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Dr. J

Rockville, MD United States | Member Since 2005

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 168 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 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
    (351)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (162)

    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"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book provides an introduction to life in the Roman Empire by focusing specifically on the history of the Tenth Legion -- an elite fighting force of Spaniards that was raised by Julius Caesar and continued on for more than a hundred years after his death. By focusing on the lives of soldiers in ancient Rome, we learn a lot about the lives of the common people, rather than just the aristocracy. The Tenth played a part at most all of the significant battles of the time, including in the conquest of Gaul, the Civil Wars, and the destruction of Jerusalem, so the book is rich in Roman military history. The author is careful to counter the self serving and exaggerated claims of glory that Caesar himself reports in his book "The Conquest of Gaul" with the reports from other historical sources, which tempers Caesar's hyperpole and likely paints a more accurate portrayal of events. It helps if you have some overall knowledge of the history of the death of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Empire, but this is not essential. This book is an excellent read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Bill Wasik, Monica Murphy
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (376)
    Story
    (379)

    The most fatal virus known to science, rabies kills nearly 100 percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of mankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

    Sparkly says: "My favorite science read this year."
    "Sensationalized Science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Rabid?

    Instead of a serious treatment of a medically important and scientifically historic disease, this book reads more like a werewolf story. For example, there is a detailed description of the surgical decapitation of a dog (to obtain brain tissue test for the virus) that adds nothing but gore to the story. And the hydrophobia stories read like something from the "Exorcist." If you're looking for a horror book, you'll like it. But if you're looking for a serious nonfiction treatment of a very important virus, keep looking.


    What could Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    They should have stuck to the historical narrative without the sensationalized interludes. It's as though they didn't believe that the history of the science alone was enough to captivate the reader. They were wrong.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Anthony Everitt
    • Narrated By John Curless
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (49)

    Acclaimed British historian Anthony Everitt delivers a compelling account of the former orphan who became Roman emperor in A.D. 117 after the death of his guardian Trajan. Hadrian strengthened Rome by ending territorial expansion and fortifying existing borders. And - except for the uprising he triggered in Judea - his strength-based diplomacy brought peace to the realm after a century of warfare.

    Darwin8u says: "A Biography "too tall for the height of the cella""
    "Not as good as Augustus or Cicero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not nearly as good as the author's previous two books on ancient Romans -- "Augustus" and "Cicero" -- likely for two reasons. Hadrian was not as interesting a person as Augustus and Cicero were. But also, there is much less historical information available about the life of Hadrian. The author seems, therefore, to have needed to heavily rely on the "Historia Augusta", which is a notoriously unreliable source. To make up for the deficit of information the author has speculated to fill in the gaps, which is fine. But unfortunately, the author chose to speculate less on subjects of great cultural significance like Hadrian's Wall and the Pantheon -- Hadrian's two most famous architectural achievements -- and more on Hadrian's homosexual relationship with the young boy, Antinous. We learn a lot about the mores of homosexual behavior between men and boys in Greece and Rome, much of which seems only tangential to Hadrian's story. Perhaps this done was to spice the story up a bit, because compared to the bad emperors, like Nero and Caligula, the highly competent Hadrian is a little boring. In any event, the book is worth the read, and I look forward to the author's next work. I just hope he picks a more interesting subject that has more reliable historical sources available. [I would suggest Marcus Aurelius.]

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (10999)
    Performance
    (7012)
    Story
    (7043)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book that should have been edited down to half its size. There is way too much detail on minutia of events that are only tangential to the main story line. Louis Zamporini's life is certainly a great tale and the book is very good, but it could have been much better without all the "filler". If fact, you can skip the first quarter of the book entirely (his childhood), begin reading at his running in the Olympic games in Germany, and have a much better book (or screenplay). I'm not one to read abridged books, but in this case I wish I had.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Richard Louv
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hogan
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    New York Times and Washington Post contributor Richard Louv is the widely respected author of seven previous books. In Last Child in the Woods, Louv illustrates how the alienation of today's children from nature can lead to a host of childhood disorders - and he offers effective methods for healing this rift.

    Eric says: "Great until it devolves into religious nonsense."
    "Wandering narrative of anecdotes."
    Overall

    This book had a lot of potential to address the very important issue of children being alienated from nature. Unfortunately, its approach is entirely anecdotal, with few hard facts. Furthermore, it often wonders far off topic (e.g. the alleged health benefits of owning a pet).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jack Horner, James Gorman
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In movies, in novels, in comic strips, and on television, we've all seen dinosaurs - or at least somebody's educated guess of what they would look like. But what if it were possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur without finding ancient DNA? Jack Horner, the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on the blockbuster film Jurassic Park and a pioneer in bringing paleontology into the 21st century, teams up with the editor of the New York Times's Science Times section to reveal exactly what's in store.

    Dr. J says: "Lost Potential"
    "Lost Potential"
    Overall

    This book wanders all over the place. It starts with a very interesting hypothesis about how embryonic development of a chicken might be manipulated to recreate the morphology of dinosaurs (i.e the great great grandfathers of birds), but then it digresses. The author is not content to educate us about dinosaurs. We're also told about Clovis people, Lewis and Clark, buffalo hunting, a dog attack by a beaver, Indian use of horses, etc. etc. It also is full of silly analogies (e.g. post-meteorite earth is compared to the wild West). I could only get halfway through it. If there's no thief like a bad book, then this is the John Dillinger of books. If you're interested in dinosaurs, Audible has several good books. Unfortunately, this isn't one. Hard to believe the author (Jack Horner) had the assistance of a professional writer (James Gorman). I'm sure Horner could have done this badly on his own.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The One That Got Away

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Howell Raines
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When Howell Raines lost his position as executive editor of The New York Times, he discovered that losing his job was just what he needed, and wanted. In this memoir, The One That Got Away, Raines writes about the unpredictability of luck, love, lies, and life.

    Dr. J says: "Fisher in the Rye"
    "Fisher in the Rye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're wondering what ever happened to Holden Caufield, here's your answer. He's still living in New York, still exposing phonies, and he's taken up fly fishing as psychiatric therapy. This second volume of the cathartic journeys of an ex-NY Times editor is a snoozer. Best to let this one get away.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Guys

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Garrison Keillor
    • Narrated By Garrison Keillor
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    In this collection of stories you'll meet a bunch of memorable guys including Lonesome Shorty, a cowpoke torn between the proud life in the saddle and the comforts of warm apartments and women; Buddy, the teen-age leper in Sioux Falls; Earl Grey, the great tea inventor and former Republican child; Casey, at the bat in Mudville again; Dionysus, the god of wine; and Roy Bradley, boy broadcaster.

    Dr. J says: "Intriguing but too depressing"
    "Intriguing but too depressing"
    Overall

    This was a surprisingly dark book. Although punctuated by humorous antecdotes, virtually every story has a morbid and depressing aspect to it. The "guys" in this book are carrying some serious psychological baggage, and none seem able to resolve their issues to any satisfaction. Although very well written, the stories are far from light entertainment, and should probably be avoided altogether by those with melancholic tendencies. These stories take us to places very far from Lake Wobagon. Perhaps that was the author's main intent.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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