Whoa.......................that narrator was tough to take. Just listen to the sample. Maybe that ruined the content for me, but the content didn't strike me as all that great either. I've read a bunch of these types of books and listened to a few here as well. Mindfulness in Plain English is still the best book I've read in print, even though (or perhaps because) it sticks to the basics. Beyond that printed book, The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young is one you can listen to, and for me it's about forty times better than whatever comes in second place.
I had sworn off audible books after a number that under-delivered (I continued to use my subscription but only for newspapers and magazines). This book has turned me around, and I'd love to read more like it.
There are plenty of well-written reviews online from various newspapers; I can't improve upon them and won't give anything away (some of them give away too much). Suffice it to say that the author has worked hard to shape this into a fascinating, historically significant, and compelling story about Texas and the settling of the American West--and his work has paid off. The narration is spot-on too; each narrator seems perfectly chosen for the character they play. And there is plenty to contemplate once you've read the last page, about certain not-fully answered questions and why it's best they were left that way, about who if anyone was right and who if anyone was fully wrong, and about what this family's story tells us about ourselves and our nation. It will certainly leave you wanting more.
Parts of the story are interesting, particularly his upbringing under his father, but the book cannot be recommended. Agassi will not strike you as a particularly bright guy, and his stories are lame. Couple that with a narrator who insists on whispering everything, and you've got yourself a painful read. The prologue alone is enough to put most to sleep. If you decide to stick with it (like I did), you'll only have wasted time that could be spent listening to something better.
What's the best I can say? A generous number of literature hours for a single credit! But . . . this story is really sappy, really long, and basically just lame. The narrator, David Timson, is fantastic as usual, but lipstick can only do so much on a pig. Stick with Dombey & Son, the Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, and Martin Chuzzlewit (in that order).
So I'm in the minority. I was forced to read this in high school (very abridged), didn't remember much of it, then I "discovered" Dickens recently and have been on a tear reading (listening to, more accurately) everything I can get my hands on. Maybe I don't like this one because it's the first first-person-narrative book of his I've read, but I feel like Dickens is less observant, or I guess the character is. In books like Dombey & Son, Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, and others, Dickens fills every pocket of a room with color--every character with minute behaviors. I didn't get as much of that in this one. (I thought the beginning chapters were strongest and most enjoyable, and I love Joe Gargery!)
Just when you think you've found your favorite narrator, you stumble upon another who is equally amazing. Timson brings it all to life. I haven't read all of Charles Dickens's books (at least in unabridged versions), but I've read many of them, and while I love them all this one is the best yet!
The best part is the beginning chapters covering Roosevelt's youth. There are a couple of good chapters covering Roosevelt's cattle ranching in North Dakota too. Other than that, it's a bunch of chapters focusing on political minutia that nobody cares about (unless you are really into Roosevelt). Pretty dry, certainly thorough though and not a bad book.
Amazingly, this is the edited version (curse words removed). As I understand it, that's how it was published originally, yet it's still a bizarre choice for today's audio version.
I didn't know much of anything about this book. If I had listened to it by itself, my take on it would probably be that it is funny, but way too long, and not much more. I enjoyed it much more than that because I decided to listen to a Yale course online (which is free) as I listened to the book. Each lesson gives the professor's take on the chapters assigned. I highly recommend this for those who aren't already very familiar with the book and its significance. You can google the audio course if you're interested, search Cervantes' Don Quixote with Professor Roberto González Echevarría.
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