Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.
The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Professor Daniel N. Robinson. There is a Western proverb that explains philosophy as: Knowledge, to recognize what to do. Wisdom to be doing what you know. Philosophy is that art of obtaining that knowledge and applying that wisdom. If you enjoy that endeavor this study is for you! In short, it is a wonderful 30 hours of considerations on the question of what is life, and if it is something, what is its format?
Now let me reverse my explanation of the course, and tell you that this is not a compendium of philosophies described and listed. It is a compendium of societal ideas that have reshaped the thinking world by their presence. Think Darwinism or Copernicus like thinking. What was the importance of Romantic-era cultural shifts as well as the import of the Federalist Papers.
There are some negatives here. Professor Robinson is not the most invigorating speaker and I may just scream out loud if I hear the word corpuscular one more time. It is the Professor’s favorite word, and he uses it dozens of times. Trouble being one does not know what he means by the word as it actually is not a very descriptive word and has no definitive definition, other than relating to corpuscles. Truth is the greatest negative of this otherwise interesting voyage through great ideas is that Professor Robinson, often uses personally technical terms and fails to define his meaning and certainly never repeats any meaning thinking you can remember his insignificant reference to its technical terms provided some 23 hours and 46 lessons earlier. That is annoying.
You probably do not want a listing of what was taught in each of the 60 chapters or seminar periods but let me mention one that was profound. We know the universe is explained through mathematics. Just why that is, is explained magnificently in the course’s opening seminars. Never heard a better explanation. Other subjects not so well, but notwithstanding this was a great survey of the great ideas of man’s existence; just not always presented in an interesting manner and often difficult to follow.
Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling Roman plays. The plot against Caesar and the infamous assassination scene make for unforgettable listening. Brutus, the true protagonist of the play, is mesmerizing in his psychological state of anguish, forced to choose between the bonds of friendship and his desire for patriotic justice.
Julius Caesar. Composed by William Shakespeare, and narrated by Andrew Buchan, Sean Barrett, others and a cast of very noisy plebeians. First a personal story. In Eight Grade our English teacher assigned Julius Caesar, to be read from a particular publication. The right-hand side of the page contained the play, the left, comments on the narrative, Caesar’s history and his return to Rome, and most important the histrionics of the words when spoken in 17th Century England and their shaded meaning for today. The play, its plot, its strategies between the actors, the learning of history and grammatical flux in the language and the magnificent book made my very first experience with Shakespeare; deliciously sweet and challengingly intellectual. Including the anachronisms. There were no bells ringing out the time in ancient Rome.
It is no secret this play is amongst the greatest in literature presenting the dilemma of whether a ruler should be allowed to thrive or canceled before his ego harms the nation. All this lays in the hand of Brutus. Brutus loves Caesar but is also aware of his ego and what it may bean to the rule of law that has brought the Roman Empire so far. Other conspirators will follow Brutus but Brutus must make the decision to allow the egotist to rule or protect Rome’s past and very successful political structure.
Once Brutus makes his decision it is challenged by Mark Anthony; but not by “brute” force, as had Brutus, but rather by tactics, strategy, and animal cunning. That interplay excited me as a child. It has no less of an emotion and intellectual thrashing during this read. With that said, I find Julius Caesar one of Shakespeare’s simplest of plays.
One awful comment the actors, the background noise from the citizens and the cadence made this an awful edition. Find another reading. I also purchased the Kindle edition and like to follow the words as read by the actors. Just not this awful edition.
Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine - this is the time of The Haj.
The Haj, by Leon 0Uris, and read by Neil Shah. This was certainly a different story than anticipated. Its information is historical fiction and provides a window on Palestinian early 20th Century lifestyle and value system, its stumbling into its diaspora after the emergence of Israel, and its self-destructive heredities.
This is a history of the Palestinian peoples since the 1920s. It does not speak well of their social structure. It tells the story of one patriarchal family of a town leader or tribal leader, who is forced to evacuate his family’s hundreds of years of existence in a Palestinian village, by Arabs and Arab nations, who want to war on the Israelis. Once moved, it then becomes the story of how the Arab world abandons the displaced which now exists as the Palestinian lost nation.
