I was hesitant of getting such a long audiobook.
With the exception of the first 3 or so hours, which discusses TR's childhood with unnecessary detail, the book is extraordinary. Covering his personal and professional life, his internal contradiction, and his bigger than life persona.
I am amazed that after 20+ hours I do not dread listening to the reader, she is very good.
If you are interested in learning about arguably the most interesting president of the USA, I would think this book is as good as any and it is very pleasently read.
There are some nuggets of interesting info. in the book, but they are not worth the endless blah blah blah.
The contents of the book would make for a good 1-2 hour presentation (as long as somebody else reads it!)
Since nobody seems to dispute the quality of the book itself, I just want to say that for my taste the book was read very well.
No excessive dramatism. I have heard over 12 audiobooks and the reader is definietly the best or 2nd best reader I have encountered.
You can always take a listen to the sample, but the book is extraordinary, don't let the taste of a few listeners prevent you from listening to this brilliant book
The book is enjoyable and interesting.
It is very poorly organized, jumps around a lot.
My main criticism, however, is that the author narrates for a long time about a given theory (e.g. that the flora in the Amazon basin was heavily influenced by pre-Colombian human presence) only to then say, that this may not be true after all, that just a few scientists (how respected? what do the leaders of the field think?) who believe so and many oppose them. As a reader you are not given the tools to choose for yourself, since seldom is the evidence that both sides of the debate interpret differently presented.
The problem is that later on is hard to remember if what you heard is a fact, a possibility, or something that only a couple of lunatics believe
It is hence a dangerous book to read, if you really want to learn, rather than just be entertained.
This is my third audiobook in the "portable professor" (what a terrible brand name!) series and by far the best (the others were "6-months that changed the world" (also very good) and "To rule mankind" (not so good)).
First of all, I should say that I just cannot see why one reviewer complaiend about the uuuh, and hmmm, they were not excessive AT ALL. It is a very well narrated set of lectures.
The professor is very organized, each lecture follows the same schema making it very easy to follow. He presents the right amount of background, and nicely summarizes both the arguments and the opinions of the majority and minority. Most importantly, he sets each case in the historical context, which is of course very important.
I give it 4 and not 5 stars because I felt the lectures lacked a more in-depth discussion of how current affairs are directly influenced by the decisions in the past. He does mention some implications, but in rather loose terms. It would be interesting to have an idea of how long does a ruling really matter.
Most people loved this book. I did not. Here is why:
1) You need a ton of background knowledge
I was born outside america so most names did not mean much to me when I started the book. The book is clearly intended for somebody already familiar with the characters.
2) Narrator gets annoying
The tone of the narrator gets old. Repeats inflictions way too often, I would say every 4 sentences or so. I never finshed the book, when by error my MUVO would start playing it, I would get this very quick negative reaction, almost a pavlovian response to this guy's tone!
3) It is hard to follow
Within each chapter, it is never clear exactly where the author is going. That may work better on the print version, but when you have only partial attention dedicated to the book (i.e. commuting) it is just not good enough.
In sum, if you think you will enjoy this book, I would suggest you read it, the audio vesion has an annoying narrator and it is hard to follow.
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