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Joshua

New York, NY, United States | Member Since 2004

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 646 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
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  • 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Emerson
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    Today, 1913 is inevitably viewed through the lens of 1914: as the last year before a war that would shatter the global economic order and tear Europe apart, undermining its global pre-eminence. Our perspectives narrowed by hindsight, the world of that year is reduced to its most frivolous features last summers in grand aristocratic residences or its most destructive ones: the unresolved rivalries of the great European powers, the fear of revolution, violence in the Balkans.

    GANESHi says: "Good book ruined by bad read"
    "Well written, *very* poorly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Kevin Stillwell’s performance?

    Stillwell's voice is actually pleasantly neutral. Neutrality is not a bad quality: while an unsuitable or irritating voice can ruin an audiobook, only the rarest readings are memorably outstanding; simply not noticing the voice is the mark of a workmanlike reading, competent and unintrusive. Stillwell's performance is solid on this matter.

    However - and this is a very big qualification - as other reviewers have pointed out, Stillwell's pronunciation of even the commonest foreign words or names - or sometimes even of fairly common English words like "quay" - is abysmal. The pronunciation is occasionally confusing ("Does he mean ...?"), but more often just jarring; I know what he means, but constantly find myself audibly correcting him, over and over. Because the text deliberately jumps from locale to locale, the listener can't even overcome the mispronunciations by becoming used to them, as every chapter brings the text to a new place where Stillwell will find a whole new crop of words to mangle.

    This completely undermines the admirable neutrality of his voice, by constantly intruding on the listener, dragging him out of the story and into a pedantic confrontation with the narrator. What's worse is how easily this could have been corrected: one particular howler was Stillwell's failed attempt to pronounce the surname of the French writer André Gide, which Stillwell pronounces as if it were "guide." Gide, a Nobel Prize winner, is hardly so obscure that the correct pronunciation would have been difficult for Stillwell to find; a Google search gives it immediately.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wandering Greeks: The Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Robert Garland
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Most classical authors and modern historians depict the ancient Greek world as essentially stable and even static, once the so-called colonization movement came to an end. But Robert Garland argues that the Greeks were highly mobile, that their movement was essential to the survival, success, and sheer sustainability of their society, and that this wandering became a defining characteristic of their culture.

    Joshua says: "Audible, fix your lousy review framework"
    "Audible, fix your lousy review framework"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The "story" star rating is inapplicable, as this is not a narrative history (but it is impossible to leave a review without rating the "story" - one wonders how the "story" is rated on self-help titles).

    The book is a well-written survey monograph focusing on exile and expatriate life in ancient Greece. It's one of the better written (and better read) historical monographs available on Audible (note to Audible: more historical monographs!), but I wouldn't recommend it for casual listeners with no background in classics; it's not a narrative, and it digs fairly deeply into ancient Greek sources and archaeology.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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