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The Frog Lady

Buffalo, NY USA
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The Brothers audiobook cover art

Devastating history of US policy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-16

Would you consider the audio edition of The Brothers to be better than the print version?

no idea

Any additional comments?

This book is far beyond a biography of the Dulles brothers. It is a description of US policies during the 50's that shaped the world we live in today. It is devastating and deeply depressing to realize how much lasting damage was done by the misunderstanding of the desires of people around the world for self-determination and by the ruthless determination of Eisenhower and the Dulles's to crush whatever they saw, very often wrongly, as threatening US interests. The book also provides example after example of how the media, particularly Time magazine, served as conduits for distortions of the truth or outright lies calculated to bamboozle the American people. The book provides clear background for events in countries as disparate as Guatemala, Indonesia, and the Congo, and it documents the ways in which the US sought to subvert or overthrow the governments of those countries.

In addition, the book describes the Dulles brothers as human beings and gives the reader a good sense of the family life they grew up in and the social context that they lived in. This context is valuable for helping to understand their unshakeable convictions about good vs evil and their roles in shaping foreign policy.

The Mysterious Etruscans audiobook cover art

I had no idea so much was known

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-16

What did you love best about The Mysterious Etruscans?

These lectures covered a very wide range of topics about the Etruscans and taught me much more than I'd expected to learn. I was especially impressed to find out how much they contributed to Roman civilization and also how high the status of women was in Etruscan society.

What other book might you compare The Mysterious Etruscans to and why?

SPQR by Mary Beard. These cover similar periods and are similarly wide in their range of topics.

What about Professor Steven L. Tuck’s performance did you like?

It was easy to understand but also rather annoying because of his propensity to stress the unimportant words in the sentences ("and" "of") rather than the major nouns and verbs. I hear this sort of speaking on the radio all the time and I cannot understand why people do it. It really detracts from the listener's ability to grasp the main points.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Neither. It's not that kind of book. However, it did make me change my plans for my upcoming trip to Italy so that I can visit some of the Etruscan sites that are mentioned in the lectures. I'm pretty excited about that!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz audiobook cover art

Still a classic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-16

I read this book as a child and truly loved it. I'm very happy to discover that it holds up very well. It's a simple tale of the triumph of good over evil, and just right for children. The humor isn't dated even after 100 years.
The performance works well, although it clearly owes a debt to the movie. That's not really a problem though, since the movie was lovely, too.

The Industrial Revolution audiobook cover art

Vivid, thoughtful overview

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-03-15

If you could sum up The Industrial Revolution in three words, what would they be?

Vivid, well-composed, surprising

What did you like best about this story?

This Learning Company book covered the period from about 1750 to pretty much the present, and I learned the most from the earlier periods, given that I have a technical and scientific background that has familiarized me with the scientific and technological changes in the 20th and 21st centuries. Dr. Allitt has a theme for each lecture, for example, the rise of weaving technology, but each such lecture ties in with the previous lectures, so it becomes clear how the advances, say in transportation or mining, became tied together. The economics of each advance is discussed, and this becomes especially interesting when the scene switches from the earlier lectures that focus on Britain and move to the US and then to Europe, where the economic forces and organization have major impacts on how technologies developed. Politics and the status of labor are given good coverage, too.

Which scene was your favorite?

I think that I was most intrigued by the lecture on the development of machine tools. I'd just never thought about how that aspect of technology had changed or, in fact, that lathes had been around for a long time prior to the industrial revolution.

Any additional comments?

Professor Allitt mentions quite a number of sites in Britain and the US where you can visit industrial revolution sites that have been preserved or restored. I love that sort of stuff, and I've added quite a few of his suggestions to my list.

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World audiobook cover art

Wider than expected view

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-27-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

These were well constructed lectures that presented an interesting selection of topics on ancient life, primarily in western Europe. Don't expect to find out anything about life in Central Asia or the Indus Valley or Peru. However, you will get a lot of good information about Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Britain in particular. I have some background in all of these cultures, so I was particularly interested in the lectures on topics that I hadn't read about, such as life for refugees in Greece or life for people with disabilities.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

As mentioned above, the chapters on refugees and life as a disabled person were topics that I'd never encountered before in any of my readings about the ancient world.

What does Professor Robert Garland bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a very lively speaking voice, and his occasional personal anecdotes add to the lectures. There are not so many such anecdotes that the content of the talks is diluted, though.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Dr. Garland's description of life in a Roman garret was exceptionally vivid. It sounded quite sad and dismal.

Any additional comments?

The overall construction of the lecture series is very well thought-out, including references back from one lecture to previous lectures in which similar topics had been mentioned in different cultures and a summary lecture that skillfully reiterated the major topics.

The Prime Minister audiobook cover art

Depressingly retrograde politics

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-27-14

What did you like best about The Prime Minister? What did you like least?

The writing is skillful and pretty engrossing, although some of the political digressions begin to get wearisome. What was quite disappointing about this book, though, was the incredibly awful view of society that Trollope puts forth. He is saying, in pretty blatant terms, that pretty much only upper crust, well-established Englishmen, preferably blond, are the only people who are honorable or trustworthy. The villain of the piece is a dark-haired, dark-complexioned man of Portuguese extraction, suspected of being a Jew. The women are essentially all ninnies who cause vast amounts of trouble when they don't do what their superiors, i.e., fathers or husbands, tell them to do. I just have no use for this sort of novel, except, I suppose as a historical artifact.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Change the plot.

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

They all irritated me, through no fault of the narrator.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Absolutely not.

Any additional comments?

I was quite disappointed. I've had some acquaintance with Trollope's Barchester Towers, and I'd expected better from this novel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful