I have had this book on my wish list for quite sometime, but I was hesitant to spend 2 credits after reading the negative reviews here. I'm so sorry I hesitated. I've learned to ignore certain negative reviewers...maybe the reviewers themselves should be rated, as well as the book.
After reading Colleen McCullough's excellent "Masters of Rome series", I was interested in finding more on Rome. I tried Livy's History of Rome, which was good, but was so dry, and lacking in color or excitement, that I was unable to finish it. So I decided to try Steven Saylor's book. After only a few minutes of listening, I was rewarded with a wonderful, colorful, story of ancient Rome as Livy probably wished he had written it. Suddenly, Livy's stories made sense after listening to Roma by Saylor. Saylor obviously has absorbed and studied much of Livy, and he has fleshed out and enriched the barebone details of the ancient work, making it accessible and entertaining. For example, the three or four paragraphs in which Livy sketches the story of Hercules in Rome, becomes a lengthy, full chapter of adventure in Saylor's novel. The chapters on Romulus and Remus were so good, I wanted to read them twice. I never understood the significance of the Roman religious festivals such as Lupercalia (the original Valentine's Day), and so often found them boring. But after listening to Saylor's vivid descriptions and explanations, I find I want to celebrate Lupercalia myself!
Well worth two credits, and maybe even three. For the first time ever, I found myself listening to 7 hours at one sitting. A true historical adventure novel in the fashion of "Sarum" by Edward Rutherford, this work by Saylor surpassed my greatest expectations. If you're into historical novels, don't let this one go by without checking it out. Ignore the negative reviews, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. I was.
If you believe that the 911 terror attacks were an inside job, or that a secret, all-knowing military cabal is ,responsible for every war in history, or if you believe that every Republican is evil and every Democrat is an angel, then David Wilcock is for you. Continually blasting the reader with :Bush, Reagan, Nixon are evil incarnate and part of the Cabal threatening humanity, while Carter and other democrats are angels sent to help humanity, this book clearly destroys Wilcock's credibility. He's gone from an author with spiritual insights in his first book, to a political hack with political bias in this book. The first 1/3 of this book was spent recapping his first book, the Source Field Investigations, and the second 1/3 of the book was spent showing readers how to write a Hollywood screen play, and the final 1/3 of the book was spent spewing political diatribe. Wilcock claims to be the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, yet Edgar Cayce became more credible and more spiritual as he traveled through his life, while Wilcock has become less credible and more political as he travels his life. I don't remember Edgar Cayce ever being political, which made him relevant to everyone's life. Wilcock is only relevant to the 911 inside job conspiracy theoriists, and democrats. Might as well read Alex Jones instead.
This was a magnificient tale from start to finish. Every other biography, movie, or story about Augustus and Mark Antony, leaves you feeling like Augustus is the 'good guy', and Antony is the 'bad guy' ...such a simplistic description fell by the wayside when I read this biography.
In reality, both Augustus and Antony were cruel, despotic tyrants with ruthlessness and savagery in their hearts. Think of Augustus and Antony as being the equivalent of the Hitler and Stalin of the ancient world. Hard to describe either Hitler or Stalin as a 'good guy'. Augustus was the coward and untrustworthy ally at the beginning of the biography, hiding in a marshy swamp at the Battle of Phillipi to avoid joining his men in a battle he was losing; and his betrayal of Cicero, who had helped Augustus to power, by surrendering him to Antony, showed the pettiness and selfishness of Rome's 'greatest emperor'. Talk about despicable, Augustus divorced his first wife Clodia Pulcra, and married Livia on the same day Clodia gave birth to Augustus' first child. And Antony, though not the coward Augustus was, was just as totally self-interested, black-hearted and dishonest, from his foreknowledge of Caesar's assassination. to his deserting/abandoning of his army and navy at the Battle of Actium in order to sexually pursue Cleopatra.
The evil of both Augustus and Antony is breath-taking--the betrayals, the greed, the self-interest...I wound up hoping both tyrants would die before the end of the book...which thankfully they do. No longer do I feel pity for the elderly Augustus' poisoning at the hands of his wife Livia...he surely deserved worse. And Antony's and Cleopatra's well-deserved deaths had me cheering as well. A well-written biography which takes the Hollywood romantic aspect out of the real story of Rome during the civil wars of Augustus and Antony.
