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Christopher

Shanghai, China | Member Since 2015

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 251 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2015
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  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (514)
    Performance
    (483)
    Story
    (485)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
    "Good Overview of Ancient Egyptian History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Ancient Egypt the most enjoyable?

    The Professor's enthusiasm for the subject and his convincing explanation of why most of Western Civilization owes more than we realize to Ancient Egypt (we tend to think everything "Western" comes from Greece, but a lot of Greek learning came from Egypt).


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to and why?

    I have listened to a lot of "Great Courses" on history now (over 12) during different periods. This is more interesting than "Great Battles" and "Vikings" but less interesting that "Charlemagne" or "Barbarians of the Steppes" in terms of interesting content.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Professor has great passion for the topic and this comes through in the lecture. But, the lectures are little to repetitive and filled with "cute" comments about Egyptian customs. THE PROFESSOR DOES NOT GIVE US ENOUGH DATES when he discusses development. This means it is very hard to put Egyptian history in context with other Civilizations.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This is a very long lecture series. Impossible to listen to in one sitting! But good for 2-3 weeks of 2 hour commuting/day.


    Any additional comments?

    You can listen to this at 1.25x.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Literature

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David J. Schenker
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    The ancient Greeks left the world that came after them-particularly our own and our ways of seeing it-an incalculable legacy. Mention politics, philosophy, law, medicine, history, even the visual arts, and we barely scratch the surface of what we owe this extraordinary culture. How can we best learn about these people who have given us so much, who have deepened and enriched our understanding of ourselves, and whose world remains far closer than we might imagine? The 36 lectures of this sparkling series from a frequently honored teacher is an outstanding place to begin.

    Bernie Cullen says: "Excellent course"
    "Great Overview of Greek Literature!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Literature again? Why?

    I might listen to this lecture again selectively, but I probably would buy a hard copy book (with more actual quotations from the Masterpieces) next time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Literature?

    How (and where) the "Argonautica" fits in the timeline of Greek Literature (it is Hellenistic, not Classic, greek).


    What does Professor David J. Schenker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I very much appreciated the Professor's selection of quotations and his occasional quotes from the original Greek. This helped me appreciate his depth of understanding of the topic and also why the original is never really reachable in translation (as is true of Chinese and Japanese). He also has great passion for the topic and this makes what is normally taught as boring old stories come alive.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It is better taken in 2-3 lecture sequences at a time.


    Any additional comments?

    Really appreciated the chronological presentation (now I have a framework) and how Professor relates later Masterpieces to earlier traditions.

    NOTE: This book can be listened to at 1.25x without loss of content but may be appreciated better at 1.0x.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven Novella
    Overall
    (1717)
    Performance
    (1518)
    Story
    (1492)

    No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever. These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life.

    Jason says: "Clear thinking is valuable beyond measure!"
    "Good Insights to Learn From"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is in the top third of Great Course lectures I have listened to on Audible.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great insight into how people ignore the world around them and, in particular, facts in making decisions.


    What aspect of Professor Steven Novella’s performance would you have changed?

    I thought the narration was good, but there was some repetition and emphasis in areas with perhaps less depth than I would have liked.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Understanding why people are "Dummies" For Dummies


    Any additional comments?

    This course is less dependent than other courses on external (paper) reference material although I wish Audible would at least provide a bibliography with these (of course you cannot be too choosy as the audible version can cost as little as 20% of the subscription version from the Great Courses website).

    NOTE: This course can be listened to at 1.25x without loss of understanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Mark Miodownik
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (699)
    Performance
    (617)
    Story
    (614)

    Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.

    Peter says: "Engaging, fun, and educational"
    "Hope He Writes Another Book Like This"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amazingly engaging book about 10 miraculous substances we see or use ever day and why they are the way they are. From steel to chocolate. Absolutely fascinating every minute of the read. A must read title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing Like It in the World Part 2: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By Jeffrey DeMunn
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Nothing Like It in the World is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise comes to life. The U.S. government pitted two companies - the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads - against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. As its peak the work force approached the size of Civil War armies, with as many as 15,000 workers on each line. The surveyors, the men who picked the route, lived off buffalo, deer, and antelope.

    Christopher says: "OK but pretty repetitive"
    "OK but pretty repetitive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has its moments but was not what I expected from an author of this reputation. It is often repetitive using almost the same wording over and over when describing certain historical events and characters.

    I enjoyed the character development and use of actual quotes from participants.

    Best listened to at 1.25 good reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stories from Xenophon

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Xenophon
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Stories from Xenophon is a valuable, firsthand historical account of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), a bitter struggle between Athens and Sparta for the control of Greece. While historians have debated some of its omissions, Stories from Xenophon remains a fascinating document about democracy in crisis, civil war, and the beginning of the decline of one of the world's great cultures.

