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F-M

Washington DC | Member Since 2005

35
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 164 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • The Afghan Campaign

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By James Langton
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (22)

    In words that might have been ripped from today's combat dispatches, Steven Pressfield, the best-selling novelist of ancient warfare, returns with a riveting historical novel that re-creates Alexander the Great's invasion of the Afghan kingdoms in 330 B.C., a campaign that eerily foreshadows the tactics, terrors, and frustrations of contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    H. Connelly says: "Another Outstanding Story"
    "Awful"
    Overall

    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".

    1 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Tamim Ansary
    • Narrated By Tamim Ansary
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real, but it sits atop an older struggle between Kabul and the countryside, between order and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an older Afghanistan - a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam. Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out and to illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never fully understood.

    F-M says: "Great as an introduction to Afghan History"
    "Great as an introduction to Afghan History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By S. Frederick Starr
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects.

    Julia says: "What a wonderful find!"
    "Subject worthwhile but repetative narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Second World War, Part One: The Phoney War to Stalingrad

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Antony Beevor
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    The Second World War began in August, 1939, on the edge of Manchuria, and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific.

    F-M says: "Expected more from Antony Beevor"
    "Expected more from Antony Beevor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Second Oldest Profession, Part 1: A World History of Espionage

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Burds
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Professor Jeffrey Burds of Northeastern University delves into the history of espionage in this eye-opening lecture series. The course opens with espionage activity in the ancient world and the Roman Empire and continues with the American Revolution, Age of Napoleon, and American Civil War. Throughout this compelling discussion it becomes evident that spying is not only a never-ending source of fascination but also a major contributor to world history and the development of nations.

    Thomas says: "Fascinating!"
    "No part 2 available..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a bad joke. There's no part 2 available... Waste of time. You are warned.

    3 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Science: A Sweeping Visage of Science and its History

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Michael Shermer
    • Narrated By Michael Shermer
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    This is a sweeping look at science, its history and philosophy from the Middle Ages to the present, with special emphasis on defining science within the cultural context of the age, who was doing science at the time, and what their goals were in conducting science. This course reflects Dr. Shermer's doctoral training at Claremont Graduate School.

    F-M says: "Old and bad sound recording"
    "Old and bad sound recording"
    Overall

    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.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Kluger
    • Narrated By Holter Graham, Jeffrey Kluger
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    Complexity is a slippery idea. Things that seem complicated can be astoundingly simple; things that seem simple can be dizzyingly complex. These and other paradoxes are driving a whole new science - simplexity - that is redefining how we look at the world and using that new view to improve our lives.

    marcus says: "Nuggets here and there..."
    "Not so simple"
    Overall

    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.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Patton: The Man Behind the Legend, 1885-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Martin Blumenson
    • Narrated By William Lavelle
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    This detailed and persuasive study by the author of The Patton Papers was described by Patton's daughter Ruth as "an extraordinary book". It is widely considered the best biography ever written of the General, an American hero as compelling as he was complex.

    Ann says: "Patton the man"
    "Good insight into Patton (but poor audio)"
    Overall

    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).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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