I bought this audio mainly because I was going to Alaska, wanted SOMEthing about Native Americans, and had never read it in high school, so I thought listening to it would be less painful than reading it. To my surprise, it turns out to be a fascinating string of legends about the mythical Hiawatha, his coming of age, taking a wife, enduring hardships, and his eventual leaving his tribe for an unknown land.
The author's skill in telling these stories within the poetic meter is matched by the narrator's ability to read the poetry in a very natural way, making the listener almost forget that the beauty of the words falls always within the meter. Any literature student assigned this poem should listen to this version, to really appreciate the best in American poery.
To The Last Man is truly one of the most riveting history books I've ever read. It portrays the war not through statistics or battle accounts, but through the eyes of four men who fought and (in the case of two) died during the war: Gen. Pershing, Baron von Richtofen, Raoul Lufbery, and Roscoe Temple, an American Marine. Shaara has kept the stories personal enough to engage the reader, but broad enough to expose the politics behind the tactics of various pieces of the war. He glosses over nothing - not the carnage, not the loneliness, not the filth, and not the stupidity.
Special mention must be made of the narrator, Paul Michael. He is exceptional. He glides among various regional American accents and European accents easily, and provides the only credible German accent I've yet heard in narrations.
The book could have been twice as long, as far as I'm concerned. It's top-notch.
Numbers are fascinating, and I was expecting to be fascinated by the author's intriguing revelations concerning the universe and how it unfolds mathematically. Instead, the book seems more like unconnected ramblings, a series of short stories about the author's life and some significant events in his life that are connected to his view of mathematical proportions. The author's dialect (speech impediment?) makes the book difficult to listen to. I found myself counting the number of consonants he cannot pronounce, instead of becoming fascinated with - counting. It could be that the book is much more interesting if read at one's own speed, and in one's own "head" voice, rather than listened to at the narrator's speed, and speech.
This book and its author have received so much press and air time over the last month that I wanted to read it if for no other reason than to see what all the noise was about. the subject fascinated me as well, because the church in which I was raised never taught anything about the historical background of the New Testament, and I was hoping that this book would fill in the blanks.
It did not disappoint. The story of the centuries-old conflict between the Romans and the Hebrews was new to me. Yes, I know about Egyptian slavery, but had no idea of Rome's governing principles concerning its conquered nations and how their treatment of the Jews differed. I had no idea of the religious and daily culture of the Jews and how they clashed with the Roman way of life. The background that Aslan provides helps to fill out the historical picture. I found it absolutely fascinating.
I have two criticisms. One is that I would have liked the book to be at least twice as long. I want more details, more background, more of this riveting picture of ancient life. And the other is that the book really should have been narrated by a professional reader. Aslan isn't bad, but he succumbs to the common problem of a single rhythm and intonation that becomes distracting. It wasn't bad, though - I still found the book fascinating.
As a reader of many biographies of American political figures, I found this one to be very disappointing, not so much for what it includes as for what it doesn't. The author does a good job of describing Wilson's actions, but I came away from the story with no real feel for the inner man and what motivated him. There was almost nothing included from Wilson's journals or private letters (could this scholar really have written so little?) and no interpretation on the author's part as to how various events in Wilson's life, or how his "inner man" influenced his actions. I kept recalling Jack Webb's famous line, "Just the facts, ma'am." But I look for more than that in a biography. I want the insight of McCullough, I suppose, and it was simply missing here. There is almost nothing about Wilson's childhood and virtually no details about his relationship with his parents or siblings. The death of Wilson's first wife, Ellen, was dispatched with in, if printed, must have been about two pages. The public's reaction to his second wife is still a mystery. This book needs more heft, more "personality." It was very dry.
That said, I have to say that the narrator did a fantastic job. If I'd been reading the book instead of listening, I would probably have not finished it. But the narrator was so easy to listen to that I stuck with it.
I'm not sorry I listened to it, because the availability of Wilson biographies through audible is pretty scarce. But I really would like more information than this book provides.
Probably not, only because once you know the story, the elements of suspense and surprise are missing, and they are close to the heart of the story, but I will definitely recommend this to all my friends.
The scenes of death during an air raid in London.
The very last one, because it was such a complete surprise to me. I expected the book to be finished after the scene before it. The fact that it wasn't takes the book's message in an entirely different direction, at the absolute last moment.
This book doesn't make you laugh or cry. It makes you stare off into space and wonder.
It is dark without being tragic.
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.
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