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"unknown"

ratings
22
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
23

  • Can You Forgive Her?

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    Can You Forgive Her? is the first of the six Palliser novels. Here Trollope examines parliamentary election and marriage, politics and privacy. As he dissects the Victorian upper class, issues and people shed their pretenses under his patient, ironic probe.

    David says: "Very Very Victorian"
    "Great Trollope. Disappointing narration."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Can You Forgive Her" is archetypal Trollope, a novel of landed and not-so-landed gentry scheming endlessly about love and money. I am disappointed in Simon Vance's narration, however. His faint and ethereal voice of Alice makes her sound as if she were praying on her deathbed instead of arguing (which is what she does throughout most of the novel), and his male voices conjure up images of Dudley Dooright and Snidely Whiplash. And when Vance isn't misinterpreting characters with his voices, he is misplacing the emphasis of words in sentences (e.g., reading "It's not you he WANTS" when the context requires "It's not YOU he wants"). After hearing John Castle read "Vanity Fair", and Hugh Dickson read "Bleak House", I expected much more than what I'm getting out of Simon Vance's narration of "Can You Forgive Her".

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics, and the Modern Experience

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert H. Kane
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Is there an ethics that we can all agree on without stifling pluralism and freedom? What would such an ethics look like? Most important, how should you, as a thoughtful person, find your way among the moral puzzles of the modern world and its cacophony of voices and opinions? These are just some of the engaging and perplexing questions you'll tackle as you join Professor Kane for this thought-provoking, 24-lecture examination of the problems surrounding ethics in the modern world.

    "unknown" says: "Yes, Virginia, there is an objective truth."
    "Yes, Virginia, there is an objective truth."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title of this course could have been "The Quest for Objective Values". The professor does an excellent job in the first part of the course of surveying the great philosophers and their positions on relative vs objective values and morals. To each great thinker's position, he offers the opposing view of another great thinker, effectively presenting relativism vs objectivism as an engaging debate that spans all of history.

    He then spends the rest of the course defining his own position, which is that yes, there is an objective truth, and that humanity is on the cusp of discovering it. Or at least of discovering how to perceive it, which, in his view, seems to have something to do with recognizing that "aspirational" goals are just as real as achievable goals.

    This latter part of the course seems outdated; it is set in a time when we (Americans) had more faith in government, less faith in torture, and more openness to working across party lines and religious divides than we do now. Some of the examples and thought experiments fall flat, given the changes in our culture that have come about since then. I would love to hear an updated version of the same material from the same professor. (His lecturing style, by the way, was excellent.)

    The most memorable topic in the lectures, to me, was Plato's view of democracy. If Plato could see us now he would be entirely vindicated.




    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Moral Decision Making: How to Approach Everyday Ethics

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Clancy Martin
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (32)

    Whether or not we're aware of them, we make important ethical decisions all the time - as professionals, consumers, citizens, parents, sons and daughters, and friends. These 24 thought-provoking lectures offer you the chance to reflect on some of the most powerful moral issues we face in our daily lives: Is it ever OK to lie? What are our moral obligations to others? What is the key to living the good life? From Plato to Kant to Bonhoeffer, you'll see how some of the world's greatest thinkers from across the ages have approached similar problems.

    Jacobus says: "Easy-followed down-to-earth relevant ethics course"
    "This is college level material?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am only a few chapters into this, but I'm sorry to say I don't think I can stand any more of it. The content of these lectures is at the level of self-help pep talks, or maybe non-denominational church sermons, but certainly not college courses. If I had signed up for this course in college I would have dropped it after the first lecture unless I needed an easy 'A'.

    Add this professor is not lecturing, he is reading a script that was written to sound as if he's lecturing. But he reads it so badly that instead of sounding like a well-informed and interesting lecturer, he sounds like an amateur actor.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter Brown
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (84)

    Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.

    Jacobus says: "A learned, well-balanced postmodern history"
    "Detailed, yet fascinating and engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am about half the way through the audio book and completely absorbed by it. It's a detailed story of a complex swath of history, yet it hasn't gotten bogged down itemizing battles and rulers. Instead, it reveals the spirits of the times through the lives of history's notable intellects. Even better, it explores what historical writers didn't say, but that historians have since deduced, to shed light on the realities behind the dogma.

    The narrator's mispronunciations, however, are driving me nuts. His voice is excellent, his pacing and emphasis are good, and even some of his mispronunciations I could live with if he would simply stick with them. But instead, he ping-pongs back and forth, seemingly unable to decide. Is it AM-brose or Am-BROSE? Constan-TEEN or Constan-TINE? Will it be tree-AY or tree-AIR for Trier? Sometimes I find myself talking back to him: "Prelate rhymes with pellet, not relate!" "Per-VANE-us? Did you perhaps mean parvenus?" And I almost spit out my coffee when he tried to say "Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose". It was so funny I wish I'd bookmarked it.

    Nevertheless, I'd rather listen to this very dense book, mispronunciations and all, than try to find the time and focus to read all 800 pages myself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (61)

    Explore the dramatic interaction between Judaism, Christianity, and paganism in Rome from the 1st to the 6th centuries. Why did pagan Rome clash with the early Christians? What was it like to be a Jew or a Christian under Roman law? And how did Christianity ultimately achieve dominance in the Roman Empire?Over the course or 24 lectures, Professor Harl enables you to grasp the full historical sweep of this critically important era and its key figures.

    Wesley says: "Outstanding and worth every moment"
    "Fascinating details"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This course is rich with detail about religion and philosophy during the four hundred years or so that it took for Christianity to engulf the Roman empire. I would so loved to have been a student in this course and participated in the discussion sections!

    The narration is okay, not great. (I quibbled mentally with Prof. Harl's pronunciation on many occasions.) The organization of the material is pretty good. Prof. Harl takes care to remind you of previous lectures, when he references them, and he does a nice job of hinting about interesting topics to be covered later. The timeline of events is fairly clear, although there were some gaps (the entire fifth century, for example) that I don't remember hearing anything about. At any rate, I found myself thinking about the lectures in between listening, and looking forward to my next opportunity to listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (230)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    Saud says: "You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
    "Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of the most fascinating lecture series I've ever listened to. (But then I am a bit of a grammar geek.) Did you know that the "pas" in the "ne pas" of French comes from the word "step"? As in "No, I'm not going, not a single step"?

    These lectures are thick with this kind of lore. They're also peppered with Professor McWhorter's personal anecdotes about the languages he's studied and the native speakers he's known. But it's not all trivia and party chat -- there are extensive sections on the variety of grammars, on written vs non-written languages, on creoles vs pidgins, and an interesting (if gloomy) assessment of attempts to revive dying languages.

    I can't say this series changed my life, but it certainly has changed how I think about culture and communication.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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