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  • These Truths

  • A History of the United States
  • By: Jill Lepore
  • Narrated by: Jill Lepore
  • Length: 29 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 446
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 418
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 408

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation. In riveting prose, These Truths tells the story of America, beginning in 1492, to ask whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths or belied them.   

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good book. Terrible narration by the author

  • By Jack McLean on 11-16-18

Author's narration diminished this book.

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

I am disappointed to have to report that the author's narration very much diminished the power of this book. It is a long book. I understand the author's intimate knowledge of the points she wanted to make and the emphasis she wished to convey, but her cadence and volume control often worked against her and resulted in dropping off the last words of the sentence. Her voice became wearing and ultimately was distracting. Many authors are not the best readers of their work. I was left with the feeling that I wish I could take her course and listen to her lectures over a semester rather than having her read her book to me.
Substantively, LePore's focus on political truths through the long arc of history, particularly the way that slavery was at the heart of the founders' concerns in drafting the constitution, was eyeopening. It was difficult to listen to the many ways our country has failed to deliver on the promise of freedom and equality. I felt that she was often repetitive and tended to make dramatic pronouncements that her sources did not quite support. I would recommend the book with reservations.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • A Spider in the Cup

  • The Joe Sandilands Murder, Book 11
  • By: Barbara Cleverly
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22

At dawn one morning in 1933, an amateur dowsing team digging the banks of the Thames for precious metals unearths the body of a young woman with a missing toe and a priceless gold coin in her mouth. The case falls on Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Joe Sandilands’ turf, but he’s been given another assignment - and a very high-profile one. London is hosting a historic global economic conference to try to solve the global Depression, and political tensions are running very high...

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator ruined this book.

  • By New Orleans reader on 03-04-16

Narrator ruined this book.

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

Reviewed: 03-04-16

Would you try another book from Barbara Cleverly and/or Steven Crossley?

I am completing the series by reading the last book, but probably would not have if Steven Crossley was narrating. He was not a good match for the central character, Joe Sandilands,

What could Barbara Cleverly have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This plot line was murky and too unrealistic to satisfy. There was a lot of unhelpful padding. The detailed asides and descriptions did little to shed light on the characters or the political climate as in other books in this series. The author may be out of steam and lacking fresh ideas for new challenges for Joe Sandilands. This book dropped Dorcas altogether while hinting at her reappearance, but the lack of continuity felt forced.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The range of different voices was distracting, not a positive. I felt the narrator was too cartoonish for this series particularly his over-the-top cockney accent for the Julia character and his accent for Lydia that made her sound silly. His voice for Sandilands veered off into a high pitch that was quite distracting. His exaggerated variations made it more difficult to follow the arc of the story. He would be better suited for more broadly humorous fare.

Any additional comments?

The low-keyed and nuanced performances of Tony Wale, Simon Prebble and Andrew Wincott are a much better fit for this series.

  • Americanah

  • By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,901
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,095

As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty

  • By Anna-Bo-Banana on 04-28-14

Narrator enhanced this book tremendously.

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

Reviewed: 04-05-14

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

The narrator brought alive the Americanah experience in a direct way that the written page would not have. She literally gave voice to the characters that enriched the narrative for me.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Beautiful Ruins

  • By: Jess Walter
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,973
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,681
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,674

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • My mind wandered

  • By Ella on 11-25-12

Unexpected Pleasure

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

Reviewed: 09-23-12

I expected an entertaining diversion but did not anticipate getting so caught up in the lives of these interesting but flawed characters. Beautifully read by Eduardo Ballerini. I found myself replaying Jess Walter's beautifully written observations and descriptions. Time and credits well spent.

  • Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul

  • Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty
  • By: John M. Barry
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams's interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop's vision of his "City upon a Hill."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Story and Legacy

  • By Bruce on 04-11-12

Outside my comfort zone but highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 09-03-12

This was a book club choice that I would not have chosen on my own without prompting but John Barry delivered a thought provoking portrait of a man and his times that kept me engaged from the start. Barry reveals Williams as a complex, courageous and principled man and original thinker whose ideas of religious freedom were far ahead of his time. I would definitely listen to John Barry's works again. He has a gift for making somewhat arcane topics highly readable and enlightening. One of my all time favorite non-fiction works is his Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America. That book marries the hydrology of the Mississippi River with a social history of a region in the grip of one of the most massive natural disasters ever to befall this country before a functional social safety net was in place.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Aris, Paula Wilcox
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,227
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,228

In 1799, the artificial island of Dejima lies in Nagasaki Harbor as Japan’s outpost for the Dutch East Indies Company. There, Jacob de Zoet has come to make a fortune large enough to return to Holland and marry the woman he loves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Less about the arrival more about the ride

  • By Kindle Customer on 10-26-12

Best listen this summer

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-10

Very compelling story and superb narration. Hated to finish. Highly recommended.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Island Beneath the Sea

  • A Novel
  • By: Isabel Allende
  • Narrated by: S. Epatha Merkerson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 583
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarit - known as Tt - is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tt finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent listen

  • By Stevon on 06-27-10

Very Disappointing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-18-10

I am a big fan of Allende's work and was looking forward to reading this for my book club, but I really didn't like this book. It was a chore to slog through to the end. The writing was boring and characters one dimensional, For awhile I thought the narrator was to blame. Although Ms. Merkerson is a fine actress capable of subtlety and emotional depth, her reading was unpolished and uninteresting. But In the end, I believe that the writing itself fell short. The historical events in Haiti and New Orleans details were redeeming aspects, but not enough to overcome the other faults with this book.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful