This book has a lot of incredible ideas presented with candor and grace. Much of the content is intensely logical so the reader should take frequent breaks to take in each step. The reading is kept fresh by alternating male and female readers. I do love this author though I dont always agree with him on general conclusions. Concpet of meme (sp?) is great to take from this book also.
I did not enjoy this book. It was like reading the dictionary. It covers history of Mediterranean for the last 4000 years.
I was able to put the facts in context because I had already read Durant, Gibbon and Plutarch. I would recommend you rad some of these before attempting this book. Also have a book of historical maps at hand to refer to. This will help you keep place names straight.
No story is included to hold the attention (this is important for an audio book). A biography has a story and works as an audio book. However, I was able to to get many interesting facts from the experience when I was able to force my mind back to the audio stream.
This audio book does not work, but it is not the reader's fault. The text itself is the problem.
I just finished the series. I had to keep reminding myself that this book is written for teens. The characters are fun to put together (Prometheus and Shakespeare for example).
The whole time loop concept is problematic for any writer and has never been done well by any of them. After all a story is based on the assumption of causation and once you break that assumption it is difficult to care about what happens to a character. If they die in one time line and live is another then why struggle over past events?
The main problem in this book is prose. I thought I might be sick if I heard one more repetition of someone drawing a "deep shuddering breath". all characters are constantly a a point of nervous collapse. The exaggerated emotional state of the characters forced me to keep repeating to myself that this book is written for the adolescent personality. I think the author should give the young reader more credit and apply a bit more subtlety.
My wife and I eventually finished the book only because we had read the others and wanted to see how things worked out.
If I had it to do over again I would not have started this series.
I thought it was some ghost story like "Turn of the Screw", but I should have checked more carefully. About halfway through, I saw where the plot was going and checked with other people. Everyone who had read it said they wished they had not read it. Thinking back to it just depresses them. Unless you enjoy reading kiddy porn about incest avoid this one.
This book does not contain a reading of the Common Sense pamphlet but just a lecture about it. I need to learn to avoid this publisher. I did the same thing with those Shakespeare "unabridged" plays and Hobbes Leviathan that turned out to be an executive summary
One day I will learn. I always expect the Russian authors to be dry and intellectual. They always surprise me by their warmth and life. These short stories by Chekhov reveal many facets of the human character in dramatic contrast.
I have a warning though. Don't try to listen to them in long sittings. These are like candy and should only be taken a few at a time. There is too much to ponder in each story to pay attention to subsequent ones properly.
The production of this book suffers from the unclear delineation between segments of the story. The chapter of section breaks might have had a longer pause. I often found myself listening to a conversation, the plot shifted ahead hours or weeks, but I did not perceive the previous conversation has concluded.
The reader does not greatly distinguish the voices other than by class (education level) to it is sometimes difficult to know who is speaking. Adding to this the authentic, but arcane nautical dialect of the speakers and much of the plot is confused.
O'Brian does an excellent job of researching and presenting the daily lives of the characters and one does feel a better understanding of the difficult lives and brutish attitudes that built the British Empire. I don't think I will bother to read any of the sequels.
I had not read this since highschool (Class of 75) and had forgottan so much. Glad to review it finally. They did a fine job with a great reader.
This book will not end up on a great books list in the next century but it is a fun ride. Just a nice story that does not take itself too seriously. His telepathic communication with his dog is hilarious. Easily as good as any other popular author. I will probably read the whole series but not be in a great hurry. Literary candy...
From his other books I have come to expect something better from Neal Stephenson. His works are usually presenting very interesting ideas; scientific and philosophical integrated into an interesting plot. This book started out this way but before is was a quarter over, it descended into a long, tedious action story that reminded me of watching a marathon full season of "24" (Fox). I finished it to see what was going to happen to the individuals but had to slog through too much running around and shooting jihadi's all around the pacific coast. The new idea part had mostly to do with a World of Warcraft style game and what kind of business consequences it was having.
I was disappointed.
The reader did a good job.
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