I liked the detail - lots of information most people don't know about Steve Jobs personally.
I suspect I would have liked this a lot better, had it been read by someone else. The narrator is really bad. He sounds amateurish, has a sing-song lilt that becomes annoying quickly, and sounds like a practiced high school reader. It gave the book a feeling of being amateurishly written, and I don't think that's the case.
I was looking for insight into how the Obama administration manages its policies and how the insider politics and deal-making influences the results. the book does not disappoint and in fact presents a more objective view than I'd expected. I was anticipating a very pro-Obama, hero-worship. Instead, the book seems to be pretty straightforward about what is handled well and what is not.
"Obama's Wars," not for its tone but for its accurate detail of administration power plays, struggles, conflicts, and reasons behind actions.
His reading doesn't work on my nerves as much as it does other listeners, but the book would have gained by having a professional reader. Corn rushes words, mispronounces words ("stimulus" is always "stim-liss," for example), and is not as well modulated as a professional, which makes the book harder to listen to than it would be with a better reader.
It's a good book to read for background information before the upcoming presidential elections.
The only good thing about this latest book is that Roy Dotrice is back as the narrator. The audio version is 50 hours of reading, and nothing happens. Lots of snow falls, winds howl, lords insult each other, hosts wander back and forth, but none of the cliff hangers form the previous book is resolved, and none of the main characters accomplishes anything meaningful towards his/her goals. Main characters are killed, but - they're not dead - or maybe they are -? The quest for the iron throne has deteriorated into petty personal squabbles, and the book is mostly endless gratuitous gore and sex, and gory sex. In earlier books, the sex and gore served to define various characters. Now it does nothing but, I assume, satisfy the adolescents who are reading the series. One could truly skip this entire book and miss nothing. I believe that Martin has decided he can drag this story out into book sales that will last the rest of his life, a la Robert Jordan. I'm done with the series.
I really wanted to like this book, since it is a classic, and so widely taught, but I finally had to give up. It is an adventure story without a plot, a character study with too many digressions, and a study of the 19th Century perceptions of whale characteristics that is no longer relevant. The narrator did a superb job. My hat is off to him. But about ten hours into the book, I had to quit.
Thoreau writes a very nice natural and sociological account of Cape Cod of his time, and I would have given it 4 stars were it not for the narrator. The reading seemed very close to robotic in the first third of the book. I don't know if it improved slightly as the book went on, or I just got used to it. I do appreciate that the narrator speaks in a New England accent, and for all I know (not being familiar with it), this may be a very natural example of that regional way of speaking. For me, though, it could use Garrison Keillor's more homey and natural touch in describing commonplace things. It is, though, a very good book for anyone interested in the Cape way of life during this period, and of the natural history of the area.
I enjoyed this book, and it is very complete for those who, like me, enjoy reading about the history of how our present foods and diets came about. I don't think the book would hold the interest of someone with a more casual interest in the subject, however. The book can get a bit dry (no pun intended) and does include quite a lot of recipes that are of historical interest but not much use as modern-day recipes. Of greatest interest to me were the explanations of salt's economic importance from the Stone Age on, and also how the history of salt is so completely tied up with the history of fish in the human diet. It makes a good companion book to COD.
As a period piece, this Dickens rendition of English history has some value, perhaps, and also provides a decent rundown of the English kings. But that is all it is. Dickens approaches history the way my junior high history teacher did, as though history were nothing but battles. Dickens says nothing about the age in which the king under discussion lived, the changes in the way the people lived, nothing about the changing technologies, indeed nothing about the people of England who created the history, except that they were pike fodder in the kings' wars. He very seldom even mentions dates, making it hard even for the knowledgeable person to keep track of the time period. He merely recites the battle after battle in which each king engaged, passes judgement on their characters, talks about how wonderful and brave the English are compared to the vile French, and generally writes like a man of the Victorian Age.
Fair enough, and as I said, a good period piece, but a very boring book.
This is a wonderful book not only for anyone interested in this particular period of history, but for all those who despair of today's politics and who think the country may not survive whatever current political conflict is occurring. Gordon Wood shows us that we Americans have been fighting the same political fights, exhibiting the same cultural flaws and virtues, struggling with the same social problems as we do today. And the country's survival was much more fragile than it is now, being only a decade or two old. The writing style is very entertaining, and the narration is perfect for the text. I enjoyed it tremendously.
This book presents a good deal of information about tea, mostly about the merchandising of tea. It is very factual, very British-centric, and useful to a point. It could have been much better, however. The cultivation of tea began in China. A lot more detail about the importance and cultivation of tea in China could have been fascinating. The book also needs more anecdotes - it's very dry. A bit more about the myths surrounding tea would have created more understanding of the plant's importance. A lovely description of the Japanese tea ceremony, and of the much later tea ritual in England, would have created more atmosphere. A couple scandals of the tea trade would have added some intrigue. All those stories are there in the history of tea, but sadly they seem not to have interested the author. I have read more exciting histories of the cultivation of tulips, which, while lovely, cannot begin to compete with tea for historical significance to human culture. I'm still waiting for that tea book.
I agree with some previous reviewers that the book could do with less Danielle Steele-type scenes, but I found the battle scenes, and the tactics, riveting. There are a lot of leadership lessons in the actions of the generals and the politicians that open up a period in American history that had never really been taught in depth in any course I took. I do look forward to reading more books on the period, to better understand the underlying trade and political issues - this might not have been the best book to start a study of American history 1810-1820. But I am very glad to have read it.
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