Even if you are a Bryson fan, I would pass on this book. Bryson explains (warns) at the begining that this is just a collection of weekly columns that he wrote for a British magazine, and that he often did not really have much to stay. I am a fan of his work, and thought he was being modest - he wasn't. It is very clear that most of the columns were written at the last moment and based on what he did that day or is seeing out the window - and those are the good ones. For the others it seems that he just picked an article out of the paper, grabbed a few facts (usually getting them wrong) and then get sanctimonious about the subject he clearly does not have any clue about. Perhaps he felt that his British readers would not know any better. Imagine if you took Seinfield's "observational humor", removed ALL the humor and then even botched most of the observations. Extremely disappointing.
This was not like any of the other Poirot books - no real mystery to solve, just running from place to place encountering "villains" that are more ridiculous than any Batman or Bond flick. I can't believe anyone who liked the earlier books - or mysteries in general - would like this.
The author does not delve very deep. The begining is the best part, but that is based on older (better) books. The second half, where the author needed to do the work himself, is a bland surface treatment with little insight. You will get a LOT about how some people found him to be a dirty hippy when he was young, but almost nothing to explain why he was such a critical part of Apple or how he did all that he did.
The story is an old one - breezy adventure, not too good but somewhat fun - a "popcorn" book. The narration is not very good, however, due to a real unfortunate choice by the narrator. About halfway through the book, the main character undergoes a radical change of appearance, and the narrator therefor decided to do the halves of the book in a different "voice" (even though most of the book is internal monologue, which should not change in plastic surgery). The second half of the book is the narrator's real voice - the first half is in an affected swishy voice that just offends.
This is NOT a book about war, or fighting in space, or action of any kind. You should NOT judge the book by it's cover or title or you will be disappointed (as several reviewers were), but if you know going in that it is more of a detective story (where the detective is a librarian type) you will like it. I would actually compare it to "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" or the other George Smiley spy books - there is very little action currently happening (but past action is discovered and discussed by the protagonist). That is not a bad thing (John La Carrie sold millions of those books, and they are great), but if you are expecting the protagonist to have a "talent for war" (he doesn't) or men in spacesuits (the cover depicts a man dead for a hundred years) you will be disappointed. If you want an interesting future mystery with some science fiction (it is the future, but that future is 90% like the present) and several very interesting "twists", give this a try.
If you want to read about the French and Indian War and the aftermath, skip this poor book and instead get "The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War (Unabridged)", also on audible and with the same narrator. This book is very poorly written and constructed, and treats the Indians as a bunch of cartoon "noble savages" rather than examining the different tribes as different people (who often fought each other). The first 45 minutes is just telling you (twice!) what the next 5.5 hours will hold (and then it doesn't deliver). No narritive structure, no compelling story, nothing worth listening to.
One of the worst written books I have heard or read, and the worst I have downloaded from audible in 2 years. The story: for hundreds of years there were a lot of people catching and eating cod, but then they were overfished and there are no longer giant stocks of cod. Now you have no reason to get this book, as the author does not add much to that sentence ? but drags it out for hours. A bunch of relatively unrelated fish facts and boring details of random fish stories ? but no storytelling ability is present. Dull and repetitive.O
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