I bought this audiobook after listening to "Pillars of the Earth." I throughly enjoyed Pillars, so thought I would try one of Follett's older books. As a resident of Aberdeen, Scotland I was even more delighted to find that much of the action took place here. Maybe I would have enjoyed the book more were I not a resident of Aberdeen. There are over 790 islands in Scotland, and Follett felt the need to make up a new one. Perhaps one of the best parts of fiction literature is being able to empathize with the setting and characters. Making a fake island made the whole story seem artificial. I decided to hang in there, and was let down my a number of other problems. Just to name a few: there were several references in action happening at dark, or for that matter Blogs arriving in Aberdeen two hours before dawn. The action seems to be taking place in mid to late may, which would put sunrise around 4:15AM. Who would refer to 2 in the morning as two hours before dawn? Other little things such as the women in bathing suits in Aberdeen. I would wager less than 1 in 100 residents have went swimming in the North Sea in Aberdeen as it is just too cold. On the same note I doubt a German who had been living in England would find Scotland stiflingly hot as once noted.
Other problems: the voices were horrible and overdone. The German accents sounded like something Michael Scott from the Office would do as a Nazi impersonation. The English and Scottish voices were just as bad on the whole. It sort of reminded me of something from 1940's radio. I agree with other commentators that the reader was a bit too fast. Also, I thought the characters were underdeveloped. Faber should have had something at the end of the book more definite as to why (Spoiler!) he would not kill the lady. There was never any resolution on his part. Other commentators seem to have thought the book moved quickly, but I (perhaps for the reasons mentioned above) too longer than usual to finish it. I was ready to move on.
I listened to this alongside an audible edition of Augustine's Confessions in preparation for teaching this text at the undergraduate level. I was a bit worried about the team teaching approach at first, as both Herzman and Cook interject on each lecture, but I found they did a marvelous job of bouncing thoughts off of each other and furthering discussion. I have listened to five or so "Great Courses" on audible and this has been my favorite thus far.
I remember the name of J. Frank Norris from a Baptist history course, but it was not a figure that was dwelt on for long. I found this to be a very intriguing book that has a lot to teach us today. Norris had a rare combination of passion, charisma, and zeal that helped him rise to prominence. I think what this book can primarily teach us is that any pastor should find himself with a large flock should have a system of accountability so that his ego does not go unchecked.
I also thought Norris's making of conspiracy theories in order to rally his congregation had much relevance.
I would recommend this book both for its historical value as well as for the fact that it is a very thrilling story.
I had very little knowledge of Patrick Henry entering into this listen. As influential as he was initially in the American Revolution, he is often overlooked today. What I liked about this book: the book did a great job of laying out the facts of Henry's life and place in eighteenth century American in an orderly fashion.
What I did not like: I did not find the book to be a particularly critical overview. It presented Henry in a glowing light but did little to go deeper in regards to analyzing his place in history.
What I liked:
We all like stories of sacrifice for a greater good. A lot of that in this book. Stories of heros and camaraderie are always good. I also liked that the author had a humble disposition despite his performance. It also added much to my perspective of the US wars fought over the last decade.
What I did not like: I did not like his language or philosophy/worldview at times. By the end of the book I was disgusted by his use, "We were slaughtering the savages." I also was not a fan of Western imperialism to the point that God is on our side. There was much talk throughout about maybe having a guardian angel, but not much talk of the 160+ enemies' killed guardian angels. I also did not like how we were the good guys and the enemies the "Bad guys" as if lines are that clear. The author had a very depersonalized view of the enemy. He makes it clear that such an attitude is necessary in war, but I am not sure it is necessary after the fact.
I did not know much about Coburn prior to reader this book. I agree with some of the others that it is nonpartisan in the sense of he is not afraid to call out both Republicans and Democrats on the subject of debt. It is partisan in the sense that he is still calling for Republican party ideals of being fiscially conservative, but I felt that he was one of the few willing to go beyond mere words.
What I liked: the first 1/3 or so of the book Coburn lays out why it is a problem for America to rack up so much debt, and why in a global market this is a problem that could bring down the American empire just as debt has historically downed other empires. In a global market this transition could happen very quickly.
What I did not like: at some point the book shifted form explaining the American debt problem and the problem of long serving members of Congress and the Senate to being an autobiography of how Coburn himself has fought the debt problem. I was not looking for an autobiography when I read this book.
I heard of this book when it came out, but didn't get around to reading it. The reading was quite fun, as you have the proper English accent you would expect in an Austen reader. SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: I laughed out loud several times when Kellgren read Mr. Collin's wife half-zombie prose. I agree with some other readers that I was not crazy about the seeming copy and paste that took place with zombie attacks whenever one character traveled from one place to another. I was expecting Wickham's head to be chopped off, but I found the path chosen by Grahame-Smith even more humorous.
I have listened to 20-25 books through audible, and this may have been my favorite in terms of the listening experience. This is one of those books that is perhaps better in the audible format. Deciding to use multiple narrators to fit the characters was an excellent choice. The performance flew by and kept the listener entertained throughout. I would thoroughly recommend this book!
I was glad to see this book come to audible. I actually looked for it a few months ago. At times the action seems as fast paced as the river. There were a few times where I would have preferred to stop and re-read (or re listen) to parts of the book. The reader was excellent for this book, although he did seem a bit more country than perhaps the voice I would have expected from a city dwelling artsy type of guy as the lead character is portrayed. The book is a relatively quick listen, and there are enough twists and turns to keeps you going.
This book took me prob. 6 weeks to finish, but it was easy to pick up where you left off.
In a lot of ways I was glad it was over, and the story was brought to a conclusion. There are a lot of twists and turns and I enjoyed following the lives of the characters.
Report Inappropriate Content