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David Maher

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 73
  • ratings
  • The Fate of Rome

  • Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire
  • By: Kyle Harper
  • Narrated by: Andrew Garman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88

Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes listeners from Rome's pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent meld of History & Science

  • By Trebla on 02-07-18

Compelling History

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

Reviewed: 02-11-18

Does an excellent job with showing the power of scientific sources for history. Full disclosure, I do have a fascination with epidemic history, so not completely unbiased. A very interesting take on the decline of the Roman empire.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Pacific Thunder

  • The US Navy's Central Pacific Campaign, August 1943–October 1944
  • By: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 65

On 27 October 1942, four "Long Lance" torpedoes fired by the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo exploded in the hull of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). Minutes later, the ship that had launched the Doolitte Raid six months earlier slipped beneath the waves of the Coral Sea 100 miles northeast of the island of Guadalcanal and just north of the Santa Cruz Islands, taking with her 140 of her sailors. With the loss of Hornet, the United States Navy now had one aircraft carrier left in the South Pacific.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good for what it is, but not what it claims to be

  • By David Maher on 12-18-17

Good for what it is, but not what it claims to be

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

Reviewed: 12-18-17

From the title and description I expected a more of less comprehensive history of the Central Pacific campaign. In particular I expected at least an attempt to explain the planning and strategy of the campaign. Instead Cleaver is laser focused on the experiences of the air groups and the individual air crew. He has dug up a lot of good detail on the lives and missions of carrier aviators and those stories are informative and interesting. He does a decent job on the equipment, especially the Hellcat and Helldiver. Less so on the Avenger. The book also starts off strongly with a review of the development of American carriers and carrier doctrine in the pre-war period. It even does a good job of sketching even the events of the early war, setting the stage for August 1943

Unfortunately when the narrative reaches the start of the titular campaign the book's focus shifts to the micro level. Missions are described, the stories of individual pilots and air crew are told. Occasionally we get some strategic explanation, but never an over all clear picture.

Still glad I read it, with a title and description that match the content of the book I would rate it highly, just not the book it claims to be.

Tom Perkins does a fine job with the material and keeps the narrative moving forward. He does what most of the better narrators do, reads it well enough that you can enjoy the book and not think much about the narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A More Perfect Heaven

  • How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos
  • By: Dava Sobel
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

In her graceful, compelling style, Dava Sobel chronicles the history of the Copernican Revolution, relating the story of astronomy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages. In its midst will be her play, And the Sun Stood Still, imagining the dialogue that would have transpired between Rheticus and Copernicus in their months together. As she achieved with her bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel expands the bounds of science writing, giving us an unforgettable portrait of scientific achievement.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting but Not Perfect

  • By John on 09-01-12

Enjoyed the history, hated the play

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

Reviewed: 09-14-17

I was really enjoying the background on Copernicus' life, especially for the light it threw on the era. Suddenly the history I was listening became a rather awkwardly put together play about Copernicus's meeting with Georg Rheticus. Annoying because the fictionalized version obscures rather than reveals. I feel like I wasted my money because now I need to get another, actually non-fiction, account of the events.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 902
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 798
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 793

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is both a whimsical fantasy and a social satire chock-full of brilliant Twainisms. Hank Morgan, a nineteenth-century American---a Connecticut Yankee---by a stroke of fate is sent back into time to sixth-century England and ends up in Camelot and King Arthur's Court.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Yarn

  • By Ian C Robertson on 06-23-12

Outstanding Performance

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

Reviewed: 03-28-16

It hardly seems worth it to be reviewing Mr Twain after all these years. Connecticut Yankee is pointed and funny. I found myself wishing I was better prepared to get the topical matter. Not that I am bad at the 19th Century, I just know it would be funnier if I lived it. Anyway, the point of the review was to credit William Dufris' excellent narration. He really nails Twain's Yankee character. I found his voicing of some of the other characters, Clarence in particular, a little grating, but more than balanced by his excellent job with the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

  • By: Jules Verne
  • Narrated by: Noel Gibilaro
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Professor Pierre Aronnax boards an American frigate commissioned to investigate a rash of attacks on international shipping by what is thought to be an amphibious monster. The supposed sea creature, which is actually the submarine Nautilus, sinks Aronnax's vessel and imprisons him along with his devoted servant Conseil and Ned Land, a temperamental harpooner.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Gothic Sci Fi classic, narrated for kindergartners

  • By Kathleen on 04-28-10

Great book. Children's narration

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

I never thought of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a children's book. Obviously Noel Gibilaro did. The narration is intolerable to anyone over the age of 12, and probably to most who are under. Fortunately I got this as added narration to the Kindle version so I can still read it for myself

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Norman Conquest

  • The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
  • By: Marc Morris
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 397
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 353
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351

An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Balanced, Entertaining, and Informative History

  • By Jefferson on 06-01-14

Disappointing narration

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

Reviewed: 06-05-15

Shatner is not a good model for the narration of a history. I like the book itself, a compelling narrative history of the Conquest and the conditions leading to it, but the narration is almost unlistenable. Think of something approaching a parody of WIlliam Shatner as Kirk

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Good Omens

  • By: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,936
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,320
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,349

The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • You'll laugh yourself silly

  • By goddess_of_pipework on 11-28-15

Fun story, fantastic performance

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

Reviewed: 10-05-14

There are some Audible books where the performance is just so good you feel like you would have been missing out on something just reading it. Good Omens is a well written, funny and engaging story, and I am sure it would have been a great read on the printed page, but Martin Jarvis just knocked the performance of the Audible version out of the park

  • Kill Decision

  • By: Daniel Suarez
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,043
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,540

Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not Daemon/Freedom, but still good Thriller

  • By T. Menefee on 07-21-12

Interesting ideas, usually an interesting story

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

Reviewed: 08-08-12

I grabbed this book up almost as soon as it was out as a huge fan of Daemon and its sequel Freedom TM. I was a little disappointed. Like the earlier books Kill Decision wants to explore the challenges and increasingly technological society poses to democratic society and again, as in the earlier books he manages to craft a pretty compelling thriller. His biggest problem came in making the two work together. There are fairly sizable passages of conversation where one of the other of the character feels like Daniel Suarez speaking to the reader about the dangers posed by drone warfare. If this happened in the Daemon books it was done artfully enough that I never felt it

That said, his ideas are thought provoking (though not as powerful as Daemon's) and the story is interesting. If you liked his earlier books, you will enjoy this, if not as much. Once again Jeff Gurner narrates ably