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Phillip J. Gaskill

New York | Member Since 2007

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 892 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2014
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  • Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Rebecca Stott
    • Narrated By Jean Gilpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Christmas, 1859. Just one month after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin received an unsettling letter. He had expected criticism; in fact, letters were arriving daily, most expressing outrage and accusations of heresy. But this letter was different. It accused him of failing to acknowledge his predecessors, of taking credit for a theory that had already been discovered by others. Darwin realized that he had made an error in omitting any mention of his intellectual forebears.

    Kenny T says: "Well written and read"
    "Great book needs better narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Darwin's Ghosts the most enjoyable?

    It's an extremely fascinating story. We all know the Darwin narrative, but I didn't know anything about 90% of what's in this wonderful book.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Extremely affected British accent PLUS she turns final "d" into final "t" (I mean, she fairly *spits* those d's), leading to my misunderstanding of several names and terms that had been unfamiliar to me. In fact, believe it or not, this is the sole reason I broke down and bought the Kindle version, so I could figure out what she was saying.


    If you could give Darwin's Ghosts a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Well, I'm not much of one for glitzy, sexy, cutesy, say-something-so-people-will-buy-the-book titles and/or subtitles. My subtitle for this book would probably just be something like "Darwin's Forerunners" or "Predecessors Who Had Worked Out Most of How Evolution Worked" or some other thing to the point and non-misleading. (Actually, I'd probably choose my first example as the *title,* and my second as the subtitle.) But that's just me, I guess.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is WELL worth reading, despite the less-than-ideal narrator.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Coming of the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard J. Evans
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (499)

    There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

    Tad Davis says: "Compelling and depressing"
    "Great book, lousy narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Pratt???s performances?

    Absolutely not. He's the worst narrator I've ever heard, in his own unique category. His voice is pleasant and intelligent enough. His German pronunciations are mediocre (for every word that he pronounces perfectly, there's another that he totally mangles). But he's defined his turf by inventing a new way to make spoken sentence structure unclear, ambiguous, and utterly confusing: any time he seemingly (this is the only explanation I can think of) comes to a word at the end of a line that *conceivably* *could* be the end of a sentence, he assumes that it *is* the end of *the current* sentence, even if it makes absolutely no sense in the context of that sentence--and regardless of whether it has *any* punctuation after it. No punctuation = end of sentence. Comma = end of sentence. After an end-of-sentence pause with appropriate inflection, etc., he then continues on with the rest of the sentence (the part that's obviously on the next line) as if it were a sentence on its own, even though it makes absolutely no sense.

    This alone makes the book almost totally unlistenable.

    Unfortunately, before I started listening to anything, I bought all three books in the series. I assume the same thing is going to happen throughout. And I shall persevere, whether the narration drives me crazy or not (see my comments below about the book itself).


    Any additional comments?

    The author, in the preface or introduction to the book, states (I'm paraphrasing) that the book contains pretty basic information, and that if you're at all knowledgable on the topic, you might not learn anything new. I wish to disagree: I know something about the topic, and yet I find the book to be *very* educational, interesting, instructive, and the like. I think he's selling himself short. Audible just needs to find a better narrator for him.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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