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Michael

Collierville, TN, United States | Member Since 2005

42
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 37 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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  • The Lessons of History

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Will, Ariel Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (194)

    The authors devoted five decades to the study of world history and philosophy, culminating in the masterful 11-volume Story of Civilization. In this compact summation of their work, Will and Ariel Durant share the vital and profound lessons of our collective past. Their perspective, gained after a lifetime of thinking and writing about the history of humankind, is an invaluable resource for us today.

    Brad the Dad says: "This is a must for every Educated Person"
    "I Am Humbly in Awe."
    Overall

    Will Durant started out caught up in the socialist ferver of his time and one will find remnants of that in his writing. Yet the breadth of what he wrote trumps any idealogical subtleties and places him firmly in the company of such timeless writers as Wells and Gibbon. Reading Durant I find myself so appreciative of this supremely educated man's breadth of perspective that he matched with a humble lack of presumption (an amazing feat for someone so learned). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. Who wouldn't want to read the conclusions of a man who spent over half a century studying, synthesizing, and writing The Story of Civilization. WONDERFUL!

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Past Imperfect

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Julian Fellowes
    • Narrated By Richard Morant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (91)

    Damian Baxter is hugely wealthy and dying. He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, England, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid. He has but one concern--his fortune in excess of 500 million and who should inherit it on his death.

    connie says: "strangely absorbing"
    "I've Read This Book Five Times Now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best modern fiction book I've read in a long time. I suppose one could describe it as sort of an updated Jane Austen, though a bit racier obviously because it’s set in our time. In the book, the main character is on an interesting investigative errand for a friend from the past, so he is traversing back and forth between his memory describing events and characters in the 1960′s and actual goings on in the 2000′s, while giving generous descriptions of how the aristocracy changed in the Post-WWII world, and how sensibilities and norms had changed from the sixties to the present day. Fellowes is an acute observer of history and cultural evolution (or devolution), and he weaves many observations into this story, to the point that it's almost a work of historical fiction. A few excerpts:


    “I think there have been times when the majority felt they belonged to a culture that was working, that they had an identity within a worthwhile whole. “I am a Roman Citizen,” “God Bless America,” “The man who is born an Englishman has drawn a winning ticket in the lottery of life.” All that. People have felt their own civilisation was valuable and that they were lucky to belong to it. I’m fairly sure I believed that too, or something like it, forty years ago.”

    “Why do modern leaders not grasp that their job is to control antisocial behaviour but not private activity; to regulate our actions as regards others, but not where they only concern ourselves? At times it is hard not to feel that as a culture we are lost, in permanent denial and spinning in the void.”

    “For anyone, hearing of the death of a person you had thought alive and well is a little like killing them because suddenly they’re dead in your brain instead of living. But with the Sixties generation it is more than this. They preached the value of youth so loudly and so long that they cannot believe an unkind God has let them grow old. Still less can they accept they too must die. As if their determination to adopt clothes and prejudices more suited to people thirty, forty, fifty years younger than themselves would act as an elixir to keep them forever from the clutches of the Grim Reaper.”

    “Even if I am not a fan of change for change’s sake, nor indeed of most change if it comes to that, I am fairly sure that in the end we will all be better off for living in a world where any kind of sexuality is compatible with the twin notions of decency and commitment. But I suppose I just wish the whole subject could drop into the background again where it used to be, and not be compulsorily worn around society’s neck day in, day out.”

    “I suppose I was in shock, as they say now, but I don’t think we had “shock” in those days. I think you were just supposed to go for a walk and get on with it.”

    I found his writing style smart and witty, but really just lovely. The story is interesting, not only because it’s a bit of a mystery, but because he weaves in historical and cultural observations. And Richard Morant was really the perfect choice for narrator. Very well done!

    Whenever I find myself between books, not quite sure what I want to take on next, I'll listen to Past Imperfect again. It's been five times now, and I should expect over the coming years, will probably be five more. It's like an old friend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Arthur M. Schlesinger
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In this powerfully argued essay, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. examines the the lessons of one polyglot country after another tearing itself apart or on the brink of doing so, and points out troubling new evidence that multiculturalism gone awry here in the United States threatens to do the same.

    Michael says: "Defending the Exceptional American Experiment"
    "Defending the Exceptional American Experiment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Schlesinger does a masterful job of detailing the exceptional nature of the American experiment, why it has endured, and the adolescent & intellectually dishonest philosophies that are popularly attempting to dismantle it. The philosophies themselves would be laughable had their purveyors not captured tenured chairs at some of our finest universities and been provided uncritical support and promotion by our entertainment and media establishment. I consume 25-30 audiobooks & lecture series a year and have done so for nigh 15 or so years now. This one holds an honored place near the top of that great library and is one I will return to in the fullness of time. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Heritage's Great Minds of American History

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By American Heritage
    • Narrated By Stephen E. Ambrose, David McCullough
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    In a series of fascinating interviews, today's best and brightest historians weigh in on the crucial moments in American history. American Heritage's Great Minds of American History takes you there, imbuing the past with an immediacy that goes well beyond the scope of formal histories.

    Michael says: "Just a Pleasure"
    "Just a Pleasure"
    Overall

    What a pleasure it is to listen to men who've spent their lives learning and writing our history. They have such an accomplished knowledge and are so articulate and passionate for the periods they study. And Roger Mudd is just a wonderful interviewer. I downloaded this several years ago and have listened to it probably a dozen times or more since. Whenever I need a pick me up, listening to David McCullough's passion for our history will do the trick. He's just a national treasure. Download this title and don't look back... you won't regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • David Copperfield

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (207)
    Story
    (208)

    When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which leads him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak, and friendship and betrayal.

    Parusski says: "Perfect narrator for one of the best classics."
    "Just Wonderful"
    Overall

    The story is enchanting enough, but Mr. Jarvis' reading and voices make it just splendid. This reader is very glad to have listened to rather than read this classic and gives this version an unqualified endorsement. Excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Terror and Liberalism

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Paul Berman
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In Paul Berman's opinion, terrorism does not represent a paradigm shift in human thought; rather, it represents a return to the kind of totalitarian thinking that ravaged the European continent during most of the twentieth century. Berman shows how a genuine religious inspiration can be turned into murderous terrorism, and offers insights into how Islamic radicalism mirrors some all-too-familiar episodes in America and Europe.

    Ed says: "Balanced and original"
    "RIGHT!"
    Overall

    "Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself." Milton Friedman

    "The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "We are apt to forget that the vast majority of men and women who fell under the totalitarian spell were activated by unselfish motives, ready to accept the role of martyr or executioner, as the cause demanded."
    - Arthur Koestler

    Equating anything in modern America with the murderous totalitarian regimes (Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Communist USSR) that ravaged the European continent in the 20th century is simply leftist hyperbole. However, likening religious to political totalitarianism has some merit and Mr. Berman does a fair job of it. Leftys, please argue based on ideas....... oh, I forgot, your ideas have been soundly defeated by history itself.

    Read this book. Classic liberalism (what might be termed libertarianism today) appeals to the best in us, leftist hyperbole to the worst.

    18 of 32 people found this review helpful

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