What I liked best about this book was the narrative thread, and the way the author (who I think is a journalist, not a historian) developed his 'arguments' (really, his 'story') with an eye to keeping the reader interested.

    What I liked least was that he spent very little time justifying his positions, providing sources, or describing any uncertainty about facts or interpretations. My own background on this period is limited, but some of what is baldly presented as 'fact' here, even I know is controversial (e.g., China's wealth in the 16th century, China's naval power). If you are considering reading this book, you should understand it is not a scholarly work, but is instead a journalist's attempt to synthesize and popularize scholarly work.

    And Random House -- 'King' dynasty? Really? Can't you give your narrators a pronunciation guide?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (355)

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A very interesting book with some shortcomings."
    "difficult listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've enjoyed other performances by Christian Rodska, but I found this one very difficult. I'm not sure if it was just the quality of his voice, which (to me) is sharp and somewhat nasal in this performance. Or if it is the combination of the voice and text, because I found it difficult to listen long enough at one time to get a sense for the quality of the text. Definitely 'sample' this one before you buy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Scott

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ranulph Fiennes
    • Narrated By Ranulph Fiennes
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The real story of one of the greatest explorers who ever lived by the man described by the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the world's greatest living explorer’. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is uniquely qualified to write a new biography of Captain Scott. This is the first biography of Scott by someone who has experienced the deprivations, the stress and the sheer physical pain that Scott lived through.

    Kenneth says: "Entertaining and informative"
    "Entertaining and informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read other accounts of Scott's expeditions, including Scott's own works. But I learned a lot from listening to this book, and I found Ranulph Fiennes insights unique, authentic and valuable.

    Fiennes is also a very good reader. If (like me) you have hesitated to buy this book because you are afraid the narration might be a little bombastic, you'll be surprised by his sonorous & reasoned tone.

    One of the things I like best about this book is that I think it presents a balanced view of Scott's accomplishments in the context of that time. People who praise Shackleton and denigrate Scott because of the survival rate of their respective expeditions do not, in my opinion, understand how those gentlemen themselves understood the value of what they were attempting to do as military officers. Fiennes makes it clear that risk was not only inherent in the undertaking, but an essential part of what made it valuable. I think Shackleton himself would have been very surprised at the comparison modern day 'organizational psychologists' have made, and the conclusion that Scott 'failed' because so many in his expedition died. I think Fiennes' book makes a significant contribution toward correcting that, and other, misconceptions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume II, Fredericksburg to Meridian

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (930)
    Performance
    (422)
    Story
    (428)

    This volume is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of great armies. For the fourth time, the Army of the Potomac (now under the control of Burnside) attempts to take Richmond, resulting in the bloodbath at Fredericksburg. Then Joe Hooker tries again, only to be repulsed at Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson turns his flank, a bitter victory for the South, paid for by the death of Lee's foremost lieutenant.

    Christopher Morton says: "The Best of the Three Volumes"
    "A great read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best history I've ever read. Foote has a real talent as a story teller.

    The Narration is also top notch.

    I'm not a professional historian, so I cannot judge the quality of this work from that viewpoint. But if you are a casual reader who wants to know more about the Civil War, this is probably as good as it gets.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (985)
    Story
    (1006)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "Not her best work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Connie Willis is my favorite SF author, but I had the feeling she let this story get away from her.

    The story she tells about the blitz is great. But the plot seems to ramble. It's just too long for what it is. Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of The Dog are both better books, IMHO. I think this would have been a better novel if it were combined with Blackout, and cut to half the length.

    I would recommend this book, but not if it is your first Connie Willis book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lars Brownworth
    • Narrated By Lars Brownworth
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (271)
    Story
    (272)

    In AD 476 the Roman Empire fell - or rather, its western half did. Its eastern half, which would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, would endure and often flourish for another 11 centuries. Though its capital would move to Constantinople, its citizens referred to themselves as Roman for the entire duration of the empire's existence.

    Joseph M. Dolan says: "Excellent Book about Little Known History"
    "One sided?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't look at all the reviews, but I was surprised that more readers have not complained about the way this book treats the Turks. Whatever the Turks did after taking Constantinople, it was not worse than what the crusaders did in (and on the way to) Jerusalem, and was not unusually barbaric compared to what 'Western' civilizations did to conquered enemies (the Turks did not plow the city under and salt the ground, for example, as the Romans did in Carthage). The author represents Turks as cartoon bad-guys, without context or motivation.

