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F. Ribeiro


Tucson AZ | Member Since 2008

  • 3 reviews
  • 311 ratings
  • 537 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • Civilization: The West and the Rest

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Niall Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations.

    Amazon Customer says: "Guns, Germs, and Steel is History 101, this is 201"
    "Niall Ferguson's Most Enjoyable Book"
    If you could sum up Civilization in three words, what would they be?

    Revised my thinking

    What does Niall Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Having heard him live, that same charisma he projects comes through the audio.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not necessarily. But I did listen to the book more than once.

    Any additional comments?

    I have always found Niall Ferguson, in his books and lectures, to be insightful and thought-provoking. 'Civilization' may be the best example of this to date. Here is one example of a perspective that I found very instructive, Ferguson includes in his list of explanatory variables for the acceleration of civilization in the West the role of Protestant churches. But he goes beyond the obvious, the Protestant work ethic, to explain how church communities and the mutual trustworthiness they engendered enabled smaller merchants early access to credit and so develop early forms of supply chains in the fledgling free-markets of the colonial US (and Northern Europe). He also differentiates between monopolistic and ‘free market’ religions. The former refers to the state religions common in Europe, the latter to the open market for religion in the US. And clearly, churches and church-going have flourished in the US where free-market competition compelled churches to adapt to the changing needs of their congregations. Without that competitive motive, churches in Europe have stagnated or declined.Agree with Ferguson or not, this is a highly informative and enjoyable listen. And I must add, the voices used for quotes that several reviewers complained about I found neither distracting nor offensive. Niall’s reading of the text was articulated very clearly and sufficiently animated, enhanced all the more by that Scottish accent that I have come to enjoy.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Roots of Obama’s Rage

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dinesh D’Souza
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    D’Souza explains that the reason Obama appears to be working to destroy America from within is found, as Obama himself admits, in The Dreams of My Father: a deeply hostile anticolonialism. Instilled in him by his father, this worldview has led President Obama to resent America and everything we stand for. D’Souza masterfully shows how Obama is working to weaken and punish America here and abroad.

    F. Ribeiro says: "Insightful Listen, But for the Glenn Beck Section"
    "Insightful Listen, But for the Glenn Beck Section"

    D'Souza has always been a breath of fresh air in today's mangled political discourse. Amid the pseudo-intellectual and outright fanciful commentaries from both the right and left, D'Souza injects an intellectual rigor, in-depth research and a cogent writing style in promoting his conservative perspective. As a centrist, D'Souza has been a important source of factual information and intelligent reasoning for the conservative side. And indeed in "Roots" he came through once again.

    However in the chapter on economic policy D’Souza descends to over-simplification, calculated misrepresentation or naïveté. This chapter would have you believe that TARP, FinReg and stimulus spending were all engineered by Obama as part of a grand scheme to weaken post-colonial America. But the design of these policy measures were not conceived in the White House, but by a diverse group: Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Paul Volcker, Tim Geitner and Henry Paulson (from an earlier administration). And I don't think you could argue that all these individuals share this anti-colonial viewpoint.

    To demonstrate the `obvious' failure of stimulus he posits: Party A (taxpayer) gives money to Party B (Government). Party B now spends more, but Party A now spends less. Conclusion: No increase in economic activity--stimulus fails. Trouble is Party A is not a taxpayer, it is the Chinese. The Chinese give the US government money (i.e. buys our bonds) which is spent; current period economic activity/GDP must increase. Of course this has other rather negative consequences. But it is either a naïve or a purposely misleading to explain stimulus this way, one worthy of Glenn Beck.

    Despite my disappointment in D'Souza in this section, I think this is an important book and would recommend it. There is enough substantive information here to overcome my misgivings.

    33 of 53 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall Of The House Of Usher

    • UNABRIDGED (57 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe
    • Narrated By Lissa Lia, K. Anderson Yancy

    During a visit to her dying friend, a woman discovers to her horror that his family and his home are one. SonicMovies are premium audios with strong vocal performances enhanced by music and sound effects to such an extent they sound like movies, hence, SonicMovies.

    F. Ribeiro says: "Horrors: Not Poe as Much as This Audio Track"
    "Horrors: Not Poe as Much as This Audio Track"

    Only 1 hour in length, still I couldn't get through it. The audio track was just too annoying. The narration is constantly accompanied by sound effects aimed, I'm guessing, at creating a horror-film like mood. But these effects are so loud that it sometimes drowns out the narration. And it gets to be tedious very quickly, and ultimately it becomes highly aggrevating. Because of the distracting sound effects it may be a bit unfair to critique the narrator, but it did seem to come off as a very flat reading. It had all the drama of someone reading a cake recipe. The female voice never conveyed the suspense and menace one would expect for a reading of Edgar Allen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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