The GOOD: Fascinating subject. Interesting thesis. A number of cases are covered.
The BAD :Disorganized, redundant writing. Egregious misunderstanding/misuse of basic statistics. Questionable and erroneous conclusions, stated as fact. Author's bias leads her to present all men as one dimensional, which belies her personal agenda and causes her to lose any credibility, especially in her conclusions/analysis; Which is a shame, because she has an interesting thesis. Mediocre reading.
SUMMARY:Poor writing, forced reasoning and rushed, mistake-ridden reading spoil a book that had great potential.
Expansive scope in a concise form. Reminds me of Hemingway very much.
I love Steinbeck's style of prose, but his ability to breath life and light into the darkest recesses of the human soul through his characters is what makes this a true classic. Enjoy.
Great writing. Excellent narration. Long.
Heavily researched and accessibly written. I have to give Ms. Wallace her due.
However, this story could have been told in a tighter prose. It also could have been more engaging by skillful use of the substantial drama throughout Sidis' life.
I was looking for a lot more detail on the specifics of his early childhood, but it's just an overview of the family peppered with a few colorful anecdotes. This is no how-to-guide and gives very little detail on the how Sarah Sidis produced such a remarkable individual.
Also, the author seems to echo the disparaging and dismissive attitude of the press at the time, treating Sidis as a cautionary tale - a victim of his own eccentricity. A premise I generally disagree with and dislike. I believe such treatment of Sidis and his ilk illustrates a deep insecurity in society and a need to discredit genius - the greater the genius, the greater the need to tear down that individual.
If this topic interests you, it's a recommend, but just barely.
Firstly, this was an interesting read. The research and narrative style made this title entertaining and informative. I love American history and the period covered here is one of the most exciting. That said, this book suffers from several fatal flaws.
The most serious problem is that the author misunderstands capitalism (I have read Wealth of Nations and every other title on economic systems available on audible, as well as others). I can say definitively this author has not, or has not understood them. This is evident from the first paragraph where the author pits capitalism as an incompatible antagonist to liberty. Sad considering the subject matter here.
Another issue with this book is that it is a bit disjointed. There is not strict adherence to chronology, which will likely be confusing to the casual reader and is a distraction in a history book. The vignettes are rather large and the transitions between them are sometimes disjointed. The scale of content, from fine details to large overview, is constantly changing in order to suit the perspective and conclusions the author wishes to impute.
Lastly, a number of sections seem to have absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.
In summary, if you love American history as much as I do, this book is probably worth a listen. But Brands quickly proves he is a competent (not outstanding) historian, not an economist. The book has the feel of a rough draft and suffers in comparison to works of master storytellers like Ambrose, Shirer or McCullough. Nevertheless, the content is intersting and the rendition is better than many.
Well researched with many interesting and important facts. Well read also. Tragically flawed in several respects. Almost all of the economic analysis is wrong. Mr. McPherson seems to rely on socialist (or heavily left-leaning) economic-political theory, even though he refers to Adam Smiths "Wealth of Nations". Which he either hasn't read, or doesn't understand. Also, the book is very biased in favor of the North. I prefer my history straight, without the base alloy of self-righteous hipocracy (i.e. the pretense of objectivity). As another reviewer suggested, if you want a real history of the Civil War, one that presents both Northern and Southern perspectives, read Shelby Foote, which is in a different league. If you want a modern liberal interpretation, this one is well written and researched.
A hodgepodge of anecdotal evidence recounted with a complete lack of objectivity.
If you believe America's racial problems are getting worse, not better, and need lots of hearsay evidence to "prove" it, this book is for you.
I can't believe this book ever even got published, Loewen even uses sources like "gonnaviking", someone posting on an internet chat room, as a source.
In summary, a huge pile of rubbish, based on tabloid journalism and far from the serious research and history this subject deserves.
I would encourage the prospective purchaser to check out some of the other junk this author passes off as historical research first.
Spend your money on one of the excellent, and quality selection in the history section here
(feel free to msg me for recommendations, I've listened to most of the history titles here on Audible.com).
The history and perspective at the beginning was a welcome start from a political insider of several generations. Then there is some candid, but sadly flawed analysis. The MAJOR one being a constant confusion (conflation) of the ideas of democracy, civil liberty, constitutionality and the role of capitalism. It's all just rolled into one happy ball called "DEMOCRACY", which it turns out is the solution for everything (almost). She touches on some of the manifold internal inconsistencies with the example of the recent election of HAMAS in a free election in Palestine, but gives no salient suggestion for resolving such ideological contradictions.
Finally, it all comes home a the end when find that, in addition to democracy, the real solution includes massive government hands outs from the West, to wean the radicals off the madrasas. Spending plans (100's of billions and tens of times larger than it's model, the Marshal plan)so large the West is going to need to join with China, Europe, Russia and Oil rich Arab Muslims to all pitch in to afford this plan for the poorest radicals.
By the end, what I hoped would be a cogent and critical work had turned into just another irrelevant, irrational, INSANE Marxist pipedream.
Don't waste your time or money, many better titles out there.
P.S. I hated to slam this title. I have great respect for P.M. Bhutto, she is still a hero in my book, just flawed.
Clearly outlines overwhelming evidence that Sadam was amassing WMDs and the French, Russians and Chinese were stabbing the US in the back and turning a blind eye to Sadam's madness all for the sake of cheap oil. It also exposes the corruption and hypocrisy of the UN and its secretary general. It illustrates how wrong disloyal the democratic party was (again) and how they were willing to sell out the security our children and the world for quick political capital. Thank God someone had the courage to finally standup and actually stop Sadam, before we slipped past the point of no return into another holocaust... or worse.
BTW: Butler was an anti-republican Australian who dedicated his life to world peace and the reduction of nuclear and other WMDs. No puppet of the US, he was appointed by the UN as the cheif UNSCOM inspector and charged with ensure Sadam disarmed.
No true sense of history or import, this title makes me sick to my stomache.
This excellent work presents a vast amount of historical information in an engaging prose that draws the reader in and carries you along a fascinating adventure. Although he does an excellent job painting a compelling picture of Iran through the 20th century, the merit of this work is almost despoiled by the taint of anti-capitalist (socialist) bias dripping from Kinzer and saturating this book.
Still, if the listener remains attentive, the historical facts and associations elucidated make this worth the listen.
Also agree the narration could be delivered in a better style for this work.
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