Vancouver, BC Canada
On the one hand, this book straddles the line between history and historical novel. There is a LOT of " she must have felt" or "she no doubt was feeling". If that does not bother you ( and it did not me) then I recommend it without hesitation just for the story alone - a very interesting biography of a woman constantly adapting to survive, first to the turmoil of France during the revolution, then to being the wife of a compelling ( but difficult) figure in world history. Good narratioon - takes a little bit to get used to ( she seemed a bit flat at the beginning) but that soon gave way to the story itself
I approached this book a bit different ( more knowledgeable) than most history books I order - that of being a trial lawyer for 30 years ( personal injury) in which cause of a medical condition ( including dementia-like conditions as causally linked to head trauma) was almost always the issue. It came as no surprise, therefore, to listen that CTE as linked to NFL play was hotly debated. BUT - although I did like the book; although the narration was excellent; and the authors did a very very good job in describing the players for us, their careers and the downturn some of them faced post NFL - their bias was a bit too pronounced. Not a lot, but not insignificant either. They implied throughout that those in favor of linking CTE to football were the good doctors, those which did not were the bad doctors. Listening with " a lawyers ear" ( and I acted for people against insurance companies throughout my career) I thought it was not as clear cut as the authors would have us believe, especially as the majority of NFL players do not develop these symptoms. I also agree with the first reviewer that it was difficult to keep track of which doctor, which opinion. That is not to say, however, that I did not like the audiobook. I did. It is worth the credit.. I found it very interesting, all parts, the whole discusson, especially, to repeat myself, when the player's lives were discussed. I will follow up and research further this topic CTE and the NFL ( starting with the show that " Frontline" did on the book, available via YouTube), which for me is a good sign the book is worth reading.
I listened to this book right after " Duty" by Robert Gates ( the latter which, without hesitation, I also recommend). Althought there have been books books and news articles and tv shows and documentaries on the two wars, Gates ( from high above) and Finkel ( down with the troops) give the listener the perspective of the danger, resolution and disillusionment of the men ( as much as any of us safe at home can begin to understand). I found the narrator excellent and fit exactly the sentiment of the book
Excellent excellent book. I recommend
Some time ago I listened to the last ( so far) in this series "Passage to Power". THAT is a good book! So much so, I always had in the back in my mind to listen to the others. But- 60-120 hours or whatever it will end up being??? However, Gardner is superb as an narrator ( I've listened to him multiple times) so for my New Years resolution I thought I would undertake. The first book goes only to 1941, Johnson's term as a congressman, and I was apprehensive - 40 hours just to get that far? Well - it was fascinating. Every step of the way. Deeper and more compelling than the majority ( if not all) of biographies I have read, and I read this genre a lot.
I cannot speak highly enough of the combination of Caro/Gardner. I have immediately downloaded Book 2 without hesitation
It is a long haul, but thoroughly enjoyable so far.
Yes, It's truth in conveying that neither the Emancipation nor the end of the war did very little, in the day to day reality, to end the abject dehumanizing of the black nation, the cruelty of the South. Main characters suffer, and die. The dialogue is grounded in reality. A wee bit slow to start, as it tells 3 ( eventually to intersect ) stories, it gets better and better. The quality of the writing is superb.
SPOILER ALERT - the death of Bonnie
I did not actually like his performance. Somewhat flat throughout - did not do the suffering depicted in the novel justice, nor the quality of the writing. In fact, it took away from it. The audiobook succeeds in spite of the narrator
Buy it, be patient for 2 hours, you will not regret
Bit of background first. In anticipation of the second volume of Ken Follett's Century trilogy, to be released next month, I reread - in print form - " Fall of Giants" -which I had as an audiobook when it was first released. " Giants" is an excellent, compelling story of characters caught in WW 1, English, German, Russian and American. I usually confine my reading to WW 2, so re reading "Giants" sparked my interest to learn about the first World War. I purchased ( audiobook) "Guns of August" but gave up on it both because of Ms. Tuchman's excessive detail without context and also because it is more about the battles than the causes of the war, [gave up notwithstanding John Lee's narration]. I switched mid-listen to "A World Undone". Much, much better. Not only is the writing clearer, giving more of an overview of the war without getting lost in the "right flank went there, left flank stormed back", but each chapter provides a short "Background" giving the context of, for example, " The Serbs"; "The Hapsburgs"; "The Romanovs" or "Paris in 1914" "Tthe British commanders" " The Jews of germany" " The Sea war;" etc. By its conclusion, I had an understanding not only of individual battles, (which didn't interest me), but an explanation of what the world was like before the war; the causes of the war; personalities of the war; and a little bit of its aftermath.If you want to get an introduction to the causes and the personalities of WW1 choose this. If you want detailed explanation of the battles, choose Guns of August
Everything!!!. His pacing, his voice, his monotone. Terrible. This is one of the rare exceptions to my rule that narration is as important as story. Seldom will I invest 27 hours to a very poor narration. I did in this case because of the content.
