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  • The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Russell Shorto
    • Narrated By L.J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Nearly 40 years ago, a New York State Library archivist discovered 12,000 pages of extraordinary records from the original Dutch colony on Manhattan. After decades of painstaking translation, the documents became the primary source for this breathtaking history of early New York.

    Steven says: "Wealth of Information, but Continual Repitition"
    "Heavy-breathing narrator sounds bored"

    This book takes what could be a fascinating story and makes it quite tedious. Jumping back and forth in time confuses a narrative that is engaging enough to be taken on chronologically and a highly repetitive prose style eventually becomes quite grating - how many times do we need to be reminded of the trading rituals of the Mohawks and the Mohicans? Most distracting though is the narration. In no other audiobook have I been able to notice the loud breathing of the reader so overtly. I don't know whether that inhalation is edited out in other recordings, but I've never come across the narrator's breathing actually distracting me from the recitation of the story until now. Also, the narrator sounds like this is the first time he is reading the book: sometimes his intonation is off and the stress falls on the wrong syllable, his pronunciation of Dutch words is not consistent throughout the book and his transitions from English sentences to include a Dutch term is clunky, like he's guessing how the word should sound, in the strangest pseudo-nonspecific central European accent. Not a terrible book by any means, but the narration detracts considerably from the enjoyment of it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Superb - brings the legendary man to life"

    An exceptional biography, just enough focus on GW's childhood before moving onto his adult exploits and heroics. In-depth accounts of the French-Indian War and the Revolution as well as his personal life, but I would have liked a little more content on his role at the Constitutional Convention and the second term of his Presidency. Altogether an amazing account of the man's life that gets past the hyperbole to give a three-dimensional account of the human being himself. Scott Brick's stately narration is flawless as always.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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