This is a beautifully written and narrated book about how and why much of society is so obsessed with status and why status and material wealth are now widely considered to be the same. I wasn't expecting but welcomed the sociology history lesson(there's quite a bit of it). The author describes himself as secular but I didn't find any notable criticism of religion or Christianity (maybe because I'm secular myself?). Check out the author's 15 minute talk on the TED Talks website for a preview of this book...
...as mentioned in other reviews, and I almost feel sorry for the narrator, she is not a French speaker, but tries. I cringed most at ca y'est pronounced as "ca y'esT". Yikes. It's still worth it, though. And other than the French, she's actually quite pleasant. The story is second to none if you love Julia Child. I'm grateful she lived long enough to finish the project. It's a gem.
How often does one hear of someone admitting to have tried and failed to get through Gibbon's "Decline and Fall"? I have heard it several times and I include myself in the statistic. This abridged audio version is exquisitely done and makes Gibbon accessible enough to enjoy and be inspired by this timeless masterpiece. Philip Madoc reads Gibbon beautifully and earnestly, while Neville Jason provides background and context. Both are first rate. I happened to listen to a sample of the other Decline and Fall version offered by Audible. I respectfully prefer this one (However, I'm intrigued by the other because it looks much less abridged than this one). I would also recommend Cyril Robinson's "A History of Rome" as a companion. Charlton Griffin is an excellent narrator.
It can take a lot to sit down and digest 17th century Philosophy. I was interested in Spinoza because he's often mentioned as a proponent of Pantheism. The narrator is excellent (the same, BTW, as for A Short History of Everything - 5 stars). 90 minutes was just about right. Very useful for getting acquianted with Spinoza for the first time.
I am a centrist. I have been so irritated by the utterly uncivilized discourse in the mainstream media the last few years. James Carville, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are equally guilty and do nothing but to fan flames and irritate their enemies. But Al Franken is different. Yes, he is biased and he proudly admits it. But the arguments in this book are, as he very carefully explains, meticulously supported by meticulous research. Notice there are only 5 and 1 star ratings of this book (also notice so many more are 5 stars) on Audible. I submit those who did not like the book are loath to admit some of their political positions are based on lies. I pity them. There are so many infuriating lies uncovered here that anyone with common sense should have no other recourse but to take these revelations very seriously. Ironic, as this is also a very funny and amusing read. I could have done without some of the dramatizations. That said, I could not recommend it more.
After thoroughly enjoying a History of Rome, I couldn't wait to get to what I think now is Cyril Robinson's equally impressive work on Greece. I love the prose, but it may not be done justice better than anyone but Charlton Griffin. He is narration is crisp, like he memorized the whole book and is reading it as a soliloquy. It wasn't dry to me in any way. If you listen you will find an epic history of a fascintating people who still have a great influence on us today.
While this is an excellent History of Rome, IMHO , it is even better narrated by Charlton Griffin. I downloaded it partly because I had listened to Hannibal: One Man Against Rome (also great), which was narrated by Griffin. He is a joy to listen to, at least for me. I'm look forward to Xenophon and Histories of Greece as well! A great book and a great listening experience. Now if he were to only narrate A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, I would really be grateful.
Why hasn't Hampton Sides written more? After hearing this book I amazed by his writing talent. His talent reminds me of Barbara Tuchman (whose books should be on audible.com!) . And what an awful ordeal these heroes had to endure. In spite of the subject, this book should have much wider appeal for its brilliant description of humanity and evil in war. I look forward to more material from this author.
I loved this book. Stephen Ambrose was right. The B-24 was grossly underappreciated during and after the war. Not as handsome as the B-17, the Liberator was faster, carried a bigger payload and had fewer losses by percentage. I had no idea that George McGovern was such a great and inspiring war hero. The narration is excellent. It's a shame that it was Ambrose's last book (I think anyway). Think Band of Brothers but in the AAF. Great stuff.
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