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Alfredo

ratings
19
REVIEWS
2
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • Bolivar: American Liberator

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Marie Arana
    • Narrated By David Crommett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (83)

    It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

    Jean says: "Absolutely fantastic book!"
    "There will be blood."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was completely absorbed by this audiobook! As a Venezuelan, I superficially studied Bolívar's life and the War of Independence in school, but the version I learned was very politically correct. This book shows both the strengths and weaknesses of The Liberator, and that made the experience all the more enlightening. I wish this had been available when I was a teenager! Personally, I wasn't aware of how brutal all participating sides had been during the conflict! Yikes! In that sense, this was an eye opener. Yes, there was courage and sacrifice, but also a surreal amount of violence and bloodshed. I was shocked and saddened by this perspective. The book includes a lot of detail without ever being even slightly tedious. No matter where you're from, chances are you'll be similarly fascinated with the history. There's much to learn from it and it would easily make an epic blockbuster movie.

    The narrator did a great job, only he constantly mispronounces the name of the city of Coro: the accent is on the first syllable, not the second! This is irritating as the city plays a recurrent role in the life of Bolívar and its name is repeated hundreds of times. Crommett's awful pronunciation of French words (mainly names and cities) is also a bit annoying, but there's a very limited number of these. What's most important is that he reads at a very nice pace (not too slowly or too quickly) and both his English and Spanish are very clear.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Oliver Twist

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Peter Batchelor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Born to an unmarried woman who dies after giving birth, orphan Oliver Twist seems destined to slog through a dismal life in the workhouse. A rebellious cry for more gets Oliver banished, and ultimately lands him on the dismal streets of London. The young outcast finds refuge with Fagin and his band of thieves before fate intervenes and puts Oliver in the hands of a kindly benefactor. It is likely that Dickens's own early youth as a child labourer contributed to the story's development.

    Jeanne says: "Great book- what a bargain! Excellent narrator!"
    "Excellent narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    It's hard to believe that one person alone – Peter Batchelor – is doing all the reading! He does a incredible job! This is one great example in which listening to an audiobook can add a whole new dimension to the story. I could never do all those British accents and tones in my head while reading from a book. It feels like going to the theater. And Batchelor adds just the right amount of comedy without overdoing it. I've watched several film adaptations, and yet this one-man-cast's performance has impressed me the most so far! The pace is a bit quick, though, which could be a problem if you're not a native English speaker (as is my case). I managed fine, but had to put a little extra effort at times.

    As for Oliver Twist, it's a great classic and much has already been said about it in other reviews. The only thing that bothers me is that the complex villain Fagin is not only Jewish, but is mostly referred to as "the Jew", as it gives the impression that there could be anti-Semitic feelings behind it. Then again, I've read that Dickens wasn't an anti-Semite and that he later created benevolent Jewish characters. I'd be interested in learning more about it. Otherwise, it's a very touching and often funny story.

    At the time I purchased the audiobook, it cost only $1.95, which is quite a bargain.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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