Gibraltar, MI, United States
Recently I've been more and more interested in American history. TV documentaries on everything from the American Revolution, the wild west, Civil War, Great Depression, etc..., have been fascinating me. When I went in search of an audio book for the Civil War, this title caught my eye. I started reading up on the book and wisely decided to start at the "beginning". Beginning in quotes because the American history started long before 1763. But this point in time can probably be considered the beginning of the United States. And I'm glad I did.
The book title states it covers the time period of 1763 - 1789, and for the most part it does. There are times when pre 1763 details are given to support an idea the author is explaining, but the majority of the book falls between these years. The events leading up to Lexington / Concord were explored in more detail than I've ever heard. The points of view are not only told from the American side, but from the British as well. From what I can tell, the author tried to do a fair job in telling both sides of the story. In the end of course, the Revolution is justified, as history has seen. Many of the battles are told in great detail, which took me be surprise. The only thing I found lacking were some details of events towards the end of the war and leading to the ratification of the Constitution. Washington being elected to the Presidency is briefly mentioned, but how this came to be wasn't clearly defined is just one example.
Since the ride to and from work is how I listen to my audio books, there are times when certain items are missed unfortunately. This can be quite detrimental to an audio book of this kind due to the sheer number of names, places, dates, documents, etc... that are mentioned within. I believe to fully absorb the content of this book, it would have to be read. Well, by myself anyway, since reading a page helps me retain details; and this book is all about the details.
All in all though, a great book.
This book is about a time period that has always fascinated me, as are a few of the Tom Clancy books. The tensions between the United States and the USSR have made for quite a few good stories and this one is no different.
The events leading up to the hostilities between NATO and the USSR are described in a completely believable manner and set the stage for an overall good book. I was especially entertained by the tension that Mr. Clancy was able to convey during the many submarine battles that seem to make up a good portion of the story. I listen to my audiobooks in the car during the ride to and from work and several times didn't want to leave the car once I arrived due to these battles!
The ground war was told more through the eyes of a few people, generals and their staffs mainly, which is a stark contrast to the detail of the previously mentioned sub battles. But the details that were given provided enough incite to the strategies used that you still got a pretty good picture of how the war was being fought.
Also, I have to say, that on numerous occasions I ran for the computer as soon as I got home to look up the equipment, ships, subs, jets..., etc that were being described and had a blast seeing if my expectations met reality. Often times they did, sometimes they didn't...
The only part that left me puzzled was a rather weak, sparse love interest that seemed totally out of place. But since it wasn't touched on enough to make an interesting side story, it wasn't too much of a distraction either.
Mr. Prichard's narration was more than adequate. I found the reader very entertaining and he set an excellent tone for this type of story.
Although this book is dated, it's an overall good read / listen, I highly recommend it.
I have to admit, this audio book totally took me by surprise. Except for the Harry Potter books, performed by the incredible Jim Dale, Enders Game is the first audio book that I've listened to that I hadn't first read. All I can say is, WOW. The performance given during this 'reading' comes close to rivaling that of the previously mentioned Mr. Dale, in my humble opinion. It's obviously a very different kind of performance, for a very different kind of book, and that's a good thing.
As for the story, it's excellent. Recommended by my brother, I read the summery with a great deal of apprehension. A little boy, attending a 'battle school' to become the military commander that would lead Earths space fleets to victory over an alien invasion force? As I write this, it still sounds silly, and perhaps it is. But Card makes it work, and work very well. And extremely entertaining to boot. The plot and character development move along at a good click. So good in fact that I was completely engrossed within the story when plot twists materialized and was genuinely surprised. THAT'S the mark of a well written/performed book.
Overall, between Card's story telling and an excellent narration, this audio book should be towards the top of everybody's list. And not only science fiction fans, but anybody searching for a great performance of a great book.
Of course, anybody who has ever heard of this book probably knows that it was an instant hit with sci-fi fans at the time of it's release and from what I can tell, the popularity hasn't slowed down much. An absolutely fantastic story, with interesting characters that are very well developed, an incredible setting (can it get any better than the Ringworld itself...?). All these things make this book a classic. That's why I have read it probably a dozen times, no kidding. I can just pick it up, open it and start reading, and will completely enjoy myself.
Therefore, having said that, my familiarity with the book may be the reason I was a little dissatisfied with the reading. Don't get me wrong, he did a fine job reading the story, I just hoped for a little more, oh I don't know, heart maybe? (Disclaimer! I AM used to listening to the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale, and with this being my first experience listening to an audio book since those, that may also be jading my opinion.) There were also verbiage differences that are probably just personal preferences. I always thought of the main character as Louis (loo-is), in the book it was pronounced (loo-ee). There were a few of these, that, as I've admitted, are probably just personal preference. Who's to say that I haven't been pronouncing them wrong all these years?!? (Larry Niven, I guess!)
All in all, worth your hard earned money in my humble opinion, especially if you've never read the book. And if you haven't experienced Ringworld, shame on you.....
This is a fine place to start.
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