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  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 14
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  • The History of the Ancient World

  • From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
  • By: Susan Wise Bauer
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,936
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,637
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,619

This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Historic Achievement

  • By Ellen S. Wilds on 04-25-14

Informative

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

Reviewed: 12-10-15

This book was a wealth of knowledge in many areas that I previously knew very little about. While it is mostly focuses on the classical world (i.e Persia, Mesopotamia, Greece, more etc.) it also has illuminating chapters regarding Chinese and Indian civilizations. There is not much analysis in this book, but the limited comparison of civilizations that are present in this text make it a valuable read.

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century

  • By: Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator)
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 24 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,647
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,260
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,245

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Audio format still useful to get the gist of it

  • By Kazuhiko on 06-14-14

Informative but complex

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

Sure. It's a bit of a tough read, and a background in basic economics would definitely help. That being said the contents of this book are so valuable that it is worth taking the time. The nuanced, data driven conclusions that are reached here aren't simple but they very well may be correct.

  • A History of the Twentieth Century

  • By: Martin Gilbert
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 29 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

Martin Gilbert, author of the multivolume biography of Winston Churchill and other brilliant works of history, chronicles world events year by year, from the dawn of aviation to the flourishing technology age, taking us through World War I to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the United States and Hider as chancellor of Germany.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining. Worth reading.

  • By Douglas on 08-20-16

Super Straightforward

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

Would you listen to A History of the Twentieth Century again? Why?

Absolutely. The book is pretty dense so there is room for a few listens here.

What did you like best about this story?

This was one of the most unique audio books I've ever listened to. There is absolutely no analysis. Instead it is a complete narration of events as they occurred. While this can be a bit strange at times it really does give a unique feeling of how the century progressed. It was kind of like watching a news reel.

What about John Curless’s performance did you like?

His unwavering, almost monotone voice was perfect for the style of this book.

  • A Patriot's History of the United States

  • By: Larry Schweikart, Michael Allen
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 50 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 956
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 506

Since the liberal revolution of the '60s and '70s, American history books have been biased toward the negative. They overemphasize America's racism, sexism, and bigotry while downplaying the greatness of her patriots. As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington, more on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II than on D-day or Iwo Jima. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America's true and proud history.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • About What You Would Expect

  • By P. Metz on 05-06-12

Good but on a self acknowledged bias

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

The book presented a compelling, complete story about american history. I found some of the assertions ridiculous, especially when it came to the more modern period. That being said the author is clear what his bias is and he owns it. After all its in the title. Appreciate the book for what it is, a very conservative history of the United States and a well done one at that.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Why Violence Has Declined
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 36 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,655
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,096
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,063

We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'd kill for another book this good

  • By Eric Nicolas Morgan on 11-11-11

A Landmark Book Performed Well

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

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

Absolutely. This book is one of my favorites for several reasons. Pinker's points are consistently backed up by data and logic and he avoids making conclusions based on emotion. In addition, Pinker circumscribes several of even his most well supported claims in the manner of a true scientist by avoiding sweeping generalizations and extrapolation.

What does Arthur Morey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I rather like his narrating style. A bit unpolished (complement).

Any additional comments?

Fantastic

  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

  • By: Francis Fukuyama
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 22 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,090
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,808
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,791

Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Summary of Political History I've Read

  • By blah on 05-12-13

An Explanation of Society

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

What did you love best about The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution?

The scope. This book is able to spend time in Europe, China, India and the Middle East and combine them successfully.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Again the scope. This book really tries to explain how societies organize themselves in the most general sense. I agree with most of the points made here and I think it is a valuable primer for understanding modern politics

  • Bolivar

  • American Liberator
  • By: Marie Arana
  • Narrated by: David Crommett
  • Length: 20 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 529
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 476
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 479

It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • There will be blood.

  • By Joselo on 08-02-13

Interesting Guy

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

What made the experience of listening to Bolivar the most enjoyable?

The story was incredibly coherent. Very easy to follow, and it really gave you a three dimensional view of the man. You got to grow up with Bolivar in a way.

What other book might you compare Bolivar to and why?

I haven't read many other historical biographies so this answer will be ill informed. A book like Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" also focused on the life of one man, she used it as a means to explore the time period in which he lived. This book is much more focused on the man rather than the history.

Which character – as performed by David Crommett – was your favorite?

I suppose Bolivar himself.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A Latin Washington

Any additional comments?

My main criticism of this book is the angle taken by the author in relation to his subject. Arana does convey that Bolivar is a complicated man who does not always act nobly, but a more hard hitting analysis would have been appreciated. I would have liked to hear more about why Bolivar did the things he did rather than what he was doing. Still, very good book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations

  • By: Andrew C. Fix, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Andrew C. Fix
  • Length: 24 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 404
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396

Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals. Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent! (...but the ending could be improved)

  • By FN2187 on 09-12-13

Interesting but not too interesting

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was indeed well spent. The book was informative and insightful, if not necessarily engaging. So broad a topic is difficult to tackle.

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

Middle of the road. It is a difficult topic because you are dropped into the middle of history with no real coherent context (not really the fault of the author or reader), which makes it difficult to fully appreciate the events discussed.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Professor Andrew C. Fix?

He was informative but the performance was not particularly engaging.

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

I love documentaries so yes

  • The Thirty Years War

  • By: C. V. Wedgwood
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 19 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 367

Initially, the Thirty Years War was precipitated in 1618 by religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. But the conflict soon spread beyond religion to encompass the internal politics and balance of power within the Empire, and then later to the other European powers. By the end, it became simply a dynastic struggle between Bourbon France and Habsburg Spain. And almost all of it was fought out in Germany. Entire regions were depopulated and destroyed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the World's Great History Books.

  • By Judith A. Weller on 08-25-12

Straightforward, Amazing

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

Where does The Thirty Years War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is my favorite audiobook that I've listened to on audible so far (out of around 25 in total)

What did you like best about this story?

There was nothing innovative or unusual about this book, which is not really a complement. It is simply a compelling interesting story that is well written and well read.

Which character – as performed by Charlton Griffin – was your favorite?

Not really room for character performance in narrative history but I rather did like Gustavus Adolphus pretty much dominating everyone he came across.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Real WWI. Or Wow guys we should really be a bit more subtle with diplomacy from now on.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended. This book is also very dense so it is worth listening to several times.