Important note- my 1 star rating is solely due to the quality of the narration- I loved the book, as I've loved all of Mark Kurlansky's books, but the reader in this recording is positively awful. The choice of a reader with a very pronounced, almost affected, British accent struck me as odd, but as others have noted, his often bizarre mis-pronounciations are so distracting that I would certainly have requested a refund if I'd paid full price.
The reader is apparently unfamiliar with names like Phil Ochs- he pronounces it 'Awks' (thoough later he pronounces Arthur Ochs Sulzberger's middle name as 'oaks'). Thelonius Monk is called 'Thelanus'. My favorite, though, is Robert Lowell, whose surname is at first repeatedly pronounced so as to rhyme with 'towel', though a few chapters later, it is unaccountably pronounced normally.
Unfamiliarity with the pronunciation of some pretty well known names is bad enough, but then there are the real howlers- doctoral is pronounced 'doctoreeal', and Earl Warren is quoted on the need to 'revolve' the conflict between the generations.
Hands down- the worst narration of any Audible production I've heard- and I've been a Serious Listener since the subscription program began.
My advice- wait until they re-record the book with an acceptable narrator, or read the hard copy. The book is worth reading, but this narration is definitely not the way to do it.
Uranium turns out to be a fascinating subject. Unfortunately, Patrick Lawlor's narration ruins the book. Whenever the text quotes a French, German, or other non-English source, Lawlor launches into a cartoon accent that makes them all sound like the Frito Bandito. Englishmen all sound like Jeeves, regardless of background.
Here's a suggestion for audiobook producers: if the text of the book reads, say, "we have found the answer", maybe that's what the narrator should say, rather than Lawlor's "vee haff found zee answer"? If the author had intended the text to be read in a comical parody dialect, wouldn't he have written it that way?
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