The English mathematician/philospher Bertrand Russell once claimed that popular books on relativity become unintelligible just when they begin to discuss something of real substance. One cannot help feeling that this is once again the case with Stephen Hawking's audiobook. I bought this book and I have been moving the narrator "back in forth in time" with my replay button, listening and relistening to what Hawking writes. The naration is outstanding. However, the organization seems higgly-piggly. We are given tastes of general relativity, particle spins, string theory, multiple quantum histories, black holes, etc. But,there is never any pause to fully explicate what is going on. I for one would prefer listening to Professor Hawking tell us how he visualizes the electro-magnetic field, as well as how light propagates within it. What is the difference between an electron (which is intimately tied up with electricity) and a photon of light (which is apparently created by undulations in the electro-magnetic field)? I wish Audible would offer audiobooks by Paul Davies. Professor Davies is somewhat more experienced at explaining things to us students in the back of the class. Then again, perhaps that's the nature of books which give us the universe in a nutshell. The nut is too hard to crack.
Content -- Nothing in this book is new or shocking. Most of the content will be known by anyone who regularly listens to conservative talk radio shows like Hewitt, Levin, Malzberg, or Medved. At times, it's a disappointing reach back five or six years, as if she began the book much, much earlier and only now finshed it. Kerry and the swift boats...come on. GM was selling at $40 a share a year ago. Thngs change quickly nowadays, Ann. Attacking the liberal MSM for being biased is so tiring now. Yes, the voting public was shielded from the facts about our new President by a fawning and obsequious MSM. So, go buy a computer and try alternative media. CNN...what's a CNN?
Style -- Ann adopts a style aimed at shocking the reader with her candor...absolutely no political correctness. This works for a while, but then it becomes nagging and formulaic. She begins to sound like a conservative form of Bill Maher, or Norman Mailer in a thong.
Narration -- Ann doesn't narrate the book, but you can hardly tell it. The narrator does a very good job of catching the author's eye-rolling inflections for those of you who have heard her before.
Most of what is in the book can be found on the more prominent right wing talk radio shows, especially Michael Medved, High Hewitt, and Mark Levin. It is a fascinating and detailed look at Senator Obama using his own writings as a base. The author narrates himself and does a good job at reading his own words. This is an abridged version of the book. I do not think many people will be influenced by what is in the book. The author is at times very insightful...for example, when he notes that Obama's alleged black rage is not about the vestiges and injustices of slavery, but is about class warfare and a socialist agenda. Leftists want Obama since he will deliver free health care, left-leaning SCOTUS appointments, possibly even reparations, etc. Rightists see an empty suit with a dangerous lack of experience and an inability to speak about specifics. So, choose your side and then buy the book.
Here is a fact that will irritate some. John Bolton is the most refreshing voice in Washington. That's right. He is strong, principled, and sincere. He has the additional virtue of being right most of the time. I mourned the fact that he was pushed out of his job at the UN -- a place he was sorely needed. We all know who we have to thank for that.
This book is at least something of a comfort for those of us who want to hear unfiltered truth about our foreign policies. In this book you will learn how that the ABM Treaty was hopelessly antedated and a stumbling-block for dealing with unstable nations that have WMDs. You will cheer when North Korean ships are boarded and found to be carrying missle parts under loads of innocent cargo. You will learn of the duplicity of some of our so-called friends; their cynical use of international organizations for personal aggrandisement and big money deals. You will see the real twists and turns of a world gone mad in the face of diplomacy. But, even with this, John Bolton remains our stalwart defender of truth and morality. His plain and unornamented voice rings true in this audio recording. John deserves our respect and admiration. I only wish now that he would quit writing books and get back into government.
I bought this book in paperback when it came out. I enjoyed it then. The audiobook was decidedly less satisfying. Michael Lewis (author/narrator)has a voice that sounds exactly what you would think an art history major from Princeton would sound like. Hardly the big swinging wha-cha-ma-call-it which he said was the career goal of everyone at Salomon Bros. -- even the women Vulgarity is a major part of the book. Don't buy this audiobook if you are not thoroughly used to locker room language. That means you can't listen to it in the car driving the kids home from kindergarten. Mother-in-laws will not appreciate the colorful language either.
All in all, the guys who buy bonds all want to be seen as tough by their friends and ladies. Take no prisoners. Hells Angels who talk with authority about duration, yield curves, and Treasury Strips. Yeah... Right... None of them would dare take a stroll through Battery Park at night or walk calmly east of Amsterdam Ave after 11 pm.
Tom Wolfe was right.
But still the book is fun for looking back on the wild 80's. Well worth the price.
The narration is excellent. The book is downloadable in three parts. The content is disappointing and a bit smug. Ideal, for anyone who hasn't spent much time studying Economics. Economists can buy it to help them get to sleep.
