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Jonathon Pyles


  • The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Gottlieb
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this landmark new study of Western thought, Anthony Gottlieb looks afresh at the writings of the great thinkers, questions much of conventional wisdom, and explains his findings with unbridled brilliance and clarity. After finishing The Dream of Reason, listeners will be graced with a fresh appreciation of the philosophical quest, its entertaining and bizarre byways, and its influence on every aspect of life.

    Amazon Customer says: "An in depth read."
    "Not bad, but unoriginal thesis"

    Over half the book focuses on the ancients from Aristotle and prior. He doesn't really cover the modern philosophers. I think he spent too much time on the pre-socratics. There is not much fresh about the author's view of the history of philosophy. In the view of the author, the history of philosophy is the history of the blossoming of philosophy in the ancient world with its culmination in Plato and Aristotle, followed by backsliding of philosophy during the Christian era (here, there is a typically negative description of the affects of Christiantity on philsophy and, implicitly, truth-seeking), and finally the remergence of philosophy triumphantly over Christian dogmatism. Mostly this is a simple history of what philosphers said. It is also the only audiobook history of philosophy on audible, so we have to make do. But remember that there are other ways of understanding the history of philosophy--and the story is incomplete without bringing it up to the modern era

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    James says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "I enjoyed this a lot"
    If you could sum up Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood in three words, what would they be?

    Elijah Wood does a wonderful job narrating this story. At some parts, I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes. I had never read this book all the way through before. Now its on my favorites list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Glorious Cause

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jeff Shaara
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This dramatic sequel to Jeff Shaara's best selling Rise to Rebellion continues his chronicle of the key characters of the American Revolution and animates some of the most compelling scenes in America's history: Washington's harrowing winter at Valley Forge, Benedict Arnold's tragic downfall, and the fiercely-fought battles at Trenton, Brandywine Creek, and Yorktown.

    Lee says: "engrossing..."
    "Wonderfully entertaining; memorable"

    This was very entertaining to listen to, and I learned so much about what once seemed to me as a sometimes dry history concerning the Revolutionary War. It is a great combination of a good story and good history.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • VocabuLearn: Korean, Level 1

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs)
    • By Penton Overseas, Inc.

    VocabuLearn is the only audio language learning system designed to teach the way you learn best...concentrating on vocabulary and helpful expressions. This three-hour program contains over 1,500 commonly-used words and expressions - the building blocks of language. Best of all, no textbook is required!

    Kenny says: "Not Understandable"
    "Not for serious students--painful to non-serious"

    It is not easy to learn the korean expressions because there is no repetition and they are often spoken too fast. Nor is there any clear logic or building. Much of the time the order of phrases seems random. Although I learned some phrases, especially when I concentrated hard--I think that I could learn more in the same time with a more systematic approach. What is more, if you are looking for an interesting and casual way of picking up korean in your spare time, this is not for you. But it is what it is--and if you listen to the sample you can hear what it is throughout.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jefferson's Demons: Portrait of a Restless Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Knox Beran
    • Narrated By Dan Cashman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Jefferson's Demons, Michael Knox Beran examines episodes of melancholia in Jefferson's life. In particular, he focuses on the journey Jefferson made to Europe in 1787 to escape the depression that set in due to his tumultuous experience as governor of Virginia following the Revolution and his wife Martha's death. Like Gary Wills' Lincoln at Gettysburg, Beran's revelatory narrative weaves together intellectual history with biography to show how Jefferson embraced the idea of classicism.

