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Neil

Phoenix, AZ, USA

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 21 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Ellis
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation and its second president, spent nearly the last third of his life in retirement, grappling with contradictory views of his place in history and fearing his reputation would not fare well in the generations after his death. And indeed, future generations did slight him, elevating Jefferson and Madison to lofty heights while Adams remained way back in the second tier.

    Neil says: "Stays true to Audible's description"
    "Stays true to Audible's description"
    Overall

    This book is more an analysis and description of the political mind of John Adams, as opposed to a personal biography of the man. This is a recommended read if what you seek is an understanding of how he thought and what his views on the issues were. Factual details are not the emphasis. Diary entries, private correspondence, essays and the voluminous notes he left in the margins of books he read form the basis of Ellis's perspective. The lengthy chapter describing Adams' letter exchange with Thomas Jefferson is riveting, but apart from that I found other chapters to be mostly too dry and academic for my purposes in buying this audiobook. Still, I plodded through it and am glad I did since Adams is among the most admirable of our founding fathers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Diana Preston, Michael Preston
    • Narrated By James Adams
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    While Galileo was suffering under house arrest at the hands of Pope Urban VIII, the 30 Years War was ruining Europe, and the Pilgrims were struggling to survive in the New World, work began on what would become one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Taj Mahal. Built by the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, its flawless symmetry and gleaming presence have for centuries dazzled all who have seen it.

    Neil says: "A broad perspective"
    "A broad perspective"
    Overall

    This book provides a broad historical context for the building of the Taj Mahal, focusing on the few generations of Mughal emperors that led up to Shah Jahan, its builder, and ending with the death of his son, who imprisoned Shah Jahan. A few chapters are substantially dedicated to the architecture, design and construction of the Taj itself. So, if you're looking for a hyper-detailed physical examination of the structure alone, this book is not for you. On the other hand, it is impossible to understand the place the Taj holds in Indian history and in India's society today without its historical context. The questions of why Shah Jahan built it, what motivated him, what his life experiences and his relationship with his queen were leading up to the day the decision to build was made are all addressed by the authors. The book, written by two British historians, does present the fascinating story of the Mughals from a stubbornly western and British experience, which has both its pluses and minuses. But I confess fascination with the contemporary descriptions of various events and experiences the Prestons included, that came from a few European travelers who had access to their royal hosts' official lives. The authors also did an excellent job of presenting both sides of the evidence when it came to factually contested questions, suggesting their own conclusions but ultimately leaving the analysis for the reader to decide.

    The narrative style is entertaining and logical. I found the narration by James Adam to be superb. His British accent was well-suited for the context of the book, although as an Indo-American I did wince at some of his English pronunciations of Indian words at times. That's only natural. I highly recommend this read for anyone who wants to visit the Taj (and if you are a westerner traveling to India, you almost certainly will be), or who wants an introduction to the history of the Mughal empire in India.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Justice Antonin Scalia Speech on Constitutional Interpretation (03/14/05)

    • ORIGINAL (57 mins)
    • By Antonin Scalia
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (144)

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia makes remarks on the topic of "Constitutional Interpretation." He speaks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

    Jeff says: "Supreme Court for Dummies"
    "Entertaining and informative"
    Overall

    Justice Scalia's talk dismisses much of the hysteria we see in politics when it comes to judges (e.g., he ridicules the term "strict constructionist" that conservative politicians like to use), and makes the case for why his approach to constitutional interpretation (originalism) is the best approach. Of course, this is a one-sided lecture with no one questioning him, so the listener who doesn't read his opinions regularly would never realize that as a judge he violates his own so-called principles of interpretation on a regular basis. But Scalia has a likeable personality and this is an interesting lecture to listen to for anyone wanting to learn about the Supreme Court and its relationship with the Constitution.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Supreme Court Decision on Florida Recount

    • NONE (2 hrs and 20 mins)
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    A User says: "primary sources"
    "Unable to finish"
    Overall

    I am a lawyer who has actually read the Bush v. Gore opinion in the past, and I was unable to get through this, even during a boring commute. Judicial opinions are not good material for audio entertainment, no matter how intellectually stimulating they may be. Listening to the citations to cases and statutes (and their subsections) was an annoyance. You would be much better off finding a discussion of Bush v. Gore by a legal scholar or commentator to understand what the case is about, than attempting this read-through of the opinion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tim Russert Interviews Supreme Court Judges (04/21/05)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 6 mins)
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, moderates a panel with three members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Antonin Scalia join in a conversation hosted by the National Constitution Center, The National Archives and the Aspen Institute.

    Jean says: "Educational"
    "Hilarious and captivating"
    Overall

    I guess it shouldn't surprise me Justices Scalia, O'Connor and Breyer have such sharp wits and senses of humor, but it did. The selection of the late Tim Russert as moderator was ideal, not only given his knack for asking tough questions but also given his background as a lawyer. The result of all this was a highly entertaining, stimulating talk among the justices with a sprinkling of good-humored ribbing of one another and interesting anecdotes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (608)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (206)

    The best-selling author of Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Under the Banner of Heaven delivers a stunning, eloquent account of a remarkable young man's haunting journey. Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist in the United States Army.

    Daniel says: "Good book, painful narration"
    "A biography and current events summary"
    Overall

    I was expecting more of an in-depth investigative piece focused on Tillman's death and the government's cover-up. What I got instead was a fairly entertaining biography of Pat Tillman, which I enjoyed as a fellow ASU graduate, coupled with Krakauer's take on the Bush administration's handling of Iraq and Afghanistan. The narration was not ideal. Tillman was an intelligent but typical college-age guy, yet the narrator reads like a melodramatic Shakesperean. This is especially awkward when he's quoting from Tillman's profanity-laced diary. Overall, a good read.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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