I love learning about, and believe quite firmly in, the topic of specific evolution by means of natural selection. I'm also a fairly religious person. How I reconcile those two aspects of my personality is my business. Most books on the topic of natural selection seek to enlighten and educate the reader on the subject. This book, on the other hand, seems much more interested in advocating for natural selection as a concept that cannot possibly co-exist with religion, and occasionally sought to make its case in a manner that I found cumbersome, condescending, and even insulting. What's worse, these seemed to serve no purpose other than to delay the transmission of what was otherwise great content.
None of this is to say that there should be no books advocating for natural selection at the expense of religion. That's fine. But this book gave no indication of being such. I was disappointed to find that it was.
The narration itself was solid. Great, in fact. Read almost exactly as I'd have expected the author himself to have done it.
The storytelling was flawless. This is a masterfully composed tale that left me awestruck.
This story left me feeling an unusual sense of reverence for the men involved. And from now on, when I go running in the winter, I shall never again complain about the cold.
I intend to listen to this one again. And I say that about very few books.
It's hard to follow up on something like Freakonomics, but Super Freakonomics does a good enough job. In the absence of the earlier work, this book would be an unqualified winner, but when compared, it falls slightly short. I simply found many of the "stories" less freaky than the first. Interesting, but not mind-blowingly so. As for the narrator, Dubner does an outstanding job, especially for somebody who does not do that kind of work for a living. Bottom line: worth reading if you liked the first.
This title did not deliver on its original promise of a scientific examination of the co-evolution of humans and four species of plant. Not that it didn't make an attempt, because it did. And yet the author seemed to get consistently -- and deeply -- distracted in ways that I could barely abide.
It's as though the author sold the concept to a publishing house only to discover that there was not sufficient material on the chosen subjects to fill 300 pages, forcing him to compensate with vast spans of particularly annoying and formless (even...Dionysian?) sophistry.
I usually avoid abridged books but this is one title that, had it undergone an intensive (even...Apollonian?) abridgement, would have merited an additional one or two stars.
This was among the best works of military history I've encountered. The story unfolded in a focused, intuitive way, with plenty of the sidebar-type extras that add so much enjoyable texture to this sort of work. My only complaint was the Conclusion, which could have been 75% shorter.
First of all, I think there was a change of narrators at some point, because my version was superb, while the narration offered in the sample on this page was as terrible as many earlier reviewers suggest. So, for the record, the narrator problem appears to have been fixed.
Unfortunately, the basic flaws of story telling remain problematic. I've read many works by Ambrose and have adored them all. This book fell flat for me. Thud. Just when it seemed about to get interesting, it diverged into a morass of not-so-consequential tangents that were hard to endure.
I suspected this would be an interesting work, but was totally unprepared for how shockingly interesting it turned out to be. Having worked in the medical field, I knew of Sulfa only as the poorer cousin of penicillin, and wondered what might be so interesting about the story behind its discovery that would merit an entire book on the topic. Now I know. there are a great many lessons to be considered and internalized in this story. An outstanding work.
This is a deeply compelling history of radical Islam and the circumstances that led to the events of 9/11. Finally, all the strange-sounding Arabic names that have come up since that day have meaning and context. A very powerful work, which I was sad to see end.
Rare is the book that could not use even a little abridging. This is just such a book. From start to finish, the narrative was relentlessly enthralling. How did I spend so many years believing this was a dry topic? Ambrose has succeeded where my history teachers failed.
I'm halfway through this epic piece of research, but I can't take any more. I was hoping for the promised "fresh insights into the conflict’s great events" but instead found an impenetrable listing of one Nazi atrocity after another. From time to time the book threatened to become original and interesting, particularly when examining the Nazi wartime economy and internal power struggles, but these gems were so few and far between the vast and gut-wrenching slogs through Nazi horrors I cannot find the will to go on.
Furthermore, the narrative tying these events together can best be compared to that of a text book (in other words, it's almost absent).
To experience what this book intended, I recommend The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.
This was an outstanding look at a key period of American history. The narrative was engaging, the stories were compelling, and the reading was flawless.
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