?? well, not all 27 hours...... but yes, finished it before I started others.
can't wait for the sequel to "Fall of Giants", due September 2012.
I am Canadian, and grew up with the CBC, not CBS. So I bought this on a whim. What a great surprise. Mr Rather was much more interesting than I had anticipated, and - though melodramatic in parts - presents a compelling argument ( I say as a lawyer) that he was not treated well by CBS. ( As a trial lawyer I found this - which takes up the first 50% of the overall book- interesting but can understand lots will not). The second part of the book - his experinces in the Kennedy, Nixon, years, his time in Vietnam etc - well worth the time to listen. I found his character part of the appeal, surprisingly so. Less ego than I had anticipated.
And above all - what a treat to listen to that voice!
I listened to Mr. Shirer's book while in a phase of reading and listening to nothing but Nazi Germany. I read two books by [the gold standard] Ian Kershaw ["The End"] which discusses the last year of the war, excellent and compelling and "10 Decisions" about decisions made in 1940 1941. I read a 1000 page autobiography of Hitler by Mr. Kershaw. (Etc) It wasn't that I was tired of this topic when I came to "Rise and Fall" it's just that the compelling parts of Mr.Shirer's story gets lost in the amount of details he gives. Every letter, every document, every telephone call. Perhaps that easier to read, but as an audio book, difficult to assimilate. Having said that, I listened to all 57 hours, Mr. Gardner providing his usual high standard and the time passed relatively quickly. In the end, however, I feel I will have retained more of Mr. Kershaw then Mr. Shirer. If you want this topic, go to Mr Kershaw. I recommend Mr Shirer only for the very dedicated.
previous reviews seem to either love this book, or find it to be overwritten. I fall closer to the latter.
There were elements that were very good. The narrator is excellent, superb. The amount of detail that Willis gives for the preparation of time travel was, at first, intriguing and unique. The story does have imagination.BUT, a big but, the length of the book, ( and I mean how long she takes to tell the story, not the length per se) and the unnecessary ( often boring) detail, and meanderings off the main trail, made it very tedious to get to the end. I finished it only because of two reasons. One, well, I'm OCD about these things. Two, the latter portion of the book got considerably more interesting than the former.
I recommended only if you have lots [and lots] of patience with the developing story. Otherwise, a pass.
I purchased this "classic" on a whim, the literal equivalent of eating my broccoli. I almost turned it off in the first hour, then the second, then got used to it, then got interested in what happened next. Having said that, if you didn't tell me this was a great of American literature, I would not have guessed and I certainly did NOT get the biblical allusions ( or, rather, thought that the allusions were stretching it at best, and I know my Bible). Steinbeck leaps through decades of the character's development in a single paragraph, and has long reflections which are mundane BUT... as I said, I stayed with it, to see what happened next, I was engaged enough to do that
To sum up: nothing what I would call "great" literature, but an ok way to pass the time on a drive to work. Good narration, which helped me stay with it
This was my first Ben Kane novel, ( at the start f the year I listened to the complete "Emperor" series, 4 novels by Conn Iggulden, so I am comparing Kane to Igguldon as a frame of reference) and there are many things to like. The idea to tell the story of Hannibal through the eyes/stories of young soldiers was an interesting ( and good) choice; the narration ( Michael Praed) is excellent; the Catheragian story as engaging as Rome ( and instructive, as most of the novels these days are about Rome). If I have a criticism, it is that the actual battle descriptions ( both leading up to and the actual battle) are somewhat difficult to follow by listening, as opposed to reading ( with assistance of maps). Otherwise, worth the credit. I will purchase " Sparticus" by the same author and narrator
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