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Andrew

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2006

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 71 ratings
  • 671 titles in library
  • 59 purchased in 2014
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  • Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stephen Dando-Collins
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (366)
    Performance
    (166)
    Story
    (174)

    Stephen Dando-Collins paints a vivid and definitive portrait of daily life in the Tenth Legion as he follows Caesar and his men along the blood-soaked fringes of the Empire. This unprecedented regimental history reveals countless previously unknown details about Roman military practices, Caesar's conduct as a commander and his relationships with officers and legionnaires, and the daily routine and discipline of the Legion.

    Ethan M. says: "You should really be interested in the topic first"
    "You Need Not Be A Scholar . . ."
    Overall

    . . . to enjoy this book.

    I'm a phase reader. Typically, something will spark my interest in a particular historical person or period, and I'll read several books on the topic before some other spark leads me elsewhere.

    In a classical history phase, I listened to "Caesar's Legion" in its entirety, without my interest waning. The details of everyday life in a Roman legion, its recruitment, training, chores, etc. is balanced by the great events and personalities of the time.

    I think it can be more difficult sorting out some of the similar sounding names and places of the classical period without the visual cues of print, but I don't mind not having an exact grasp of incidental geography (northern Egypt or western Armenia is good enough) or an assured understanding of each and every proconsul and tribune of the period.

    Purists may be put off by a lot of the speculative description the author employs--"Pompous Hubris would have jumped to his feet and rushed to wall for a view of the enemy's approach, barking out a string of orders as he ran"--but he rarely goes beyond this sort of likely human behavior.

    The narration, like a lot of others I hear, seems like it may be problematic at first; but as usual (for me, anyway), after 10 minutes, or so, it becomes unobtrusive ... and by the end, you can't imagine any other voice reading the story.

    This is not a dense, scholarly tome. A general reader, with an interest in the period, or one just passing through the epoch, should enjoy it quite a bit.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Dispatches

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michael Herr
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    One of the greatest examples of war journalism ever written, Michael Herr's clearheaded yet unsparing retellings of the day-to-day events in Vietnam take on the force of poetry, finding clarity in one of the most incomprehensible events in our modern era. A National Book Critics Circle finalist and highly acclaimed upon its first publication, Dispatches still retains its resonance as America finds itself amidst another military quagmire.

    Darwin8u says: "One of the GREAT war memoirs of ALL TIME!"
    "A great book brilliantly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A superbly written, personal account of the Vietnam War told with absolutely pitch-perfect narration. Porter's performance empowers and invigorates Herr's writing in the same way a great actor breathes life into Shakespeare. Dispatches is not a linear history of the war or a chronology of Herr's experience. It is a series of vignettes, impressions and reactions to something Herr knows he will never comprehend. He writes masterfully of war's effects and how it feels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By William Rosen
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (72)

    The emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married the most powerful empress, and wrote the empire's most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

    joan says: "More history than Disease"
    "The Book Is Good . . ."
    Overall

    . . . but oh my, the narration. Sounds like some sort of smoking cessation tape you put on before falling asleep. At first I thought I'd never make it through to the end. After a half hour, or so, you can get used to the narrator and start enjoying the book. No doubt a 4 to 5 star book, in written form.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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