I finally bailed on this bloated tome about 2/3rds of the way through. This book desperately needed an editor with a sharper blade. It numbs the mind with superfluous detail, down to descriptions of even the most peripheral of characters' lavish facial hair, speaking style, what college they went to and who they hung out with between classes. There is undoubtedly a fascinating tale buried here, but like the French attempts at digging the canal, I exhausted myself in seeking it and came away defeated.The problem is exacerbated by the narrator's ponderous pace. This guy reads so slowly I was having flashbacks to kindergarden story time. I tried listening to it at 1.25X speed, but that didn't aid understanding. I found myself frequently skipping ahead but then not being able to pick up the thread. Eventually boredom won out and I simply moved on to another title.
Overall, there is a lot of great information in this course - I learned a lot. However, I was somewhat disappointed that the focus was mostly on the 6-7 years or so surrounding the Revolution, then she sort of blasts through the Napoleonic era. That's fine if you're looking for a comprehensive understanding of the Revolution, but I was mostly interested in Napoleon going in to this. Military history this is not.
Her treatment of the terror left me flat. She seems to be an apologist, giving lots of information about why and how the perpetrators did what they did, but I got no sense of how the people of France felt about it. It felt like, "this happened then that happened, then it was over and everybody was ready to move on."
On the plus side, I was interested to learn about how France and the new United States viewed each other, and the huge consequences the Revolution had for the U.S.
I found her speech pattern annoying but not horribly so. She's clearly reading and I'm a bit surprised some of her stumbles were not edited out. While I have no doubt she is very passionate about her subject matter, she's not easy to listen to.
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