From getting wrong people doing the wrong things at the wrong time to the wrong river in the wrong state, this book is virtually worthless in terms of factual history. He has the builder of a railroad building a bridge near Buffalo. He has Lee finding someone else's battle plans in the Civil War when it was Lee's plans that were found. He has a river that is only in Nevada its entire length in several states. As an example of the poor fact-checking, the printed version has areas listed as territories that were actually states.
I listened to the book and thought I was getting forgetful when I heard the same sentences several times, but no it was true. He *did* use virtually the same paragraphs several times.
It might be two folksy for some military history buffs, but I really liked this book. While it covered your basic military history - how people trained, what they did, etc. - I really liked that you got the background of the people involved. This person was smart, but couldn't afford college because his father was sick... This person was in law school from a well-to-do family... AND at the end of the book, he gives the further story of the people. This guy was married to ... on ..., 1946 had three boys and two girls and was a diplomat, etc. Really made the people live!
The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is that I try to reserve 5 stars for the very best and the book would be dry for some people with the geology. I have read or listened five or six other Simon Winchester books and have enjoyed all of them. I enjoy his combination of science, history, sociology and travel.
I really wanted to like this book, it just goes on and on and on discussing one group or person after another. It is as if you were writing the history of the American presidency and all you did was list their names and dates without talking about the over-arching themes and personalities. And I completely agree with the comment from one of the reviewers about the reader sounding like Colonel Blimp. I gave up half way through.
This was a real treat. I am a big listener of historical non-fiction. I came to Audible after reading through all the recorded books at my local libraries and was still looking for more. I have often wondered what made a good historical book and I think I have narrowed it down to four aspects:
New and Different - I get something new and different, not a rehash of something I have read before
People and Places - I learn to see and feel the people and places involved.
This book fulfills all four:
Even though I knew much of the history before, after, and around the colony, there was so much that was new and different it felt as if I were listening to a mystery. The people and places were so well described I felt as if I were there at on the shores, in the mountains, on the ships, in the meetings, on the walls of the forts. A real delight. Five stars.
I got this book because I thought it would be something my girlfriend would be interested in since she loves animals, however... While there is a lot of excellent and fascinating information, at times it sounds like a handbook for setting up a meat packing plant. This isn't surprising since one of the authors has spent 30 years working on humane methods of handling animals in that industry. My girlfriend would not find it very pleasant to be going along and then hear about properly stunning the animals or the other fun topics. I don't remember any gruesome parts, but I was not expecting this from the title. In summary, excellent information, but not for everyone.
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