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Noah

New York, New York

ratings
192
REVIEWS
65
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
157

  • Native Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Richard Wright
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (926)
    Performance
    (783)
    Story
    (791)

    Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.

    Noah says: "Simply a classic"
    "Simply a classic"
    Overall

    Native Son is an expertly-written thriller about crime and race and misguided ambition, read by one of the best narrators I have ever heard. It is, however, a very difficult book to listen to, as it deals hyper-realistically with the tragic life of a young black man who has all the potential in the world and ends up throwing it away because of the hate, ignorance, and prejudice that society has instilled in him. I have almost never come across such a believable protagonist; Bigger Thomas' story is the story of many, many angry young men out there in the world. The book struggles with issues of individual vs. societal responsibility, racism, interpersonal relations, and the moral nature of humanity, and never gives the reader any easy answers.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Eugene Rogan
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    Overall
    (973)
    Performance
    (864)
    Story
    (856)

    In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region's crucial role in the conflict.

    IRP says: "Great Book About A Little Known Part of WWI"
    "Lots of events, not much big picture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was alright, but the type of history it presents is of the "one damn thing after another" variety. I would have liked a bigger picture - Why was the Ottoman Empire so institutionally and militarily weak? Were the Young Turks actually strong leaders who did the most they could with a bad hand, or were they fools and blunderers? Why were Mustafa Kemal and a few other top generals so surprisingly effective? I would have liked to have heard a few less battle blow-by-blows, and a little more explanation and context.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Seth Dickinson
    • Narrated By Christine Marshall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (256)

    In Seth Dickinson's highly anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a richly imagined geopolitical fantasy, a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire. Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.

    Mimi says: "A triumph of a debut!"
    "Libertarian fan fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Evil Empire is coming to kill all the gays! And their weapon is...fiat currency! Fortunately, our hero, armed with gold (the one true money) is here to infiltrate their evil statist bureaucracy and bring them down!

    OK, this is a caricature, but the number of libertarian tropes in this book made me laugh. I listened to it for a book club, and the main question people asked was "Is this fantasy?". I answered "Yeah...the economics is the magic."

    That's far from my only criticism, though. The protagonist's motivations are never really explored in depth. We know she's out for revenge for the death of her father and the conquest of her hometown, but that hometown culture just isn't developed very thoroughly. We never get that warm, homey feeling of pre-colonial society the way we would in, say, an Ursula LeGuin book. Instead, Baru seems to be making a bunch of dire decisions and dreadful acts of will for...what? We never really know.

    So I'd say this is a fun book, but ultimately unsatisfying.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Lands: Book Two of the Acacia Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David Anthony Durham
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (427)
    Performance
    (304)
    Story
    (303)

    A few years have passed since the conquering of the Mein, and Queen Corinn is firmly in control of the Known World---perhaps too firmly. With plans to expand her empire, she sends her brother, Daniel, on an exploratory mission to the Other Lands. There Daniel discovers a lush, exotic mainland ruled by an alliance of tribes that poses a grave danger to the stability of the Known World. Is Queen Corinn strong enough to face this new challenge?

    George says: "The Origins"
    "Good book ruined by unlistenable narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wish I had read this series on paper instead of trying to listen to it on audio. The series is a solid high fantasy epic. The narrator, however, ruins the audio version completely. He alternates between hushed mumbling whispers and shouting bellows, so that you have to choose between missing half of what he says or blowing your ears out. The man sounds like he is trying to tell a story to seven-year-olds around a campfire. It's basically "AND THEN, HE...mumblemumblemumble...YOU...WILL...NOT...mumblemumble". I slogged through one book of that, just because the story was so interesting. But I couldn't make it through two.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1368)
    Performance
    (860)
    Story
    (877)

    The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated Books of Hours; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague.

    E. Smakman says: "Gripping, once you get into it"
    "A window into the nasty world of the Middle Ages"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Tuchman has the rare ability to make readers feel as if they are actually living in history. That ability is on display in this book, which took me into the reality of the Middle Ages as no other book has. Reading this book, you will learn that romantic fantasies like Game of Thrones bear little reality to the squalid, violent, chaotic reality. Life in Medieval Europe really was, as Hobbes described it, "nasty, brutish, and short." The 14th century was the point when it all came crashing down - when the repeated blows of plague, famine, and war knocked the struts out from under the rotting edifice of European feudalism. The following 500 years, of course, saw Europe's amazing rise - but to understand the magnitude of that rise, it helps to start at the bottom. And this book describes the bottom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By James M. McPherson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (1222)
    Performance
    (924)
    Story
    (918)

    James M. McPherson, professor emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton, is one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. In this informative and meticulously researched masterpiece, he clarifies the differing ways of life and philosophy that led to this shattering conflict. Abraham Lincoln wondered whether "in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government". And Jefferson Davis felt "forced to take up arms" to guarantee states' rights.

    chris says: "volume1"
    "The definitive history of the Civil War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 1 the most enjoyable?

