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Thomas Welander


  • American Pastoral

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Ron Silver

    Philip Roth presents a vivid portrait of an innocent man being swept away by a current of conflict and violence in his own backyard - a story that is as much about loving America as it is hating it. Seymour "Swede" Levov, a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, and the prosperous heir of his father's Newark glove factory comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok in the turbulent 1960s. Not even a most private, well-intentioned citizen, it seems, gets to sidestep the sweep of history. American Pastoral is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall ... a strong, confident man, a master of social equilibrium, overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. For the Swede is not allowed to stay forever blissful living out life in rural Old Rimrock in his 170 year-old stone farmhouse with his pretty wife (his college sweetheart and Miss New Jersey of 1949) and his lively albeit precocious daughter, the apple of his eye ... that is until she grows up to become a revolutionary terrorist.

    Thomas says: "A Masterpiece"
    "tedious meditation on a paranoid fantasy"
    What disappointed you about American Pastoral?

    It's a tedious load of paranoid hand wringing.

    What three words best describe Ron Silver’s voice?

    All characters identical. Very frustrating to not know who in a conversation is speaking. He's a good actor. He did a great job with each individual character except for the fact that they all sound identical. For me, the quality of his reading was utterly negated by my inability to discern which character was talking.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from American Pastoral?

    I would have reordered the scenes to be 50% more chronological. The moving back and forth in time erratically between multiple eras was from a literary standpoint masterfully done but from a listener's perspective was just a PIA exacerbating the issue with not knowing who's talking. Let alone when.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Doug Ordunio

    Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

    Jeremy says: "Informing, Interesting, and Boring all in one"
    "I keep forgetting it's playing"
    What did you like best about Guns, Germs and Steel? What did you like least?

    The information is great. The author's analysis is impressive. Least of all I liked the performance. I had a tough time paying attention. I missed a lot of the book simply because I would forget it was playing. I don't usually have this problem with audiobooks. Nearly as bad is the fidelity of the recording.

    What other book might you compare Guns, Germs and Steel to and why?

    I would compare John McPhee's works as a contrast. He can make the phone book fascinating. Jared Diamond took fascinating material and made it boring.

    How could the performance have been better?

    Get someone else to read it.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Taylor Branch
    • Narrated By Joe Morton, CCH Pounder

    This audio adaptation focuses primarily on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the key moments that defined his rise to the forefront of the civil rights movement. From Rosa Parks' monumental arrest in Montgomery to King's imprisonment in Birmingham and his triumphant march on Washington, Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness.

    Darcy says: "Amazing account of King & Civil Rights Movement"
    "Great book badly abridged"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Parting the Waters to be better than the print version?

    This abridged version contains too little of the full book. The print version is admittedly a big book but it's not flabby. Too much meat was cut to fit this way-too-short audiobook. The short length not only omits critical and interesting information, it distortingly rushes the reader's perception of the history that played out across this decade from '54 to '63. A lot more fascinating things happened than you'd realize from hearing this version. Branch masterfully researched and wrote about them. You wouldn't know it from this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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