OK, I know there are something like 50,000 books on the American Civil War and hence it is rare to the point of infinitesimal to find anything new being published. That is especially true now, as the 150th anniversary of the war is upon us. However, I think "A World On Fire" does succeed in bringing something new, or novel, to the Civil War literature. It is a focus on the English perspective. The perspective of politicians, financiers and the general public in the UK, and the perspective of Britons who participated first-hand in the war itself, on the Union side, Confederate side and in a few cases on both sides (not to mention some of the English journalists).
The book does try to be a stand-alone piece, so it is not necessary to be an expert on the Civil War to put this english perspective in context. The author does that. So for those of use quite familiar with the history, there is redundancy in the work. But it is necessary to put the english views, events, the diplomacy in context without much thinking on the part of the reader.
The book is very well written and read as well. Highly recommended.
Yes, this book does an excellent job telling capsule life stories of the post 1850 economists (& some other social scientist), the key elements of their thought and, most importantly, the context in which they lived, and which helped to powerfully shape their thought and build the foundation of modern economics. You do not need to be an economics major or economist to appreciate this work.
The putting of economic thought into context, so that we can understand its roots when the idea of these individuals is cited (& more frequently, misappropriated) today.
Both narrators do a good job with the text.
Adventures in Economic Thought
A very enjoyable book about a little-known chapter of WWII. The largest state-sponsored counterfeiting effort of the 20th century is well researched and well narrated. Readers with an interest in WWII and in financial history should find this quite interesting, as well as those inclined to learning more about the Holocaust.
As a banker myself, with a significant interest in cash & financial crime, I thought the material in the book was invaluable.
The "Great Fire" is a high-class romance novel that contains a mixture of historical fiction, psychological portraiture, political commentary on WWII and its aftermath (particularly in east Asia, but also with some focus on England & Australia & New Zealand). It should appeal to those who enjoy traditional romance novels, but also to readers who prefer historical fiction & literature, with some romance thrown in to drive the action
All of the principal characters might be considered as members of the walking wounded. Wounded by upbringing, wounded by war. All are seeking a way out of their wounds by helping others, in official capacities (bomb survey, postwar trials, nursing relatives) and in their personal lives. Out of this the central & surprisingly believable love story between decorated war veteran of 32, and an 18 year-old girl, much older than her years in some respects & an 18 year-old in others, emerges.
The author has a hypnotic writing style that brings the reader into the frame ... understanding the motivations of the characters & their environment without much third-party explication. This is what gives the book so much power. You are drawn into the frame & truly want to know the outcomes for each of the characters in turn. One of those books where you hope to have a sequel, to see how things turned out but, in reality, it is better to let your own imagination work those turns without an author's assistance.
Graham Greene is without a doubt the master of depicting alienated man of the 20th century, searching for meaning in a modern, often confused environment. In The Human Factor, Greene puts his craft to work on Maurice Castle, an ex-diplomat now working as an Africa-specialist in a home department of British intelligence. Greene mixes together bits of reality (e.g., Kim Philby, South African apartheid, working in an office environment with parochial office politics) with a mystery story about Maurice?s past and a political puzzle about spying. Although the plot has definite shades of the 1960s and the Cold War, it does not seem dated. It has numerous parallels to our world of today.
As in other engrossing works like The Comedians, The Power & the Glory and The Honorary Consul, Greene?s protagonist does not quite succeed in ridding himself of anomie or finding some higher sense of meaning in life. Which is the way life is.
Since Greene was a sometime screenwriter as well as a well-schooled novelist, this book is perfectly suited to the audio medium. The narrator is terrific, with a mellifluous voice and an ability to adopt varying accents to differentiate the various characters.
This is a light review of the politics of space in the 1960s, with a focus on the moon objective. It brings out some of the internal controversy & political jockeying, the kind of stuff you'd expect but which isn't foremost in your mind (unless you are a perpetual cynic) when you think about space exploration. It focuses particularly on the conflict between budgeteers & the policymakers during the Johnson Administration. This is a very good "between books" piece, kind of like having a bit of sherbert to clean your palette between courses of a meal in a french restaurant.
This book tells the human/business story of the Enron debacle with an amazingly detailed eye to what happened, the perspectives of the principals & the outsiders, the forces that brought about the investment strategy that Enron adopted and how that unwound a [possibly] once great organization. I found the first hour or two alittle tough going, because it is the author's intent to tell the story through the voices of the participants, rather than rendering analytical comments of his own, along the way. The "real" story of Enron, the why's and the how's and the lesson's, could be told in a much shorter book. An analytical book. But that book won't be 1/4 as interesting as this one (although it is a book I plan to look for since I want to see that side). I find it amazing that the builders of the Enron business, Ken Lay in particular, simply sat back & ignored what was going on in his "real" business, making bad investments & uncoordinated investments all over the place, and in the "fictitious" business, which constitutes the accounting shenanigans in which Andy Fastow & his cronies could flourish. Other leaders of the organization, notably Skilling & the company's Board of Directors, were also notably asleep at the switch, altogether asleep. At least this is the interpretation of the author that comes through. Other than that first hour or two, when I was tempted to stop listing, this book moves forward with tremendous drive & interest. Highly recommended. You might also move on to the author's previous work on ADM (I read that as a book ... I don't know if it is available in audio form).
This audiobook is a wonderful piece of literature. It combines biography, history, literary criticism, social criticism/analysis all into a single package. Some listeners may find the movement from one topic to another alittle disconcerting. I did not. It seems to drive the book, & helps avoid getting bogged down in a single line-of-argument. The reader is also excellent.
This book pulled out of the dustbin a critical piece of technological history that ultimately changed all of our lives in the IIH of the 20th century. The transistor. Not a physicist or scientist myself, I did find some passages to be heavy-going, realizing that I was not comprehending 100% of the technical information being imparted. But that seemed a small price to pay to find out the story itself, the personalities, the business aspects, and at least some % of the technical aspects. The reader is not the best ... a bit too much monotone for my taste. But OK.
Ian McEwen is one of the great stylists of our time. This book brings you into the characters psyche's, makes you feel you know them, is beautifully written & a mystery story to boot. I thought it was well narrated too, very moving, very effective when heard out loud. The only gripe: I predicted the end well before the end. Not a surprise at all.
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