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Christopher

history, science, et al.

0
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 34 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
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  • Eating the Dinosaur

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Chuck Klosterman
    • Narrated By Chuck Klosterman, Ira Glass, Errol Morris, and others
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (116)

    In Eating the Dinosaur, Klosterman is more entertaining and incisive than ever. Whether he's dissecting the boredom of voyeurism, the reason why music fan's inevitably hate their favorite band's latest album, or why we love watching can't-miss superstars fail spectacularly, Klosterman remains obsessed with the relationship between expectation, reality, and living history. It's amateur anthropology for the present tense, and sometimes it's incredibly funny.

    Mark says: "Enlightening, entertaining and very well produced"
    "Funny, thought provoking, in the author's voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Humorous and philosophical essays in Klosterman's own pop-culture-writ-large idiom. Read by the author himself, and in some cases by his interview subjects (Ira Glass, Errol Morris). It's strange and interesting to hear someone reading their own remarks after the fact. Overall enjoyable, and if you've liked Klosterman's previous works you won't be disappointed. Lost 1 star just for being regrettably short, and in need of some kind of cohesive narrative (although this might apply to all his essay collections).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (901)
    Performance
    (772)
    Story
    (769)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    "Intriguing, but at times insubstantial"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "The Swerve" traces the little-known story of the poem "On the Nature of Things" by epicurean philosopher Titus Lucretius. Centuries ahead of its time, this poem envisioned a world governed by basic laws of physics operating at the atomic scale--and notably, the absence of a deity at the reins. Nearly lost to humanity during the dark ages, fortune put it in the hands of a bureaucratic book-hunter named Poggio Bracciolini in the 15th century.

    The book is roughly divided into two parts--one exploring the philosophy and setting of Lucretius' poem, and the other the biography of Bracciolini. Both are fascinating stories, with excellent details of everyday life in both eras. Although touched on, I felt that more direct examples of how the poem influenced modern philosophers and scientists were needed. The author spends a fair amount of time in wistful descriptions of the poem's art and philosophical depth, yet scarcely quotes directly from the poem itself. The narrator seems to reflect this in tone, seemingly breathless from partaking in beauty which is, irksomely, not always made apparent to the reader.

    In sum: Crucial for those interested in ancient philosophy and the Renaissance, although expect a high amount of surface to substance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (579)

    In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

    Case says: "Hotly debated new theories, but NOT revisionism"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great book for anyone even mildly interested in Native American history. Narrates the unique culture and complex politics of the Iroquois, Inca, and Aztec in thrilling detail, as well as the story of Native American people as a whole. Cinematic descriptions of the pilgrims and conquistadors from the native point of view. Emphasizes scientific findings about Native American origins, engineering, agriculture, and ultimately epidemics and downfall. Highlights remaining questions as much as the "current" answers. Narrator is clear and animated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Undaunted Courage

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (1080)
    Performance
    (434)
    Story
    (439)

    In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River, across the forbidding Rockies, and - by way of the Snake and the Columbia rivers - down to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, endured incredible hardships and witnessed astounding sights. With great perseverance, they worked their way into an unexplored West. When they returned two years later, they had long since been given up for dead.

    Christopher says: "Great detail about this historical event..."
    "Informative, entertaining, slow at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Traces the biography of Meriwether Lewis, with emphasis on the Corps of Discovery expedition. Builds mostly from primary texts with many quotes, but gives due respect to previous scholars and their discoveries and theories. Occasionally slow, but overall entertaining and readable. Narrator is monotone but clear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1234)
    Performance
    (1036)
    Story
    (1034)

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Grant says: "Hot"
    "Surprising and insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nate Silver introduces you to the art and science of forecasting, above and beyond his 538 blog (although he goes into that in detail). His goal is for us to understand how forecasters and statisticians see the world, and he explains things clearly yet thoroughly. Starting with an overview of model design and evaluation, he then gives examples from his own experience and some outside research: baseball, weather, earthquakes, gambling, politics, and more. Every chapter is entertaining and personal. He highlights common pitfalls in forecasting, and offers practical advice for making predictions in everyday life. In sum, a very worthwhile listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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