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Craig C.

austin, TX United States | Member Since 2007

76
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 45 reviews
  • 175 ratings
  • 388 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen Kinzer
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (659)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (273)

    In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.

    amazonman says: "Fascinating & Insightful View of US/ Iran History"
    "Paying for the short-term perspective"
    Overall

    Kinzer does a very good job describing the overthrow of the Shah in the 1950s. The actions that are described make one want to scream do the right thing for the long haul, not some immediate battle victory with long-term negative consequences. Doing the right thing does not have to be juxtaposed to a "reality" and a focus on consequences that are perceived on a short-term vision paradigm.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Francis Fukuyama
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (99)

    Fukuyama examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.

    Jean says: "Interesting look at society."
    "Picks up where volume one left off and finishes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interesting collection of ideas that are put together in a way that is useful. Makes useful generalizations that will be guides for future researchers to see if they can validate his narratives.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Christian
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (360)
    Story
    (357)

    How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

    John P. Gillespie says: "The Big Picture of Big History"
    "Broad magnificent picture of human condition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Outstanding, thought-provoking, grand tour of the map of time from the beginning until today. Very entertaining trip through time combining and describing pieces of human history into a meaningful narrative. Provides a sense of place in the universe that is useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Gary A. Haugen, Victor Boutros
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    While the world has made encouraging strides in the fight against global poverty, there is a hidden crisis silently undermining our best efforts to help the poor. It is a plague of everyday violence. Beneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence—like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality—has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.

    Shamarie says: "Challenging but worth it"
    "A Very Important Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an essential book for anyone involved in providing any aid or services to poor underdeveloped countries. It should also be read by people who involved in foreign aid, charity donations, and others assistance programs. It should also be read by folks who are hypercritical of U.S. law enforcement to help put their views in a wider context.

    Security and safety are such basic needs that we too often take for granted. Without meeting security and safety needs advances up Maslow's hierarchy of needs will not happen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
    • Narrated By Richard Burnip
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (280)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (253)

    From the best-selling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.

    smarmer says: "Detailed review of 1882 to 1914"
    "Okay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It is a little long. I find the repeated references and descriptions of the World Fair as instructive to understanding the age tiresome and overdone.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Margaret MacMillan? Why or why not?

    Maybe.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Skipped some of the words.


    Did The War That Ended Peace inspire you to do anything?

    War is not the answer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10163)
    Performance
    (9143)
    Story
    (9152)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Grisham writes a good story & Beck reads very well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not a Grisham groupie, but I have enjoyed the four or five things of his that I have read or listened very much. After driving home, I found myself sitting in the car in the garage waiting for a place to stop. If he keeps this up, he may be able to make a solid living with this writing thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Francis Fukuyama
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (511)
    Performance
    (422)
    Story
    (420)

    Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

    blah says: "Best Summary of Political History I've Read"
    "Provoked some interesting thoughts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An interesting overview of the development of governance in the ancient world and the middle ages. Panoramic view across cultures and the globe which provided some "oh that's how and why that developed here, but not here." Not being a specialist, it helped me understand the differences between tribal kinship systems in China and the feudal systems in Europe.

    It was interesting to speculate about the role of the Catholic Church in the development of an independent judiciary, the separation of powers, and the rule of law. The importance of religions in setting the groundwork for the development of the rule of law which was a missing ingredient in China which offers an explanation of their continuing struggle in developing rule of law.

    I would recommend that you download the PDFs because the maps and tables help provide some insight into the different areas in their historical context.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Social Conquest of Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Edward O. Wilson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hogan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (184)

    Edward O. Wilson is one of the world’s preeminent biologists, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the author of more than 25 books. The defining work in a remarkable career, The Social Conquest of Earth boldly addresses age-old questions (Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going?) while delving into the biological sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts.

    Gary says: "Wow, Wilson has a lot to say and boy can he write."
    "Very Unusual Perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fascinating to consider the comparisons between ants and people. The power of social evolution in the development of two such different species was amazing to see as the book developed. It was a perspective that I had never considered. As our social communications continues to develop and expand, it will be interesting in a few thousand years see what the results will be.

    1 of 2 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
    (13669)
    Performance
    (5946)
    Story
    (5989)

    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"
    "One Thousand Years Ago Was Not All that Romantic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Pillars of the Earth?

    The presentation of the times, culture, governance, and the church. It was interesting to see how the laws and customs of feudal times were so different. The life styles of suffering under a repressive environment. The bands of hungry law breakers demonstrated a system that makes people criminals by the bad system.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably, Ellen, Tom, and their son. In some ways the characters seemed a little too modern. This seemed to be most pronounced among the women -- Ellen and Arianna.


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

    Yes. I think his most recent work with the Trilogies about the wars in the 20th century The Fall of Giants and the Winter of the World were better, but he was still quite good. He is one of the best readers.


    Any additional comments?

    An interesting read, the parts about the architectural issues was a little more detailed than I wanted.In the end, the good guys do okay in the end which seems kind of unlikely, but then it is fiction.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How the Mind Works

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    Overall
    (584)
    Performance
    (467)
    Story
    (459)

    In this delightful, acclaimed bestseller, one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness?

    David says: "Excellent, but a difficult listen."
    "Covered a world of territory with the mind"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about How the Mind Works?

    Based on scientifically determined information with a clear examples of the scientific method.


    What three words best describe Mel Foster’s performance?

    Performance is difficult in a work of this sort which presents a lot of scientific information. Difficult territory, meticulous, and matter of fact.


    Any additional comments?

    Summarizes a lot of material and information without tying all together, but that may be a function of the information which doesn't fit into a neat easily summarized comprehensive thesis.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5878)
    Performance
    (4988)
    Story
    (5002)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "2nd in the Trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Winter of the World to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, so I cannot compare. I enjoyed the Fall of Giants, the first book of the trilogy, better than this one.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Seeing the impact of the society and war on regular people provides some insight into the period of time.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He is wonderful. His change of accents is flawless which assists greatly in following dialog. He should definitely be kept for the next volume.


    If you could take any character from Winter of the World out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Carla von Ulrich, Lloyd Williams, or Daisy Peshkov. Carla's brave act to protect the unknown girl and her love for the child standout as extraordinary actions.


    Any additional comments?

    The transitions from the first book could have been better in spots to remind the reader where a character originated. I tend to forget over a few months. A family history chart might be a nice printout addition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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