Santa Clara, CA, United States | Member Since 2011
Pretty basic stuff if you are a science buff. However, pass this one along to one of those adults who really didn't pay attention in school, or to an adolescent that you care about. A great superstition-buster.
The writing for "Bismarck" is so excellent, so compelling, and frequently so exciting that it breaks my heart not to be able to recommend this audiobook highly.
The reason? The reading is amateurish. It simply ruins the book. I stuck it out to the end only because I wanted to learn more about the war in the North Atlantic, and about the fate of the Bismarck, but the halting, robotic narration, and the constant mis-emphasis on nearly every sentence made it tortuous indeed.
The battle scenes are truly remarkable. One can easily envision the spectacular sights and sounds—from the ship, the men, and the huge guns. Again, however, the narration almost totally obscures both the excitement and the action. What a pity.
Apparently, the publishers also recognized their mistake, and picked a far more skilled narrator for the reading of "Tirpitz," the story of the Bismarck's sister ship, by the same authors.
Topped off by some of the best narration EVER, this fast-paced, thrill-packed, humor-filled adventure story is a page right out of the Old West.
R.C. Bray is so absolutely amazing, so totally engaging, in the telling of this tale, that his narration deserves top billing. His reading has such phenomenal focus, dynamism, and fluency, and his powerful and gritty characterizations are so wonderful, I wish I could award his narration the six stars it deserves. He portrays all the characters, men and woman alike, with complete mastery. Jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly fantastic! Honestly, this is the best narration I have ever heard—and I've heard plenty.
As for Clarence E. Mulford's writing, it's gritty, picturesque and beautiful. I felt like I was slapping leather right along with the cow punchers, and walking bow-legged right beside them. His characterizations are so engaging, and the Old Western landscape he paints is so vivid I could see all of it in my mind's eye, and hear the sounds and silences of the wide open spaces with remarkable clarity.
And talk about action! The book is action-packed and non-stop. What a ride! Plus, it's downright hilarious—the playful, jibing banter among the cowpokes kept me laughing throughout.
Even the romance in the book is handled with delightful humor and just a bit of bashful awkwardness—perfect.
One caution. This book was written in 1910, and tells the story from an American cowboy's perspective, so the racial slurs may be off-putting to some listeners. But frankly, that's the way it was, and that's the way it's told. My recommendation is to just let it go, and have fun. Both the story and the narration are worth it.
This book is a joy to listen to. Do not hesitate. Get it. Listen to it. Again, special thanks to R. C. Bray for his terrific narration.
This is a rip-snortin', rootin'-tootin' thrill ride!
This book uses the great German battleship Tirpitz as the focal point for the story of naval warfare in the North Atlantic in WWII, and does it brilliantly. Much of the book isn't about the Tirpitz per se, although the mighty battleship is like a powerful chess piece lurking in the background—influencing events by its mere existence and deadly possiblities.
Generally, the book focuses on Allied supply convoys in the North Atlantic, bound for both America, and significantly—also for Russia. It reveals the naval strategies and political maneuverings which governed the use of naval resources on both sides of the conflict.
Essential to the story, the book gives a detailed description of "Operation Chariot," the successful attempt by the Allies to destroy the dry dock at St Nazaire in German occupied France.
Overall, this is a thrilling and wonderful book—fascinating from beginning to end.
Furthermore, Pete Larkin's narration is really great. He brings the story to life with clarity and professionalism. His reading style is remarkably consistent from first to last. It's his narration that turns this story of WWII naval strategy into a great and compelling saga.
Sadly, the companion book to "Tirpitz," "Bismarck," by the same authors, is not nearly as well read. Where the narration of "Tirpitz" keeps the action flowing and makes it exciting to listen to, "Bismarck" comes across as stilted and confusing. If nothing else, these two books highlight the huge difference that narration can make.
What is it—science? Fantasy? Comedy? YES! YES! And YES!
What's fun about this book is how really crazy-sounding Randall Munroe's answers are—but what's great about it is how serious is the science. In a way, the entire book is a lesson in how to think scientifically without losing your sense of humor. Just the kind of thing that would have Richard Feynman falling out of his chair, laughing.
To be honest, this book is so completely zany you might want to take it in smaller bites, like I did. That said, bring it on. It's great entertainment for anyone with a wry sense of humor. Also ideal for a high school student who just needs a tiny nudge in a scientific direction, or—for that matter, any high school student.
Plus, Wil Wheaton is at the top of his form. His narration is absolutly perfect. He's energetic, lucid, and truly brilliant. And this book is the ideal showcase for his considerable talent. For fans of Wil, he's also fabulous narrating "Ready Player One," by Ernest Cline, and this narration is every bit as excellent.
No one loves history more than Will Durant. And arguably, no one writes more eloquently or vividly about history than he does.
