This book by Russel Shorto holds a wealth of information related to the pre-English colonies in North American. At many times during this audiobook, I was fascinated by the information about the people of the New Amsterdam colony, and by the interesting relations to Dutch politics during the 17th Century. For this, the book is worth the listen.
However, what for me was very, very annoying was the continual repitition of multiple re-phrasing of statements like this: "And now we can see why New Amsterdam, and its multi-cultural state and ideals, truly formed the identity of what we now call the United States of America, and specifically the melting pot known as New York," etc etc. I believe that it is a shortcoming of the author to constantly remind his readers of the importance of the content of the book without allowing the content to stand on its own. If you can overlook the fact that at the end of nearly every chapter you are reminded of the importance of the New Amsterdam colony to the founding of the values of New York city, and therfore American itself, then you probably will enjoy this book very much.
Keep in mind that the book is dramatized, historical non-fiction and that the author has filled in the gaps between actual historical documents to present to the reader a "compelling tale," based of a historical anthropological research done by other individuals (duly credited in the book).
I have been a fan of William Gibson since his award-winning book Neuromancer. Patter Recognition was also my first audio book, so my comments might be tainted by these facts.
Pattern Recognition starts off like a roller coaster ride, moving one rapidly through names, places and settings. So much is presented at first, that it might seem like you missed something, but with patience and dedication to the listening of the full story, a rich weave of mystery can be heard.
Unlike his earlier sci-fi or cyberpunk novels, Gibson is placing us in a more contemporary world, which I personally like because one can compare his world to "our" world almost directly and THAT leads the listener to a comparitive awareness, in regards to issues of advertisement and popular culture.
Patter Recognition is also about the nature of believing in either science, pseudo-science or mystery, as a substitute for religion. How this occurs is through a description of a community based on common interests, even if that "interest" is a mystery and open to debate by this same community. I can't say any more about it without beginning to devulge the story. Sorry, you are just going to have to listen to the audiobook for yourself!
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