A 60 Minutes investigation challenges Mortenson's integrity.
I *want* Mortenson's stories to be true, and I enjoyed listening to this book. But after learning that he has most likely fabricated many of his stories, I now have no confidence in which parts of his stories are true, and which are false.
This paleontological adventure-mystery crafts a story in a fashion similar to "The Lost City of Z" and "Into Africa," weaving between modern day research in Egypt and the history of a 20th century German scientist who pioneered research in the same area.
A couple reviews say it is slow. Perhaps it starts slowly, but the beginning provides context for the field of research. But the beginning sets up the rest of the tale, and the story soon moves along well. Also, the narrator's voice is well suited to tell it.
This audiobook seems to be an advertisement for a law firm and for Reputation Defender. While it does provide some practical advice for online reputation management, it uses "scare the hell out of 'em" fear tactics to make small steps seem inadequate.
The book is seems very unbalanced. For example, the authors frequently use of pejorative terms such as "free speech expansionists," providing only nebulous, negative examples of what they might mean by the term. They largely avoid granting any merit to the ethics of open culture and how Internet technologies are helping promote democratic values.
I would have rather spent my time and monthly credit some other way.
This book is less about the field of Paleontology than it is the findings of the field. I had hoped for insight into the field's history and methodologies. Instead, it provides a lengthy summary of the History of Life, with very little contextual information about how the knowledge was gained.
I would have greatly preferred if Tattersal had explained more about how the field began, how its scientists refined it over many decades, and who they were. Without learning about, for example, *who* Cuvier was and how people thought in his day, how can one appreciate his early contribution to the depth of this exciting field of research? And how can one understand the ethical significance of The Bone Wars without knowing much more about the two men involved? There are too many interesting stories about how the field has advanced to focus just on its findings. This feels like a classic history textbook: just "one damned fact after another."
"If there's justice, it will win the Pulitzer Prize." --Seth Godin
"Nuh uh." -- me
I was suprised at how many scientific errors Mr. Kelly commits in laying out his thesis for this book. His thesis is solid, but he frequently and unnecessarily distorts scientific theory to support it. He clumsily argues that evolution has direction, citing prominent scientists like Richard Dawkins, despite that Dawkins has long asserted that any perceived destination for evolution results simply from our own narcissistic perspective. Kelly also uses several erroneous cliches about the history of human evolution to support his thesis. By the end of the book, I was disappointed that Kelly so poorly argued such an important thesis. For lack of better editors, this book ends up stuck between popular psychology and scholarly thought.
Good book. In fact, I really enjoyed the topic. However, the narrator's monotone delivery and Scottish brogue make it a tough run through. It's a shame when an author's good labor doesn't get its match in audio production.
Carroll's other books on Audible ("Remarkable Creatures" and "The Making of the Fittest") were well produced audio books. This one is not. Although not quite monotonous, the reader lacks adequate inflection to bring this text alive. Consequently, it loses the zest that the text should otherwise evoke. If you like Carroll's other works, then give this a go, but only if you can withstand a lackluster production.
Audible: I want a refund.
Early in the book, Suarez narrates the coerced gang rape of a drugged 17-year-old girl. He presents her as deserving of this crime simply because she is sexually attractive. Suarez uses the his book as a platform to describe his own male power fantasy, one that epitomizes the worst brand of dehumanizing sexual degradation.
Please do not rationalize Suarez's intent: this material must not become an accepted norm in the science fiction genre. We men have a responsibility to reject it as entertainment.
I first read this many years ago, and could not put it down--even though I had to squirm my way through its uncomfortable, abandon-all-hope humor. When I finished it, I found that I had unwittingly joined a secret club of readers, bonded through the recollection of the dark and (now) hilarious farcical world of Ignatius J. Reilly. I strongly recommend the book. However, I recommend the *audiobook* with some resignation.
The production of the audiobook is merely adequate. The narrator Barrett Whitener has a good voice--he would likely do an excellent job with almost any other book. However, I sensed a hurried pace to the storytelling, as if the producers were churning out product rather than coaching the narrator to achieve the full dramatic effect that this story deserves. Consequently, the richness of Toole's many colorful characters come through only partially, and the various elaborate scenarios that Toole so carefully crafts come to life somewhat less sharply than a better production would allow.
I enjoyed the listen, but throughout its course I longed for its presentation to bring out more of the replete pageantry of Toole's work. Unfortunately, Blackstone Audiobooks took the factory approach and left us with "just another audiobook."
Gibbons covers her topic thoroughly and weaves together the complete story so that it keeps the listener's attention throughout. I agree with Michael from Baltimore's review that the tensions among paleanthropologists is one of the fascinating aspects of the whole story.
However, be advised that the narration has problems. This production needed much better editorial oversight. Raudman's peculiar inflections frequently over-emphasize a word, disrupting the flow. She sometimes sounded as though she were reading a children's story. Raudman also mis-pronounces various words: Oligocene (ollie GOH seen?), Poitiers, and many other words throughout. The result for me was that at certain moments, I had to mentally replay sentences in order to repair the author's original meaning. The issue is actually not a problem of having a bad narrator. Rather, it shows that the producers of the audio program did not pay sufficient attention to editorial detail--certainly not to the level warranted by the author's effort to produce an excellent popular science narrative.
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