The Roman Republic is one of the most breathtaking civilizations in world history. Between roughly 500 BCE to the turn of the millennium, a modest city-state developed an innovative system of government and expanded into far-flung territories across Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. This powerful civilization inspired America's founding fathers, gifted us a blueprint for amazing engineering innovations, left a vital trove of myths, and has inspired the human imagination for 2,000 years.
This is a wonderful set of lectures on how Rome started and then grew to the point of Imperium.. Dr. Aldrete knows his material and presents it very effectively. How did a small city surrounded by hills end up controlling so much of the world? The customs, laws, education, military, and government structures are discussed and explained in this wonderful series.
Definitely a great overview of the Roman Republic and a treat to listen to.
From the best-selling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.
This is a very comprehensive history of European thought, conditions, and the leading personalities from the 1880's up till 1914. This really covers everything in detail, but not in such a way that is suffocates. The people, times, and ideas are presented with insight and depth that allows you to understand a widely forgotten period of history.
Each Great Power is covered in detail. The leading personalities, the politics, the economy, living conditions, foreign affairs - all of this information is present to provide the basis for then covering things like the "peace" movement, the anarchists (who would eat a meal in a restaurant and then pull out a gun and murder their fellow diners), the Black Hand, and a whole variety of different groups.
The weaving together of the information through the crises and wars that led up to the Great War are presented with a wonderful feel for how the people in power and the masses in the different countries viewed the actions and reactions.
The only niggle is the deprecation of today's Republicans as racists and George W Bush as an idiot. Apparently a requirement for today's academic historian is to virtue signal in this way. But this isn't so intrusive as to distract from a historical tour de force.
I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in history.
Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.
Nothing can go faster than the speed of light; however, this postulates a natural phenomenon called "The Flow" that does allow for faster than light travel. But this can only occur in one direction (from solar system A to solar system B). If you are lucky there is a second Flow back from B to A - or from B to C which can get you back to A.
The Flow has allowed 40+ systems to be colonized by humanity, and at the system identified as "Hub" many different Flow streams come together. So this is where the Empire has been established. For 1000 years Emperatos have ruled, taxes have been collected, aristocratic houses have been granted trading monopolies, and a religion of Interdependency of Humanity is based and run.
But there are issues with The Flow, and from the title of this book you can make a good guess as to what that is. The Flow is going to shut down. Will it be re-established? What will happen to the Empire, to all the humans living in systems which have no habitable planets but only space stations or buried habitats?
John Scalzi is a master storyteller, and this series starter shows his considerable talents. He explains this universe, introduces well-rounded characters and plot lines, and gets you hooked. Wil Wheaton provides extremely good narration and character identification.
One word of caution - this is not a story for young people. Lots and lots and lots of profanity.
This could easily be made into a long series of stories. I look forward to getting the next one in line.
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A fresh window on American history: the eye-opening truth about the government's secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil, even if the rest of us die - a road map that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.
This is the history of how the US government planned to keep running in the event of Nuclear War. From 1945 till today (the cutoff here I think is 2009 or 2010), there have been great big holes dug out of mountains, countless numbers of planes have been flown, and limitless man-centuries of time have been spent planning and preparing for the End of the World.
Of course the planning was almost exclusively how the government would "save" itself. The regular population of the United States would be "on their own". Starting from Truman, right up to the present day plans for "Continuity of Government", "Continuity of the Presidency", and all sorts of other acronyms and euphemisms are in place.
There is a ton of information in this book, and lots of it that was surprising for me. The initial planning was, of course, forced once the implications of Hiroshima and Nagasaki started to be known. Right after the war, the government started digging holes in mountains and the ground and making lists of the people who would be whisked away to these "safe spaces".
A lot of the plans and places were finally declassified after the end of the Cold War, and that covers most of the information presented here, but certainly not all. On 9/11/2001 it really did look like there was an attack on American civilization and some of the contingencies were activated for real. And what did 70 years of planning and preparing come to? Communication was hard to impossible, people didn't know where they were to go or what to do once they got there, command of lots of areas of government was completely "up in the air".
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook - even if it did make me shake my head at some of the assumptions and plans the "experts" were putting together for Armageddon were thinking.
Bob Howard's career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from unspeakable horrors from beyond spacetime, has entailed high combat, brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and combat with indescribably repellent creatures of pure evil. It has also involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his expense reports are still a mess. Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry's existence has become public.
This is a good, straight-forward, rip-snorting, upper-class-twit bashing, Laundry story. Bob Howard is back and is still the Eater of Souls. This story answers the question, What if the entire upper level of government were taken over by soul-eating worms? And with the tight circles that run the British government, there aren't too many people who would have to be "turned" in order to make this work.
Without giving away too many spoilers, the Laundry is dissolved by the Cabinet Office. The members of Mahogany Row - the top level executives and sorcerers - are on the run. Everyone else is fired. What contingency plans has the organization put in place to keep going? Who is behind the attack? How will everyone respond when some of the deeply serious things of the night start coming loose? Give this a listen and find out.
This story is an immediate extension from Book 7 in the series - The Nightmare Stacks. So many of the characters from that story continue into this one. And this one's ending makes it obvious that there will be a continuation coming soon.
