Audio: This narration by Johnny Heller is TERRIBLE. I knew in the first 2 minutes I didn't think I would like it, and 6+ intermittent hours later (of a 16 hour book) I have finally given up. The voice is raspy and hoarse, like he has a cold or a throat condition. He speaks sentences in groups of words and phrases, as though he has to catch his breath every 4 or 5 words. They are not pauses for commas or puncuation, just grouped word recitation that totally disrupts the flow of a sentence. He does that continously. How would you... like listening to someone... who spoke like that... all the time.
Then he will go into low-voice, furtive whisper mode as though he must be reading within a parentheses or footnote, but he will go on wayyyy longer than any parenthetical context should be. Speaking of voice shift, he will be reading at a certain tone level, then switch to a totally different level and stay that way, like he went on a bathroom break or a vacation and came back later. How annoying and distracting. I've listened to 7, 10, and 52 hours books that all have consistent delivery throughout. (See my other reviews.) Heller's delivery is HUGELY disappointing. He is supposedly a somewhat renown narrator, but his work on this book is a bust. Memo to self: NEVER buy an audiobook WITHOUT LISTENING to a SAMPLE!!! My bad. I got in a hurry during the "annual sale". What a waste of money, even at a discounted-price.
I do recommend narrators Christopher Hurt, James Adams, and C.M. Hebert. They are outstanding. Brian Emerson was very good also.
Content: It wouldn't be fair to comment, having only done 1/3 of the book. The histories of Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson, and early F.D.R. were interesting though. And H.G. Wells sounds like a bad boy! But I'll have to continue with hard copy sometime, if I haven't been soured on it.
Audio: 5 star. Excellent. Clear, well-spoken, easily understood. The levels of voice volume and inflection were even throughout with only slight fluctuations occasionally.
Content: 5 star. LOADED with biographical information on economists from the 17th century pre-Adam Smith to the present. (I've heard of the "biggies" but I had no idea there were so many others.) It's also loaded with the gems of economic theory and application from those economists. I only read economics for my personal education but it seems to me the author covers the subject(s) quite well. IMO this might be a good textbook for Intro to Economics or Economic History.
Context: 3 star. I suspect this fine history and reference book may be better to read than to listen to. First, the subject matter jumps around alot. This is probably due to the numerous sidebars and graphs the author mentions in his introduction. Still, it is disconcerting and somewhat hard to follow in the spoken work. Second, some of the gems of economic theory and practice tend to fly right by. Yes, I rewind from time to time but that gets annoying, and you can't easily, if at all, bookmark those gems for later replay. This is the kind of book in written form I would want to reference often, leaf back and forth, look up things in the Index, etc. I found the list of figures, illustrations, and photos online and there are a LOT of them, which of course you won't have in audio.
I'm sure I'm not the first person who has wished audiobooks came with at least a text Table of Contents, perhaps with the time lapsed for each chapter. And wouldn't a function to actually leap to specific chapters be great. I think audiobook sales could be hugely increased with more interactive and informative interfaces.
Audio: Excellent. Clear, well-enunciated, easy to understand. Authentic pronunciations of the many Arabic names and places (as far as I know). To my ears the narrator has a North American English accent (Canadian or American, not British).
Content: Riveting... Sobering... Chilling... A thoroughly detailed history of modern Radical Islam and Islamic terrorism from the 1940's through 9/11/2001. Despite the obvious culmination in 9/11 I'd say 90% of the book is spent on the 40's through the 90's. A lot of encounters amongst the terrorists are described in a story and dialogue style, bringing the history alive. Though an audiobook listener doesn't have access to references or index the author must have used interviews and eyewitness accounts for such reconstructions. It certainly makes for an engrossing read. This book was published around Aug. 2006 and though I'd heard about it often I assumed it was "just about 9/11". It is much more than that and I'm glad I finally got around to it. This is a must-read historical primer and I put it right up there with anything by Robert Spencer or books such as The Shia Revival, America Alone, or Kite Runner. I highly recommend this book.
Audio: Excellent. Narrator has a British accent, as appropriate for the context of the book, and was easily understood by this American listener. This is a dramatization, and the narrator does "voices in character", but there is no music except at the title introduction of each of the two audio segments. (I personally don't care for music-enhanced dramas in audiobooks)
Content: The audio intro says this book is based on the graphic novel based on the screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers. As such this is a VERY in-depth, fleshed-out and thoughtful portrayal. After listening one would think that the based-ons could easily have been reversed, as this book is not a mere description of a movie, but an insightful exploration of all the themes and issues. My highest kudos to the author for doing so. I had seen the movie previously and look forward to seeing it again, as the book seems faithful to the plot, to my recollection.
As a story, both book and movie have a near-term, futuristic setting with enough mystery, suspense, and action that appeals to my personal tastes. Fascism, anarchy, and "V"engence certainly give it a serious side, with enough references to current day England and several pointed jabs at America to express its opinions. I highly recommend it as a thought-provoking AND entertaining tale.
Audio: Excellent narration by Perry Richards. Clear, easily understood enunciation. American accent, I presume, FWIW.
Content: Excellent. A thorough primer in the fundamentals of economics as applicable to modern times. As a P.I. Guide it supports the (indisputable, IMO) logic of "free market" economics, supported by numerous quotes from Frederic Bastiat, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, and even Ayn Rand (Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal and The Virtue of Selfishness), to name a few. And, as a P.I. Guide, it is tongue in cheek and lightly sarcastic at times, but not to its' detriment. It also mentions 2 of my other favorite economic primers, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and Free to Choose by Rose and Milton Friedman, amongst the many books it suggests for additional reference. For a relatively short book (224 pages in paperback) it covers seemingly most of the major topics one should learn about to understand economics. (Surf the 'net for more detailed descriptions of the contents.) I absorbed this nearly 6 hour book in a single day and I'll be listening to it again. I highly recommend it.
