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  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Doug Ordunio

    Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

    Jeremy says: "Informing, Interesting, and Boring all in one"
    "Fascinating but a bit dense."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I picked up some valuable general concepts. But the level of detail became overwhelming. And the presentation was mediocre. Eventually the book became a bit tedious.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Jared Diamond? Why or why not?

    Not an enthusiastic 'yes.' Just - maybe.

    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader went through the rather dense material in this book at an unrelenting, and a bit-too-fast, pace. I would describe his delivery style as a monotone which, combined with the denseness of the material, made the audio hard to listen to for extended periods.

    Could you see Guns, Germs and Steel being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    A TV series, yes.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "A Good Yarn ... even if stretched!"
    Any additional comments?

    If you just let the story roll over you, you'll find it a good read. The plot gets a bit incredible in spots, and Matthew, the magistrate's 20 year old clerk, is almost as wise as Sherlock Holmes and as canny as Hercule Poirot. Don't challenge too many details and just enjoy yourself! Excellent narration!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "Suspenseful, Absorbing and Shocking"
    What made the experience of listening to An Officer and a Spy the most enjoyable?

    Being of French heritage, I knew of the Dreyfus Affair. But the author brings alive many parts of the Affair that were new to me. "Alive" is a key feature of Robert Harris' compelling style as he creates dialogues between key characters in this messy affair. This tale of incredible judicial corruption and personal malevolence in the highest ranks of the French Military and the Government, and the grievous harm these officials brought upon innocent people, is a lesson to be aware of today when there is still much duplicity and incompetence in the application of "justice" to ordinary citizens. The book is an exciting dramatization of the years-long struggle between crime and honor in high places.

    What other book might you compare An Officer and a Spy to and why?

    I don't know offhand.

    Have you listened to any of David Rintoul’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to Rintoul before. I thought he was an excellent narrator, creating individual personalities for the various characters involved in the Dreyfus plot.

    Who was the most memorable character of An Officer and a Spy and why?

    Certainly Lt. Colonel Piquart.

    Any additional comments?

    Though the Dreyfus Affair took place between 1896 and 1906, the lessons to be learned from it are entirely relevant to the relationship between governments and citizens in 2014. Read this book for the pleasure of a gripping tale of suspense but also to arm yourself with a healthy dose of skepticism as you listen to today's protestations from officials trying to extricate themselves from a web of lies.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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