Definitely. The book brings to life the terror of the Ottoman threat in the 16th century and the horrors of war for those who lived through those times.
I am both very interested in history and persuaded of its importance to an understanding of the world. On the one hand, we need to understand the conditions and factors that brought about situations and events; on the other, we need to acquire a sense of what it was like to be there.
Hearing it made it even more vivid.
Didn't cry but was certainly stirred emotionally.
Not to be missed.
Yes, but with a warning that it is terribly repetitive. Other reviewers have pointed this out, but until I listened myself, I did not believe it could be that bad. The content however is of such great interest that I recommend it nonetheless.
Reveals many things that are important to know.
Illuminating, insightful, enriching
This is the overall the best account (by far) I've read/heard on the Tudors. By providing a good deal of background information that puts the events and personages in a meaningful historical perspective, it leads us to a deeper as well as broader understanding of the era and of the players, and revises our vision.
Dudley, whom I used to see as more foolish and rash.
One thing that comes through clearly in this book is how much the glamorous view of the Tudors was deliberately created through propaganda. And how great a difference there is between how Henry and Elizabeth wanted to see themselves and how they were. Some reviewers here object to the author "hating" Elizabeth. This seems to me off the mark. Our sympathy or antipathy to people of the past come from what we know of them, and to the extent that we learn more, our feelings change: we have no personal relationship with them and cannot know them except through books and documents. If what we've read has helped us develop strong feelings toward one or another, it is all to the good if other books come along to correct our illusions It does not seem to me that the author is in any way prejudiced against Henry or Elizabeth: in presenting many repulsive aspects of their behaviour that shatter the idealistic visions one might have had, Meyer is only drawing us closer to an objective and realistic appreciation.
I was struck by Meyer's brief evocation of Pope Alexander VI in this book as a monster: this is the received view that he would overturn in his next book 'The Borgias'. This would appear to illustrate his open-minded attitude toward historical inquiry, although one could more cynically take it as interested exploitation of contrarian views (an interpretation utterly refuted by the outstanding quality of his books, foremost perhaps his outstanding account of World War I).
The more I learn of history, the more I realize that famous people of the past are often not what they have been made out to be. And each time we revise our view of someone or something, we gain insight not only into that particular subject but into humanity itself. This is why history is of such passionate interest.
For me, yes; reading is more strenuous for me than listening, and I can listen while walking and doing all sorts of things, as well as lying in bed with my eyes closed.
No. He is a fine reader. He is energetic and seems interested. The pronunciation of Chinese names is poor but I suppose it is too much to expect readers to learn the pinyin system (but then, why not?). European names are for the most part well pronounced.
This is a book for everyone who loves Vermeer, and a great starting point for those not yet familiar with his paintings. It draws together things in a fascinating way (among others, the rise and fall of Dutch painting, the decisive role South American silver played in the fate of Europe and China, the rivalry between different European countries and how it played out at sea, the story of tobacco in Europe and Asia, the use and fabrication of porcelain in Europe, Chinese vs. European cartography ). I listened to the book almost in one sitting... in any case in one day. Didn't want to stop. By the way, do not be put off by the lack of illustrations. The Vermeer paintings are so well known that their images can easily be found (of course you will then have to go and see the paintings themselves, which is something to look forward to in itself).
Enlightening, exhilarating, stimulating
No, but he does an good job. Most of the foreign names are pronounced correctly, but some of the Italian names are mispronounced (putting the accent on the right syllable can be tricky).
Some of the more negative reviewers seem to want more romance, but this book is a historical account, and though it cannot but be of interest to anyone who acquainted with the TV series or with other works of fiction, its greatest appeal is to those of us who have a real interest in history rather than in historical fiction. I find it hard to understand the criticism. The author takes great pains in reviewing all available sources, as well as in explaining what previous writers on the subject failed to do, yet some complain that there is "not enough" on the Borgias, or that the book represents but one view among others.
I found the book particularly worthwhile because it made me understand better Renaissance Italy (on which I had read quite a few books) and the nature of the papacy (I had already listened to a couple of books on the papacy but this one gave me a better perception of some aspects).
It is of course also wonderful to to see Alexander VI and Lucretia in a new light. Despite his faults and failings, Alexander was clearly among the better popes of the period, and if there were such a thing as Hell, he would surely be among the minority of popes to escape it.This book also made me wonder what others especially in the more distant past (when records were scant and much is based on hearsay) have had their reputation destroyed by calumny.
That it gives a good idea of what actually went on in Tombstone and by extension in the old west.
Virgil Earp, Wyatt's elder brother, who seemed a good man, the kind that one imagines as lawman: strong, level-headed, reliable.
Josephine -- she isn't really a favourite character but she is pretty impressive, especially in her transformation into Wyatt's steadfast wife.
When Virgil Earp got killed: he deserved better.
It is really interesting to get perspective on the myths of the wild west that have been so important in the second half of the twentieth century (I had not realized that it started so late).
Yes, but it was not as enjoyable as I had anticipated (I was really looking forward to it). However, it was well worth it.
Fred Anderson's The War that Made America, which covers some of the same period and events. In fact, if I hadn't listened to Anderson's book first, I would have a even higher opinion of this one, but Anderson often is more to the point and presents things in a clearer way. For instance, it was quite clear in Anderson's book why Washington became an aide to Gen. Braddock, but it wasn't in Weidensaul's account.
It was OK, but I found myself falling asleep more often than usual. His reading is somewhat flat, but not bad.