Audio: Excellent. Clear, crisp, enunciation. Narrator has a British accent, (and why not, the author is English), and was VERY easily understood by this American. This book is a SPECIAL TREAT as it is actually BETTER TO LISTEN to it than to read it. This is because of the innumerable authentic-sounding pronunciations of English word derivations and origins throughout history. Even if the words are spelled phonetically in the book (and I don't know if they are), I say you cannot beat having them pronounced properly. This REALLY brings the book alive.
Content: Outstanding. The Adventure of English is an adventure in history also, as it necessarily must be. Celtic, Norse, Friesen (sp?), Norman French, Latin, French, Spanish, u-name-it. England, Normandy, U.S.A., the Carribean, Australia, et al. Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine, Chaucer, Tyndale, Philip Sidney, Mark Twain, oh, and Shakespeare of course, to name a few. The subject matter is presented in a personal and personable manner. It is not technical or aloof. Tres facile a' comprendre. N'est-ce pas? I usually read philosophy, politics, current events, and fiction. This book was a very worthwhile departure from that. I highly recommend this book and I will be LISTENING to it again.
Audio: Excellent. Clear, well-enunciated, easy to understand. The narrator does read fairly quickly. I didn't do much rewinding but due to the interesting subject matter and innumerable cases mentioned I will be listening to this book many times.
Content: EDUCATIONAL. Was there ever a time "The Supremes" didn't legislate from the bench? Did they EVER adhere to the Constitution other than its' legend as perceived "in their own minds"? Sigh. "What hath God wraught?" It's a wonder we retain ANY inalienable rights anymore, but that was the DOI, wasn't it? The subject matter is presented in a manner that holds ones' interest. Since it is a P.I.G. book there is a moderate amount of sarcasm, but only as appropriate. I highly recommend this book for those with a personal interest in either America history or their own future in America.
Audio: Narrator James Adams does an excellent job. His British accent and pronounciation of the many Arabic words are both very understandble. The pace is just right, neither dragging nor being a "speed-read". The recording is clear and unobstructed by any interference. I will look for other works J. Adams has read as possible future choices.
Content: As in Spencer's P.I. Guide to Islam that I read, this book is packed with referenced facts. These are largely quotes and accounts from the Quran, Sura, and hadith. The book is largely a fascinating and reasonably brief historical account of the life of Muhammad. As a Protestant Westerner and minor history buff, I enjoyed it and felt educated by it! I was enthralled enough to listen to the 7 hour book within a single 24-hr period. Spencer sticks to the facts throughout and lets them speak for themselves. Only in the final chapter does he coalesce the various points presented and apply them to our modern world. Is 7th century Muhammad a bad example for conduct in the 21st century? (My question.) Read\listen and decide for yourself. I highly recommend this book.
Audio: Narrator Christopher Hurt is top notch. His clear, crisp delivery makes every word easily understandable. His addition of tone, inflection, and emotion when characters speak enables you to distinguish who is talking without being over-dramatic. This book was a pleasure to listen to and I'll seek other works by the same narrator.
Content: I dare say this is one of the greatest novels and "practical philosophy" books of our time. First published in 1957 it is still FRIGHTENINGLY pertinent to our world today. Whether, or not, you think logic, reason, and self-responsibility have a role in life, READ THIS BOOK. It just.. makes.. sense... It is a GREAT story besides, written in a modern setting that one can relate to. Yes, it is a long book, but think of it as a lengthy series of episodes (which is what good books are, aren't they?). And each episode here is SUCH a great story. Trust me, I delore long books, but I read this one twice before the audiobook. (And I'm not a hardcore Rand-ian.) I was amazed at how the audio version made so many things clearer. It just.. makes.. sense... Enjoy.
Audio: Well-read by narrator Brian Emerson. If you've ever heard Mark Steyn speak, such as when he's on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, you know it would have been a special treat if he had narrated his own book. Steyn's listenable Candadian-British accent and ability to deliver his many humorous witticisms with just the right emphasis is a pleasure to hear. Emerson is an excellent stand-in however, with his clear, well-pronounced, and lively delivery. The narrator and subject matter held my attention such that I listened to the 10 hours over about 3+ days, despite having 12 of 52 hours remaining on Atlas Shrugged that I've been working on for 2 months.
Content: Excellent, superb, intelligent, insightful, witty to a fault? All of the above. The Islamic 'influence' (isn't THAT putting it mildly!) on the rest of the world is a subject people would be highly advised to inform themselves about. This is not something happening "over there" somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away. Steyns' intelligent compilation of FACTS, and his insightful discourse about them, is one such information resource. Combined with Steyns' inability to deliver more than a few sentences without injecting very clever wit, humor, or innuendo, the book becomes easy to read\listen to. (If only I could muster even HALF the wit and humor that Steyn does, then I'd be a, uhh... oh nevermind.) His humor does not degrade this serious subject, but makes it more palatable. The book is not a rant (The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!), but a level-headed, clear-sighted discussion. I highly recommend it.
(P.S. For backup on demographic facts, surf the 'Net for United Nations Birth Rates and wallow in their databases. Also have a look at Pat Buchanan's STATE OF EMERGENCY, which is packed with referenced demography, such as from UNpopulationDotOrg. I felt Steyn must have read Buchanan amongst others, or used similar available data.)
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