    Also, while the nasty politics of Constantinople are mentioned (at least at the end), the system that has left us with the adjective 'Byzantine' gets off a little light, IMHO.

    Since I do not know that much about this period of "Roman" history, I cannot really comment on the accuracy of this work. But I would encourage you to look carefully at the reviews which criticize the author's accuracy. The author is good at telling a story, and the narration is fairly good. It is entertaining, but I'm not sure its good history.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Famous Romans

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    These 24 lectures retell the lives of the remarkable individuals - the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers -who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture. Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "Captivating Biography"
    "A bit shallow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This course is an attempt to cover a number of 'lives' in the manner of Plutarch.

    From the first, I found myself comparing it unfavorably to both Plutarch, and Dr. Fear's other course on Churchill (which is top notch). His lives of the Gracchi are good, but IMHO, Plutarch's lives of the Gracchi were better and more thorough. Funnily enough, I enjoyed his life of Hannibal the best. The worst was probably his lives of Scipio (elder and younger). Dr. Fear's uses a rhetorical device (the father walking the son down a row of statues of their ancestors) which might work in a real classroom, but was confusing and even a little silly on this audio book.

    Also, this format isn't really a good one if you are simply looking to learn more about Roman history. The transition from kingdom to republic is hardly mentioned, and the expansion of the republic is also glossed over. It may be possible to cover Roman history via a biography of its great men, but it would have to include more biographies, and be a great deal longer.

    Still, if your only exposure to Roman history was in high school, you will probably find this interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Emerson
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    Today, 1913 is inevitably viewed through the lens of 1914: as the last year before a war that would shatter the global economic order and tear Europe apart, undermining its global pre-eminence. Our perspectives narrowed by hindsight, the world of that year is reduced to its most frivolous features last summers in grand aristocratic residences or its most destructive ones: the unresolved rivalries of the great European powers, the fear of revolution, violence in the Balkans.

    GANESHi says: "Good book ruined by bad read"
    "Great idea, not well executed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The idea of a world survey of 1913 was great, but there is no strong theoretical thread, nor narrative thread in this work. It seems like a series of postcards, but the postcards aren't those funny or interesting ones we liked to get (back when people actually sent postcards), but are instead those common cards that show the 'important' buildings, or the local celebrities.

    Stillwell has a great voice, but his mispronunciations become more and more distracting.

    I would have liked skimming through this book in a paper or electronic version. It doesn't have enough continuity to sustain a lengthy listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A History of China

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Hilda Hookham
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    Trying to squeeze an entire history of Chinese civilization into a brief, one volume account is a formidable task, but one that has succeeded brilliantly here. Hilda Hookham has provided us with a concise story that, while not getting too entangled with personalities and cultural issues, manages to navigate the swirling passage of events that comprise over 3,000 years of Chinese political history.

    Kimberly says: "Audible Can Do Better Than This"
    "don't bother"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with the critics -- this is outdated and biased. I enjoyed reading the review from the Marxist historian who disowned this book -- evidently it doesn't even live up to the 'standards' of Marxist history. The performance is also so bad that it is almost funny.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Morning Read from The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2010

    • HIGHLIGHTS (50 mins)
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Here's a creative way to make the best use of your morning commute: listen to The Wall Street Journal. Each morning, you'll get the must-hear stories from the Journal's front page, as well as the most popular columns and briefings from Marketplace, Money & Investing, and more. And, every Friday, you'll get a bonus delivery: features, columns, and reviews from the Weekend Journal.

    Anthony J. Parisse says: "service is terrible"
    "unannounced service changes disapppointing"
    Overall

    Having been told I could receive the WSJ as a part of my membership, I was disappointed when audible made the unnanounced change to the service so that only subscribers who paid extra could stream the content. Downloading is less convenient for a morning newspaper. Today, audible seems to have a technical glitch that prevents downloading too.
    This is part of a downtrend in service I've noticed at audible in the last couple of months. I hope it doesn't continue to slide...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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