    Jonathon Pyles says: "Lots of words, little detail"
    "Lots of words, little detail"

    I was disappointed with this book because I was hoping for a detailed biography of the life of Jefferson, but what I found was relatively little detail about who he was and what happened in his life. Rather, this book is a kind of journey through the mind of Jefferson?and yet, it is not very interesting at that. At several points my patience was severely tried because the author spends at least as much time commenting, speculating, and digressing as he does actually laying out the facts. I wanted facts and interesting narratives?but that was generally not what I found. In contrast to this book, I listened to the one on John Adams by McCullough, and it was wonderful?full of rich detail about Adams? life and experiences?very interesting. This book was hard to listen to through the end however. In particular, was bothered by the poetic, flowery writing style. At first, it seemed refreshing?reminiscent of the 18th century style of writing. But soon it sounded purposelessly wordy and became annoying. The reader was not bad, but perhaps a little slow. I am sure that there are some people who would love this book?perhaps those who are of a more poetic persuasion and who are interested in a kind of psychological approach to Jefferson (although, in my opinion, this book fails to truly look into Jefferson?s inner-self because it does not attempt to seriously study and analyze Jefferson?s writings?of which there is much). I would have given it only two stars--but becuase I think that there are some people who might enjoy the book I did not want to discourage them too much.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • What Kind of Nation: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By James F. Simon
    • Narrated By Patrick Cullen

    What Kind of Nation is a riveting account of the bitter struggle between two titans of the early republic over the power of the presidency and the independence of the judiciary. The clash between fellow Virginians (and second cousins) Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall remains the most decisive confrontation between a president and a chief justice in American history.

    Guy says: "Interesting view of a very interesting period"
    "Interesting historical detail; weak theory"

    This book was interesting to me because I have not read much about the details of founding era history yet. For this reason--because I learned a lot of detailed history--I enjoyed listening to this book. Nevertheless, I feel that there is a significant degree of ambiguity in the book's hypothesis. This ambiguity is embodied in the title itself: "What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States". On the one hand, the title indicates a focus on Jefferson and Marshall, and indeed, at times, the author seems to go out of his way to point out how these two men disliked each other--both personally and for their political views and efforts. On the other hand, it seems that the book is about the conflict between the Federalist and Republican views of what the newborn nation was and should be. The first part of the title, "What Kind of Nation" indicates that the latter is the case. Yet the conflict between the Republicans and the Federalists in the early years of the nation was more than a conflict between two men. These men were important players in that conflict, but their roles should not be emphasized to the point of implying that the whole conflict was fought by these two champion fighters alone. To put it simply, this book did not convince me that the conflict over the nature of the new nation could be captured primarily by a history of the conflicts between these two men. Indeed, it is clear enough from the history presented in the book itself that there were many important players in this important controversy besides Jefferson and Marshall.

    In addition, I was surprised by how much detail the author devoted to the Aaron Burr case.

    Overall, as far as historical information goes, this book has a lot to offer; as far as analysis of the struggle to define the nation goes, it seems to be lacking.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • John Adams

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann

    With the sweep and vitality of a great novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough presents the enthralling story of John Adams. This is history on a grand scale - an audiobook about politics, war, and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Read by History Channel host Edward Herrmann!

    Thomas says: "fantastic"
    "Overall wonderful account of Adams' life"

    This book was quite well written and enjoyable to listen to. Adams was truly a remarkable man. I only have two criticisms of the book. First, when it comes to Adams' presidential term, the coverage seems a little thin. Perhaps this first criticism is related to my second--that the author seems to always try to paint Adams in a sympathetic light(and there were some negative things in Adams' presidency, particularly the Alien and Sedition Acts). Adams was remarkable in many ways, but I feel that to truly understand who he was it is important to look not only at his strengths, but also his shortcomings. To see Adams from another point of view and fill in some historical gaps, I recommend reading or listening to some other historical accounts focused on other founding figures, such as Jefferson and Washington. But I should emphasize that this biography is rich in many details of Adams' life--not only his political life, but his personal as well. In particular, the book does a wonderful job of drawing from Adams' private letters, as well as those of his wife and friends.

    As far as the audio reading goes, the reader does a wonderful job. My only disappointment was that there are a few short sections where a female voice comes in and summarizes a section of the book--I assume that this is part of the abridgment, but it was a little annoying. Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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