It wants to stand at arm's length from traditional religion, which I appreciate but at times it does get a bit snooty.
Here we have decades of important information wonderfully reduced to a brief volume. The narration is good when it's not venturing into character quotes. Then, instead of ever sounding like either North Africans or Subsaharans, it always sounds like Johnny Carson, which does not work well.
I've read 4 of his books. This is one where it seems the sex/rape scenes are more numerous and gratuitous, threatening to caricaturize the story. The recording had issues, too. Every now and then it will say something like, "This is the end of disk 9." Further, the book ended while there were about 8 chapters to go, as viewable on my device, but I could they were a repeat of earlier chapters.
My American Church History prof in seminary recommended that I read this after I raised a series of questions after class. I found too many holes in official accounts, including books on his syllabus.
Here my questions were answered. If you're uncomfortable with how Christianity has overlapped with nationalism, this could be helpful.
I think it would have been even more powerful if Dr. Boyd would have narrated his book.
Sometimes I listen to one or two audiobooks alternatively throughout the week but I could not interrupt this one. Mandela's story is as fascinating as any. With this book who needs action movies or dramas?
I've never heard a recording of Bonhoeffer's voice but I cannot imagine he'd impact his congregations with a monotone. This would be better if the delivery were more like that of an actual pastor.
I'd like more Bonhoeffer sermons, but maybe assign a public speaker to do it next time.
This is a fine book that becomes a tour de force with one of the best narrations I've heard, and I listen to audiobooks every day.
The only drawback is the unorthodox pronunciations--I am more comfortable with non-British narrations but can tolerate it better if the words are close to how most of the academy speaks.
I will finish the book, most likely, because it's somewhat interesting.
It's not approvable as a dissertation. I've only read about 1/3 and am distracted by mistakes like Aslan's assertion that the Zealots arose around the the Temple resistance in the latter half of the 1st century. He also claims that Jerusalem was called Aeolia Capitolina after Vespasian's triumph (it was 60 years later under Hadrian). He says that Jesus "the Christ" began with John Mark in 70CE (Pauline epistles use the term extensively and they were written in the 50s).
His preface says that this is the fruit of 20 years of research which is something I cannot buy.
For anyone who knows little about the 1st century, just be prepared for some exciting fiction a la The Davinci Code, which I also enjoyed, once I could overcome the offensiveness of the fantasy.
It's about as historically accurate as The DaVinci Code but not nearly as entertaining.
I have an Evangelical-ish background and can recommend this for them, especially, as the author is clearly comfortable with them/us, hoping also to challenge and stretch.
My own taste prefers, especially when authors are not narrating, a less regional voice; think Brian Jennings or Diane Sawyer. For me, such voices would make listening less rigorous.
This book is a labor of love, indeed. Thousands of interviews, copious footnotes, and still it reads more like a novel than a history book.
I dare say that it is impossible to have more than a modicum of understanding of American History without the range of information covered here.
Thank you, Isabel Wilkerson!
It builds slowly, but deliberately, to a wonderful emotional end where the reader feels sad to say, "Goodbye" to characters. I did not see the "repetitiveness" asserted by some reviewers as laborious. Sections recapped earlier portions in the way that TV dramas do. I enjoyed the approach. It is a long book to which I look for a sequel.
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