Worst book I have read in at least a decade (and I read a lot). Imagine being told how one of Alexander the Great's soldiers walks around an Afghan town worrying: "In twenty MINUTES (!!) the OFFICE (!!) will be closed".
I have read most books on Afghanistan (there are lot!). This is one of the better introductions you can get. Especially because its well written and flows easily. So if you want to know more about the country its a very good place to start. However, nothing new or anything you cannot read elsewhere. The author tries to suggest why modernity has been a struggle for the country - I do not agree, but he succeeds well in using his core idea to build a consistent narrative throughout the book. 4 stars because it reads like an nice summery of what others have written before for those of us that know Afghanistan already.
Had high hopes for this book. But the author is so desperate to convince us that science and scientific thought happened in Central Asia and NOT in Iran, NOT in China, NOT in Europe etc. that I am at a total loss because the supporting evidence is virtually non-existent. The claim that they were 800 years ahead of everyone else in sociology is a typical sweeping statement that just gets spelled out. I expected a narrative that looked in-depth at what these people actually thought and worked out than being told that the cities of Central Asia were vastly "superior" to anything in Europe, the Middle East and China (we just missed that due to historical bias ). And two people discussing if Aristotle was right is not the same as founding evidence-based science just as asking some third person for an opinion is also not - by any stretch of imagination - the same as being the first in the world to introduce peer-review. Maybe Starr is a good historian - but he seems to know little about scientific thought.One of the few books I have given up on and returned
Great run over the second world war. But nothing new for those who have studied it already. Best on the Western campaigns and less in-depth on the complex Japanese/Chinese conflict. Hoped that Antony Beevor with his detailed knowledge would have tried to maintain an analytical overview of the war. However, instead he leads us through battle to battle and campaign to campaign in his usual entertaining style with lots of specific stories to bring the scenes alive. Maybe I was expecting too much.
What a bad joke. There's no part 2 available... Waste of time. You are warned.
The line of thought is often interesting - but the low quality of the sound with whisperings and chairs ruminating in the background as well as inaudible questions makes it difficult to recommend. Also we listeners do not have at hand or on-line the many handout that are used ad referenced throughout. All-in-all its a lecture recording "on the cheap" that needs to be updated and applied for tape/digital to make real sense.
Starts promising, but the author clear loses sight of his subject as he struggles - unsuccessfully - to encapsulate simplexity as anything more than a vague notion. A failed effort.
Good listen if you want to know more about Patton the man.
As others have noted, the audio quality is bad (it is old and my guess is that is comes from a cassete-tape).
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