I did not find the above described horrid happenings as the worst part of the humanity being dissected in this story. The treatment and place of woman is horrific. Absurd and horrific.
The story is not too involving. It does not read like a Charles Dickens whose stories always involve you dearly with any of several leading characters. You read about the characters, you are not involved with the humanity of the characters in this story. But it is an easy tale to follow and not boring. The reading was well done.
Do, read this work if you have an interest in understanding the Arab Islamic mind. It will then be easy to understand why the West Asian or the Levant and Occidental worlds have been waring since Greece and Persia, the Crusades and 9/11.
The history and future of our democracy's ultimate sanction, presidential impeachment, and a guide to how it should be used now. To End a Presidency addresses one of today's most urgent questions: when and whether to impeach a president. Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz provide an authoritative guide to impeachment's past and a bold argument about its proper role today. In an era of expansive presidential power and intense partisanship, we must rethink impeachment for the 21st century.
To End a Presidency, researched and written by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz. Narrated by L. J. Ganser. This is a magnificent read; for those who are capable of understanding Madisonian rule of law and committed to understanding and discussing established principals of democracy. If you lack the ability to be intrigued by political happenings, and think things will just work out for themselves or if you do not have patience to undertake a complete study of an obscure legal concept; stay away from this book and remain unapprised.
Tribe and Matz have created a brilliant introduction to the U.S. Constitutional concept of Impeachment. The book gives you a perfect historical understanding to what impeachment has meant, how it has changed over time, what were its origins in the Constitution, including its initial drafts and redoes, to come up with a final draft. This was the most storied part of the novel and was fun to read. Yet, then, being students of the law, they go on to explain the legal standards for impeachment. I am an attorney at law and thought their display of the information was so very well done. Easy to read, interesting, organized and informative. Yet, I am not sure that anyone who accepts the Trump statements that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), Paris (“Climate”) Agreement (French: Accord de Paris), and The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are each the worst deal ever made (how can three distinct deals each being the worst?); would want to delve into real analysis. If you like Trump’s simplistic incantations this book will be too much of a read into thoughtfulness. It is reasoned logic.
The authors then provide an extensive history of each and every effort of impeachment in our history. I do mean each and every, yet it too was a fun read. They next tell us of the derogation that has come into being in using the Constitutional clause too often and purely and only for a political purpose. Impeachment was used often in the early days of our union, again after the Civil War, a little in Truman’s time, again with Reagan and now it has become an abused political tool since Clinton’s time. To add to the interesting presentation, they take on the effect such has had in our society, and what it could mean for our national future.
Finally, they excoriate, the constant use of the Impeachment word. Yet, on the other hand they do review President Trump’s history against the teachings they have provided in this book. How Trump stands up against impeachment law I will leave for you to read. These are obviously two well educated and diligent legal scholars. They end the book with what you need to consider in any future undertaking of impeachment. Particularly about Trump. If you wish to advocate or oppose impeachment, you need to know all that is discussed herein or you are pitching a point being insufficiently educated.
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At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence.
Rendezvous with Rama, authored by Arthur C. Clarke, and put to words by Peter Ganim. The story, obviously, is science fiction. It’s central story concerns a cylindrical alien spaceship that enters our Solar System; and stops in our planetary network, for the reason of . . . well, no one actually knows? Its objective for the layover is not the essential part of the story. The novel is the story of man’s landing onto the massive ship and his (and her) exploration of its strange existence. The story’s subject matter is man’s need to figure out what it’s all about and why the ship stopped in our solar system – is it here to stay and if so, why here with us? Although it is a story apparently about who are the Ramalins, it is actually a story about us, humans.
I am not much of a science fiction reader, although I am an avid reader of science journals and newspaper articles about scientific studies that advance our knowledge of – well everything. Yet, when I do read I do find myself getting lost in the story. Rendezvous, (French for I will meet you), is simplistic in its episodes of the exploratory effort but still it capitated me to read as often as I could find the time to listen. Yet, truthfully, the story does not have an epoch ending and what it teaches us about ourselves is, well, known. Nevertheless, if you need to trip out for a while; this would not be a bad place to enter.
In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck's vision comes wonderfully to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California's back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. This edition features an introduction by Gary Scharnhorst.
