I thought this was a very interesting and entertaining history. It was rarely dull. I enjoyed learning about the different roots and layers of Britain. Stephen Thorne's voice is well suited for this book. The retelling of the different revolts and the stories of the royals were great. I have only a few complaints. It's rather a lengthy time period to squeeze into 1 volume. I realize that we simply know more about modern history than we do about the middle ages and before that, but it still seems like this could have been a 4-volume series rather than 3. The final 2 volumes of the series cover only 4 centuries (and really only 3.5 since post-WWII is essentially skimmed over briefly); the first volume covers 47 centuries. Anyway, there were times when I felt like Schama glossed over periods which I would have liked to learn more about. At times events would be mentioned and then not expounded upon and this was frustrating. Also, if you went into this book hoping to learn about the structure of British nobility and government you are only going to be partly satisfied. You will learn plenty about nobles, royals, and non-royals. You'll also hear about the different ways that someone of non-noble blood could become noble. However, if you want to know the difference between, say, an Earl and a Duke, you won't find it here. Similarly, you'll learn a great deal about the different arguments and power struggles between Parliament and the royals, but you won't learn about the different houses or even how the Parliament works as far as voting and things like that. I definitely think it would be beneficial to read a book with a sort of "British society and government for dummies" feel before reading this book.
This was one of those instances that anyone who buys audio books has had from time to time where the book didn't turn out to be anything like what I expected. I thought the book was going to be about how America's religious beliefs came to be what they are today. In actuality, the phrase "American Bible" refers to a collection of the famous works (speeches, books, judicial rulings, articles of government, etc) that make up the American canon so to speak. This isn't a typical non-fiction work. Prothero has come up with a number of the important works in American history and they are reproduced in the book either in their entirety or through excerpts. Prothero gives a brief introduction to each work and why it is important, and following the reading of that work, he includes a number of references that have been made concerning that work over the years. It took a while for me to get into it but after a while I started to find it enjoyable and interesting. I thought Prothero's device of using a book from the bible to categorize each group of writings was very clever, although at times there didn't seem to be an obvious reason why he listed a certain work under a particular bible book. The narrator is blah.
This book was everything I expected and more. It was very interesting and educational. I really appreciated that the author did not shy away from providing the controversial conclusions that he came to through his years of studying violence and the brain. The fact that Raine actually conducted many of the studies he cited made it easier to put faith in what he said. I was engaged for nearly the entirety of the book. Towards the end, Raine spends quite a bit of time ruminating over a hypothetical future in which society is able to accurately predict how likely it is that an individual will become a violent offender. I found this to be a pointless exercise and it was the only portion of the work that I found to be uninteresting. The narrator doesn't add much but his accent is actually perfect for this book.
This was an interesting experience for me. I adored the animated Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. I watched it as a child, and then when my little brother was a child and I was a teen I discovered it again and it became one of my favorite things. I've always loved Alice in Wonderland imagery and art.
Recently I was looking for an inexpensive fiction audiobook on audible and it occurred to me that somehow I had never read the real stories of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Making this all the more surprising is the fact that I got my degree in English (and it took me a LONG time to graduate so I took quite a few classes). Sure, I'd covered the Jabberwocky and some of the other poems or scenes in school, but somehow I just never had the opportunity to read these wonderful books all the way through. So while I was familiar with these stories, I was finally getting to experience "the real thing," or at least the original thing.
I think my favorite aspect of the stories is the character of Alice herself. I love the personality that Carroll created for her and the way she talks and thinks. It's easy to appreciate all the little nonsensical twists and jokes that Carroll came up with to explain things being upside down and backward. There's quite a bit of humor in the stories and at some points I definitely laughed audibly.
Something that I never realized was that the Disney film "Alice in Wonderland" is not a film version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" but a new story altogether. It is a combination of "Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." I never knew how much of "Looking Glass" was incorporated into the animated film.
However, it isn't just a combination in the sense that there are parts of both stories in the film. I always assumed that much of the original work was left out of the story told by the film. What I never realized was that much of the movie plot is very different from the way things happen in the book. I found it interesting that the screen play writers took little bits from some scenes of the book and used them in different ways in their movie.
For example, The Queen in the animated film is really a combination of "The Queen of Hearts" from "Adventures in Wonderland" and "The Red Queen" from "Looking Glass." The "Unbirthday" joke appears as a part of the Tea Party scene in the film, but it occurs in a totally different part of the story in the book. In the book, it is Alice who can't remember the poem about the Busy Bee and instead recites a version about the Little Crocodile. In the animated version it is the Caterpillar that comes up with that new version.
One aspect of the books that really confused me was when characters referred to as "The Hatter" and "The Hare" appear in "Looking Glass" during the Lion and Unicorn scenes. They don't seem to remember seeing her before. That could be explained away by the fact that things are so weird in the imaginary land. However, Alice doesn't seem to recognize them either, and that's a bit more puzzling. In fact, so far as I could perceive, there's no evidence given that these actually are the same characters seen in "Wonderland" referred to as "The Mad Hatter" and "The March Hare." Perhaps they are completely different characters, but it's hard to understand why Carroll would have done that.
