I think it's interesting how folk from the more "conservative" side of the spectrum tend to call something "biased" if they don't agree. Rather, MacCulloch comes from a specific scholarly school in the study of religion. This is not a question of bias, but one of approach. I tended to disagree with him on some fine points, such as the bit in Corinthians where Paul allegedly instructs women not to speak, but also, in the same book, tells women that they need to cover their heads when they prophesy. MacCulloch just calls that an "unstable" contradiction where my understanding is that this might have been an interlineation by some copyist. So is MacCulloch biased? Of course he is, to the extent that we all approach the world from different world views. But generally, we just happen to disagree on that point.
Despite my occasional disagreements, I found the book ably written, giving me a lot to mull over. New material that I hadn't read before. That's always the glory of good writing. It's never a good thing to take in anything as "gospel truth." One should always read from a variety of sources, because there may be a new take on the subject that will also be compelling.
The reader, Walter Dixon, is really quite good. He reminded me of a good university professor, rather than a random audiobook reader. He was easy to listen to and never irritated me. I found that his reading kept me listening, while I walked, drove, and made dinner. I even tried to listen while doing some work work, but I kept getting distracted so had to turn it off.
Important information, should make us all uneasy about the future that has been crafted for an entire segment of the population by a combination of the "war on drugs" and commercialization of corrections. My only quibble is that it is a little repetitive. The narration is perfect. Totally appropriate and easy on the ears (if not on the brain).
I really like Anne Perry's books--her plots and characters are great. And Davina Porter does a great job narrating. But really, does Perry have to remind us every ten minutes about what has gone before? It's like a serialized novel, where you have to get readers up to speed in case they missed a chapter. It got very irritating.
Other than that, good story, good characters. Would like to see her highlight more working class characters as regulars.
I listened to this a year ago, and then again last week, and again this week. I keep finding more in it. This past-middle aged feminist loved every minute (except for the bit about older women...), but loved the message about how much more could have been accomplished if they had known each other... The cover picture is way off. A better one would have been a disheveled Polly in a tattered corporal uniform or Igorina in a laundrywoman's clothing. I think this is my favorite diskworld novel. You really need to listen to it/read it a couple of times--or pay very close attention--to get all the foreshadowing. Very well crafted. And lots of fun.
Amazing story and performance. I couldn't stop listening--stayed up into the wee hours to finish the book. For those who think this couldn't have happened in the 1960s, we need to remember that there were tremendous regional differences, and local oppression was rampant in those years. The Civil Rights Act did more than ameliorate racism, and the War on Poverty did more than redistribute income. This story is not just a page-turning thriller, but it is also a compelling sociological examination of small town relations in the era before federal standards of justice were introduced.
This was clearly a story written by a man about a woman, and about children, and about a violent man, very ably read by Will Patton. I have loved Patton's reading of James Lee Burke's books, and he's even better here. What is remarkable about his reading is his ability to subtly shift the voice so you know who is being centered as the story progresses--Luce, the children, Bud, Stubblefield. Frazier, through Patton, takes us into the lives of the major characters, and we gain new eyes each time he shifts the scene.
I loved this book. There is a magical quality about it. I'm not sure I can bear to listen to it again, not for a while, but I'm so glad I did give away a night to it.
5 stars for narration, 3 for the book. Amazing voices, especially Abileen. The book itself was disappointing. Flashes of great writing, but a tendency to lapse into a popular novel mode. Tepid ending.
The fake accidents are really annoying, and her dialogue is awful. She'd be better off reading rather than trying to act.
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