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Auragual

Southport, CT | Member Since 2014

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 47 ratings
  • 280 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
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  • Race Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs)
    • By Cornel West
    • Narrated By Cornel West
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    Roger Albarran, says: "Reassessing Racism"
    "Clear thinker, read well, still relevant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have friends on both sides of the aisle who, given Mr. West's even-handed criticism -- though you certainly get the sense he's more solidly behind his 'Liberal Structuralists' than his 'Conservative Behaviorists' -- could enjoy with minimized feelings of affront, his honest and trenchant analysis of problems we still deal with every day, particularly what he calls the 'nihilistic threat to black America,' a thread which wends through all of his essays.

    Nihilism, for Cornell West: "the lived experience of coping with a life of horrifying meaninglessness, hopelessness, and most important, lovelessness. The frightening result is a numbing detachment from others and a destructive disposition toward the world. Life without meaning, hope and love breeds a cold-hearted, mean-spirited outlook that destroys both the individual and others." In line with the Structuralists, pathological behavior, he says, didn't create, but results from the response of people "bereft of resources in confronting the workings of US capitalist society."

    Though long references to Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, for instance, (I read this 2012) are at worst a historical footnote not evoking the same passion they might have when this was originally published, they are also, at best, indicative of types of psychological entanglements we deal with over and over in America, and West does a fantastic job of - after, understandably, a few remarks regarding the people themselves - laying bare the psychological underpinnings of such absurd and important American hijinks.

    If, for instance, you are already a fan of the thought of W.E.B. DuBois and Ralph Ellison, then I dare say you'll love Cornell West -- who, by the way, reads his own work here in a pleasantly cadent baritone that only adds to the enjoyment (my one fine-tuning - and I'm glad Audible makes it available -- was to up the 'narrator speed' to 1.25x).

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 1 Samuel

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dr. Bill Creasy
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (35)

    In 1 Samuel we continue our narrative. Samuel is the last of the judges, and with his end approaching the people demand a king “so we can be like all the other nations.” As God tells Samuel, “it is not you they have rejected, they have rejected me as their king.” And indeed they have. The people choose a king, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul will rule Israel for an entire generation, but although he looks like a king, he does not have the heart of a king, and the weight of kingship crushes him.

    Amazon Customer says: "A warrior recounts the tale of David"
    "A warrior recounts the tale of David"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As usual, Dr. Creasy adds a good deal of useful knowledge and experience from his many years of Biblically-based travel and deep study of the texts and time period. His first-hand knowledge of tactics and warrior psychology opens up the story of David, Jonathan, Saul, King Aikish (sic?) and the warriors who followed them brilliantly, and his passion for the story he calls his "favorite in the whole Bible" is always apparent. Particularly rewarding (as well as funny) is his reading of the witch of Endor -- though I won't spoil it by further description here.

    It's always worthwhile to have a map of Israel either in your head or in front of you, as he often refers to a visual we must imagine or find for ourselves. That such doesn't bother me is one indication of the enjoyment I've received from his recordings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ruth

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 41 mins)
    • By Dr. Bill Creasy
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (34)

    From Genesis through Judges we have a straight, linear narrative; in Ruth we have a recapitulation, a backward glance into the main story. When we look over our shoulders at the linear path we have followed, we see only a charred, smoking and bloody landscape. Ruth is a diamond lying in the muck and mire of Judges, flashing in the sunlight. “Back in the days when the Judges ruled”... there was Ruth—the greatest love story in the Bible, a story of redemption.

    Amazon Customer says: "Back in the days of the Judges..."
    "Back in the days of the Judges..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A short, sweet book explicated by a man whose love for the story of Ruth is apparent throughout. Dr. Creasy's deep familiarity with the geography, history and culture of the region, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible is paired with fresh characterizations that bring the people to life. Go, Dr. Creasy, go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • History of Science: Antiquity to 1700

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lawrence M. Principe
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    For well over 2,000 years, much of our fundamental "desire to know" has focused on science. Our commitment to science and technology has been so profound that these stand as probably the most powerful influences on human culture. To truly understand our Western heritage, our contemporary society, and ourselves as individuals, we need to know what science is and how it developed. In this 36-lecture series, one of science's most acclaimed teachers takes you through science's complex evolution of thought and discovery.

    Casper says: "Interesting topic. Mediocre lecturer"
    "Rich Survey Course"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Principe offers 36 well-organized, polished lectures in this course (which I've now heard for the second time).

    He weaves common threads of discovery and development with (the part I find most fascinating) the complex motives, personalities and changing needs of the individuals and social structures of the eras considered.

    The picture that emerges of household names like Galileo, Archimedes, Kepler, Newton, Copernicus &c. is often in stark contrast to the context-less barnacle-encrusted caricatures that are embedded in modern culture.

    I still wish he would record a similar series for developments past the 17th century, but I'm glad to have spent my time and money on this course, and recommend it whole-heartedly to those who are interested in the rest of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Judges

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Dr. Bill Creasy
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    In Joshua we conquer the land; in Judges we settle it. This book recounts the chaotic downward spiral of a people who turn away from God. Not a nation, but a loose confederation of 12 tribes, Israel spirals downward from a people obeying God to one that turns their back on him, a nation in which everyone “does that which is right in his own eyes.” By the end of Judges, Israel is in total apostasy—and God’s plan of salvation seems to have vanished.