Good overall review of the history of electricity. However, I agree with another reviewer here. The total and absolute omission of the contributions of Nikola Tesla is like writing a history of astronomy and leaving out discussion of Galileo. The author Bodanis obviously has such a prejudice and bias against Tesla, that the omission is like an elephant in the room that he doesn't want to talk about. It makes me leery of the author's other assertions, such as:
1) the assertion that Samuel Morse stole the idea of the telegraph from Joseph Henry, a professor at Princeton
2) the assertion that Edison was a villain without a conscience who was hired by Western Union as a 'patent-breaker' in order to crush Alexander Graham Bell's telephone patents;
3) the claim that Marconi invented radio all by himself, leaving out discussion of Tesla; and the Supreme Court rulings that revoked Marconi's patents in favor of Tesla's
4) the claim that Shockley stole the idea of semi-conductors from his assistants;
According to Bodanis, the whole history of electricity is full of back-stabbers, cheaters, patent-villains, liars, and thieves. While this may be true, the author should have given a more neutral presentation. I enjoy hearing both sides of a story.
But overall, Bodanis does explain with vivid imagery how electricity and radio waves work, so simply put that even a layman can understand it. Just be aware of the author's personal and blatant biases in this work. This book will lead me to double-check the history facts presented by Bodanis.
As a Civil War buff, I was looking forward to Gone With The Wind. I had heard it compared to 'War and Peace'. The best parts of 'War and Peace' were the descriptive battle scenes. Unfortunately, 'Gone With The Wind' doesn't have any battle scenes. It's not a war novel, it's a romance novel. It's the Civil War told from the woman's perspective...sort of like the Civil War equivalent of 'Army Wives'...scenes of the home front. The most descriptive scenes involved the anguish and pain of childbirth. Even though I've seen the movie many times, I was not expecting the sensation of seeing the Civil War through a woman's eyes as I did when reading the book. Ended up not caring too much for Scarlett O'Hara. She seems meaner in the book. I can see why Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer...very well written.
This book was better than The Adventures of Huck Finn, which most consider to be Twain's masterpiece. I liked Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians more than any other Twain work. Even if you only read the 15,000 words that Twain wrote, which is roughly 25% of the book (two hours of listening pleasure), you will be amazed by Twain at his adult best. This is no juvenile fiction...like Twain's other works...Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer Detective, etc,..., . The book examines how each character grows and develops from the childish personalities exhibited in other books, into fully developed complex adults. Tom comes to realize that 'book' Indians in the adventure novels he has read, do not act like 'real' Indians in the real world, and 'book' women in his romanticized novels do not act like 'real' women. Like Don Quixote awakening from his fantasies, Tom comes to realize that he can't believe everything he reads in books, James Fennimore Cooper and Sir Walter Scott, being just some of the authors that Twain skewers. And Huck comes to realize how to rely on his own instinct for what's right and wrong, rather than be guided by the often intolerant and bigoted social morays of his time, . Even former slave Jim grows and develops an awareness of what being free really means, after living among the wild Indians and being treated like an equal for the first time in his life.
If you're expecting the same old juvenile, silly nonsense Twain usually put out, hold onto your seats when you read this one. Best book I've listened to on Audible. Best Twain book I've ever read.
I have read this book a few times before. But this I time, I read it after reading H.G. Well's Outline Of History. Many of the same philosophical thoughts are expounded upon in both books. Wells writes about the evolution of the human race in The Outline of History, and about the devolution of the human race in The Time Machine. The Morlocks bear an erie resemblance to the Neanderthals, whom Wells described as being remembered in the human racial collective memory as the 'ogre' of mythological prehistory. The crabs and insects who ruled the Earth of the early Devonian Period 400 million years ago are described by Wells in Outline of History, and they are similar to the giant crabs he describes who rule the Earth at the end of the planet in Time Machine. For anyone who wishes the Time Traveler had spent more time in that deteriorated library/museum of the future, try reading Outline of History and Time Machine back-to-back. Good scientific knowledge mixed with some action-thriller moments.
Wonderful book that had me enthralled. Got a little long in places, but I stuck it out, and am glad I did. I tried reading Rutherford's "Sarum", not once, but twice, and could never get beyond the dragging, plodding pace of action. I anticipated a similar outcome on this book. But after reading other reviews, I decided to take a chance.
This book is for anyone with a big blank space in their knowledge of Irish history. Some chapters I had to read twice, they were so thrilling--the Siege of Drogheda, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the story of Robert Emmett, the Great Potato Famine, the Easter Uprising. I understand the Irish weltangst a little better now,... and no wonder the enmity between the Irish and the British. I'm inspired to explore Irish literature and mythos further.
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