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John G. Sharp

  • 6
  • reviews
  • 16
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • In Defense of History

  • By: Richard J. Evans
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

Richard J. Evans shows us how historians manage to extract meaning from the recalcitrant past. To materials that are frustratingly meager, or overwhelmingly profuse, they bring an array of tools that range from agreed-upon rules of documentation to the critical application of social and economic theory, all employed with the aim of reconstructing a verifiable, usable past. Evans defends this commitment to historical knowledge from the attacks of postmodernist critics who deny the possibility of achieving any kind of certain knowledge about the past. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening

  • By Farren Joy on 07-03-18

A wonderful defense of the historians craft

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

Richard J. Evans is a well regarded and prolific historian who has written extensively on European history and The Third Reich. He also enjoys a well deserved reputation as a fascinating and erudite speaker, lecturer and expert witness see the film Malice. This volume is Evans response to the need for something to update E.H. Carr's classic "What is History" and G. R. Elton's "The Practice of History" both excellent but now dated. Evans outlines how historians work and how they differ from chroniclers, antiquarians and journalist. Evans also give some guidance to budding historians as to how he himself organized his research and construct's his narrative specifically using his "Death in Hamburg " as a example. This was his study of the great Hamburg cholera outbreak which killed over 10,00o Germans in the 1890's
Evans is an excellent writer with many bestsellers he firmly believes historians should write with in clear prose and is highly critical post modernism and some other new trends. His account of the "Sokal Hoax" and the "David Abraham affair " are both fun reading and an object lesson to all future graduate students. In summary one of the best books I have read this year.

  • Trade and Taboo

  • Disreputable Professions in the Roman Mediterranean
  • By: Sarah Bond
  • Narrated by: Lorelei King
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Trade and Taboo addresses the creation of disrepute in ancient Roman society. What made someone disreputable in the eyes of Romans, and how did this effect their everyday life? The book tracks the shifting application of stigmas of disrepute between the Republican period and the later Roman Empire (45 BCE-565 CE) by following various Roman professionals. Through the lives of funeral workers, town criers, tanners, mint workers, and even bakers, Bond asks how certain tradesmen coped with stigmatization.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Doctoral Thesis and a Good One

  • By John G. Sharp on 07-31-18

A Doctoral Thesis and a Good One

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

Reviewed: 07-31-18

Professor Sarah E. Bond's Trade & Taboo is her doctoral thesis and a good one, however as such this volume was not written for the general reader. Some terms and concepts need greater clarification but for those with some knowledge of ancient Rome there is much to recommend and Lorelei King does a fine job as the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Greeks Bearing Gifts

  • A Bernie Gunther Novel, Book 13
  • By: Philip Kerr
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 283
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 283

It is 1956, and Bernie Gunther has a new name (Christoph Ganz), a clean passport, a chip on his shoulder, and a menial low-paying job in Munich. And then an old friend arrives to repay a debt. He encourages Bernie to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company. Which is why Bernie, as Christoph, finds himself in Athens investigating a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Series gets better and better

  • By Rena on 04-10-18

Another wonderful Bernie mystery!

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

Reviewed: 07-14-18

Phillip Kerr who died recently will be sorely missed, Kerr had the unique ability to tell a story with vigorous prose, set a scene quickly and take you to another era . Kerr wrote much in the tradition of Raymond Chandler and his protagonist Bernie Gunther is a Philip Marlowe type who somehow survives the Wiemar Republic, the Third Reich and finds himself in Athens for yet another adventure. Here he is in mufti hiding from his problematic past, as claims adjuster seeking a WWII treasure trove, dodging former Nazi's such as Alois Brunner , or corrupt police officers of all nationalities and still he manages to maintain a sense of humor and a small measure of dignity.

  • Ancient Mesopotamia

  • Life in the Cradle of Civilization
  • By: The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Professor Amanda H. Podany PhD
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198

Mesopotamia is the ancient name for the region that is now Iraq, a remarkably advanced civilization that flourished for two-thirds of the time that civilization has existed on Earth. Mesopotamians mastered irrigation agriculture; built the first complex urban societies; developed writing, literature, and law; and united vast regions through warfare and diplomacy. While civilizations like Greece and Rome have an unbroken tradition of written histories, the rich history of Mesopotamia has only been recently rediscovered, thanks to the decipherment of Mesopotamia's cuneiform writing less than 200 years ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating, informative, an amazing experience.