    Christopher says: "Essential Reading"
    "Essential Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great way to access an essential classic without the pain. The historical notes are excellent for context and the reader reads the elegant translation beret well. Must read for the serious history buff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rome and the Barbarians

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    The history of the Romans as they advanced the frontiers of Classical civilization is often told as a story of warfare and conquest-the mighty legions encountering the "barbarians." But this only tells one side of the story.Who were the Celts, Goths, Huns, and Persians met by the Romans as they marched north and east? What were the political, military, and social institutions that made Rome so stable, allowing its power to be wielded against these different cultures for nearly three centuries?

    Mike says: "History of Rome from the Barbarian's Perspective!"
    "How Barbarians Created Roman HIstory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great course if you are interested in Roman history. The course really is a history of the Roman empire from inception to its decline and fall told against the background of barbarian invasions and interactions.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Professor Harl's discussion of economic and social factors influencing Roman history was wonderful. He is very careful to disclose sensitive issues in historiography and to let the listener know which side of a controversy he is on. Very, very professional.


    What about Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s performance did you like?

    The unbelievable breadth of his knowledge and detailed observations concerning cause and effect in Rome's interaction (and integration) with barbarians. I came feel that I could see the panorama of Roman history and the factors (and internal inconsistencies) that led to its fall. There is a lot here for politicians to learn from.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not that type of book. But I really enjoyed Professor Harl's presentation. Even in 40 hours of Roman history there was never a dull moment (in fact, I was constantly going back to listen again to the details in certain passages).


    Any additional comments?

    Easy to listen to a 1.25x rather than 1.0.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (226)

    The word "barbarian" quickly conjures images of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. Yet few people realize these men belong to a succession of nomadic warriors who emerged from the Eurasian steppes to conquer civilizations. It's a part of ancient and medieval history that's often overlooked, but for an accurate view of how the world evolved, it's essential. Covering some 6,000 miles and 6,000 years, this eye-opening course illuminates how a series of groups pushed ever westward, coming into contact with the Roman Empire, Han China, and distant cultures from Iraq to India.

    Christopher says: "More than You Ever Wanted to Know re Steppe Nomads"
    "More than You Ever Wanted to Know re Steppe Nomads"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes to be better than the print version?

    This is a fabulous course. The course covers over 3 thousands years of Central Asian and Near Eastern history and is a wonderful introduction to the Empires that have flourished there over this period. You come to appreciate the mounted archer and the savagry of the great warriors of the plains as well as their military sophistication.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The discussion of Ghenghis Kahns, his sons and the history of their empires is fascinating. This is the best structured overview of this topic that I have ever hear (or seen). Really a wonderful course and presentation.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    To say that Professors Harl has an encyclopedic knowledge of Central Asian, Near Eastern and European history is an incredible understatement. You will be constantly dazzled by the facts, figures and analysis that rolls of Professor Harl's tongue seemingly without end.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Ninja's of the dessert--3,000 years of the horse archer.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • In a Sunburned Country

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2383)
    Performance
    (930)
    Story
    (927)

    Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.

    Larry says: "Laugh out loud funny"
    "Learn About How to Visit Australia"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to In a Sunburned Country again? Why?

    I might listen to a few segments, especially if I were to consider a visit there.


    Would you recommend In a Sunburned Country to your friends? Why or why not?

    This is a very entertaining (and easy) read. You learn about how deadly so many animals can be in Australia and what a unique place it is. Reading this book really moves you to Google Map Austraila's great Outback. You realize how right Bill is--there is just nothing there for tens of thousands of square miles.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Bill Bryson is a very gifted reader of his own matial giving every humorous observation exactly the right tone and cadance to make you laugh out loud (very disconcerting to other passangers on the Shanghai subway where I commute).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I like Bill's books a lot as they are among the few that can make me laugh out loud. He is a very entertaining writer even on topics you that you expect to be pretty serious.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14075)
    Performance
    (6311)
    Story
    (6354)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "Great Historical Narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Pillars of the Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a top level read and it is one of Ken Follett's most enduring and timeless novels. Great character development over a very long book (almost 1,000 pages in printed form).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Pillars of the Earth?

    Follett has several great passages in this novel. He is extremely adept at placing sympathetic figures in dangerous circumstances and creating very dramatic tension. He also uses a wide canvas of geography (from York to Jerusalem) and history (period from "White Ship" to death of Thomas Becket) to tell a great story of ordinary people facing great challenges and themselves creating enduring beauty.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    I think his performance of Prior Phillip was best with Jack second. Female characters were also handled well. My only complaint on the performance was that it got pretty worn out in over 40 hours of listening ;)


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Be Glad You Live Now!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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