One of he great joys of listening to this series of stories is the narration by Gideon Emery. He is wonderful in voicing all the characters and conveying the emotions and action.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
As a newly appointed junior manager within the Laundry - the clandestine organization responsible for protecting Britain against supernatural threats - Bob Howard is expected to show some initiative to help the agency battle the forces of darkness. But shining a light on things best left in the shadows is the last thing Bob wants to do - especially when those shadows hide an occult parasite spreading a deadly virus. Traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection.
Everybody knows there is no such thing as vampires. When a group of programming and mathematical standouts are set up as "plausibly deniable" team for a merchant bank looking to make some money on new and unknown trading strategies, weird things occur. Like one of the programming geniuses creating a visualization matrix that makes people who look at it become vampires.
The most delightful part of this book is how this new-age team of vampires then starts using quick modeling, brainstorming, and other programming techniques to explore their new found powers, and their limitations. The weasel-like "management speak" of their boss, hits the perfect note with anyone who has worked in this type of environment in the last 10 years. "You are the client".
How Bob Howard - junior necromancer and gofer for the Eater of Souls - deals with the situation hits dead, solid perfect notes for anyone who is familiar with the Laundry series of stories. I wouldn't recommend this one as the first for anyone starting out - but it is a great continuation of the series that fans have come to know and love.
The ending is almost abrupt, which is unusual for Charles Stross. The answer to why this happens is apparent when you take up the next book in the series - The Annihilation Score - immediately takes up.
Gideon Emery's narration is just perfect as it has been for all the books in the Library series.
David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); and what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow").
Everything nasty, horrible, pathetic, crazy, useless, and disgusting about Christmas. Especially Christmas in New York City. Where apparently, no one has any joy or peace. Everybody is nasty or stupid or blithely unaware. Where all workers are oppressed and depressed and taking quiet pleasure in providing the worst service and experience for everyone.
To be honest I could only get through about half of this before I wanted to punch screwdrivers through my ears so I didn't have to hear this any more.
There are lots better audio books on Christmas - I wouldn't recommend this one.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
In his New York Times best-selling books Extortion and Throw Them All Out, Schweizer detailed patterns of official corruption in Washington that led to congressional resignations and new ethics laws. In Clinton Cash he follows the Clinton money trail, revealing the connection between their personal fortune, their close personal friends, the Clinton Foundation, foreign nations, and some of the highest ranks of government.
Just how did Bill and Hillary earn well over $100 million in the past 10 years? This is a complete and non-hysterical history of just how the Clinton influence peddling scheme works. The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative are presented as charities, if you define a charity as keeping 94% of every dollar "contributed".
This work clearly defines the schemes that the Clintons have used to turn their "public service" into cold hard cash. You will grind your teeth at the blatant way the media and the Leftists work to ignore this information. But this is definitely an important document in the Clinton history archive.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Ann Coulter is back, more fearless than ever. In Adios, America she touches the third rail in American politics, attacking the immigration issue head-on and flying in the face of La Raza, the Democrats, a media determined to cover up immigrants' crimes, churches that get paid by the government for their "charity," and greedy Republican businessmen and campaign consultants - all of whom are profiting handsomely from mass immigration that's tearing the country apart.
Did you know that:
A. 70% of all LEGAL immigrants to the US immediately go on welfare and food stamps?
B. Hmoung immigrants "buy" pre-pubescent girls for their sons to rape and then "marry"? And are then very indignant when told that purchasing people isn't allowed in America?
C. Why headlines that identify criminals as "man" or "person" mean illegal alien?
This and much more revealed in Ann's great new book. Required listening for anyone interested in understanding just how and why our current immigration policies are destroying our culture and country.
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Brutha is the Chosen One. His god has spoken to him, admittedly while currently in the shape of a tortoise. Brutha is a simple lad. He can't read. He can't write. He's pretty good at growing melons. And his wants are few. He wants to overthrow a huge and corrupt church. He wants to prevent a horribly holy war.
Brutha is a novitiate - the lowest of the low - in the citadel of the Great God Om. There are tens of thousands in the citadel and millions in the empire, but Brutha is also the only person in all these throngs who actually believes in Om. There are deacons, and preists, and bishops, and archbishops, and iams, and even the Cenobiarch - but when the God Om appears in physical form he can only find that he has one believer.
The fact that the Great God Om (Sign of the Holy Horns) appears as a one-eyed tortoise who is literally dropped into the citadel by an eagle is very confusing to everyone including Brutha. However, as Brutha is the only one who can hear Om, his internal dialogues with his god reflect against the actions of Om's supposed believers.
The conflict between belief and non-belief are highlighted in many humorous and interesting ways in this wonderful and fast-moving story. In many ways I believe this might be the best of the Discworld novels - Terry Pratchett at the height of his powers. It is certainly the most angry of the Discworld stories. There is something almost inevitable about English novelists and their hostility to organized religion and Christianity especially. But, Mr. Pratchett uses the substitution of Om worship to make his criticisms of religion still valid without completely alienating everyone.
This is one of the "must have" Discworld stories that should be in your library. And as always, Nigel Planer's narration is a perfect grace note which makes listening to this audiobook a wonderful experience