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Christopher

Member Since 2001

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 200 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • Charlemagne

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Richard Winston
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (749)
    Performance
    (338)
    Story
    (343)

    Charlemagne was easily one of the most fascinating figures in Western civilization, as well as the most heroic and romantic. The 47 years of his reign marked some of the most significant and far reaching events of the Middle Ages. Undoubtedly, it was his enlightened vision for Europe that resulted in the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of cultural flowering that never really ceased to develop, and which led in a straight line directly to that period of astonishing achievement we now call the High Gothic.

    Frank says: "A wonderful biography"
    "Learn About the Frankish Emergence in Europe"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Charlemagne the most enjoyable?

    Both the writer and the reader are excellent


    What other book might you compare Charlemagne to and why?

    Historic biographies of Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon


    Which character – as performed by Charlton Griffin – was your favorite?

    The whole book is a chronological history


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

    The Man Who Made Europe


    Any additional comments?

    This is an excellent book if you wish to learn about the great acceleration of learning and civilization initiated by Charles the Great. Many myths are debunked. The writer makes Charlemange both a person and relevant to us in the modern era. A great listen if you like relatively obscure history.

    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
    (38)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    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.

    0 of 0 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
    (100)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    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.

    Mike says: "Attila the Hun demands you read this book!!!"
    "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.


    1 of 1 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
    (2138)
    Performance
    (706)
    Story
    (704)

    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
    (12884)
    Performance
    (5243)
    Story
    (5285)

    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
  • The Decisive Battles of World History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (112)

    Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events. In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.

    Ken Mitchell says: "Excellent survey of decisive battles in history"
    "For Those Who Thought They Hated to Study Battles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Decisive Battles of World History the most enjoyable?

    An exceptional Professor who makes the context of every historical battle very informative and engaging.


    What other book might you compare The Decisive Battles of World History to and why?

    Lives of the Noble Greeks -- Just Kidding


    Which character – as performed by Professor Gregory S. Aldrete – was your favorite?

    N.A.


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

    Don't Bet On the Favorites!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7887)
    Performance
    (7501)
    Story
    (7510)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Really Good Science For a Really Improbably Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. This book tells a story of human endurance in a unimaginably alien environment supported by great science and our current understanding of the Red Planet.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Martian?

    The trip across the Martian surface to the return module.


    Which character – as performed by R. C. Bray – was your favorite?

    NA


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

    The struggle to create food sufficient to survive a rescue mission


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert D. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.

    Jean says: "Pending problems"
    "Biggest Challenge for US in Next 50 Years"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a really well written and presented analysis of the very complex topic of the strategic challenge to US power posed by the South China Sea and the countries which surround it. Informed by a large number of in-person interviews with strategic participants it is one of the very few "current affairs" type books that is a truly absorbing read.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The discussions of the roles of Lee Kuan Yu and Chiang Kai Shek in creating the current East Asia. Both descriptions were very insightful and informative.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Prichard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first one. It is excellent even at 1.25x.


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

    "The Coming Storm"


    Any additional comments?

    Would really love to meet Mr. Kaplan in person some day. He bring deep historical knowledge to current affairs. Really wonderful book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Michio Kaku
    • Narrated By Feodor Chin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (550)
    Performance
    (502)
    Story
    (494)

    For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high-tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.

    Gary says: "More breadth than depth"
    "Good Science, Good Entertainment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Future of the Mind the most enjoyable?

    This is a very thought provoking book that is not bogged down by a lot of technicalities. Kaku-san brings us up to date on recent research in biology and cognitive science against a physics (quantum) background. There is speculation, prediction and thoughtful projection of the scientific world presented in a thoroughly entertaining read (or listen). The latter part of the book is a little too much of a rehash of "futurism" (with less of a focus on the mind), but it is still very interesting.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Complex science made accessible for the interested laymen. If you can read (and generally understand) a Scientific American article, you will have no problem with this book.


    Have you listened to any of Feodor Chin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Good, but not the best. Yes, you can listen to this book at 1.25x and miss little.


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

    The discussion of recent evidence of structural and chemical deficiencies in the brain and their link to mental illness was most interesting. It appears that psychiatry has been trying for 80 years to fix a car's engine by polishing the hood instead of looking inside.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one you will want to listen to and finish as soon as you can. Real reading enjoyment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (125)

    Step into the real world of the spy with this detailed and unforgettable tour of the millennia-long history and enduring legacy of espionage and covert operations. While most of us associate this top-secret subject with popular fiction and film, its true story is more fascinating, surprising, and important than you could possibly imagine. These 24 thrilling lectures survey how world powers have attempted to work in the shadows to gain secret information or subvert enemies behind the scenes.

    Christopher says: "Learn About the History of Spying."
    "Learn About the History of Spying."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History in three words, what would they be?

    You Won't Believe


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very good overview of the history of spying and covert operations from ancient times to the modern era. Not nearly long or detailed enough to do the subject justice, however. The course teacher is superb--really, really talented at presenting the topic--not a minute of boredom here.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    History of covert operations in the 19th Century was fascinating.


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

    When the spies caught caught and killed--it happens more often than we imagine.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a need for more objective reviews of this topic in the literature and fewer "gee-whiz" types books (a la Clancy). This is towards the Le Carre style and the lecturer has great understanding of his topic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Baroness Orczy
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (229)

    The Scarlet Pimpernel hides the identity of a British nobleman who, masked by various disguises, leads a band of young men to undermine the Reign of Terror after the French Revolution. The Scarlet Pimpernel makes daring raid after daring raid into the heart of France to save aristocrats condemned to the guillotine. At each rescue, he leaves his calling card: a small, blood-red flower - a pimpernel - mocking the power of Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety.

    Amazon Customer says: "Beautifully Written Classic"
    "The Greatest Gothic Spy Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Scarlet Pimpernel in three words, what would they be?

    Hold Your Seat


    What did you like best about this story?

    Good character development; recognizable locations and plot development.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But the narrator is good. I chose this over several other narrations because of its higher rating and I was not disappointed.


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

    Spying Against the French Revolution


    Any additional comments?

    Great Gothic type novel of spying. I picked this up because of other books on spying generally. It is viewed as the earliest and one of the best of the genre. That assessment is accurate. Ignore what they told you about this being a romance novel in high school. Great stuff, wish I had read it earlier in my life :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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