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Brad

San Angelo, TX, U.S. | Member Since 2009

ratings
12
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
11

  • The Era of the Crusades

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    What were the forces that led to one of history's most protracted and legendary periods of conflict? How did they affect the three great civilizations that participated in them? And, ultimately, why did they end and what did they accomplish? In these 36 lectures, you'll look at the "big picture" of the Crusades as an ongoing period of conflict involving Western Christendom (we would now call it Western Europe), the Byzantine Empire, and the Muslim world.

    Tad Davis says: "Fascinating background"
    "I really tried to like this but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a student of history and find it fascinating to learn about eras of which I had no previous knowledge (like the crusades). I have done several of the great courses lecture series, and in general have found the professor engaging, informative, and very educational. While Professor Harl clearly has an excellent command of the details of this era of history, I found his delivery and excessive minutia to be extremely boring. It's as if he's a doctor and can't remember that his patient doesn't understand the doctor jargon being used. Clearly he knows his subject very well, he just can't recall that I may not remember the different eras of the Byzantine Empire at all. I hung in there for a great while but in the end, I just couldn't endure it longer. I can only imagine the stress of the students taking this course trying to remember the minutia delivered for the test, and trying to stay awake in the process.

    I left this course knowing little more than I started, and very little indeed will likely remain in long term memory. If you are interested in a much more engaging course I might suggest "The world was never the same, events that changed history" by Professor J. Rufus Fears or "History of the world, a global perspective" by Prof. Gregory Aldrete.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drowning Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Caitlin R. Kiernan
    • Narrated By Suzy Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (195)

    India Morgan Phelps - Imp to her friends - is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth - or from something far, far stranger....

    Diane says: "A Modern Haunting"
    "Waste of a credit..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the few times that reviews led me wrong in selecting a book. I read audiobooks for a good story. I read them to enlighten me. I read them to entertain me. I read them to open my mind to something I haven't considered before. I am having a hard time knowing why I listened to this entire book. This book had no redeeming quality that I can identify.

    I don't get you people who reviewed and said this was a moving experience. To me this seemed to be the ramblings of a schizophrenic's fantasy world. I did agree that many of the characteristics of IMP in the story were typical of schizophrenia. But let me just say that the flight of ideas of a psychotic mind does not make a good story. To sum up the book in a nutshell: A struggling schizophrenic goes off her meds and has a wild fantasy of having a lesbian sexual relationship with an evil ghost. Then she gets better. I just saved you 13 hrs and 13 seconds of frustration...

    I will say that the narrator does a good job in the story. Otherwise, I wish that I hadn't listened to all the glowing reviews and had saved my credit for a better book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Atonement

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1017)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (305)

    In Atonement, three children lose their innocence, as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935, and their lives are changed forever. Cecilia Tallis is of England's priviledged class; Robbie Turner is the housekeeper's son. In their moment of intimate surrender, they are interrupted by Cecilia's hyperimaginative and scheming 13-year-old sister, Briony. And as chaos consumes the family, Briony commits a crime, the guilt of which she shall carry throughout her life.

    William R. Creech says: "Well written; well read."
    "Worth the trouble in the end..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I am a frequent audiobook reader and rarely do I find I just can't take the tedium any more and put it down. This book was assigned to my high school senior's literature class and I like to read the same books so we can intelligently discuss them. I put this book away twice in the first ten chapters before I finally mustered the drive to press on.

    Chapter 10 is about when things start to happen. In the first part of this book you literally listen for hours and NOTHING happens. We get a description of a 10 year old's daydream, a description of the wallpaper, what the landscape vista looks like, etc. Patience pays off however, and by the time part II starts you start to really care about the characters.

    This is basically a 3 part book with an epilogue. The second part gives a vivid description of the early British army in WWII, and part 3 the life of a young nurse in London just before the Dunkirk evacuation. I found the descriptions in these parts to be fascinating. It was almost as if the reader was there.

    The epilogue brings it home with the big picture of the whole story. Different reviewers take away different ideas but my thought was how much our lives and the guilt we carry forward our whole lives can rest on the poor decisions made in childhood and our youth. It's a great theme for young people to consider. We never know how even the smallest decision in youth can have a profound effect on our whole lives.

    The reader had just the right cadence and accent. Overall, I would recommend this one only for those who don't mind a slowly developing plot and big ideas to consider in the end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Beggars in Spain

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Nancy Kress
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (68)

    In a world where the slightest edge can mean the difference between success and failure, Leisha Camden is beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent, and one of a growing number of human beings who have been genetically modified to never require sleep. Once considered interesting anomalies, now Leisha and the other "Sleepless" are outcasts, victims of blind hatred, political repression, and shocking mob violence meant to drive them from human society and, ultimately, from Earth itself.

    Rachelle says: "Pleasantly Surprised"
    "Don't waste your credit..."
    Overall

    This book had such potential, and actually started out fairly interesting. By the end of the book I found I really didn't care about any of the characters, and it had completely lost my interest. It's a shame as I think I could have been so much better with deeper character development and a meaningful story line. In the end, I found myself asking "What's the point?"

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9870)
    Performance
    (4801)
    Story
    (4829)

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Suzanne says: "The scare is in the human nature under stress."
    "Long but well worth it"
    Overall

    I am a frequent audiobook reader and rarely do I feel compelled to write a review for a book. I would have to make an exception this time. Just finished this book and although it is a very long read, I found myself so engrossed in the story I had difficulty putting it down. The story is complex, well researched, and the character development is deep and it seems as though I may have met some of those described in the book. If I have any complaints it would be the author's obvious anti-Christian bias and liberal slant. All of the Christians represented in the book were either secretly evil but hiding behind their religion, or had deep questions about the existence of God. For example, the pastor of the local church praying to "Not there". As a Christian, I was put off by that obvious bias.
    Aside from that weakness it was a great book, and previously I have not been interested in Stephen King novels. I may give some of his other works a second look after this one.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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