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Christopher

Leawood, KS, United States | Member Since 2010

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 198 ratings
  • 463 titles in library
  • 70 purchased in 2014
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  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case for Evolution and Against Intelligent Design

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Michael Shermer
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    Columnist and publisher Michael Shermer, once an evangelical Christian and a creationist, argues that Intelligent Design proponents invoke a combination of ad science, political antipathy, and flawed theology in their new brand of creationism. He refutes their pseudoscientific arguments and then demonstrates why conservatives and people of faith can and should embrace evolution. Why Darwin Matters is an incisive examination of what is at stake in the debate over evolution.

    Christopher says: "Good book, unfortunate abridgement"
    "Good book, unfortunate abridgement"
    Overall

    I'm a great fan of Shermer and his various works, having read his SciAm column for years, and this is no exception. Evolution vs. Intelligent Design is a natural and suitable part of his overall gospel of skepticism. My complaint with this book (like the reviewer "A" above) is not the content as such, but rather the abridgement. I think most people who are interested in this sort of thing are hungry for length and detail, and would gladly have paid attention for the full-length recording.

    I don't regret the purchase by any means, but I would certainly prefer a reading of the full text.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Massimo Pigliucci
    • Narrated By Jay Russell
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (167)

    Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and - borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham - the nonsense on stilts.

    thunder road says: "Thought provoking and relevant"
    "Good and detailed content, tolerable narration"
    Overall

    As for the book itself, I concur with what others have said: a very detailed, compelling, and for the most part well-written account of the boundaries of science (as opposed to pseudoscience and emerging knowledge) with excellent accounts of specific topics like evolution vs intelligent design, various pseudo-scientific claims, etc. The author can be a bit dry or overly-lengthy in places, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Pigliucci does not pull his punches in defence of the scientific consensus on evolution, climate change, etc., which may come off as closed-minded for those who disagree with his stances.


    As for the narrator... I'm afraid that you'll find a lot better ones on Audible, but for me it wasn't a consistent distraction. Notable mistakes include once saying "physics" rather than "psychics" in Ch. 2, which was actually funny in the context, and mispronouncing the name of well-known figure Noam Chomsky as "Noah Chumsky". It seems like someone should have caught those, but then I don't know much about the editing process that goes into these audiobooks.

    With that qualification, highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Victor Sebestyen
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (82)

    For more than 40 years, communism held eight European nations in its iron fist. Yet by the end of 1989, all of these nations had thrown off communism, declared independence, and embarked on the road to democracy.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Unsurpassed"
    "A fascinating survey of the era"
    Overall

    Those who are already interested in the history of the Eastern Bloc will find this rich with satisfactory detail. Others new to the subject will appreciate the wide variety of areas covered, and the focus on the individuals, not only the overall movements and ideologies involved. The narrative moves back and forth between the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Afghanistan, and Czechoslovakia, so it's necessary to pay attention or one might get lost; but overall I think that is a virtue.

    As for production, I have no complaints. The narration was clear, no pronunciation mistakes with tricky Slavic words, and so it faded to the background, allowing one to focus on the book.

    Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Karl Marx
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    Widely debated since its publication in 1848, The Communist Manifesto is one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Presenting an analytical approach to the problems of capitalism and the resulting class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the text lays out the rationale and goals of communism as conceived by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

    Christopher says: "Good recording, poor selection"
    "Good recording, poor selection"
    Overall

    As a recording of the Communist Manifesto, this is excellent, if overpriced. The narrator did a fine job. However, the "Other Writings" are a somewhat esoteric selection of Marx's lesser-known articles and essays. Of some interest to the more dedicated Marx students, but of little use as a general introduction to his thinking. It would have been better to bundle the Manifesto with the introductory "Wage Labour and Capital", selections from "The 18th Brumaire", "Capital", etc.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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