This is the lively and fascinating story of a brilliant creep with a serious personality disorder, which seems to have matched his times and social milieu perfectly. He appears literally to have been unstoppable by physics or law enforcement, until succumbing to a dreary and debilitating brand of "meshugas". Being under 75, I had to Google pictures of his female conquests, but, I must say, he did phenomenally well in that department. Money, however, is just money.
Unfortunately, the writing is barely literate. For instance, the word "that" is used uniformly and annoyingly when "which", "who", or "whom" is called for. The reader amplifies the effect by stumbling over words, such as, "camaraderie" and coming up with at least three unique mispronunciations of "Domergue".
The arcane terms and technical detail would be fine, with a little more introduction for the intelligent layman. Some of it is there, but only comes at the third or fourth mention, due to bad editing.
I do, however, finally know what investment banking is. ...that is, inasmuch as anyone does.
A wonderful listen, overall.
Why, however, must we be subjected to the common misuse of "begs the question" in such an otherwise well written book? The author also confuses "coruscating" and "excoriating." What ever happened to editing?
Excellent, densely researched, and eye-opening book. I, for one, will never see France in quite the same way again. They never underwent the violent catharsis of other Axis nations and, instead, seem to be reaching a resolution incrementally. I hope they get there; they've got a lot to resolve.
The narrator is dreadfully slow and non-fluent. His over-pronounced French names come after portentous pauses and sound like parody. It's a genuinely awful reading, which makes the fact-intensive writing that much more difficult to assimilate while cleaning up the kitchen or doing side lunges. Oh, and he pronounces "banal" to rhyme with "anal." Vraiment le coup de grâce.
Judt's thinking is breathtakingly lucid and reveals relationships and causes deep under events where conventional accounts are superficial and unsatisfying. Snyder is also obviously brilliant their voices are so similar that it would have been helpful to have some additional cues as to who is speaking in the audio version--the printed book uses italics. That said, Mr. Cosham, one of my favorite Blackstone readers, clearly appreciates the material and can pronounce the foreign names with remarkable accuracy. He does, however, tend to lose volume on the final consonants of sentences, here as elsewhere.
You'll experience a strong sense of deja entendu if you've ever listened to "Iron Mike" read the forecast on NOAA VHF weather radio.
"Soul-der" for solder is bad, but wait till you hear him try "Hoechst", and Admiral Spee's name doesn't rhyme with "pee". I could go on.
Great story, though, and the writing is simple enough to absorb in challenging traffic or while making love (just kidding).
The overall effect is Bob Dylan reading bad Hemingway, i.e. frankly annoying, and the writing, while workmanlike, is illiterate in spots: German U-boats did not create a "Maelstrom" for US merchant shipping, for God's sake!
The narrator has a strange, over-dramatic, cadence and the depressingly usual trouble with the unfamiliar: "Admiralty" comes out "admirality", "Dominic" is, inexplicably, "Dominique" (most Doms I knew wouldn't like that at all) and "Babineau" is "Babinow". He affects a bizzarre, ostensibly Bostonian, accent for the he crew members and their families, which sounds like a speech impediment.
Nevertheless, this book is the result of a fine and important piece of journalism and will be of substantial interest and worth the annoyance to anyone enamored of ships, mariners, and tales of survival at sea. I am in that category and it certainly made the dishes and the gym go faster for a week.
Epic story of catastrophic overreach and callow foolishness told in an endless series of breathless mini-vignettes. Seems the wrong style for such a long treatment.
Narrator is terrible. Trails off to inaudibility at the ends of his sentences, has one, all purpose, foreign accent (why any?) and can't read: it's ciprofloxacin, not "ciprofloxin"; KAbul, not" KaBOOL" and Dostum, not "Dotsum"!
This is a very nicely written plantation saga with plenty of sweep and character, as well as an interesting take on race in the antebellum years. The reader is solid enough, but ought to come to Eastern Maryland and hear the local accent someday. His white characters all sounded like Deep South caricatures.
Caro continues his LBJ saga with even greater scope as the Man attains supreme power, but none of the detail and texture is lost. The writing is repetitive and can verge on bombast, but this is still biography at its very finest and great literature by any standard.
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