Fairbanks, AK, United States | Member Since 2012
The Harbinger was an entertaining listen. I understand that it has been scrutinized, both from Christians and others - mainly for the fact that Cahn supposedly takes the verse in Isaiah out of context. Regardless, the prophetic warnings, or "Harbingers", presented in Isaiah are strangely coincidental to the events of 9/11 as Cahn presents.
Regardless of your belief system, the book does cause the listener to ponder how such random events (e.g. sycamores being replaced by a conifer) seemingly follow both the invasion of Israel by the Assyrians and the attacks on the United States by the Assyrian's indirect decendents (the Taliban) to be strangely similar.
I was semi annoyed by the story Cahn uses to tell the story. I think there could have been more effective ways to present his points, but alas, I am not a NYT best selling author!
All in all, a good listen. If you're interested in Biblical history and would like to learn some interesting tidbits of how it may tie into America's future, then you'll love this book.
I can't say anything about this book that hasn't already been said. It was fantastic and horrifying, tragic and redemptive. It was men and women of true merit and courage that overcame the unspeakable evil of Nazi Germany, and books like that bring them to life.
What can I say about this book and it's author that haven't already been said?
The North and South series is fantastic. It's the story of two families intertwined by friendship, love, and marriage; separated by being "northerners" and "southerners", and ultimately by civil war.
I couldn't help but love the characters. They are well developed and intertwined, but not in such a way that would make the book confusing. John Jakes is the PG-13 version of Ken Follett - just enough to keep the story interesting, but not enough to make it pornographic. Those who have read both authors know what I'm talking about.
Its hard to imagine what life would have been like living during the civil war period. Your friends - and even some of your family - suddenly your "enemies", all because of the evil ideology of slavery, corrupted power structures, culture, and simple geography. The veins of slavery ran deep enough to turn a nation against itself, resulting in hundreds of thousands dead. It's books like this that help you see the victims on both sides.
After listening to several of Ken Follett's novels - or more accurately, tomes - I've come to expect a few things. First, the book will likely contain several graphic rape and sex scenes. (Some of them graphic enough to make a sailor blush). And while some of this can make you love or hate a character, I felt like the continued graphic element in this book detracted a bit from the narrative - every ten minutes there was mention of this and that body part. Secondly, the story will be rich in detail and it will usually end up being very interesting. And finally, it will be at least 40 hours long and read by John Lee (who is a fantastic narrator by the way).
Overall I enjoyed the book. Good character development and some unexpected twists and turns. I've never listened to a book detailing this period of history, so learning of the times and politics of the early Christian church was informative. There was one character that reminded me of a cheap action movie villain that seems to survive every un-survivable situation imaginable. He's a constant thorn in your side that never goes away.
Not Follett's best, but worth your listen.
For me, the best authors of historical fiction teach history without their readers knowing it. How? By making the facts come alive - by humanizing history. An engrossed reader comes away with a broader perspective of the world's events AND a good story.
An Officer and a Spy delivers on all accounts. And I must say I'm somewhat perplexed by a few of the negative reviews - I thought the book was excellent. It is the true story of Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery man of German and Jewish descent, who is falsely accused and found guilty of treason - all of which remains today an unfortunate example of political injustice, aided largely by the court of public opinion. The story is suspenseful, engaging, emotional, and ultimately redemptive. A great listen for any audience - highly recommended.
I have been a moderately anxious, worry-filled pessimist for most of my life. For me, anxiety has come with its costs (missing out of many otherwise fun and exciting moments in my life, blocking people from seeing the REAL me) and its benefits (always prepared for any situation, overly attuned to social cues), etc. But I have always been skeptical of the reasons why I am this way. Is it chemical? Am I being fooled into a diagnosis by the drug companies? Is this within the realm of normalcy? In My Age of Anxiety, Scott Stossel delves into each of these questions and more.
The book is the most comprehensive and complete narrative of the history, the perceptions, reasons, the social stigmas, and the SCIENCE behind anxiety that I have ever read. And while I won't spoil the story for anyone, knowledge is power, and for me - knowing and recognizing the reasons behind anxiety was therapeutic.
