In SPQR, world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even 2,000 years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty.
This book has excellent content, and it provided me a general outline of Roman history and significance of what occurred during its first millennia. I am interested in the subject and was eager to learn more about it. However, the style and organization of the book failed to engage me. I often had to jog myself back into the narrative as my attention wandered. For me, the book lacked flow and continuity, but of course, that is a personal observation rather than a truly objective one.
To be fair, I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could because it is probably better than 3 stars, especially in terms of scholarship. But I cannot honestly say that I "really liked it" enough to go with 4 stars. The fault may be entirely mine, but it is what it is. Simply put, I expected to enjoy this book more than I actually did, and I don't believe the problem was with the subject matter alone.
However, I did learn, and therefore this book was worth the time I invested in it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.
In the days since it has become available, this book has been both controversial and influential. Personally, I found it a reasonable account of the first 8-9 months of the Trump administration; the events reported match what I have observed from my vantage point as a citizen with a strong interest in world affairs. Fire and Fury certainly does include details of conversations and comments that I have not personally witnessed, but these were plausible and in line with actual quotes and video available to everyone. In addition, during interviews following the book’s release, the author has been quite honest in discussing the limitations of his own knowledge. This admission increased his credibility with me.
Initially I hadn’t planned to purchase the book, but I became incensed when the administration attempted to stop its release to the public. I had originally planned to wait for a library copy and to fit a reading into my normal schedule. However, when confronted with such high-handed attempts at censorship, I changed my mind and chose to reward this author with an immediate purchase of the audiobook. I moved it to the top of my list and began listening at once, and thereby exercised the freedom to form my own opinion. Even the vociferous reactions of this administration to the book itself, and to the people quoted within it, fit the thesis and picture drawn by author Michael Wolff. The ferocity of their attacks merely confirmed the book’s veracity in my eyes.
I’m pleased that I obtained and read Fire and Fury. I acknowledge the caveats inherent in the author's attempt to manage differing accounts from the various people involved in the events he describes. Even so, I found Wolff’s account credible. For me, it was certainly true enough…
126 of 211 people found this review helpful
Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West. With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth.
I cannot do justice to this book. It is without a doubt the most moving and valuable work I read in 2017, and I enjoyed many excellent books last year. American Wolf deals with the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rockies, beginning with packs brought to Yellowstone National Park. The author describes the sad history of wolves in America as European populations spread across the continent. Wolves were hunted, poisoned, trapped, and murdered as puppies in their dens until only a few remnants of the species were left in wilderness areas of northern Minnesota and Michigan. In the mid-1990s, efforts were made to return wolves to remote areas of the West, and the controversy over their fate began anew.
I am not objective. I admit that. I love wolves, and have loved them for as long as I can remember. I don’t think of them as “pets;” they are significantly different from dogs, although they are considered to be the same species by most biologists. Wolves are wild, and they should be left to live that life. Dogs are my companion animals; wolves are something else entirely.
Nate Blakeslee masterfully presents a balanced view of the various sides to the wolf issue, explaining how the presence of wolves impacts the lives of ranchers, hunters, outfitters, and others who recently find themselves sharing the land with these wild hunters. As apex predators, wolves compete with us for game and space. Elk hunters can no longer walk 50 feet from the road to shoot their trophies or provide themselves with “free” meat for much of the year. With the return of wolves to the landscape, elk numbers have returned to the balance which had existed for thousands of years before humans exterminated wolves from the ecosystem.
But with the return of wolves, that ecosystem has come back into a healthier equilibrium, one that benefits many other creatures, including the elk themselves. The book clearly details this process while personalizing the wolf itself through comprehensive descriptions of the lives of many individuals being studied by wildlife biologists and Yellowstone park rangers; the wolf packs are also watched and admired by thousands of park visitors who have the thrilling and inspiring opportunity to glimpse a wilderness mostly gone, and nearly lost forever.
The narrative centers around a special wolf, O-Six, and Rick McIntyre, the ranger who studies her and the other wolves of the park with obsessive dedication. The descriptions of wolves in this book are not sentimental or anthropomorphic; they originate from the field notes of Rick and others devoted to documenting the daily lives of these amazing creatures. Life for wolves can be brutal, and the author pulls no punches in relating the reality of hunts as well as the deadly inter-pack warfare .
This book is inspiring, yet also profoundly sad. But it educated me, and it deeply moved me. I listened to the audiobook, and when it finished, I immediately began to listen again…to all of it. (Something I don’t remember ever doing before.) And it was even more inspiring and more sad the second time.
I have not done justice to the book itself, to O-Six, or to Rick McIntyre in writing this review. I can only say that, for me, it was one of the most consequential books I have experienced. I believe that we need wildness, as we need air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink. If we lose that in this great, vast land of ours, we lose a vital piece of our souls as well. I may never see a wolf in the wild, but knowing they are out there, roaming the mountains, gives me great hope and joy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
2017 has been a monumental year for Audible, having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone that would have never been possible without our wonderful and loyal listeners. One of our major commitments is bringing new and diverse audio experiences to our members, so this year, as our gift to you, we pulled together a collection that reflects a little bit of everything we’ve been up to recently.
This was a real disappointment! I gave it 2 stars because I forced myself to listen to all of it, and I reserve 1 star ratings for pieces so terrible that I don't finish them. Because this was so short, I endured to the end. Audible did not do itself any favors with this free offering because it reflects so badly on their in-house productions which are usually excellent.
I can't say I wasn't warned because I am not alone in my opinion according to other reviews I've read on Goodreads. Sorry, Audible, I am a loyal customer and you are a great company, but this monstrosity thankfully is very atypical of your products.
