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Minnetonka, MN | Member Since 2012

  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 96 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014

  • The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women who fought against all odds to fulfill the 400-year-old dream of constructing an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures. McCullough expertly weaves the many strands of this momentous event into a captivating tale.

    Tim says: "No Stone Unturned"
    "The abridged version must be a better choice"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Suzanne M. Desan

    The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel.

    Monte Johnston says: "Such a great balance of the big picture and detail"
    "Lots of Revolution, not so much Napoleon"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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