    This history has it all - the battles, the personalities, the events, and the economic, political, and social context of the war. Together with part 2 it's 40 hours long, but it's so readable and well-written that it just flies past - and leaves you far more edified than when you began.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 1?

    The most memorable moment was the description of the fight for the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania Courthouse. You could almost see the era of limited warfare ending and the era of total war beginning at that one spot.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles Seen Through Japanese Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Captain Tameichi Hara
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (349)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (312)

    This highly regarded war memoir was a best seller in both Japan and the United States during the 1960s and has long been treasured by historians for its insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known throughout Japan as the Unsinkable Captain.

    Saman says: "Combat, Fear, Survival!"
    "What it was like to fight for Japan in WW2"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Japanese Destroyer Captain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high. It's an amazing, eye-opening testimonial from one of Japan's best naval officers - an iconoclast even in his own culture. Anyone interested in war history or Japanese history should read this book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Japanese Destroyer Captain?

    The most memorable moment is a speech Captain Hara delivers to his men right before they go on what is probably a suicide mission at the end of the war. He tells them never to die, but always to keep fighting - a message very at odds with the prevailing dogma of the time. It's as inspiring a speech as I've ever heard.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Armada: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28600)
    Performance
    (26845)
    Story
    (26793)

    It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

    Chad says: "Lacked the freshness of Ready Player One"
    "A weak second effort."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would change it into a totally different book. A good book.


    What was most disappointing about Ernest Cline’s story?

    The ending was remarkably weak. It felt totally "mailed in". Interesting questions are never resolved, hugely important events are glossed over, and the climax has zero suspense.


    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Wil Wheaton is excellent as always - possibly the best audiobook narrator in the business.


    Any additional comments?

    Armada is an incredibly weak showing for an author who had an amazing debut novel (Ready Player One). This second effort is listless, uncreative, emotionally flat, unoriginal, and just plain boring. It felt like the author forced himself to write something he didn't really want to write. Fans of Ready Player One should skip this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run - or Ruin - an Economy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tim Harford
    • Narrated By Cameron Stewart, Gavin Osborne
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (98)

    A provocative and lively exploration of the increasingly important world of macroeconomics, by the author of the bestselling The Undercover Economist. Thanks to the worldwide financial upheaval, economics is no longer a topic we can ignore. From politicians to hedge-fund managers to middle-class IRA holders, everyone must pay attention to how and why the global economy works the way it does.

    Noah says: "Macroeconomics is hard"
    "Macroeconomics is hard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Undercover Economist Strikes Back?

    Tim Harford is the Great Explainer of economics, and no one could have de-mystified the subject of macroeconomics as well as Tim. But still, no one really knows how the macroeconomy works, and "teaching the controversy" is a tall order even for the greatest of explainers.


    Any additional comments?

    Tim's first book, The Undercover Economist, is on more solid theoretical and empirical ground, simply because microeconomic phenomena (buying and selling things) are so much better understood than macroeconomic phenomena (recessions, booms, growth and inflation).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirty Years War

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By C. V. Wedgwood
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (334)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (309)

    Initially, the Thirty Years War was precipitated in 1618 by religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. But the conflict soon spread beyond religion to encompass the internal politics and balance of power within the Empire, and then later to the other European powers. By the end, it became simply a dynastic struggle between Bourbon France and Habsburg Spain. And almost all of it was fought out in Germany. Entire regions were depopulated and destroyed.

    Judith A. Weller says: "One of the World's Great History Books."
    "A bit dated but a masterful classic nonetheless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Thirty Years War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a bit dated compared to more recently written war histories. The sweeping one-line characterizations of personalities and moods would be rare in a modern history, for example. But the book is clearly an incredibly thoroughly-researched masterpiece, and really transports you into the strange, chaotic era of the 30 Years' War.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tamim Ansary
    • Narrated By Tamim Ansary
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1268)
    Performance
    (1043)
    Story
    (1034)

    Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting.

    Blake says: "Explains the clash between Islam and the West"
    "Great "folk history""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Destiny Disrupted rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a good book!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Destiny Disrupted?

    The description of Muhammad's life was particularly detailed and engaging.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a "folk history", intended not to be historically accurate, but rather to describe the general Muslim narrative of history. It's a very innovative idea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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