Just as a mosaic would be hard to understand if we started out by describing the individual pieces rather than describing the big picture, this story jumps around to individual events and personas without sketching out a larger context first. I believe that if the story were better organized, the book would be better.
I found the abundant use of hackneyed phrases and strings of cliches made the book difficult to listen to. I listened to this book right after Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" and the contrast was just too much to take. I had to stop after a few hours.
His clear diction and English accent are pleasant to listen to but his typically English over-emotional and over-emphatic reading became tiresome after a while. I think I'd be willing to give him a try if he read a Victorian novel - his censorious intonations would probably fit well the characters of that era who commonly found a lot to be dissatisfied with. I think he is probably very good with works of high drama.
Sorry to be critical - this could be a good book with some reorganization and revisions, and with a language that rises above the evening news' standards. I have learned some new things from it. But in addition to my remarks above, I have to say I felt the author was talking down to the reader.
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