The book is not a casual listen. But if you're interested in learning about anxiety, there will be no more user-friendly, layman's manual on the topic better than this. The narration is easy to listen to, the author is easy to follow, and as I found - he has ample experience with anxiety and its vast array of treatments. This book should be the recommendation of every diagnosing Physician dealing with anxious patients - it helped me out tremendously.
There are very few authors on this planet that can tell a masterful and engaging story while simultaneously teaching world history. Herman Wouk is one of these rare few. His stories are powerful, interconnected, and beautifully written; the listener not only feels a part of the narrative but also gains a certain affection for the characters.
The Caine Mutiny is not Wouk's finest work. I'll reserve that honor for some of his later works. That being said, the Mutiny is a fantastic story of love, hate, jealousy, and all of the complexities of thought an emotion experienced by a young sailor during World War II.
Any story from Herman Wouk will entertain and enlighten, and Tha Caine mutiny delivers on both accounts.
Swimming with Crocodiles was an interesting listen, probably best suited for casual adventurers. It is the story of Will Chaffey's experiences while traveling in Australia, which ended up being more of a lesson in self-discovery than anything else.
The story itself is interesting, although it is fairly anticlimactic and tends to cover up this fact by telling short scientific stories about various Australian reptiles. Nevertheless Chaffey's adventure is enough to keep your attention throughout, even if it is somewhat predictable.
Without spoiling the story for any prospective listener, the most interesting aspect of the book is the lesson that Chaffey reiterates throughout, which is that not all education occurs within a classroom or walls of a university - a lesson I felt the author delivered with tact and power.
A Higher Call is one of those inspiring stories that makes you want to be a better person. World War II brought about some of the most unthinkable actions of pure evil mankind has ever seen - and yet amongst such atrocities, decency and valor and good will still shone through in the actions of men from both sides of the war. This is one of those stories.
This book brought tears to my eyes. And for a man's man who stinks at showing emotion like me - that's saying something. Phenomenal book.
Shortly after the incidents of Dec. 7 1941, the United States unleashed its fleet of what was at the time an unproven and (in comparison to Germany's U-Boats) relatively novice submarines. These brave men participated in a "learn as you go" strategy during the early months of the war, dealing with design and structural failures in their subs, torpedo's that ran amok (and often back at their own boats), and a brutal enemy determined to rule the Pacific.
What this story is really about is the trials and errors, the unfortunate lethal consequences of learning as you go, and the uncanny courage and bravery of crews from three famous submarines of WWII: Silversides, Drum, and Tang.
The facts are the facts, but the author does a great job of bringing personal accounts and emotion into the story. As it follows the plights of these three subs, the listener not only gains a certain affection for their crews, but also an appreciation and respect for the bravery and sheer determination these men displayed on a daily basis. Imagine being stuck 250ft below the surface of the Pacific ocean in a disabled submarine, while your captors circle above, as you slowly run out of oxygen in the darkness. What would you do?
I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you're just looking for a good story or a lesson in history. Many of the details in this book are very hard to come by and James Scott brought them together masterfully.
There are a lot of reviews about this book, most of them are positive and most of them are focused on how Ken Follett can tell a fictional story while teaching his readers factual parts of history. And I think most of these reviews are accurate. The listener will enjoy a very well told story and learn about the causes and circumstances that led to WWI.
I think my favorite thing about The Fall of Giants is how the listener gains a sense of camaraderie with the characters and their feelings. The story helped me see that most of the victims of wars, especially in some of the more aggressive nations, are everyday citizens. Follett does a great job helping you realize that people are people, each with complex emotions and feelings. Just like every German in WWII wasn't a Nazi-loving fascist, we can now realize that every Afghani is also not a Taliban-loving terrorist. It just makes you appreciate humanity for what it is - at least thats how I felt.
Another thing I want to point out is that Follett obviously touts the principles of socialism and more liberal ideologies throughout his novels. This isn't so much of a complaint as it is a recognition of his bias. Nonetheless it was a phenomenal novel and I highly recommend all 31 hours of it.
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