Well-read audiobook. The place names are often difficult because of their relative obscurity to our current history texts. In many cases, further study must start with a Web-search for the persons mentioned to discover the spelling of the places mentioned.
The major downside of this book is the author's militant secular viewpoint. The thesis of the book seems to contain only the factious and warlike nature of religion throughout history, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim. As this is a book on conflict between the East and West, that would be understandable if it stopped there. The author however, through frequent asides and careful choice of adjectives, displays his disdain for Christianity and Islam. As this is a scholarly work, the bias may be founded in his academia, but it is, nonetheless, a clear and ubiquitous bias.
Probably not a good read for high-schoolers or younger.
First of all: As long as this book says it is narrated by Dennis Holland, don't waste your money or credit.The narrator has NO concept of how to read mathematical formulae, and, thus, the book was confusing at best. It took me a few instances where the narrator spoke of "two-x" to realize that he should be reading it as "x-squared" or "x to the second power". I find it hard to believe that an author would allow a narrator to so completely destroy his text; I further find it hard to believe that anyone educated would fail to understand the difference between 2x and x-squared. Come on, guys. It's an audiobook - the spoken language is all we have here. It needs to be precise, particularly in mathematics. I stopped listening out of frustration after only a couple of hours.
As for the book, the language is quite flowery. Perhaps if I could have persisted in listening to the book further, the language would have grown on me, but, alas, it just seems to be too much window-dressing for the subject. The analogies did not illumine the primary subject, but seemed stretched to give the illusion of literary skill.
I had high hopes for an interesting history of the calculus, but found only frustration.
The author presents his current list of twenty-five books that shaped America. While anyone's list would differ, the discussion of the books he did choose, along with his reasons for their inclusion, introduced me to authors and works that were not included in my past reading lists. I have, due in large part to his recommendations, begun to add them to my literary repertoire. Mr. Foster provides a great service in this work.
Highly recommended for any age level - junior-high or above - although the detail of his survey of these works might be used as a "Cliff's Notes"-lite by students who may need to report on these works in school. Remember kids - plagiarism is bad.
The author accomplishes a masterful survey of geometry from the beginning of time until today. I know, you are already yawning; that is probably because your high school geometry teacher was like mine. The level of detail was a perfect amalgam of accuracy and clarity. The historical characters he introduces throughout have more dimensions than just their mathematical prowess. These people, like his examples, are multi-dimensional and, in general, quite relevant.
A good book for the student (high-school or above) or adult who merely wants a better understanding of the geometry that permeates our experience.
The humour and foundations that the author demonstrates are very nice. While I might dispute some of his "indisputable" assumptions, it was an entertaining listen.
errata - He cites that Einstein published General Relativity in 1905. He actually published Special Relativity that year; it took 21 more years to produce GR.
In this book, Foster challenges us to view ourselves and our stuff from God's perspective - His people and His stuff. In calling us to the freedom from protecting our possessions, he leads us to live our lives with an open hand.
He remains ecumenical in his sourcing for this work, much like Celebration of Discpline. Even in this, his "Quaker-ness" comes through, with the beauty of Jesus as teacher.
A worthy read, and the narrator does a superb job in creating the illusion that the words are his. The hours of listening are much like having a deep, extended conversation with a trusted friend rather than a stilted lecture from a professor.
The author plays a very fair hand, dealing with the current mysteries of science. The insights assume some level of knowledge, but sufficient background is given for a high-schooler to gain some appreciation of the quandaries.
The narrator is very easy to listen to. I have listened to the entire book twice because I have enjoyed the material.
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