WAY back in college I took an elemetary statisitics course that had a teacher who was a sketpic. One of our books was "How to Lie With Statistics" (I was on scholarship and had to turn it in...wish I still had it). That basically proved how you can make numbers say anything you want them to. This book is further proof. The Economist/Author is a clever guy, though, and does have the ability to look through many commonly-held suppositions and try to find the reality. Some stuff in the book really shocked me, like the drug dealer parts. He does seem to be hung up on names (as another review says), and while I understand how he got on that subject he gets carried away predicting the trendy names of the future...what was THAT about? Overall, pretty good and short enough that it doesn't get boring.
Personally, I find it difficult to listen to the author here. I find his speech and patronizing tone regarding social perceptions highly annoying. This book appears to be a series of examples of how our subconcious dictates our opinions and actions. Wow, how revealing! On top of this, the author certainly appears to have some kind of agenda regarding prejudice. I was compelled to listen to this because I paid for it, but I recommend saving your money for something that is either educational or entertaining. I found this book an irritating restatement of the obvious.
I have listened to all but one of these books (not number 20 yet) and it is depressing to be coming to the end. This book is, once again, well read by Patrick Tull and is yet another classic story. If you've started here, you started near the end of a long series. If you started earlier, there is nothing I have to say to convince you to listen to this one, too.
I generally like John Grisham books, and this one was good, too. No real suspense as in others, but a very good story of small-town Southern life. The reader is one of my favorites, and seems to be able to create the perfect accent for every occasion.
I thought the end of the book was kind of a letdown.
I am an action/adventure or history book guy. I don't know why I picked this book but I'm glad I did. I thought it was a great story about a life totally different than anything I know (as an American). I am amazed someone recalls so much detail, but I'm glad this woman did. Kind of left me wondering who her son is (implied he is alive and living in the US). The life story actually works a lot like a plot with a good ending, too. I will probably be reminded of things in this book for a long time. I'm not sure the movie can top this, and might not want to ruin things be seing it.
I have listened to several of this series previously (mostly on cassette from the Public Library--some with parts damaged, etc.). This recording is pretty good, technically, but I can hear a faint echo in the background on my player, leading me to believe it was transcribed from tape. The reader is not the same guy as in later books (Richard Brown later, Patrick Tull on this one). Mr. Tull has a much more raspy, colorful voice, and gives particular accent to the "Irish" characters--no so in the Brown-read books. Tull is quite good.
I can't say enough about this series. I love it, and look forward to all 20 books being available on Audible. It was great to finally "read" the first book after knowing how the realtionship developes later on. As a former US Navy guy, it is also scary to see just how much from this era is EXACTLY the same today. If you saw the movie, it is not the same (entirely) as this book, as that plot draws from several books in this series. It is almost as though Patrick O'Brian really lived in 1800 (OK, he only missed it by 100 years!), because every aspect of his story is so totally authentic. He takes no liberty in modernizing anything at all. Obviously, the nautical aspect is exact, but so are the tiny details of everything else. His main characters are very likable, yet he leaves them with very human faults which remain fairly consistent throughout the series.
The website for the movie by this name (the one with Russell Crowe) explains some of the nautical details that are rattled off matter-of-factly all through the book and might be worth looking at to avoid some initial confusion. I did note that this first book did take some time to explain some of this by the device of explaining it to Stephen by a young midshipman. It can be a little confusing in fast action sequences without some idea what the characters are shouting about.
An excellent book and well read. I am hooked on this series, obviously.
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