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Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Member Since 2011

  • 4 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 113 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Harold Bloom
    • Narrated By James Armstrong
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Harold Bloom explores our Western literary tradition by concentrating on the works of twenty-six authors central to the Canon. He argues against ideology in literary criticism; he laments the loss of intellectual and aesthetic standards; he deplores multiculturalism, Marxism, feminism, neoconservatism, Afrocentrism, and the New Historicism.
    Insisting instead upon "the autonomy of aesthetic," Bloom places Shakespeare at the center of the Western Canon.....

    Steffen says: "A personal and opinionated book on the Canon"
    "interesting, but...."

    You won't get much out of this if you haven't read the specific books he talks about. He makes no effort to provide an overview before discussing each work. After I while, I just skipped over chapters about works I hadn't read. The sound editing is a little poor in places.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "interesting, but recording is not good"

    The book itself is quite interesting and well worth it. Unfortunately, the audio editing is not good. The cuts are noticeable as the narrator's volume and tone changes, something I have not observed on any other book I've listened to. There was also at least one occasion where a line was repeated because of poor editing. Finally, the narrator mangles foreign words, especially French one, which is quite distracting.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Oak and the Calf: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs)
    • By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    • Narrated By Richard Brown

    The great Russian novelist and historian here reveals his round-by-round personal account of what it was like to be a writer in a Communist regime. He tells of his ten-year war to outwit Russia's rulers and get his works published in his own country. During his lengthy stay in the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn spent considerable time writing in total secrecy. In the 60s he was released and found himself a fairly free man. Soon thereafter, Khrushchev denounced Stalin, hope emerged briefly, and the underground writer decided to surface. The result was the publication in Russia of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and with it, the first public exposure of the truth about the prison camps. From this point, as would be expected, the KGB pursued him and Solzhenitsyn here tells of his clever strategy to foil their attempts to re-arrest him.

    Leslie says: "good"

    The book is very interesting and contains Solzhenitsyn's typical humour. It is an impressive story of courage in the face of a totalitarian system. The narrator does a good job. The only problem is that the audio quality is not quite as high as other recordings.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Alistair Horne
    • Narrated By James Adams

    The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It caused the fall of six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict, and as many European settlers were driven into exile. From the perspective of half a century, it looks less like the last colonial war than the first postmodern one.

    Judith says: "A fascinating book"

    Very interesting story, writing in a balanced way. Very well read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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