The single best thing about the audible version of the book is the narration by Phil Gigante, which is nothing short of masterful. He actually sounds like Thompson, albeit without the incoherent mumbling. I would love to hear him read all of the major HST books and short pieces ("The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," for instance).
I had the privilege of seeing Thompson and the late, great Warren Zevon at a book discussion in the 90s in Louisville, Ky., and while I was thrilled to see a literary hero of mine, I can attest to the difficulty of actually listening to him speak. He spoke rapidly and in a barely audible mumbling tone that was difficult to understand or even recognize as English.
On another note, I don't really get the Scott Sowers hate on the other audiobook versions of Thompson's work. I preferred Gigante's version, as it was though Thompson himself was speaking directly to the listener, but Sowers did a very competent job that captured the hyperactive, hyperbolic tone that characterized much of Thompson's writing.
I don't know that there is an equivalent in today's journalism/literature.
Has anyone actually read the drivel currently spewed out today by someone like Carl Bernstein, Thomas Friedman, George Will, or--god help us--anything written by anyone at Fox News? Very little real discussion, let alone analysis, of politics is available to a prospective reader/listener by any news source and what there is amounts to nothing more than a series of poorly written press releases written by journalists who are, for the most part, poorly paid PR flacks for either (or both) political parties. The books by these spokespeople tend to be bland, banal descriptions of the "he said/she said" variety of journalism that is in vogue today.
Listening to Thompson makes one realize that, once upon a time in our fading republic, a few reporters not only challenged the status quo but actually managed to change it in some way.
It is perfect as is.
Reading Thompson should be mandatory for high school students. An HST School of Journalism might actually turn out some reporters whose writing is worth reading.
I would listen again because the subject matter is not only critical to our modern day understanding of Islam, but also to familiarize myself with the history of the religion.
Zealot by Aslan follows a similar overview of the history of a major religion--in that case, Christianity--but No God But God differs a bit in that it looks at how Islam has been splintered off into various sects and the role of those sects in the Middle East.
This is a history, so this question is not really applicable.
I was moved by the initial peace and egalitarianism espoused by Mohammed and his tolerance for people of other faiths. It is a stark contrast to the hatred of and by religious "fundamentalists," whose fundamental belief seems to always be composed of hatred of all others who may differ from them.
Do not believe the negative reviews of this book or of Zealot. Those reviews appear to all stem from the very same religious intolerance and ignorance that they accuse the author of possessing.
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