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Ken

Pittsburg, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 110 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • The Prince

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Nicolo Machiavelli
    • Narrated By Ian Richardson
    Overall
    (298)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (135)

    How remarkable that an Italian living in the 15th and 16th centuries should lend his name to a word still in common usage in the English language today. Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote only one major work as a gift for his ruling Prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli held office as a senior civil servant for 14 years until the downfall of the Republic in 1512. No longer officially employed to impart advice, instead Machiavelli poured out his ideas and resentment in his writings.

    Adam says: "The perfect narrator"
    "Lucid translation; luscious transmission"
    Overall

    This one is ALL about the voice. The late and much-lamented Ian Richardson was one of my favorite actors. His reading is a pleasure to listen to while he imparts superb clarity to Messer Machiavelli's thoughts.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Empires and Barbarians : The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Peter Heather
    • Narrated By Sean Schemmel
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (32)

    Empires and Barbarians presents a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states.

    Kirsty says: "Enjoying the book, but the performance...."
    "Decent book- TERRIBLE narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Empires and Barbarians ?

    Heather's previous book was great. This offers more convoluted expositions of his theses, which necessitate careful listening to discern and understand (and I had to buy the print edition to REALLY follow it.) The narrator has NO clue as to pronounce these admittedly complex names for the various peoples of central and eastern Europe in the first millennium CE. However, even current place names evade his comprehension. Sevastopol is pronounced sev-as-TO-pol instead of the more common se-VAST-o-pol. I'm really surprised he did not have more guidance provided to him in preparing and delivering his performance. Anyway, it makes Heather's points HARDER to understand rather than elucidating them.


    Would you recommend Empires and Barbarians  to your friends? Why or why not?

    The book, simultaneously more ambitious and complex than his previous work on the fall of Rome, is very thorough in its breadth, but its depth must be worked at more assiduously by the listener.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Schemmel’s performances?

    Not on THIS basis.


    What character would you cut from Empires and Barbarians ?

    Not relevant to an historical work


    Any additional comments?

    I am disappointed, as I was looking forward to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bombingham

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anthony Grooms
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Bombingham by Anthony Grooms is the powerful story of a middle-class black family living in a time of great unrest. Accepting the charge of writing a letter to the parents of a fallen friend and fellow soldier, Walter Burke begins to reflect on the effects that segregation has had on his family and the effect the Vietnam war is having on him. Narrator Dion Graham provides an exceptional reading of Grooms’ unsentimental prose.

    Ken says: "Social history lesson and Memory of troubled times"
    "Social history lesson and Memory of troubled times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great "read" (but I'm listening to it from Audible) that brings back so clearly the troubled times of the early 60's. I was the same age then as the protagonist, who grows up quickly in segregated Birmingham, Alabama. I grew up in a lower middle class Pittsburgh, in the North, in a community with mixed ethnicity and mixed reactions to events in the Deep South . While I experienced no marches or police "riots" like he does, I remember the tenseness of our parents in those difficult times, that affected even us, the children. The narrator is wonderful, capturing the diction and accents of children and adults, both African American as well as those who just wanted things to stay the same, some, willing to use violence to keep it so.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Song of Roland

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Unknown
    • Narrated By A Full Cast
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Since his youth, living in poverty in a cave in Italy, Roland's mother has taught him that someday he will be a brave hero like his father, Milon, and serve with the great army of Charlemagne. He learns from her that he is descended from great heroes of old and that his mother is Charlemagne's sister, the Princess Bertha.

    D. B. Mann says: "The Song of Roland"
    "Something of a reading; someting of a performance"
    Overall

    The choice of voices to match the characters leaves something to be desired, but the sound effects proved to be surprisingly effective as an enhancement to the text. As this is the ONLY recording of this work that is available, then clearly, I can say it is also the best!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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