    Steven A. Davis says: "Excellent Bible Study"
    "Biblical/Historical Context"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Judges is a difficult read. There are some terrible moments recorded here with little comment, either positive or negative, that induce many to find heaven in tacit agreement -- whereas others may be left scratching their heads. Dr. Creasy's ability to keep the context in the picture, and particularly to give a running comparison as to how God acts in other places, what He says and where the people are in the time-frame, was invaluable to my understanding of Judges (Joshua, likewise). I recommend this listen, and his other lectures (I'm on my second listen through) unreservedly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Tolkien and the West: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Europe

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Michael Drout
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (119)

    The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are quite possibly the most widely read pieces of literature written in the 20th century. But as Professor Michael Drout illuminates in this engaging course of lectures, Tolkien's writings are built upon a centuries-old literary tradition that developed in Europe and is quite uniquely Western in its outlook and style. Drout explores how that tradition still resonates with us to this day, even if many Modernist critics would argue otherwise. He begins the course with the allegory of a tower....

    Phebe says: "The Professor Who Loves Tolkien As Much As You Do"
    "Short, Sweet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would have liked to have more lectures in this course (maybe a round dozen), but even in the short space alotted he makes some powerful points. These are backed up by a vast and easy scholarship and presented in a straightforward, sincere (bordering on colloquial) tone that never got dry. Though he could prove his points more thoroughly at times (again, a length issue), the examples he chooses are convincing and to the point. In fact, Professor Drout crystallized into words many of the feelings that had been bouncing around my brain which might never have reached communicable form. I'm looking forward to seeing what other material he has to offer!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Seth Lerer
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Lerer
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    This course offers an overview of the English language that is literary, historical, cultural, political, and scientific in its scope and designed to give you greater insight into the written and spoken word.The lectures provide a thorough understanding of the history of the English language - from its origins as a dialect of the Germanic-speaking peoples through the literary and cultural documents of its 1,500-year span to the state of American speech today.

    John says: "Good, But Could Be Better"
    "Sparkling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Lerer may rub you the wrong way a little when you first hear his voice; he did me.

    I had that reaction, I think, because he enunciates each word with such excruciating clarity and exactness that it becomes at times distracting from the actual content of the lecture.

    It was only a little further into the course, however, that this very trouble, that is the shifting of focus between the meaning of the sentences/sections/thoughts and the individual words (free from direct context, highlighted by the intentionality with which he executes them) became a source of joy and reflection that added tremendously to the experience. I'm sure this was one of his goals in constructing these polished lectures.

    His apparently deep knowledge of the pronunciation of old and middle English, including the various dialects, makes listening to his readings of Chaucer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, Cadmon and even Shakespeare (reconstructed to sound as it would have if you were hearing it circa 1600) really thrilling.

    I'm going to find his other courses after reviewing this one. Highly recommended!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert C. Bartlett
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    For more than two millennia, philosophers have grappled with life's most profound and "eternal" questions. It is easy to forget, however, that these questions about fundamental issues like justice, injustice, virtue, vice, or happiness were not always eternal. They once had to be asked for the first time. This was a step that could place the inquirer beyond the boundaries of the law. And the Athenian citizen and philosopher who took that courageous step in the 5th century B.C. was Socrates.

    Marcus A. Harris says: "Brilliant"
    "Worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this course to freshen up my knowledge, having spent a while away from the works of Plato (and never having spent much time reading Aristotle, and hoping to use this course to inspire me so to do).

    Professor Bartlett lays out a very clear outline of each lecture, and has a definite architecture that he lays out in the first lectures and sums up with in the last. This organization is particularly useful in the latter part of the course, where he presents some very complex, nuanced and occasionally even contradictory arguments from Aristotle's Ethics and Politics (these works are the meat and potatoes of the entire section on Aristotle).

    I particularly enjoyed the professor's ability to keep the various characters and frames of reference (vital to understanding what Plato is doing in the dialogues, as Prof. Bartlett makes clear) in the picture. I feel that my understanding of the Apology, Euthyphro, Republic and particularly (if surprisingly) Aristophanes' The Clouds has been deepened considerably.

    Note that Aristotle's natural philosophy works and metaphysics are mentioned but not discussed here, the focus being Aristotle's takes on morality, virtue and the good life, which dovetails nicely with the earlier part of the course.

    The time spent with Xenophon's Socratic dialogues was a nice surprise, as I hadn't encountered them before and they form a refreshing counterpoint to Plato's far more ironic and subtext-laden dialogues.

    Overall, recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant Hardy
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (146)

    Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to get only half the story. The Eastern intellectual tradition has made just as important a contribution-and is also the product of thousands of years of cumulative thought by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Their ideas demonstrate wholly different ways of approaching and solving the same fundamental issues that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as . the existence of God; . the meaning of life; and. the nature of truth and reality.This epic and comprehensive 36-lecture examination of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers-from a much-honored teacher and scholar-offers a thought-provoking look at the surprising connections and differences between East and West. By introducing you to the people-including The Buddha, Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Confucius, and Gandhi-responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, it will strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.

    mc2 says: "Among the Best Great Courses = Don't Miss"
    "66 or so great minds!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a course to which I will have to listen again, and possibly a third time, before the plenitude of approaches, responses, and developments to the great questions which Professor Hardy presents here can find firm purchase (not to mention the number of unfamiliar, hard to pronounce and/or similar sounding names).

    That may well not be the experience for those who are more familiar with Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages (to name those with which I had the most difficulty), culture and history. I, on the other hand, grew up with a strong grounding in Western Civilization, with little to no attention paid to any other except in very broad strokes - one reason I bought this course.

    That said, the histories and ideas he delineates are interwoven into a well thought out tapestry, and though he seems to plow through a dozen names in a few lectures, you get the sense that he's very carefully cherry-picked those he mentions.

    Overall, I recommend it, but have a caution if you plan on breezing through this - such an approach may be wasted effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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