Of the series of three books, The Potatoe Factory is a solid 4-star while the two sequels are average 3-star books. The first book reads much like a Dickens novel especially the first half plus set in London. It is a nice story with villains you love to hate but enjoy following. The second and third installments are more formulaic and too politically correct in some ways. They are worth listening to if you want to continue the story into the next generations. The narrator is fantastic in this series.
A story of an idealist, Robert Moses, who becomes jaded and calloused by the system, who learns to work the system to gain power, and who then proceeds to collect more and more power over his long career. This power corrupts him quickly and completely. You will despise the man and his methods while being fascinated by his cleverness. I debated on whether to give this excellent book 4 or 5 stars, and I only opted for the lower rating because of the length. Moses stayed in power for over 40 years. and there was plenty of material for Caro to write about. After a while, the incidences and conflicts become a bit repetitive. I think It would have held my undivided attention better if some of the repeated stories had been cataloged but not told in their entirety. Caro tells the stories masterfully, and some may wish he related even more. I would have preferred a few less.
The style is similar to Clancy with intense action, short staccato burst of developments form all over the world, good guys who are patriotic, and bad guys who are loathsome. No grey areas here or apologies for racial stereotypes. If that doesn't bother you, this is a riveting and intricate story that you will sit in your car in your driveway for a while hoping your family hasn't noticed you yet.
This is a work of fiction that seems like a plausible explanation for the puzzling fact that Hitler never employed his deadly nerve gases. That Hitler could have used these awful weapons is well documented. But why would he have held this trump card back when all appeared to be slipping from his grasp in 1944? This plot is probably not the answer, but it makes for a great story. Who knows...maybe this is close to the truth after all.
When I reached the end of this volume, I thought, "Is that it? I don't feel like I saw the empire actually arrive." It almost crept up on me. Sure, there were battles and conquests, but there didn't seem to be any grand advances of empire. Perhaps this was the point: the growth was organic, steady, and inexorable. Also, the fact that the book's end arrived before I could believe must mean that it was engaging. The short biographies of the individual empire builders were fantastic. (The footnotes were my favorite part.)
I also liked the emphasis on three themes throughout: 1) the effect of the abolished slave trade and slaveholdings, 2) the evangelical and humanitarian motives of empire, and 3) the reluctance through most of Victoria's reign by most Englishmen to even pursue empire.
You will enjoy this book if you want to learn about the growth of the British Empire under Victoria.
This book was entertaining. Somehow, it was not so good that I have gone on to read more in the series.
This series (many read in print as not all were available unabridged on Audible when I read them a few years ago) made for a great summer of reading. There are over twenty books in the series. Somehow the books did not get too repetitive or formulaic. I remember that summer of reading fondly. These books kept me enthralled for months.
Manchester has been hailed as one of the all-time great biographers. His two-part trilogy (yes, the third part was never written.) of Churchill is fabulous. This biography of MacArthur is also excellent. You will learn many new aspects of the island-hopping strategy so brilliantly executed to conquer unfathomable expanses of the Pacific. (Caveat: get a good map to refer to as you listen.) The size of the Japanese conquests that the US had to liberate was immense. The flawed character of the capable General is also a fascinating study.
This is a wonderful book read by one of my favorite narrators. This story is so full of love, hatred, revenge, nobility, and friendship. It keeps you enthralled through its long hours and meandering twists and turns. Do not be put off by the time investment required to get through the many hours of listening. What a great way to spend 40+ hours, and what a bargain for that credit you are looking to spend!
This is a worthwhile listen. It does a relatively good job of filling in this often missed part of early US history. I like how it develops the political thinking of some of our less well known founders. The writing is good, but it could be more entertaining.
This book might be better in print. Some of the literary devices such as symbolism and foreshadowing, so rich in this book, might have been lost a bit in the audio version. Still, it is worth listening to.
Report Inappropriate Content