I thought that this was a very well written and narrated book about an historical subject and era that does not receive enough attention. The conviction and exoneration of Alfred Dreyfus by the French Army and Government marked a watershed event in the history of that country. The French had been defeated by the Prussians in 1870-71 and the army had performed poorly. When secrets had been leaked to the German government, the army turned on Dreyfus as a scape goat- and the fact that he was a Jew from Alsace/Lorraine whose relatives remained behind in the German occupied provinces was a perfect excuse for the withhunt. Harris does a great jog in telling the story through the eyes and narration of George Piquart who almost lost his military career and life as a result of his standing up for the truth- namely that Dreyfus was framed and the military covered up the framing. The book introduces the listener to some of the key political actors who played a part in saving Dreyfus- namely Clemenceau, Zola and Jaures. It is an exciting and worthwhile listen. The only problem I had with the story is that Harris identifies Moscow and not St. Petersburg as city in Tsarist Russia that was the hub of Russian military intelligence. Not a big deal- but to a student of history like me, it bothered me. Otherwise I would recommend the book- and as a result of my listening to it, I now find my interest piqued in the Dreyfus affair
I thought that this was an excellent book and was well narrated. I thought that the authors did an excellent job describing the events surrounding the assasination of Lincoln. Although it could have been excluded, the description of the battles covering the fall of Petersburg to Lee's surrender at Appomatox Courthouse was very good. The only problem that causes me some pause to the quality of the book are some historical errors- the most important to me being the one describing Edwin Stanton. The authors incorrectly state that Stanton's first appointment to Lincoln's cabinet was to the post of Attorney General and that he later was appointed Secretary of War. Stanton, a lifelong Democrat, was Attorney General during the last months of the Buchanon Administration and was appointed by Lincoln as Secretary of War in 1862 following the Lincoln's dismissal of Simon Cameron from the position. I recognize that this is a samll error- but when listening to a book such as this one- in which the authors state that all of the facts presented are absolutely true- this error causes me to doubt the accuracy of the rest of the book. Nevertheless it is a good book and worthy of purchase
As someone who is very much interested in history and the First World War and the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, I found this book to be an extremely interesting introduction to the four daughters of Nicholas II and Alexandra- who are often ignored or given only brief notice in books covering the fall of the dynasty. Through the review and translation of their diaries and tthe correspondence and diaries of individuals who interacted with them, Ms. Rappaport has made a great contribution to the story of these four wormen. She has painted them as proper Victorian women raised in a family that walled itself off from imperial society- mostly because of the illness of the Tsarevich and their mother's ill health. The Grand Duchesses are presented as young women who had a strong devotion to their family but also had the same interests and desires that most teenagers have despite their being royalty. The one flaw that I find in the book is that it does not adequately discuss their interaction with Rasputin, the starets who domincated the last two decades of Imperial Russia. This may intentional on the author's part or it might also be that the Grand Duchesses had very limited interaction with him. Karen Cass did an excellent job with the narration transitioning between an English and American English accent when dealing with characters of different nationalities. If you are interested in learning something about Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters, this would be a great place to start.
I found this to be a well narrated and written book on the history of the making of the modern day Middle East. The book commences with the period just prior to World War I and takes the listener through World War I into the carving up of the former Ottoman Empire territories of Syria, Arabia, Palestine, Lebannon, Jordan and to a lesser extent Egypt (which was Ottoman territory but administered by the British prior to the War). The book covers the history through the eyes of four individuals- TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Curt Prufer (a German Diplomat), Aaron Aaronsohn (a Palestinian Jewish Scientist originally born in Europe) and WIlliam Yale (an American employed by Standard Oil of NY). Through their experiences (Lawrence being the most famous), one acquires a greater understanding of how France and Britain carved up the former Ottoman Empire between them, which eventually led to the circumstances the word now confronts in that area of the world. Historical events begin to unfold through their eyes and one is introduced to many of the people who were made famous by the war (Allenby, Kitchner, Faisal, Ibn Saud, Mark Sykes and David Lloyd George to name a few). Of the four characters, the portrait of Lawrence is the most remarkable (as one would expect) and the author does a great job contrasting Lawrence's real life from what is presented in Lawrence's book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and David Lean's 1962 movie Lawrence In Arabia. The narration was excellent and I must admit I learned more about the Middle East that I knew prior to reading the book. If you are interested in learning more about the making of the Modern Middle East and conflict in that part of the world today, this would be a great book to start with. As has been pointed out in several other reviews (Amazon as well as Audible), if you wish to learn even more about the making of the Modern Middle East, consider purhcasing a copy of David Framkin's book, "A Peace To End All Peace", which covers the more than this book does (unfortunately it is not available on Audible).
