I've read other listeners' comments that the audio quality was bad and, perhaps its been corrected, but the quality and editing on the version I downloaded in Feb. 2010 was great. As for the dropped pot lines, I'm simply baffled. This is not by any stretch a typical mystery novel and perhaps those comments were submitted by disappointed fans of tidy stories where all details are wrapped up in the last chapter by the omniscient sleuth - who usually gets the girl. Here, our hero is a flawed, accidental, and sometimes pompous, British imperialist who just happens to be a detective but is really just a man trying to understand his place in pre-WWII history in Shanghai. Ultimately he is just an orphan who is trying to find out what happened to his parents who disappeared when he was just a boy. A great novel set in an all too neglected setting in 20th century Asia.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pervasive aura of melancholy and missed opportunities. I thought the twist of meeting up with iconic figures of the 1960s was enjoyable and served to remind that famous people are at once average and yet not. Worth a listen.
Paul Reid has done a masterful job with the herculean task of completing volume three in this trilogy. For my taste, there was perhaps a bit too much detail on the war maneuvers and not enough on the politics but it is a minor complaint and I'm sure others will disagree. The narrators do an admirable if not great job, and the introduction by Paul Reid is in my opinion quite nice. Clive Chafer, however, is not my favorite narrator, with the somewhat perfunctory affect of a BBC news reader. Still, the story and the man are so compelling that these minor details can hardly distract from the terrific conclusion to the sweeping saga that was Churchill's life.
This is a really well balanced look at the complex forces that shaped the years leading into the Civil War. For me, the most interesting part is the rather ambivalent anti-slavery position of many in the north.
An amazing look into just about every detail of Truman's life. My only POSSIBLE criticism is that the description of the whistle stop campaign could have used one or two fewer stops (at least in the book). Still, a wonderful biography and worth every minute.
First let me say I love biographies and this is one of the first that I can't get through. I'm stuck at 3/4 of the way and don't know if I can make it. Actually, it's not really a biography at all since you won't really end up knowing Madison the man. However, you will have read the entire transcript of the Constitutional Convention and the Virginia ratification deliberations.
For all Madison's mental prowess and philosophical rigor, the sheer weight of the author's obsession with the minutiae of the various Conventions is just plain boring. This reads like a very good doctoral dissertation expanded into a not so good book. I will probably finish it just because I got this far, and just to see if Gutzman even mentions James meeting Dolly. But if you download this book, be prepared for a long slog.
OHHH, and the most annoying thing is the pretentious affect of the narrator who (nearly) always pronounces the many, many days and dates as, "...from January first, seventeen hundred seventy-one to January second, seventeen hundred seventy-one the delegates discussed Article III..." However, sometimes he slips and resorts to the normal, "January first, seventeen seventy-one". After a while I became fixated not on the action (or lack thereof) but on whether he would use the archaic long form or slip and use the contemporary short form.
I'm currently searching for a another biography that will let me get to know this likely very amazing man and politician.
I really, really loved this book. However, I think that some other listeners might be put off by the need to really have a musical background to fully enjoy this book. If you don't know what a dominant 7th or a tritone is, for example, you might find long sections of this book tedious. But, if you've studied music or are a really serious aficionado, then this book is hard to put down.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Caesar series. However, I found books 1 and 2 in the Genghis series to be much less compelling. While the writing is equally as good, the characters, (Temujin/Genghis in particular) are very one-dimensional. Perhaps this is an accurate rendering of the Khan's single minded drive for brutal conquest but I'm not sure that in the 21st century I need this much detail. Khan is depicted as a ruthless and hell-bent despot who cares not a whit for any one or any thing other than dominance of his enemy. After two books, I think I've had enough of that. I get the point of how one of history's greatest murderers conquered millions of peoples yet there's very little in these first two books to make me reflect on anything relating to a contemporary context or the motivations of a complicated character that makes me want to read (listen) to books three and four.
Can't get enough of these books. Kind of a guilty pleasure but rip roaring good stories. Great book and great narrator.
I'm not sure what all the caterwauling is about Paul Blake as narrator. He's a great actor and his pronunciation, while it may be difficult for some listeners, is technically correct since he pronounces Vs like Ws and Cs like Ks. I agree that a publisher switching from one narrator to another is a bad idea in a series like this. Nonetheless, Paul Blake is very capable and brings these fun, if not historically accurate, tales to life. A 5 star read (listen) all around.
Some have panned this book as having main characters who reader's didn't care about. I can only say that those readers must be looking for heroes. For those seeking to understand HOW Nazi Germany could have happened, this is a perfect addition to the lexicon as a glimpse into America's inertia, latent if not overt anti-semitism, lack of foresight, and even investment driven foreign policy (sound familiar 2011 America???).
There are no Shindlers in this book, just complicated human beings. Additionally, Hitler, Goehring, Goebels, etc. are humans.... flawed, monstrous, paranoid, etc..... yet human, not the PBS or History Channel bad guys we've come to loathe. This is a great book.
One downside.. the narrator is only a B-minus.
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