[Contains some explicit content] Narrated by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts; from the rationing of butter, to an explosion of war-related jobs, to mixed-signals about the role of women in society. Feel what living in the United States was like for everyday people during this disruptive and uncertain period of American history in the newest Audible Original series. Martha Little is the Executive Producer. Dan Gediman is the Series Producer.
Outstanding!! I thought I knew a fair amount about the WWII era in the United States, but I learned and understood much more after listening to this audiobook. It features archived recordings of people who actually lived the history, people from all levels of the society. Their voices were authentic and moving.
This was definitely a worthwhile use of my time and has given me much to think about in terms of what I see happening now, more than 70 years later. We need to know our history, and hearing these voices from the past brought it alive for me. It has even helped me better understand my parents and their sometimes previously unfathomable perspectives.
Thank you, Audible, for this excellent production, and for making it available to your members at no cost. You really are a great company for this and many other reasons.
An early classic of espionage fiction. Through the cafés, trains and nighttime cities of Europe, Charles Latimer follows a twisting trail of drug-smugglers, thieves and assassins that will lead him to Dimitrios.
I have read a few books I enjoyed less than this one, but very few that I actually finished. It was our book club choice for this month so I soldered on.
I'm not saying it's a bad book. The fault is probably mine; I have difficulty liking any book, movie, or TV show where I don't find something to admire in the characters, at least one of them. I didn't care one bit about even the protagonist in this one. He was dull, and everyone else was despicable, so it was a slog even to complete this relatively short novel. Apparently it was written in the late 1930s and therefore is an early example of this genre--international political thriller. That may explain my problem with it, and it was probably educational to have read it.
A lot of people liked this book a great deal, so I am speaking only for myself. I do feel somewhat virtuous for having persisted to finish it.
Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner, Robo, get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker's Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that's only the start of trouble in Timber Creek because soon another girl goes missing - and this time it's one of Cole's daughters.
This is the third book in the series, and I have throughly enjoyed them all. I love working dogs, and in fact, live with four Belgian Malinois so that undoubtedly adds to my interest in these books. The dogs I have met are every bit as driven and intelligent as Robo, the German Shepherd K-9 in the novels, and the training described is similar to what the military and TSA use. The handlers I know are just as devoted to their partners as Mattie is to hers. I like the characters and the way the author weaves their lives into the mystery of each of her books.
However, while I have found each of the books absorbing and enjoyable, all three have involved the death or adduction of young women or girls. I hope the next book in this series will have a different kind of problem for Mattie and Robo to solve. Mizushima seems glued to plots involving dead and missing girls. Enough! Find another storyline, please.
Because I enjoyed the book so much, I rated it 5 stars, but I will be disappointed if Book #4 involves another dead woman or one needing to be rescued.
In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.
I loved this audiobook, far more than I had expected to. I feared that it might be another collection of awful diseases which pander to our desire for the macabre. But this was a Daily Deal from Audible and the ratings there and on Good Reads were excellent, so I took a chance. I’m glad that I did because this book was so much more than I had imagined.
To be sure the author, Jennifer Wright, does describe ghastly details of some pretty dreadful diseases, some of the worst plagues in the history of mankind. However, she does so in the context of history and discusses the significant effects that each of these had on individual people and their society as a whole. The course of our history was altered by some of these epidemics, but even more so by the leadership of those societies and the reactions of the populace. She explains that when faced with catastrophe, each of us can choose how we will react, and we can learn much from examining those who have come before us. We can be thoughtful, rational, and kind, or we can panic and, in our fear, do great harm to the afflicted, a reaction that will help no one but will harm many.
This book describes real heroes and villains, and Wright strongly suggests that we choose to model our behavior on the former. There is humor sprinkled throughout the tragedy of illness and death, but she never resorts to cheap jokes or self-serving asides; rather the author is able to leaven the horror of these truly awful diseases with irony and valuable lessons to be learned. Her book is well-researched and fact-based, but Wright isn’t shy about clearly expressing her opinions, always clearly identifying her editorial comments, owning them completely.
I was aware of most of these diseases and knew generally how they had impacted history, but this book provided better context for understanding and thinking more deeply about them. The chronology of the past 2000 years was clear in this book, and the reactions of various societies to terror from these mysterious, uncontrollable disasters, have given me much to consider. It isn’t a question of IF another plague will occur; it is a question of WHEN, and HOW we will behave, individually and collectively, when that happens.
I highly recommend this book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the "wolf" in our backyards and its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse.
I found this book absorbing in its description of our wonderful, fascinating native critter, the coyote--its evolution, ability to adapt and survive, and its incredible intelligence. Our attempts to totally destroy this animal, to wipe it completely from the face of the earth, with unbelievably horrendous poisons and other unspeakable methods make me deeply ashamed. It was engaging to read about the coyote, but almost impossible to read about what the government, in our name, has done to kill it.
But the coyote has continued to thrive and increase its range into our cities and suburbs. The author tells us how to live with this wild creature in our midst, to avoid contact but to simply enjoy occasional sightings of something from our wild past that is with us in spite of our efforts to remove it.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
First published in 1949 and praised in the New York Times Book Review as "full of beauty and vigor and bite", A Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and highly ethical regard for America's relationship to the land. This classic work remains as relevant today as it was nearly 70 years ago.
This is beautifully written and thought provoking, but it is also a very sad book because it makes clear how much we have already lost...and how much more will be gone soon. I could hardly bare to finish it considering what is happening to our once beautiful earth.