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Weiser, ID, United States | Member Since 2014

  • 3 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 320 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015

  • From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth J. Hammond

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.

    Travis Greene says: "A good listen"
    "Great summary on Chinese history"

    This is a must listen course for people interested in understanding where China has been and where it is going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Evan Osnos
    • Narrated By Evan Osnos, George Backman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.

    Jeff says: "The Insider's Guide to Contemporary China!!"
    "Important stories from contemporary China."
    What did you love best about Age of Ambition?

    I've lived in China for the most recent period that Evan has been living here. He manages to go into depth on several stories that I'd had some familiarity with, but did not fully understand. He then weaves these into the general theme on the good and bad of China's rise.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was the phone with special messages from the government to journalists. Every time it would buzz, rest assured hilarity would ensue.

    What about Evan Osnos’s performance did you like?

    Evan only reads the preface. Someone else narrates the book. This person sounds older (I think they have done other books I have listened too.) You can watch Evan's interviews on youtube and you will hear that it is not him. This is the first book (that I know of) where the narrator is not the person they say it is. It is weird because they say Evan is the narrator at the end in the audio conclusion. It would have been nice if he had narrated the whole book as he would have been more accurate with the Chinese pronunciation and the age of the voice would have better matched with the experiences he is describing.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Not available in Chinese cinemas"

    Any additional comments?

    Age of Ambition is now firmly established among the books on China that I will recommend to people that want to understand the place better. It will be included among books by the authors Peter Hessler and Jung Chang. Evan addresses macro points with personal stories that not only makes the material easier to retain, but also makes it hard to stop listening.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.

    Ravenmaster says: "Peter Berkrot Again?"
    "Great book"

    Loved the book. More than one of my friends that live in China told me that their interest in the country and the language was inspired by this book. I can see why. In the reviews of the Hessler Trilogy the narrator is getting a lot of hassle for his voice and his butchery of the Chinese. It can be painful initially for someone that speaks Chinese to listen to the mispronunciations and I would recommend that books that contain a lot of dialogue in a foreign language be read by someone that has a basic knowledge of that language. However, I did enjoy the accents the narrator provided. He has an amazing faculty for mimicking Chinese prostitutes and old ladies.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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