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Doris

Member Since 2007

ratings
138
REVIEWS
23
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
52

  • Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Gordon S. Wood
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (461)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (246)

    In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812. As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture.

    Joseph says: "Excellent historical writing"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall

    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.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Incas: Inside an American Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terence N. D'Altroy
    • Narrated By Terence N. D'Altroy
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (30)

    The story of the Incas is a powerful one, and their legacy remains a potent influence in the Andes of South America. In this insightful lecture series, Columbia University professor Terence D'Altroy focuses on Inca life at the height of the empire, the society's origins, its military, religion, ruling structure, and finally, the Inca legacy today.

    Ullanta says: "Interesting, comprehensive intro to the Incas"
    "Original, or ....?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished this lecture and this morning started to listen to Charles Mann's "1491." About three hours into the Mann book, I thought I'd somehow pressed a repeat button, because I was hearing the exact words I'd heard yesterday - until I remembered that yesterday I was listening to D'Altroy's lecture, not Mann's book. Coincidence? I think not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (155)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    Saud says: "You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
    "Easy to listen to; a few errors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For the most part, this course is entertaining for those who enjoy fine details of how languages develop and why they are so different. The depth of detail and the speaker's knowledge of so many language structures, and his ability to reproduce sounds, is remarkable.
    I have one objection. In his efforts to be entertaining as well as informative, he speaks glibly, and occasionally incorrectly, about how or why some language oddity came to be. I particularly noticed this in the lecture on genders. He jokes quite a bit about the seeming absurdity of assigning masculine/feminine/neuter genders to inanimate objects, and even (in one example) assigning a neuter gender to the German word for "little girl." But he surely knows - and should have emphasized - that the le/la or der/die/das "genders" are merely grammatical markers for various classes of nouns that have nothing to do with a perceived sexuality of that object, and that some grammarian hundreds, even thousands, of years after the fact assigned the terms "masculine/feminine/neuter" to those markers as a way of naming the noun classes. One perfect example of this is the use of "das" for the German word for "little girl." He tosses off the assumption that the Germanic culture perceives little girls as being without sexual identity until "a certain age." This is absurd. The word is neuter because any German noun with the diminutive suffix "chen" or "lein" is automatically assigned the noun marker "das," regardless of the gender of the original noun. A linguist, or at least an etymologist, would know this and should not imply otherwise.
    Beyond that occasional problem, however, the course is quite comprehensive and very easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Food: A Cultural Culinary History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Ken Albala
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (130)

    Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."

    SamanthaG says: "Very interesting course"
    "A Little Over-ambitious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Food: A Culinary History covers foodways from the Stone Age to the modern vegetarian and organic movements. I enjoyed this quite a bit, and Prof. Albala certainly covers a lot of ground. For me, it was a bit too much ground. At several points, I felt I was listening to a rapid-fire list of foods, as he attempted to provide as complete an overview of each culture's foods as possible. Peacock's tongues! Pickled goldfish! Gold leaf! Overwhelming detail.
    I think I would have enjoyed it more if he had talked a little less in each culture about the exotic foods the upper classes ate and picked one or two foods that each culture contributed or excelled in and talked in detail about that (as he did with French haute cuisine). More depth, a little less breadth. I've just finished the lecture series, but I would be hard pressed to remember many important details - it seemed like a flood of details, with no strong focus. He clearly knows his material, I'd like to read more of his writings, but preferably on a single topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jeff Shaara
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (126)

    Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe's western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible - a "Tommy" whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war. In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the "aeroplane", and with it a different kind of hero emerges: the flying ace.

    Suzanne says: "To the Last Man"
    "Not enough stars!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking in Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Daniel Tammet
    • Narrated By Daniel Tammet
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Thinking in Numbers is the book that Daniel Tammet, best-selling author and mathematical savant, was born to write. In Tammet's world, numbers are beautiful and mathematics illuminates our lives and minds. Using anecdotes, everyday examples, and ruminations on history, literature, and more, Tammet allows us to share his unique insights and delight in the way numbers, fractions, and equations underpin all our lives.

    Gary says: "An Ode to Imagination"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Reza Aslan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1314)
    Performance
    (1181)
    Story
    (1172)

    From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.

    Charles says: "Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
    "Fascinating book; too short!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By John Milton Cooper
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    John Milton Cooper, Jr., is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s preeminent Woodrow Wilson biographers. This thoroughly researched profile of America’s 28th president is universally hailed for its scholarship and insight into the life and career ofone of the nation’s most polarizing leaders.

    Scott says: "Comprehensive...but a bit dry"
    "On the outside looking in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1273)
    Performance
    (1133)
    Story
    (1140)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "NOT your average chick lit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Life After Life again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Life After Life?

    The scenes of death during an air raid in London.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book doesn't make you laugh or cry. It makes you stare off into space and wonder.


    Any additional comments?

    It is dark without being tragic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (11330)
    Performance
    (9806)
    Story
    (9776)

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Chris says: "Good Biography, Fine narrator"
    "Intriguing story; Poor narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Steve Jobs? What did you like least?

    I liked the detail - lots of information most people don't know about Steve Jobs personally.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dylan Baker’s performances?

    Absolutely not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By David Corn
    • Narrated By David Corn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    The veteran political journalist and New York Times best-selling author goes behind the scenes at the White House to recount the dramatic tale of a pivotal period in the Obama presidency, from the game-changing 2010 midterm elections to the beginning of the critical 2012 campaign season - a tumultuous time that tested the president as never before and set the stage for a titanic clash over the future of the nation.

    Doris says: "Good behind-the-scenes view"
    "Good behind-the-scenes view"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Showdown?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Showdown to and why?

    "Obama's Wars," not for its tone but for its accurate detail of administration power plays, struggles, conflicts, and reasons behind actions.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by David Corn?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a good book to read for background information before the upcoming presidential elections.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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