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J. Bryan

liking the sound

New York, New York United States | Member Since 2012

  • 2 reviews
  • 58 ratings
  • 209 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015

  • Churchill

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears

    In these 12 inspiring lectures, Professor Fears presents a well-balanced portrait of Churchill that does not whitewash his flaws. Yet he also draws on the most recent historical scholarship and material from Churchill's writings and speeches to make the case that Churchill belongs with Pericles of Athens and Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of democracy.

    Francisco says: "Churchill"
    "Fine, but very two dimension view of Churchill"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    so-so. The author seems so dedicated to selling the listener on Churchill's greatness, and functionally flawless man, that everything else takes the backseat. In addition not acknowledging mistakes or flaws in his character, for me, undercut and discredited the praise. Fears goes so far as to suggest that Churchill is blameless in his greatest debacle, Gallipoli. Churchill was possibly a great man, but he is certainly a more complex and interesting man than presented in this material. It's like listening to a super fan talk about the band they like, at first their passion is exciting, but soon they seem more blinded by their admiration than enlightened.

    Would you recommend Churchill to your friends? Why or why not?

    If they were really interested in him it's quick and easy. I would give them a few caveats though.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Hitler stuff.

    Do you think Churchill needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Nope. Well, he dies in the end.

    Any additional comments?

    If you don't mind the hero worship (I did maybe just personal taste) there is a lot of information in here, but the conclusions are often unsatisfying.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (30 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson

    Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.

    W. Morgan says: "Great overview with some degree of detail"
    "Interesting material. Out of touch professor"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I am fascinated by philosophy and it's history, but this treatment of it was an incredible waist of time. You hear very little interesting substance of philosophy. Also, let it be noted this is all Western Philosophy, which is fine, but philosophically speaking India and China were centuries ahead of the west for most of human history and that's where a lot of the good stuff is. There was also a Christian bent to the lecture which was distracting. It was weird to hear someone teach philosophy, while maintaining a religious circular logic. In fact in his grand conclusion for how to live the best life (as if there is one answer for everyone) he claims that happiness would be to live the life of Mother Teresa. This is a perfect example with the problem with Daniel Robinson. Mother Teresa struggled with horrible lifelong depression and misery (read her letters if you don't believe me.) I'm not sure if Robinson is unaware of this, if he thinks happiness is irrelevant to a good life, or if he simply thinks his listeners aren't aware. Either way, his conclusions are strange and he seems to try to wrap philosophy into a justification for Christianity. I'm not trying to knock his beliefs, but if I had to listen to class on philosophy as a way of justifying Islam or zoroastrianism I would find it pretty useless too. I don't know how this guy got to teach a class in anything.

    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Generally I love the great courses and look forward to the next one I listen to.

    How could the performance have been better?

    If the professor had stuck with philosophy and kept the theology to himself.

    What character would you cut from The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition?

    Democritus, Hume

    Any additional comments?

    Instead try "Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines" or just do Will Durant

    11 of 19 people found this review helpful

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