  • By GNG on 06-18-18

Time with a great scholar & fantastic lecturer

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

Reviewed: 07-14-18

Best course this year! Sometime ago I read Amanda Podany's "Brotherhood of Kings How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East" and enjoyed the lively vigorous and compelling narrative regarding the birth of diplomacy I found her lectures for Ancient Mesopotamia were likewise, and some of the very best I have ever listened to. Professor Podany has a great speaking voice, a fine sense of humor and has the unique ability in a series of well-organized lectures to bring the world of Sumer and Akad to life. As a scholar Podany is able to both translate the four thousand year old cuneiform tablets and reveal the world's first literature, legal systems and civic governments. Her lectures are lively, well paced and display a wide knowledge of the ancient world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Martin Luther

  • Renegade and Prophet
  • By: Lyndal Roper
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

On October 31, 1517, an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to a church door in a small university town and set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years, Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe, and polarized people's beliefs.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • The purpose of this book is not to be a biography

  • By LionsCalling09 on 01-25-18

Luther for Today

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

Reviewed: 08-26-17

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

The narration is superb Michael Page does a wonderful job with the multitude of German names. His pronunciation is good for the Latin phrases and titles as well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Wow, Luther ! Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther Prophet and Renegade; is a superb study of an extraordinary remarkable and complex man whose actions in 1517 sundered the unity of the Catholic Church and set in motion a religious revolution. After his death in 1546, Luther's chief disciple, Phillip Melanchthon, summed up Luther's theology simply as, quote sola gratia justificamus et sola fide justificamur or ;only scripture and only grace. Luther's stubborn insistence that ordinary men and women could and should read the Bible and must look to God for their salvation, and not the Church; changed Western history.

Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

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

Luther has been called "the last medieval man and the first modern one.” Similarly in her powerful summation, Roper states "Luther is a difficult hero.' She acknowledges many of Luther's s writing are full of hatred and he has predilection for scatological rhetoric and crude humor, not to our modern taste, She emphases his antisemitism was far more visceral than many of his contemporaries Catholic, Lutheran or Evangelical and find this animus toward Jews intrinsic to his religiosity .... Yet she concludes quote, only someone [such as Luther ] with utter inability to see anyone else s point of view can have had the courage to take on the papacy, to act like a "blinkered horse looking neither right no left but treading relentlessly onward regardless of the consequences.

Any additional comments?

After listening to the wonderful Michael Paige audio edition of Martin Luther Prophet and Renegade; I wanted to know more and bought the book in hardcover to read at my leisure,
which is my highest complement.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • SPQR

  • A History of Ancient Rome
  • By: Mary Beard
  • Narrated by: Phyllida Nash
  • Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,181
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,156

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Reexamination of the History of Rome

  • By Christopher on 12-17-15

Superb History

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

Reviewed: 03-05-16

Where does SPQR rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Within the top five

What did you like best about this story?

This is not the average history of Rome arranged chronologically 756 to 476 instead Professor Mary Beard in SPQR concentrates on characteristics of Roman society that made the republic and later the empire a reality. Beard is a distinguished scholar who has written books on the Roman Triumph, Roman Humor ( yes they had one!) and with the late Keith Hopkins, the Roman Coliseum. In all these works she displays a unique ability to communicate complex ideas clearly with wit and humor. She also writes the blog "A Don's Life" and has done work for the BBC " The Romans" .In SPQR Beard begins in the late republic with Marcus Tullius Cicero 's oration against Cataline. for a supposed conspiracy against the Roman State. Beard used this pivotal event to show the structure and nature of Roman Society in the republic and how this fragile edifice fell eventually to Julius Caesar. When she moves to the empire Beard concentrates on the wider world of SPQR, and explains what it meant to be a Roman citizen in Judea, e.g.St.Paul Britannia or Gaul as well as Rome.. For all the real injustices, the wide disparity of wealth, slavery, the subordination of women, the world of Rome, gave a certain stability order and predictability to more people, than any society until the 19th century. Rome improved living conditions for many. Beard explains the status of women, though patriarchal Rome allowed women considerably more freedom than the much acclaimed classical Greece. She discusses the relatively high rate of literacy as reflected in inscriptions, graffiti at Pompeii and papyri in Egypt also the famous birthday invitation from a women whose spouse was a garrison commander near Hadrian's Wall. Slavery in Rome, while awful was never fixed, as in Greece nor was it based on race as in the USA. While many slaves lived under appalling conditions on the great estates many others achieved freedom and enjoyed modest prosperity, wile a few especially under the Emperor Claudius rose to great heights

Which character – as performed by Phyllida Nash – was your favorite?

Ms. Nash is a clear and competent narrator with a pleasing voice..

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

I enjoyed Beard's comments re the ancient sources, this is her effort to inform her readers how ancient historians work or how do we really know what we often read in various text's re Caligula, Tiberius etc.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed her comments on health and hygiene in ancient Rome. Beard discusses, modern forensic studies which suggest that the Roman's in large numbers were infected with parasites from improper disposal of human waste and that their baths in an era before chlorine were breeding grounds for disease.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful