The amount of research that went into truely getting to know the victims and thier families. The pacing of the story. The retelling of the crime scene discoveries. The background work on Gary Ridgeway. The man was clearly one of the lowest, most pathetic human beings in history and when I finished the book, I hated him more than I imagined I would. I listened to this whole unabridged program in a matter of a few days. It was that captivating.
Opal Mills. She just seemed to have so much promise.
As with other narrators, her style grew on me as the book went on. Now I don't want to listen to Ann Rule without Barbara Caruso doing the narrating. She sounds so official.
All the horrible details you could ever need to be creeped out for weeks.
If you are interested in serial killers, I'd be surprised if there were a book that could top this one. Despite its length, it firmly kept my attention right to the last minute.
Determined to learn more about early America than his education in history provided him, Tony Horwitz set out to research the written record, and travel to all of these historic places, collecting enough information along the way to write this book. But this is not a dry, dense, "just the facts, ma'am" type of history book. Most of the story lies in the people who Horwitz visits in his travels. From Hispañiola to New Mexico, to Florida, Virginia and finally back to Plymouth Rock, He finds local people who are well qualified to have opinions about the local history. The opinions of these people, combined with the author's observations and the written record, serve to weave a story not just about early America, but about the way that all histories are written. Horwitz has a great ability to find the humor and silliness in all of this, and the narrator, John H Mayor, does a splendid job of bringing that across. I found myself smiling, chuckling, and sometimes even laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all. Meanwhile, my mind was enriched with accounts of tales that should be common knowledge, but are not the stories that the winners of American history passed on, so therefore are little known. It was one of those books that I got so involved in, I forgot about the rest of the world until it was over. Highly reccomended.
This book is an entertaining way pass the time, and learn a little about psychology as a bonus. The narrator captures the tongue in cheek, mocking tone perfectly. Some reviews I've read on this book seem to be written by people who take themselves too seriously. I found myself embarrassingly admitting "yeah, I do that too" with a smirk or a chuckle. It's good, clean fun... So long as you can laugh at yourself a bit.
This might well be a fantastic book. And I really tried hard to get through it. Niall Ferguson's voice didn't even bother me at first. But as I went on, his reading style grated on my nerves more and more until I finally had to just turn it off. And this never happens to me. Narrators (even bad ones) tend to grow on me as I listen. I'll be returning it.
As someone who is really close to this issue, and fairly well informed on the subject, I might be more critical than someone with less information. My rating is really 3.5 stars, but with Audible not having the in-between option, I could not justify giving it four stars.
My main complaint about the book is the way that the information is presented. The case the author is making is strong enough that he didn't have to go down the road of making his contempt for the opposition so blatant. The facts about cannabis are so overwhelmingly in his favor that he would have been better off going out of his way to be fair instead of so obviously allowing his politics and philosophical views to bleed into the text. History is an examination of the facts as they are available, not telling a story with good guys and bad guys. Don't get me wrong, I'm on his side on almost every issue covered, I just got sick of hearing him pick apart every criticism leveled at pot and pot smokers, indignant at the lack of fairness, and then turn around and paint his opponents with a broad brush, even resorting to name calling and mockery, over and over again. It sounded more like a speech being delivered to a friendly audience at hempfest to rally the troops than a book for the general public. I kept expecting him to break out the Pom poms and lead a cheer for the almighty weed.
Nick Pohdel is a competent narrator, he's steady, clear and I only noticed one mispronounciation. I'm not sure he was the right choice for this book, however. Pohdel's reading can sometimes make Lee's writing sound preachy or indignant when it doesn't have to. His stiff, overly serious sounding style and dorky, white guy accent prevented the humor and lightheartedness of the writing from coming through.
All this being said, there's a lot of good information here. A lot of it was covered in Jack Herer's "The Emperor Wears No Cloths", but the later chapters provide a good crash course in what has taken place in the last twenty years. Political events are important, and he covers all of the big ones, but I would like to hear more about the cultural and economic aspects of the story that were not political in nature. Still, for a person who has not read a whole lot on the subject, this book has a lot to offer.
I was wary of buying this book, but curious enough to give it a shot. My political leanings tend to be more on the liberal side than Mr Sowell, but I get annoyed with the dogma and one sidedness that is so prevalent when discussing politics, and Sowell is a good example of a conservative intellect. While he's not exactly balanced in his own views, he makes his case quite well.