The Wayward Bus, a John Steinbeck novel, read by Richard Poe. John Steinbeck approached writing as a scientific experiment. Testing writing effects to see how to best communicate. This is Steinbeck, testing out a technique; the development of plot characters; by describing their inner thinking and interaction with other members of the novel’s cast. The situation is straight out of the late 1940s era. The book’s troupe are stuck together on a short but perilous bus ride across Monterrey County, California. This is not a novel with an enthralling story-line. This is a book to read only if you want to watch Steinbeck master his technique of revealing the inner nature of humanity. What he reveals ‘ain’t so good.’
Does this mean I am not recommending, The Wayward Bus? Absolutely not. Pick it up though, only if you want to study the developing John Steinbeck or want to delve into how to depict human inner emotions in writing. This book is more of a course in writing style. Yet, the story does keep one listening (or reading); above and beyond the writing lesson. That is because it tells individual stories of doubts, egos, and aspirations. We all want to understand ourselves. Yes, the best part of this book is how Steinbeck introduces each character’s aspirations and how and perhaps why they failed to achieve their wants in their lives.
The most difficult part of this novel was the misogyny. The beautiful women were abused with male lust and little care for their beings, and the less than beautiful women were depraved with hatred because they were no longer lusted after. I am very sorry for the manner in which this world has not equalized the humanity of males and females. This is a harsh reminder of where we should not be in the allocation of women to a sort of second class status.
A strange historical fact here is although this is not one of Steinbeck’s better works, because of its lack of a strong story thread, it was perhaps one of his most economically successful books. I am a great Steinbeck fan; but picked up this book because as a 10-year-old child I saw the movie and it had a profound effect upon me. Watching individual humans fail at their hopes is a weighty experience, particularly for a 10-year-old. I did not remember much of the specifics, but after this audible listening experience, I don’t care if this is not one of the more praised of Steinbeck’s books. It is definitely, a read that would hurt no one but make you understand much about our dreams and our realities that fall short.
Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.
Heft, shaped and written by Liz Moore, narrated by, Kirby Heyborne, and Keith Szarabajka. If you are contemplating your loneliness, you need to read Heft.
Heft sets up three distinct and unique personal circumstances, each of a person who suffers dramatic episodes of isolation, solitude, and seclusion. Our three sufferers are all related, by circumstance, but we learn of each person’s story separately; or somewhat so. Two of our sufferers find each other and we learn of their angst in a symbiotic story, the third person who suffers loneliness does it on his own but is the essential ingredient in the story behind the other two lonely-hearts.
The story, Heft, is about a man with wealth who because of misjustices becomes hermitted. His companion is a poor Latin girl who finds herself with child and without its father, and out-casted by her parents. The boy, is handsome but burdened by responsibility to his adrift mother. The mother is a lifelong admirer of the hermit who had been her professor before the injustices put him into self-imposed solitude. This may all feel depressing, and loneliness is gloomy, but the story is light hearted, dead serious, and enlightening.
This book though is equally about not speaking up and providing the world around you with information so it may process you fairly. A good part of this book is about the actors failing to speak up about their circumstance and because of their hesitations, life goes by, they miss out on opportunity and what is left is the loneliness. In fact, the only negative is the actor’s continued failure to speak up becomes a bit frustrating. Be quiet and you are misunderstood.
The readers did very well but for the pace of the tale. I do not think that is a fault of the speakers, but rather the production style, which may have been a bit better had the read been a bit more paced. Feel lonely. Do read this wonderfully curative book.
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.
The Guns of August, written by Barbara W. Tuchman, and narrated by Nadia May. This is the story of the initial days of anticipating and then undertaking combat in WW1. The story is detailed in human interactions, strategic planning and the play out of the armed forces during the first month and one week, of the war: August 1914, and then on into the early days of September 1914. That is, it; no more. Just the political moves, describing each nation’s authorization for war and once war was inevitable an in-depth description of the initial engagements of the various armies. At least that is its surface presentation. Beneath this magnificently described set of actions taking place in August 1914, is a brilliant study into the men that lead each nation and each nation’s armies. It proves, incontrovertibly, that success is often dependent on the caliber of the man, and that most men are buffoons.
