©1987 Paul Johnson; (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, inc.
"It's no mean feat to successfully compress 4,000 years of history into 645 pages, but Johnson has more than met the challenge....an excellent, nonscholarly history for general readers." (Library Journal)
"A tour de force....A remarkable achievement." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A marvelous book....This is history: richly textured, provocative and wise." (The Plain Dealer)
My review of this text is tainted by the reader's constant mispronunciation of names. How someone can read a text of such historical levity, without first researching how to properly pronounce the names is beyond me.
In addition, the book is definitely written from an outsider's perspective, and with a Christian misunderstanding of certain aspects of Jewish life and history.
I am still searching for the perfect text, but this one is only adequate in terms of historical perspective.
I have a hard time reading/listening to true fiction books. I think this is because my main reason for reading is to learn and not necessarily just for enjoyment, although I do read many historical fiction books. Favorites history/biography books and science/tech info books.
I loved the same part that I disliked. Paul Johnson has so much info about so many different societies from different centuries.
If you are going to read this book you had better have quite a bit of knowledge already about these civilizations and times. Paul Johnson moves quickly through 4000 years and I reallized that this book was too much for me soon after I started it. Reading this book without a substantial knowledge base on the subjects is like trying to play the guitar just having listened to a lot of music and thinking you're just going to breeze through it. It isnt going to happen. I would recommend reading some other books that focus on specific great civilizations throughout history. This book isnt for newbie historians, this thing moves fast and the author seems to believe that you already know a lot. I'm sure it is a great read for people who do know a lot on the subject
This book gives great insight into the overarching history of the Jewish people, though its breadth takes a bit away from its depth, though this is probably a mercy since there is just so much history to review here!
I'm sorry to say that the narration was not very satisfying. Nadia May is a wonderful reader, but here, perhaps because of poor recording equipment?, her voice sounded yappy and incessant. I was surprised by this since some of her other readings have been among my favorites.
This is one of those books which is great to fall asleep to. I look for a good long book that will send me off to sleep, and this one is definitely in that category! On the other hand, listening to it during my waking hours has been very interesting. My respect for the Jewish people, and my compassion for their years and years of suffering has intensified thanks to this book. I believe that this is the sort of history many people should be aware of.
Really, really frustating. Not the text, it's beyond me to critique the text, but I had to stop listening because the sound quality was so bad.
I've listened to a lot of books and I learned to deal with a British accent, as I'm sure the Brits cope with an American accent. Generally we understand each other just fine, but I've seen television shows that provided captions for American audiences of British speakers.
While I think her accent is too "thick", it just sounds like the recording is really bad. I mean, I labored under this audio book for many hours. I didn't give up in the first of it's four parts. While I was engrossed in the text, it just got to a point where I had to say "enough" and go onto something else. Too bad.
I enjoyed the print version but cannot recommend it as an audio book---unless you don't know how the namers are supposed to be pronounced. Why do publishers allow narrators to make up their own pronunciations? The rampant mispronunciation of many, many Hebrew words and names (even relatively well known ones like Sinai) is very jarring. Worse, though, in the ear of the listener it tends to undermine the credibility and authoritativeness of the author, even though that is unfair and not really logical. Paul Johnson must be aghast at what was done to his opus.
(For those who don't know how the names are actually pronounced, I would give this 4 stars)
An excellent book on Jewish history, well researched and explained many things I didn't know as well as I would have liked. The reader is very good, with one exception - there are some strange pronunciations, for example Sinai is pronounced "sign-A-I", which detract from an otherwise well done reading.
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