I found this course to be well taught and fascinating. The Professor was excellent. Although I may not agree with all of the battles selected by the Professor as being the most important in world history (especially some of the ancient ones)- I did enjoy the manner in which he described his methodology for choosing the battles and I learned a great deal about some historical events that I really knew nothing about. The biggest complaint that I have with this course is the lack of maps for each battle. You really cannot understand strategy, movement and terrain withoug some form of visual display. I really think that Audible should contract with the Great Corses to add a pdf file of the maps for each battle. Otherwise I would recommend that one purchase this course directly from the Teaching Company
As a student of history I found this biography to be an excellent book about a man whose career spanned two different period in US History- the period leading up to and including the Civil War and the Guilded Age that covered the development of America up to the Progressive Era prior to World War One. The author does an excellent job of covering the details of not just John Hay's life but the historical events (including the assasination of three presidents, the Spanish American War, The Boxer Rebellion, the Panama Canal land acquisition, and the Russo Japanese War) that were an integral part in US development into an imperial power. Great nuggets were also included (such as the fact that Hay's granddaughter was actually the first owner of the NY Mets baseball franchise).The narration was also excellent and I learned a great deal about a period of history of which I thought I had a good knowledge. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of America from the American Civil War through 1905.
This is the only book of Maugham's that I have actually read (kindle e reader), listened to (audible) and seen the movie (Tyrone Power and Bill Murray versions). I found this audio book version to be the best of the three mediums. Narration was outstanding and I felt more involved with the story and characters than I did with the book and the movies. I would recommend this recording to anyone with any interest in Maugham's books.
I thought that this book was extremely well written. I also thought that Jeremy Bobb did an superb job with the narration. The biggest problem I had with the book is that Professor Berg has produced a volume that deifies President Wilson too much and is not critical enough of his shortcomings both as a person and as a world leader. Throughout the book Berg gives short shift to Wilson's weaknesses (his unwillingness to forgive people whom he felt betrayed him, his pure enmity for Henry Cabot Lodge with regard to the Versailles treaty and the racism that came from his Southern roots) while spending way too much time on the good that he accomplished (his Progressive Agenda and his willingness to try to avoid US involvement in World War I until Imperial Germany pushed him too far). In writing this book Berg indicated that he had access to previously unreleased materials (i.e. the letters of one of Wilson's daughters and the letters of Dr. Grayson who was Wilson's personal physician), but in completing the book I am left with the feeling that the addition of these materials did not add greatly to the biography or shed any new light on Wilson than what I already know. If you have never read a biography of Wilson before, this book would be a good place to start in trying to understand him- but I believe that if you really want to understand the man and the times he lived, this book is only a first step.
I must admit that I am not a great fan of Lyndon B. Johnson-especially since I place great blame on him for the Vietnam war. That being said, upon finishing this book I acquired a great deal of respect for President Johnson- especially in light of the way he handled himself during the time period that is covered in this book. The humiliation that he faced while serving as Vice President and his ability to hold up to being ostracized by the Kennedy White House inner circle during the Kennedy Administration are very well portrayed in this book- and have in part changed my opinion of him. But my greatest respect for him is reserved for the way in which he almost single handedly pushed through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As he always does, the author does a great job in describing and analyzing all of the events from Johnson's election as Vice President to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Grover Gardner does a great job (as he almost always does) narrating the book. I am really looking forward to his next volume on Johnson's life.
This book is well worth the listen.
The author started with a great thesis- namely the decline of the Army Leadership by the Generals who have led the US both during and since World War II. He then did an excellent job supporting his position by offering great insight into all of the wars in which the army has been deployed- from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. Portraits of all of the American Generals who commanded the US Army in these- Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, McArthur, Ridgeway, Taylor, Westmoreland, Abrams, Schwartzkopf, Powell, Franks, Petraeus, Sanchez, McCrystal are laid out here for the listener, as well as how each contribted to the success or failure of the army high command during these wars.
George Catlett Marshall- whom quite frankly not many people know enough about and appreciate today. Ricks portrays him as the father of what was great in the army during World War II- namely the ability to select men of high intelligence, energy and affability to lead the US forces- and to remove from command those generals who did not win battles. I became so fascinated by Ricks' portrait of Marshall that after listening to this recording I actually purchased and am reading a biography of Marshall from Amazon (Ed Cray's book entitled "General Of The Army"- which happens to be a great read so far) . Not many people actually realize it but Marshall wanted to command the Allied Invasion at Normandy in 1944- and it was at Franklin Roosevelt's request that he did not agree to become the commander and instead appointed Eisenhower- who as we all know won enough accolade and fame to eventually be elected President of the US.
All were decently portrayed
While I did not have an extreme reaction to the book, I must admit that I came away with the feeling that the current US Army command leadership structure needs to be reformed and new blood infused into that institution if the army is to be a relevant force in protecting the interests of our country. I believe that the author's recommendations on how to bring about and implement this change are well laid out in the epilogue to the book
I am glad that I purchased and listened to the book. While another reviewer has aptly pointed out that there is only theme to this book and that the author constantly reiterates it- I believe that book is well written and well narrated and worth the listen.
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