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Superfluous Man

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  • 27
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  • The Third Reich at War

  • By: Richard J. Evans
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 35 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 701

Evans interweaves a broad narrative of the war’s progress with viscerally affecting personal testimony from a wide range of people - from generals to front-line soldiers, from Hitler Youth activists to middle-class housewives. The Third Reich at War lays bare the dynamics of a nation more deeply immersed in war than any society before or since. Fresh insights into the conflict’s great events are here, from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Stalingrad to Hitler’s suicide in the bunker.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterful

  • By Karen on 09-03-10

Fitting Conclusion

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

Reviewed: 05-07-18

A fitting conclusion to Evans’ magisterial trilogy on the Third Reich. Well read, with very few flies in the ointment. Well worth your time.

  • How Rome Fell

  • Death of a Superpower
  • By: Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 283

In AD 200, the Roman Empire seemed unassailable, its vast territory accounting for most of the known world. By the end of the fifth century, Roman rule had vanished in Western Europe and much of northern Africa, and only a shrunken Eastern Empire remained. This was a period of remarkable personalities, from the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius to emperors like Diocletian, who portrayed themselves as tough, even brutal, soldiers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The tragic story of the fall of a great empire

  • By Ryan on 03-03-15

Well written, if idiosyncratic

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

Reviewed: 04-22-18

A fine book by a fine historian, whose works are always welcome. Oddly bookended by long speculations as to the fate of the United States, perhaps unduly influenced by the proximity of the Iraq War and its aftermath to the time of publication. The core of the book—which gives more weight to internal decline and civil war than does, say, Peter Heather’s thesis—is well argued and beautifully narrated.

  • The Fall of the Roman Empire

  • A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
  • By: Peter Heather
  • Narrated by: Allan Robertson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 358
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 323
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 321

The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A good book not ideally suited to audiobook format

  • By SBL01742 on 05-29-15

Fine history, and well narrated

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

Reviewed: 04-11-18

Mr. Heather’s book well merits the high praise it has received. The book marries a brisk narrative history with a tightly argued account of the fall of the Roman Empire that, essentially, takes aim at Gibbon himself. While this may come as no surprise to specialists, to the non-specialist reader steeped in the standard Gibbonian account, you may find yourself changing your mind about a thing or two.

In his recitation of the people, places, and events, Heather quite helpfully draws on his broad erudition to draw comparisons and contrasts with later periods—e.g., the Carolingian empire, the Spanish Armada, the Mongol invasion of China. These are unfailingly illuminating.

Particularly in the final chapter, Heather’s style approximates that of a well-crafted legal brief, both clearly establishing his own evidence and highlighting his disagreements with other scholars of yesteryear and today. I was particularly taken with his willingness to argue with the most charitably and strongly stated versions of the contrary views; he does not do battle with straw men, which speaks highly of his intellectual integrity.

The narrator has a friendly, easy to accommodate voice and generally handles the specialist vocabulary and classical Latin adeptly. In early chapters, his mispronunciation of “Trier” is somewhat distracting, but this is a fly in the ointment of an otherwise very worthwhile purchase.

  • Paul

  • A Biography
  • By: N. T. Wright
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 950
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 848
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 840

In this definitive biography, renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and best-selling author N. T. Wright offers a radical look at the apostle Paul, illuminating the humanity and remarkable achievements of this intellectual who invented Christian theology - transforming a faith and changing the world. For centuries, Paul, the apostle who "saw the light on the Road to Damascus" and made a miraculous conversion from zealous Pharisee persecutor to devoted follower of Christ, has been one of the church's most widely cited saints.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Different type of writing for Wright is helpful

  • By Adam Shields on 04-25-18

Fine Narration

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

Reviewed: 04-04-18

Wright’s work needs no introduction, but Langston’s fine narration also deserves credit. He perfectly captures Wright’s brand of scholarly prose with occasional first-person digressions and handles theological terminology and Greek and Latin quotations with aplomb. First rate performance.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • To Change the Church

  • By: Ross Douthat
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1936, today Pope Francis is the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis' stewardship of the church, while perceived as a revelation by many, has provoked division throughout the world. "If a conclave were to be held today," one Roman source told The New Yorker, "Francis would be lucky to get 10 votes." In To Change the Church, Douthat explains why the particular debate Francis has opened - over communion for the divorced and the remarried - is so dangerous.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fine Book, Risible Narration

  • By Superfluous Man on 04-01-18

Fine Book, Risible Narration

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

Mr. Douthat’s fine work is unexceptionable, but the narration leaves much to be desired. A partial list of egregiously mispronounced words: synod, despoliation, papabile, Kulturkampf, Boniface, fumi-e, hagan liu, ecumenism, Lettres provinciales.

The publisher owes an author of Douthat’s reputation and vocabulary a narration to match—I rarely write a review of this kind, but given the specialized subject matter, it would have been far preferable to have the author read the text himself.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • On China

  • By: Henry Kissinger
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Hormann
  • Length: 20 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 754
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 614
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609

The eminent historian and strategist reflects on how China's past illuminates its 21st-century trajectory, drawing on 40 years of intimate acquaintance with the country and its leaders.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Long, academic, bland - AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

  • By Ben on 02-18-12

Fine Performance

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

Reviewed: 08-20-17

Dr. Kissinger's text is, of course, incomparable, but a special word for the fine narration by Nicholas Hormann, whose Mandarin deserves special commendation.