It's hard to convey the superlative experience of listening to an audiobook written by Will Durant and narrated by Grover Gardner. History is revealed in the characters, while insights are gained through the analysis of significant events and those who witnessed them.
Durant's writing is transcendent—his use of language triumphant.
As for Grover Gardner—he has no equal in the reading of historical prose. With his narration, stories come to reality, and characters come to life.
This is a wonderful book.
Okay, the author did a pretty nice job of making his point regarding the non-historicality of Jesus—but why the limited point-of-view?
It's really interesting to learn about the lack of evidence for an historical Jesus. So far, so good. However—why confine that evidence inside the box of Christian myths? It seems that a reasonably comprehensive look at the topic would include not only the perspective of prevailing myths, yet also include a broader scope, based on all available historical evidence.
Perhaps the author is hoping to provide ammunition to those who chose to confront contemporary Christians with the lack of historical evidence of their savior.
Anyway, it's a wonderful bit of research, and a great listen. However—I'm left wanting more.
Not written for laymen, but as physicist to physicist, this book outlines the future direction of physics—on both the subatomic and cosmological scales.
This is the kind of book that makes you want to live long enough to find out the answers to the fundamental questions that contemporary physicists are asking right now.
There's nothing "dumbed-down" about this book, and the topics are wide-ranging and fascinating. I won't claim to understand all of it, but that doesn't matter—it's really, really interesting, and well put together. We owe John Brockman a debt of gratitude for compiling this wonderful collection of perspectives on modern physics.
If this book persuades you that either the Israelis or the Arabs are the villains in the current Arab/Israeli conflict, then perhaps you need to listen to it again.
Both sides of this issue have been thoughtfully presented—without any ranting or irrationality—in this remarkable and comprehensive analysis of the history leading up to the situation in today's Middle East.
Suffice it to say there is great tragedy—and far too much militarism—on both sides of this conflict, and I will not presume to weigh in on either side. Only this—if we are to understand the situation in the Middle East today, the perspectives voiced in this book must be understood and acknowledged.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
This book is an important recounting of the Six Day War, and also of the historical events leading up to it. The writing is slightly biased toward the Israeli point of view, yet this is understandable, given the magnitude of the Israeli victory in the conflict.
Personally, I chose to pair my listening of this book with "The Palestine-Israel Conflict" by Dan Cohn-Sherlock and Dawoud El-Alami, to gain a more up-to-date and hopefully more balanced perspective. This remains a sensitive and difficult issue, and hopefully listening to these books will serve to break down existing prejudices and pave the way to greater understanding and compassion.
Robert Whitfield is ideal as the narrator of this account.
I like this topic a lot—This book covers many great concepts in cosmology and theoretical physics, and they're beautifully presented. It's a significant contribution to that class of books which helps the listener piece together a consistent view of dark energy, dark matter, and the underlying structure of space itself.
One of the most interesting discussions is on the history of the ether, and how the fashion of this concept has ebbed and flowed over the past one hundred and twenty years. Wary of this antiquated term, we're left with a description of space as some kind of soup of particle pairs that spontaneously appear and annihilate, due to the basic uncertainty of quantum fluctuations.
However, what I found strange about this book was what it did NOT discuss. The fact that there was so much about spontaneously created and annihilated particle pairs begs the question—why is there no name given to this phenomenon? If the idea is truly distinct from John Wheeler's 1955 Quantum Foam proposal, then why is there no comparison drawn? And if space is full of this phenomenon, what is the possible extent of it, relative to the visible matter in the universe? Is the author purposefully avoiding questions to which he has no good answer? That doesn't seem scientific at all.
Furthermore, the predominant view of this book is from a particle-based perspective,
although there are many tantalizing references to quantum field theory—but no in-depth discussion of the specific nature of bosons vs. their associated fields.
Overall, it feels like there are so many opportunities lost in this presentation of a truly fascinating subject.
Now for the worst of it. The narration is intolerable. Walter Dixon narrates with a strange, affected whisper that's both distracting and demeaning. His unyielding, emotionally-charged tone is the kind of voice you'd expect of a dramatic fairy story told to a five-year-old. I've listened to more than three hundred audiobooks, and this reading is one of the worst. This is a book on SCIENCE, Folks—so what's with the reader's continual high-drama, hush-hush inflections? I only survived by continually mocking this ridiculous, over-the-top narration. Not that that's the whole of it—you've got to admire how Mr. Dixon can plow through a long, complicated sentence without taking a breath—but making a complex sentence go by quickly is NOT the best way to make it clear to a listener. Furthermore, at random intervals, his tone becomes strangely strident, making the listening experience both continuously frustrating and occasionally uncomfortable. You have to wonder—doesn't Gildan Media have a director to help wayward narrators match their tone appropriately to the source material?
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