It goes without saying that an Orwell book comes recommended, and HOMAGE TO CATALONIA is indeed a fascinating account of the politics and lived experience of the Spanish Civil War. But the narration, while not the worst I have heard on audible, detracts from the overall experience. He fails to convey the irony and bemusement of the text, and as others have remarked, the accent doesn't sound right.
Strange to say a book of history concerning the Cold War would need updating, but it really shows that Sowing Crisis was written during the Bush years and prior to the Arab Spring. Many references to the 'present' no longer hold in 2013.
Otherwise, the analysis and research is well worth considering, although very little will truly be new to anyone with a basic understanding of 20th century dynamics in the Middle East. This book will be more informative for the newcomer. I preferred Khalidi's other woks, particularly The Iron Cage.
My biggest complaint with the audio book is that the narrator should have been coached on pronunciations for various Arab and Israeli names. Every time he says 'Nasser' or 'Begin' is cringe-worthy. Otherwise, a competent reading.
"The Obamians" is a Washington inside look at the people and politics shaping the foreign policy of Obama's first three years in office. It describes the evolution of the Democratic Party's foreign policy from the Vietnam War through the Clinton era up to Obama. This history is one of the best parts of the book. For people in the beltway, the names and bios will also be of interest, but I doubt that others will care for the play-by-plays. The narrator is also reasonably good--dry, perhaps, but effective at keeping listeners' interest. The greatest weakness of the audiobook is more structural: the fact that most of the actual reporting is for between 2-3 years of the Obama presidency--not a huge amount of time to collect details and observe patterns. On the whole, however, I would recommend this audiobook or the text version.
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