While I loved the books about as much as I expected, I think a lot of that had to do with being familiar with the characters and the stories from the animated film and from the art work. I have to admit that there were a few times that I thought to myself that if I had never seen the movie I'm not sure I would have found this or that scene or this or that character at all interesting.
The two major examples of this for me were the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat. In the original story, the Caterpillar scene is fairly brief and doesn't have any of the same feel as the scene as depicted in the movie. As for the Cheshire Cat, his original character is similar to the one from the film, but he isn't very mischievous and his brief reappearance at the croquet match has little impact on the action. I came to the conclusion that the illustrations that were included in the books must have had a major influence on the book's popularity.
Michael Page does a great job as narrator. Obviously, the story can only be told by a narrator with an old-time British accent. His done and rhythm are perfect. He also does a very impressive job coming up with clearly distinguishable and consistent voices for the many different characters.
Very well written. I appreciated the connections the author made to future and current events. This is a good book for anyone looking to learn about the histories of the nations involved in the Great War and what their interests were at the time. In her epilogue, MacMillan does a nice job filling the reader in on what happened to each main character and each nation during and after the war. There are parts of the book that are a bit dry, but that's to be expected when you consider the book is about the build up to the war and not the war itself. Burnip's British accent is perfect for this book.
When I came across this book I knew I had to read it because it covered a period in American History that I wasn't well versed in. However, I was kind of dreading it because I figured it would be pretty boring. I was totally wrong. Howe does a magnificent job of making a seemingly dry period of history interesting and entertaining. He covers all the major political happenings while also including things like culture, technology, race/gender relations, etc. Patrick Cullen isn't special but his voice and tone are perfect for this book. After a while the listener will feel as if Cullen's voice and the author's voice are one and the same. This is a very detailed, thorough, and enjoyable book.
I first read this book when I was 18. I'm 33 now and listening to it as an audio book I felt like I was reading it for the first time.
It's one of the most wonderfully written books of the last century. The language is beautiful and the translation loses nothing (or if something is lost it remains gorgeous and powerful).
It may take a while to get used to Muller's style of narration but once the reader does get adjusted he's perfect.
This should be required reading in public schools: once in middle school and again in high school. It should be one of the books we are most familiar with. When everyone is in the mood for war, this book should be remembered. There's a reason Hitler had it burned.
This is the sort of book that I hope for every time I download an audio book. Barbara Tuchman is a pretty safe bet. She's one of the great history writers.
As always, Nadia May is perfect in this role. I still wind up forgetting that the author herself is not the narrator. That's how well May's voice and style fit Tuchman's writing.
The great thing about Tuchman's work is that she gives detailed and educational histories that are also entertaining and even exciting. Guns of August is no exception. This isn't an audio book that you'll just turn on in the car because you're sick of the songs on your iPod. You get swept up in the story and immersed in it.
That's what's so great about Tuchman's work. It satisfies those of us who want to spend reading time educating ourselves, while also giving us the same pleasure that a novel would. Guns of August is tremendous.
I only rated this 3-stars despite giving the performance 5 and the story 4. The reason for this--and I've had this problem several times with exhaustive military histories--is that I probably only managed to get 75% of this book. It was just really difficult to keep up with all the unfamiliar names and titles and countries and territories. And you're learning about the complex foreign policies of all of these different entities. I think if you're familiar with the Thirty Years War this book would have to be a 5-star. But if, like me, you have no previous knowledge of the Thirty Years War, it may be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it was very well written and entertaining. Extremely informative. And the narrator absolutely crushes this thing. At first he may seem a touch over-dramatic but you'll soon get used to it and appreciate it. Griffin's style of narration is absolutely perfect for this book.
This was one of the best books I've read in sometime. Filkins was actually in the wars in the ME for over a decade. Perhaps this is why he has such a rational view of it all. It was great to hear from a balanced voice: he doesn't demonize either side. He points out the negatives and the positives of both sides. Filkins must be one of the great writers living today. From the introduction to the epilogue this story is dramatic and engaging. You get the feeling Filkins could write the story of your life and it would be a best seller. As always, Robertson Dean is perfect for a book such as this. Hard to imagine how this could have been done any better.
This was a wonderfully written book. Carroll's meshing of the big story and his own personal story was fantastic. There are no boring or slow parts of this book. Robertson Dean is the absolute perfect choice of narrator for this one. The reason I give the book 4 instead of 5 stars is that Carroll is almost laughably one-sided in his take on the Pentagon and American foreign policy. He makes a number of great arguments that really are damning against the US and the war machine. But he makes an equal number of arguments that are just really difficult to buy. For starters, the idea that Japan had virtually surrendered when the bomb was dropped is ludicrous. But there are many other examples. So that's what kept me from going 5-star.
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