I found the essays on slavery and education to be chalk full of historical information and most convincing of the essays. The black rednecks and white liberals essay used two straw men to make his point that basically, black people are behind in society due to culture and not societal disadvantages. While I praise him for his bravery in delivering some painful truths to American blacks who won't be happy with his criticisms, I think his point is hard to prove, and his anecdotes fail to do this. In fact, most of his points are supported by anecdotes, and he fails to adequately present opposing points of view, other than to mock them. He says early on that solutions will likely involve trade offs, but doesn't really talk about trade offs or solutions. His solution for everything seems to be shut up and work hard, and rejects the notion that we as a society have a responsibility to have the weakest link in our chain be strong enough to hold us together.
With that said, I was nonetheless impressed by this book and another pitch perfect performance by Dion Graham. Sowell's scholarship and historical knowledge are impressive and fascinating. Just be careful not to take his views as gospel.
This is a solid investigation into some of the origins of human evolution with a focus on DNA evidence. It's interesting to hear some of the odd questions that we used to think there was no answer for solved using genome sequencing. I'm excited to be living in a time when more evidence and more advanced techniques will be pouring in. New answers will be revealed every year at least. The information contained in this book is liable to be badly outdated in five to ten years, and none of it is exactly earth shattering. But then none of it is dull, and Alan Sklar's steady, clear style and rich voice make this a book that I blew through in a couple of days. It was unquestionably worth the credit.
I'm kind of conflicted about this book. On one hand, I had some serious difficulty managing to slog through it. Even in his more recent books, Pinker has a hard time making his information tell a story that holds the reader's interest (to his credit, he's gotten a little better in his last couple of books). This being an earlier work, you get to see him take nerd to a level you might not even realize existed without much in the way of charm or readability. His ability to get way too involved in over analyzing the mist insignificant details is both what makes him so fascinating and at the same boring beyond measure.
With all that said, sometimes people are in the mood for actually understanding something. Nonfiction books are supposed to be educational, but too often they are dumbed down and simplified, which can be quite unsatisfying. Sometimes slogging through difficult material can give greater rewards than books that spoon feed and smooth out the edges. Sometimes the tangents that analyze minute details satisfy curiosities that might otherwise linger. Pinker certainly "leaves no stone unturned", as the cliché goes. The result is that I really feel like I learned something instead of reading fluff or unbalanced ideology. Pinker does spend a little too much time getting into the nerd version of pissing matches with his contemporaries, but this isn't the worst example of this I've seen from him.
I've gone back and forth on whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. I guess it's one book that can fit all over the rating scale for different reasons. But I am very glad I read it, and other people who like to get to the bottom of things will too.
Yet another interesting, but far from earth shattering pop psychology book. I never got bored, and I even learned a thing or two. But this book could have used a bit more substance. It's worth a shot if you can get it on the cheap, which I did.
A very instructive, informative and entertaining look at Wal Mart's massive impact on the world. Alan Sklar is great as always and I flew through this book because it was lots of fun. Not life altering or anything, but definitely a cut above the average audiobook in terms of keeping my interest while teaching me about the world at the same time. Highly reccomended.
As a person who grew up with Hip Hop music, I'm surprised there aren't more books of this quality on the subject. This book was a journey starting in my childhood and spanning my teens, twenties and early thirties. I am too young to remember the disco era, but I remember the first time I heard Rappers Delight and Planet Rock. I remember Run DMC, the Beasties Boys, The Fat Boys, Too $hort, and so on. It was so interesting to hear the behind the scenes stories of how all of those careers came to be. I would have liked more stories about West Coast artists, and artists that might not have been the huge commercial stars that the book focused on. One other conspicuous omission was the 2 Live Crew banned album story that I recall being huge at the time. I could have lived without the chapters about all the clothing lines, Sprite and Vitamin Water. I think that the book would be better if it were about the art of Hip Hop with a little business sprinkled in. I can't imagine why someone with more Interest in business than art would bother with this book. Also, the author could have been more critical of the downside of huge commercial success instead of painting such a perfectly rosy picture of the commercialization of Hip Hop. But even though this book is not perfect, anyone who grew up on Hip Hop will devour it, and be left wanting more. It's a pretty spectacular book, and I would love to read more from this author.
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