This is one very good companion piece to the PBS documentary. Ken Burns (the film's co-director and this audiobook's primary narrator) is not an actor, and neither were any of the people whose words and stories he tells here. His narration is direct and quietly impassioned, which makes it all the more forceful.
Burns and co-director/producer Lynn Novick let it be known from the beginning that this story would not be about "..the traditional top-down heroes we are usually presented with - the generals, the presidents and statesmen, the prime ministers and field marshals who tend to recede from our understanding just as they ascend to the pantheon of Great Men. These are folks you might have had Thanksgiving with." To be sure, those seeking "exciting" battles or military tactics will not be disappointed since they are often described in detail, almost exclusively through first-hand accounts. Their stories are more often than not quite harrowing, related honestly, free of hubris and frequently with sincere regret. But it is also a celebration of the human spirit, what it can rally to, endure and ultimately overcome.
The generation these people came from was a far cry from what it is today and they are leaving us. It would be a terrible shame to forget what our parents, grandparents and great grandparents sacrificed in this war which claimed the lives of nearly 60 million people. Those who prefer the more traditional WWII works shouldn't shy away from this if they truly wish to gain a better understanding of what it was like not only to fight in this war but to remain behind. It's really quite an accomplishment that I can't recommend highly enough.
Do yourself a favor and experience something invaluable.
If you're looking for an intriguing 20+ hours of audiobook entertainment, then you can't go wrong with this beast. As others have said, it's bloody beyond compare. There were times during this audiobook when I actually started to giggle at the unparalleled gruesomeness of the confrontations and battles. Not because it was funny by any means but more the result of some built-in self-defense mechanism on my part. While I was taken aback at first by the level of violence, I began to realize that swords, axes, and countless other weapons of antiquity did exactly what's described in this story. Namely, well... you'll "see" for yourself. Good for Willocks to not hold back, in my opinion.
I really enjoy good historical fiction, and this definitely is. The amount of research that must have gone into the writing of this book is impressive. I was so intrigued by the historical details and references in this story that I did a little research of my own, just enough to appreciate it more on the second listen. One hell of a good story, not to mention the always wonderful narration by Simon Vance. Can't go wrong with a credit on this one, it's a pure rip snorter.
This is one hell of a book, a great piece of history. I'm not going to try and summarize what Tuchman is able to cover in this book, if only because I doubt I could. She covers more than I thought was out there, which is both reassuring in the sense that there is more to read but also intimidating in it's obvious volume. I possessed a mostly romantic view of the period when I bought this as a companion piece to the actual book, and I've read more of the book than listened to the audio, but don't go by that. The narration by Nadia May is flawless in my opinion... she does an amazing job of conveying what Tuchman has written, not only in emphasis but nuance as well. It might be a flaw, but I prefer my books to be read by the same sex as the author. Call me superstitious, but I think something is lost when a man reads a woman's work, and vice versa.
This book was my first serious foray into the Middle Ages, and I think it's a very fine place to start for beginners on many levels. Not only for the sheer amount of detail, but also for the way the author is able to shine a light on ways of living, thinking, and believing that "modern minds" might have difficulty identifying with, at least in a casual way. This is first class writing/narration for quiet nights and curious minds, get it and enjoy.
Kenneth Branagh's reading of this classic is truly wonderful, perfectly suited for Conrad's most famous story. I've listened to it twice now and found myself smiling at just how nuanced Branagh's reading can be. This is a great listen, both in terms of the narration and Conrad's timeless writing. Find a quiet spot and enjoy!
Chris Hedges possesses one of the most unforgiving and challenging voices of any writer I've consistently read and listened to. This is one of his finest books, as always blessedly free of BS and to the point. I'm convinced he writes with a sharpened baseball bat.
The above review by David is everything I could have hoped to say about such an insightful, heartfelt and honest book, so I'll just finish by saying... Get this. It's worth every penny/credit and then some.
Really enjoyed this book. Funny, barbed, and insightful in ways that go beyond "foodiedom", this book frequently had me in stitches. If you like food, are fascinated by the inner workings of the restaurant business (told in a tell-it-like-you-see-it style) you can't go wrong with this. Bourdain never ceases to provide food for thought, be it bad food or good.
This has to be one of the most fun series I've ever read. There are a lot of holes in some of the plots, some convenient quick-fixes and the character development is far from the best... but every book in the series (I'm up to six right now) keeps me coming back for more. Lot's of unique characters, plenty of action, some fresh takes on what can only be called "supernatural stereotypes", and the main character is quite hilarious in the face of over-the-top danger. Great series, worth the credits if you're looking for an entertaining ride that you won't want to end.
Bacevich argues there are three crises facing America today, economic, political and military. As self-contained as each of these crises may seem on the surface Bacevich succinctly reveals how they are in fact very interconnected and reinforcing of each other. While the crises are the stated focus of the book it's clear that "values" are the driving force behind their analysis. The values Bacevich champions are simply pragmatism and a willingness to see things for what they are, rather than for what we may wish, or need, them to be. Amusingly, Bacevich has been labeled a "fake" Republican by a number of closet Bush Administration apologists, but that's to be expected I guess. Bacevich spares neither Democrat or Republican administrations, the historic records of which he easily reveals to be far more similar than different. Perhaps the most damning of Bacevich's entreaties for a return to common sense, and a restoration of the concept of civic duty, falls upon the common citizen. He points out the disconnect from reality that many of us display by not living within our means and how frighteningly similar this mentality mirrors the underlying structure of our entire economy (it's worth noting he wrote this before the recent collapse). Despite being against the Iraq War from the beginning he smolders at the percentage of citizen to soldier, the unfairness of the few enduring multiple deployments while those able but unwilling to serve refuse to force it's end. And he ultimately holds us accountable for abetting many of our politicians in their corruption and abuse of the political system, by inaction, indifference, or both. I would recommend buying the actual book - I bought a second copy for family and friends (a broad mixture of political stripes) and all of us found common ground, more similarities than differences.
Tears in the Darkness is one of those rare combinations of a great book narrated by the perfect voice. There are moments in this brief history that will touch you deeply, often in a rather horrific way. I would liken the reading (or listening) of this book to nothing less than bearing witness to man's inhumanity to man, where virtually no detail is left unobserved. But there are also moments of quiet introspection on the part of the those who experienced these events. The Normans have written an exceptional piece of history and Michael Prichard breathes life into it equally as well. Easily one of the best - and worthy - audio books I've had the pleasure to listen to. Highly recommended.
After listening to this I felt as if I had just returned from a long, brutal journey across western medieval Europe... and it felt great, if that's possible. Like so many others have already said, authenticity practically oozes off the page/out of the speakers. It's like Clavell's Shogun, only much more visceral. There wasn't a moment during the listening when I was bored or not interested.
Great story, wonderful writing, intriguing characters and stellar narration. Throw in some perfectly timed bursts of music and this is easily one of the most entertaining audio books you'll ever find. Don't miss it!
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