Greenspan has decided to take many of the headline topics in the history of economic doctrines and couch them in everyday words, reinforcing the concepts by adding his own highly general comments. As one would expect, the poorly read mainstream media has already installed Greenspan as a genius -- a term with which he feels entirely at home. I was astounded at the naivite of his knowledge of modern Economics. For example, he claims he was influenced by H. De Soto when the two met. It was de Soto that led him to think that establishing a dedicated system of property rights could lead to an expansion of wealth in the Third World. But, property rights have been on the table in economics since at least Coase's time in the 1930's and have long been a well known specialty at schools like UCLA, the University of Virginia, and VPI. Giants in economic thought like Buchanan, Tullock,Demsetz, Alchian, and Hirchleifer have always emphasized the essential nature of property rights. I was taught this 30 years ago. How come it took Mr. Greenspan so long to get it?
When he gets to Adam Smith he finds someone worthy of apotheosis. Yet, he misses the most
important part of Smith's analysis -- namely that "free international trade" can expand the scope of the market and allow the otherwise limited division of labor and specialization of industry. R. Coase and G. Stigler have much more penetrating insights into Smith than Mr. Greenspan. But, they didn't serve as the head of the US central bank. They didn't enjoy making routine speeches to jet-setting, caviar filled bellies at Davos.
In summary, I expect the book will be justly panned at our major universities. Mr. Greenspan is in danger of breaking his own arm patting himself on the back.
This is a minute by minute recounting of what happened that horrible day in Dallas as reconstructed from the Warren Commission Report and reliable sources since. The narration was terrific, but the content was somewhat disappointing. At times it sounded like a "We Were There" historical-fiction book. To those familiar with Bugliosi's previous works, it is not as devastating and persuasive as say his other book, Outrage -- the magnificent deconstruction of the OJ trial.
Nevertheless, Bugliosi is one of the finest legal minds in the US today. This book will be scorned and largely discounted by all those who have already invested a lot of reputation in asserting that Kennedy was murdered by a group of conspirators.
This book is part of a growing body of recent pop literature that trades on the general Europeanesque hatred of religion. Mr. Hitchins makes the typical mistake of associating religion with fanaticism. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that events of the 20th century have proven it takes people who fervently believe in doing good to do truly evil things.
But in the end Hitchins' arguments are not persuasive.
Religion exists to feed a real and palpable spiritual hunger. Some people have it and some people don't. Perhaps this is why that American churches and cathedrals are not merely museums or tombs of dead monarchs and dreary poets.
Mr. Hitchins' book will no doubt be part of the required reading list of the younger and more rebellious faculty of the literature departments at some of our less impressive universities. But, don't expect to find it in the hands of grieving parents or just outside the doors of the emergency rooms of hospitals.
This book is not for people who fear a questioning of their faith. Nor is it for those who hate intellectualizing religion.
No Bible thumping, no cute or warm stories, no inane pycho-babble. It is a dispassionate and logical tour de force showing first why the notion of God arises in humans and then why morality based on a loving God is possible in a world that seems at times totally cold and empty. His discussion of the concept of omnipotence is probably the best I've ever heard. Very persuasive.
Lewis was a celebrated professor of English at Oxford. He became an atheist at the tender age of 13, but later converted to Christianity (with the help of his colleague Tolkein) at the age of 31. He is perhaps the most famous modern Christian intellectual.
The narration of this audiobook is unbelievably good. The narrator Robert Whitfield is not often given praise in the reviews. He is a true professional and his readings only add to the quality of the experience. He has the same type of perfect British cadence and disinterested tone that James Mason had in the movies. What a voice!
Buy this audio-story. Just buy it. You will listen to it a hundred times and still be wondering if you completely understand it. Harlan Ellison gives us an introduction to the story and he hits the nail on the head. Like a snake swallowing its tail, not once but several times. Richard Dreyfuss is perfect in the part. Plays the part exactly as he does in his funniest movies. At one point, there are four versions of the same guy (Dreyfuss) interacting at the same time. It's fifty minutes long and you will spend fifty hours getting things straight. Nice incidental music. Worth the money at 10 times the price. Better than Twilight Zone. Sorry, I got to listen to this one again...
Ever wonder what London was like in the 1920's? D. Sayers has given us a magnificent view with Lord Peter posing as Death Bredon, his lookalike relative, secretly investigating a murder at an advertising agency. Lots of suspects, loose glitterati, and wild drug parties, not to mention funny ads in newspapers. The audio is clear as a bell and the acting will keep you on the edge of your seat. Great sound effects make this a tremendous buy. Thanks Audible, for giving us Ian Carmichael at his very best. Now for the next audio program in this series?
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