Nicely told and fascinating. Highly recommended. The reading is very good--not flashy, but well-paced, and quite professional. The story is nothing short of amazing, and the telling is amusing, entertaining, and intriguing. The writing style is crisp, fun, and adult. A great listen.
A remarkable book, and a terrific listen! A tour de force for Ian W. Toll—and Grover Gardner's narration is FLAWLESS!
I've listened to nearly 200 audiobooks from Audible—fiction, history, science, classic, and comedy—and this is easily one of the best in any category.
With such lucid, visual, and insightful writing, it's no surprise that the characters, events, and images are all vividly fixed in my mind. This is the audio equivalent of a page turner.
After being so disgusted by James Lurie's narration of the audiobook "The Battle of Midway" that I actually returned it unfinished (Thank you, Audible, for making this possible!) I purchased "Pacific Crucible" in the hope of learning more about this historic battle. And I was not disappointed. This book is great! It gives crucial background and insights into the people, the times, and the cultural and political forces leading up to Pearl Harbor, on through the battle of the Coral Sea, and finally culminating in the battle of Midway. The author brings in all the essential points of view throughout—human, technical, tactical, and historical, and he does it seamlessly. A masterful piece of writing. The pacing and level of detail is perfect. I will look for more books by Ian W. Toll.
In "Pacific Crucible," Grover Gardner (already one of my favorite narrators) is absolutely suburb. It's obvious that he understands every bit of what he's reading BEFORE the words pass his lips. His phrasing is so consistently perfect that every sentence is clear, with exactly the emotion and expression the author intended. I don't believe I've ever heard a better narration of any audiobook. Plus, the equalization and recording is beautifully done, so there's no listening fatigue, even after 22 hours. I've been tempted to say that Simon Vance is the best narrator I know of, but this performance by Grover Gardner puts him in the same league. Just stupendous.
I know you will enjoy "Pacific Crucible."
All the history you've forgotten from high school, and more, is presented wonderfully in this series of lectures. A great introductory or refresher course, and good for piecing it all together. Geoffrey Hosking is easy to listen to—never stuffy or overbearing. At some points I would wish for more detail, but this book really does cover a large span of time. Very worthwhile.
While you won't be in agreement with everything Alan Watts says, nor find all of his topics compelling, you're bound to find new perspectives in this book. Even if you've studied Hinduism, Buddhism, and contemporary philosophy, you're bound to learn something significant about these topics from Alan Watts. Maybe you'll emerge from listening to this book a bit more enlightened, a bit more tolerant, and a bit wiser. I feel as though I did.
The reading of this book is so disconnected from the story that it's actually difficult to follow. It's like the reader has no idea what the story is about—just a series of words he's pronouncing. I've re-started listening to this audiobook three times, and each time given up after only a few minutes.
Too bad—I suspect this is a really good book.
A most interesting and educational audiobook. I'm glad I bought it, and glad I listened to it.
Three negatives, however. One, professor Desan's reading is a bit stressed, and it gets wearing by the end of the lecture series. Two, the lectures are not in strict chronological order, so it's frequently difficult to tell what year is being discussed. To be fair, however, the lectures are organized by topic, which is why this is true, but she rarely re-references the year, so it's often difficult to figure out what year it is. Three, the lectures come across as somehow impersonal, so although there are frequent discussions about people's attitudes and difficulties, I didn't come away with a vibrant visualization of these.
At the end of the day, this is a good overview of a complex and important part of world history, and Professor Desan's wrap-up and discussion of the repercussions and influence of the French Revolution is excellent.
Finally, if you want to listen to it, buy some credits and get it at discount.
Just like any good map, there's some detail in "On the Map" that you're probably not going to be very interested in, but most of the territory is fascinating, and fun to learn about, and to explore.
The writing, research, content, and organization is all top notch, providing unique historical perspectives that otherwise would be hard to come by.
And the narration is excellent. Simon Shepard's British pronunciations can occasionally seem amusing to an American, but his interpretation is alert and focused—very easy to listen to.
I wouldn't be surprised if I pick this one out of my library and give it a second listen some day.
A delightful book, full of great stories, great characters, and great insights. Bryson's writing is as charming and entertaining as ever.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bryson's narration is notably halting and stilted throughout—not nearly as coherent as his reading of "In a Sunburned Country," or "At Home." I'm hoping his next book will be narrated by Richard Matthews, who did such a wonderful job with "A Short History of Nearly Everything."
In spite of that, the audiobook is fascinating and fun, and the author's less-than-perfect narration shouldn't keep you from enjoying it. It brings back a wonderful slice of American history that will leave you feeling fullfilled and enriched.
Nicely done, respectful, and to-the-point. No hype, just get to your inner calm place. A very professional job on this audiobook.
This book has been sitting on my iPod for months, as I listen to book after book, occasionally re-visiting it, trying to enjoy it from any possible perspective. I give up. I'm not going to finish it. The reading style is completely demeaning. Even if the content were intelligently presented, which is both impossible to tell—and very, very unlikely—the reading makes this book completely unlistenable. Come to think of it, the content is strangely presented, so that it's not very interesting either. This from a science history buff who usually enjoys just this kind of fare.
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