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  • The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators. Introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree.

    Andy says: "deserves seven stars"
    "Long Winded - Disjointed - Not Great History"

    If you want history go to another author like Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough or Joseph Ellis.

    It more travelogue than real history with the author inserting his politically correct musings and pot shots at the United States, the military, real estate development patterns and even McDonald's.

    He is a Bill Bryson pretender without Mr. Bryson's storytelling skills.

    The worst digression when Winchester takes time to reminisce about his real estate deal in Montana where he made a great return but has to slam the more recent buyers who built bigger houses (On their own property) than his narrow mind could envision.

    My favorite display of Winchester's pomposity is when a father & son take time out of their afternoon to ferry him on their boat and he buys ONE OF HIS OWN BOOKS as a thank you gift to send them.

    It was wasted time and a wasted credit.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Diarmaid MacCulloch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read or heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.

    Celia says: "Generally quite good"
    "Don't Expect an Unbiased or Accurate History"

    I have been extremely disappointed with this book. MacCulloch has an axe to grind against Christianity. It was a waste of a credit. I am still waiting for a quality history of Christianity, this book is not it. The book is filled with speculation, conjecture and the author's opinions.

    While he covered some of the history and in many respects was enlightening, whenever possible he will take a negative slant against Christianity. There are too many areas where he speculates about the absence of documents and then proceeds to impute his theory on what a particular thinker, saint or actor in Christian history "might really have said". I am looking for unbiased history. If it comes out good or bad so be it. There are enough facts, writings and archeological evidence regarding Judaism and Christianity that there is really no need to speculate on what may or may not be missing. Or what late Christians/the Church may or may not have excised from the records. So many of his statements are conjecture ending with "we may never know".

    I do not write this to defend Christianity, the book is just bad history writing filled with the author's supposition and outright hostility.

    MacCulloch throughout this book makes snide comments on people and practices he writes about, speculates about things that don't exist and will continually give his opinion on the intent of whom he writes.

    A much better writer is Rodney Stark and the book: The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion. It does not cover the Hebrews or Church history in as much detail but gives excellent treatment to the preceding roots of monotheism.

    17 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By James Martin
    • Narrated By James Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Ignatian goal of "finding God in all things" eans that every part of our lives can lead us to God. The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything shows us how this is possible, with user-friendly examples, humorous stories and anecdotes from the heroic and inspiring lives of Jesuit saints and average priests and brothers, as well as examples from Martin's twenty years as a Jesuit. The traditional wisdom that Jesuits use to help other people in their daily lives is easily applied, but not often explained well to the general public.

    Michael says: "Changed My Life"
    "Changed My Life"
    What did you love best about The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything?

    I bought this book in the Laguardia Airport book store. It resonated with me on my spiritual life, how to pray and my relationship with God. I am not Catholic so I was not prepared for the practical Christian spirituality that James Martin conveys in this book.

    I was headed in the wrong direction, away from God and this book literally turned me around. I am in a much better place and on a better path because of the impact this book had on my life.

    I bought the audio book to re-listen to it for more insights I may have missed on the 1st reading.

    The title of the book is absolutely true.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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