This is one of those books that stun you with knowledge and insight. The process of going to war and the combats that resulted is laid out with perfectness. If you want to understand what goes into success and failure, particularly as they apply to war, this is the read for you. One warning. You will do well to familiarize yourself with eastern France and Germany to the Russian boarder, and into Russia as far as Moscow, in the year 1914. Learn the towns, districts, and rivers. Not essential but it will help during the read. If the complexity of the names of the generals, rivers and towns get to you and you can’t read anymore. Jump to the Epilogue. It will send you back to finish the book.
I have now read this book three times in life. This will be my last, but each reading was a wonderful experience. Can mankind be so inept? Guns of August answers that question in the affirmative. The book could not have been read more perfectly than Ms. Nadia May’s read. This book is a Bravo!
It is a June day in London in 1923, and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see? Her friend Peter, back from India, who has never really stopped loving her? What about Sally, with whom Clarissa had her life’s happiest moment? Meanwhile, the shell-shocked Septimus Smith is struggling with his life on the same London day.
Mrs. Dalloway, written by, Virginia Woolf, and very well narrated by Juliet Stevenson. In this intriguing visit into 1920's British upper society, places more importance in writing style than contextual plot. As a result, this story has become an important ingredient in twentieth century or modern existential literature.
Ignoring my own introduction that for this book style of writing is more important here than plot, do let me first provide a minimal summary of its plot. Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class housewife in London, is preparing for a socialite party she will host that evening; and she believes, her place in society will depend upon the success of her affair. The novel is about that day and the party. Overlaying that day of preparation, her really true love returns to London from years spent in the British Raj in India, and an off-plot story of a WWI veteran and his Italian wife as they suffer through his, what we know today as PSTD, post-traumatic stress disorder. That makes for three stories, the social entanglements of the party, the reintroduction of what may have been Mrs. Dalloway’s true love, and the mentally wounded war victim. The three stories do intertwine but in the most delicate manner, helping us better understand the absurdity of Mrs. Dalloway’s life. That absurdity is the object of the book’s communication. How unnecessarily committed we are to . . . well read the book and you will know.
As noted above, the story is not the most intriguing part of the book. Virginia Woolf, writes the novel in a stream of consciousness thought process by her characters. We, as the reader, participate in the mind flow of her characters. Through that process Ms. Woolf permits us to share with her character’s their mental fragilities as humans.
Virginia Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen, was a celebrated Pre-Raphaelite artist's model. Pre-Raphaelite is anti-mechanistic and pro presentation of the genuine nature of things. I think it is safe to say, Mr. Woolf inherited her genre from her mother. Ms. Woolf, succeeds with excellence. I have never read anyone who better paints a more colorful and imaginary painting of her character’s thinking. One actually ‘sees’ the novel in impressionistic portraits.
She attacks the same social milieu as does Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, but is more poetic with her writing than Hemingway's simple (but thought provoking) prose. Perhaps her work reaches toward James Joyce’s style but much easier to read.
Overall, not a bad read, undoubtedly Woolf was a genius in dissection of our social world, and a gifted writer; but her story and its overall effect was, well just so – so.
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Cosmos is one of the best-selling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space.
Cosmos, By Carl Sagan, read by LeVar Burton, Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan. I remember watching the original run of the television series with my now passed father. He and I were dazzled. I have a deep interest in studying the cosmos, although I am not a scientist, but rather an attorney at law. I am sure, at least to some small extent, Carl Sagan, and Cosmos ignited that interest which has given me much pleasure. Yet, I need to alert you, that Cosmos is pleasant to read (or watch) but it no longer dazzles. In fact, it, at most, fizzles.
Cosmos, is too encumbered, by superfluous talk, that seeks to interest you in the subject, but the talk is cumbersome and gets in the way of receiving real information. The book was meant to excite one to pay attention to astrophysical studies. Its content, although at the time groundbreaking, it is now filled with too much everyday information.
Worthy of a listen if you really want; but there are far more intriguing studies on the cosmos to spend your time here.
Thank you for the ignition, and your gifts to science, Mr. Sagan. Wondering about the cosmos; find some of the newer and really brilliant other works of today. One more point, the reader is not Carl Sagan. His exasperated style reading is not easy to listen to.