Immediately! Couldn't wait.
While I hate PC as much as anybody, I do not agree with another review's criticism. This book did not seem to me to present the Indians in a particularly PC way; to me, the presentation seemed fair and objective. The Indians were no saints, they could be treacherous and cruel, and the book does not hide this. What it does do is make us understand the complexity of the Indians' world when the Europeans started to wreak havoc. We tend not be be insufficiently aware of how many they were before the Europeans came, and how complex the relationships were between different tribes. The great interest of this book is to give us a better sense of how things must have looked to Indians, and of the tragic misunderstandings between Indians and Europeans in addition to the Europeans' rapacity and prejudices. And even apart from inadvertently killing off nine-tenth of the native population with the germs they brought, on the whole the Europeans certainly behaved worse than those they considered inferior, often to their own detriment.
Stimulating, illuminating, enriching
As some reviews have pointed out, this book presents a lot of research that are by now fairly well-known, without adding much that is new. However, I disagree with the view that one would do better to read certain other books, which though good (or better in some ways) yet do not make this one superfluous (unless you have an exceptional memory that retains most of what you read, AND are able to synthesize it). Brain Bugs is indeed what one might call an introductory level book, but I (who had read quite a few books on the subject so that much of the material was not "new") found that it presents things in its own light and thereby gave additional meaning to them. Because of some of the negative comments here, I hesitated a long time before buying the book (finally did only because it was on a BOGO sale), but having listened to it, I would be more than willing to pay full price. What brain research has uncovered is germane to so many essential aspects of life that I am happy to go over it more than once and to try to find as many pertinent angles as possible.
I was particularly stimulated by the author's reflections on religion and politics, and on our real-life relationship to these.
William Hughes has a pleasant voice and an energetic, interested way of reading. I hardly noticed the mispronunciation of words that bothered another reviewer, and was on the whole entirely satisfied. I won't give him five stars, but four and a half if that were an option.
I strongly disagree with those who object to the book because of its political bias. I can find nothing that anybody looking at things from an objective, scientific viewpoint would contest. You may not follow the author all the way in some of what he suggests (always on the basis of scientific discoveries and not in a purely speculative way), but the topics he broaches and sheds considerable light on are those of the greatest importance: political behaviour, spiritual experience, religious tradition. And I found the author's reflections extremely stimulating.
A terrific book that I almost missed because of a few negative reviewers. I urge you not to be misled as I almost was!
Definitely. The book filled in some important gaps in my knowledge of history, and was hard to put down. The Ottoman empire played an extremely important part in European history, and this book helps one to understand some essential elements: what was behind the terror that the Turks held for Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, why the empire fell apart, what the consequences were of this collapse. Come lurid details are indispensable for understanding.The almost caricatural but alas all too real excesses of the Ottoman sultans and their social-cultural support system is a good point of departure for reflecting on the importance of democracy (which sometimes seems a fallible system) and also on the role of religion in sustaining tyranny.
Yes. He is not among my favorite readers, however.
When Armenians were deliberately killed by the tens of thousands, for the flimsiest of reasons.When a particularly able general, betrayed by his sultan, was finally wounded and captured and treated with great courtesy by his captors.When Attaturk's first paramour hurries to his side upon receiving news of his divorce, only to be refused entrance, and is found dead in the street the next day with a bullet in her.
This is one of those audiobooks I could hardly put down, and I will surely listen to it again.
In one instance it cost the state $4 million to save the city $1 million. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
Stieglitz's main points are ones that nobody with any moral sense could deny and that can never be restated too often. The solutions he proposes may not seem the best to everyone, but most are eminently sensible, and if we look at things objectively rather from the standpoint of personal interest, we have to approve most of them. For instance, I personally prefer to leave my estate to people close to me without giving any to the government, and if it comes to a vote on the estate tax, I would vote against it out of personal interest, especially when I see the vast sums paid to banks who give obscene amounts to underserving CEOs. However, IF I could vote for all or several of Stieglitz's recommendations as a packet, I would certainly not hesitate!
Stieglitz book is a timely reminder 1. that our entire society has evolved in a deplorable direction during the past few decades and that we are heading somewhere that nobody wants to go 2. that our personal well-being is closely connected to the well-being of the society in which we live, so if that society is undermined by excessive inequality and a pernicious ideology based on selfishness, certain things that may seem to be personal sacrifice are in fact a way to save our society and ourselves. This may not be anything "new", but most of us lose sight of this in our lives. Those who reject Stieglitz's book might well ask themselves whether it is because he uncomfortably pricks their inner moral sensibility that it is more comfortable to ignore.
Do not let negative comments here keep you from reading this book with its important and well-argued message! It was not one of the books I started listening to with the most eagerness, but I was immensely happy and grateful when I did.
Among the most important
It exposes the shocking plight of millions of women in the world, AND it informs us of concrete ways to help. It is devastating in the horrors it reveals, and uplifting in the hope it evokes.
I was very reluctant to give to charities because I distrust organizations (why give anything if most of it goes to administrators or gets dissipated if not worse?), but this book directed me toward alternatives where such fears are circumvented.
In an age of increasing strife, corruption, fanaticism and selfishness, helping women everywhere to take their proper place in the world may well be our best way to survive.It should be noted that cultures than produce the worst violence and fanaticism are those in which women are the most oppressed. A deep reason underlies this: women are the ones that bring up children, and women suffering from oppression transmit this unconsciously to small boys who become deeply conflicted and frustrated men drawn to violence, oppression and fanaticism.
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