The single worst thing I've "read" since law school. At some point, I elected to listen masochistically right the way through. Surely there would be a pony in there if I just dug deeply enough. No pony.
The author comes across as hectoring and he gets distracted into sarcastic rants about people who practice fraud. The few good bits in the book were overwhelmed by having so much time and so many words devoted to the pillory of people who, ultimately, are irrelevant. But, if you feel awed by people with degress and appreciate their efforts to educate you the unworthy, then the author's condescending way of communicating to his readers may suit you just fine.
I suppose the narrator must have been selected to reinforce the flaws. If you like listening to people who are supercillious, whining and snide, than Jay Russell is your guy. In fact, he may be over the top for you. The combination of the text and the narration made me question my long standing belief in evolution and the danger of ignoring global warming. If the author and the narrator are in what has been my crowd on these issues, then I am inclined to do everything I can to distance myself from such people.
I read a fair amount of science for lay people. Scientists can write lucidly and in a way that makes what they do accessible to people without their background. Find something else to read.
I'm doing some light stuff to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Alexander McCall Smith at the moment.
Different narrator and different text. I think the text would have left me cold anyway, but the narrator was really bad. Something that starts as text, if well done, uses words, vocabulary, phrasing and structure to evoke in the reader a sense of dialog with the author. A narrator's task is to deliver the text orally without adding the narrator's creative revision by timing and dramatic rendition. This narrator took a dubious text and made it just awful.
Disappointment and anger. I did read a few reviews of the book and admit that I was forewarned. However, the topic was just too appealing to let myself be put off by some grumpy reviewer. I hope I've done a better job than the reviews did and that I succeed in helping others avoid wasting their time.
Please take care with the selection of narrators.
Not possible. Pretentious in form and text. Implausbible plot; implausible to the point of comic book fantasy. Arrested or no development of some of the characters of interest. Pondersouly important messages.
Write about something of which she has experience.
Can't come up with any.
It worries me when my comments are so at odds with those of people who I respect and who gush over this book, partly by comparison to Dickens. I have read Dickens and I fail, utterly, to see the comparison. If you're interested in a Dickensian read, then you should read Dickens. I read some of Dickens' work twice or more; I doubt anyone will give this book a second read. There is much in Dickens' work that is universal and not confined by its times. This ponderous piece is too tied to a time and moment of high style that I suspect it will not wear well, unlike the furniture and artifacts in the shop. None of the main characters .... Never mind. I'll stop now. If you must be able to say that you're familiar with the book,read a few reviews so that you can nod appreciatively at what someone is saying. I slogged through the entire thing in hopes that a corner would be turned. Not there. The final bit was some version of an old protestant sermon in new clothes, just so important, earnest and revealing.
While I've been reading lots of WWII stuff over the past few years, this one fooled me. Not only did I get a better understanding of Churchill, but, for the first time, I gained a better understanding of the relative roles of Russia, the UK and the USA. You leave the book with no better feeling for Stalin but with a far greater appreciation of what the Russian people did. Nothing tarnishes Churchill, but the USA in perspective is revelatory.
I have recommended this book to friends and strangers.
I don't have the depth in this genre to make comparison. I quit science fiction far too long ago. The book, however, transcends the genre.
Mr. Brick decided to give a stage performance to a book that was written to be read. I'm sure he meant well.
Not a moment, but several moments. Some funny but many poignant.
Worth your time. There several versions so you might want to try a different narrator.
This review is for the entire series. My contribution to the pile of reviews starts with the observation that the work cannot be compared to any other book about WWII or, really, any other history. I'm tolerably well read in the area, and this set of books is unique.
At the outset, I found the narrator troublesome. But, just as I have found on long walks, as I progressed, I realized that his delivery fit the material. Nothing hurried, nothing emotional, nothing dramatic. If you've been to the Viet Nam memorial in DC, you'll know what I mean. It isn't the individual names, but the total list; it isn't the granduer of the monument, it is the monumental display of horror. You, too, will get over it and then take comfort in the methodical recitation of what happened to all the unwanted, particularly the Jewish people.
Some of the reviews complained about the relatively short shrift given to military history and some technological flaws. There are excellent military histories that cover this ground; readers of this book only need that material for contextual reference. For instance, the history of the period we're just passing through isn't about the individual money scams, the individual mortgages and speculations or the indivdual stories of growing disparities in income and assets; rather, it is about the how these individual events came about to overwhelm the financial system as a whole. So it is with Nazi Germany.
For as long as this book is around, it will be difficult for people to deny the Holocaust and it will be difficult to repeat what Hitler and his followers were able to do. Just read it.
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