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Richard

Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 99
  • helpful votes
  • 28
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  • Buddenbrooks

  • The Decline of a Family
  • By: Thomas Mann
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 26 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220

First published in 1900, when Thomas Mann was 25, Buddenbrooks is a minutely imagined chronicle of four generations of a North German mercantile family - a work so true to life that it scandalized the author’s former neighbours in his native Lübeck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Where Have You Been All My Life, Thomas Mann?

  • By Virginia Waldron on 03-30-17

An Extraordinary Reading of an Extraordinary Novel

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

Reviewed: 12-18-16

Mann creates characters that you have love and sympathy for despite clearly showing all their foibles and limitations, and finally their self-destructive tendencies. It traces the history of four generations of a German bourgeois family in the nineteenth century from their pinnacle of success to its final dissolution. Their family history also mirrors the tremendous cultural, social, political, philosophical and religious changes going on about them. Yet the novel also teems with a richness of detail and humor which keeps the story buoyant in spite of its pessimism. The description of Hanno's Christmas is worth the price of admission alone.

David Rintoul is the ideal narrator for this book. I felt as if I were watching a movie instead of just listening.

Here is hoping that Ukemi and David Rintoul might bring us the audiobook version of The Magic Mountain.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Renaissance

  • A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304 - 1576 AD, The Story of Civilization, Volume 5
  • By: Will Durant
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 37 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285

In this masterful work, listeners will encounter: the poets Petrarch and Boccaccio, the fathers of the Renaissance; the paintings, sculptures, and architecture of Milan, Florence, and Venice; the life and accomplishments of Leonardo DaVinci; the Catholic church and the popes of Avignon and Rome; the politicians and philosophers of Italy, including the Borgia family, Julius II, and Machiavelli; the Italian Wars, the conflicts with France, and the country's decline.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Panoramic View of the Italian Renaissance

  • By Richard on 04-25-15

Panoramic View of the Italian Renaissance

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

Reviewed: 04-25-15

This installment reflects the usual qualities of this series: Durant's lucid, witty and colorful prose style; his insightful (and sometimes quirky) opinions; his history in the round approach which blends art, religion, politics, literature, etc. to shine light on each other.

The main potential drawback of this volume is that a period intensely visual is being listened to as an audiobook. Even the book had only a small selection of the works discussed displayed in black and white photos of limited resolution. However, this defect is easily remedied nowadays by searching online for the artworks in question.

I would never say that the Durants' work should be the last word on any period. But when I read other more current volumes, it is always with far more understanding because of my exposure to the their Story of Civilization.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The American Experiment

  • By: James MacGregor Burns
  • Narrated by: Mark Ashby
  • Length: 88 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 116

James MacGregor Burns’s stunning trilogy of American history, spanning the birth of the Constitution to the final days of the Cold War. In these three volumes, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James MacGregor Burns chronicles with depth and narrative panache the most significant cultural, economic, and political events of American history.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • American History ABCs

  • By Michael on 06-16-15

A Hidden Gem That Deserves To Be Better Known

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

Reviewed: 01-08-15

Frankly, I never heard of James MacGregor Burns or this book before I saw it available on Audible. I decided to take a chance on it and am glad I did.

It's a political history but with a difference. Burns really gives a sense of the drama of the actors and events. The politics comes alive because he recreates the social and cultural context by picking out the illuminating detail as opposed to just piling on lots of dry facts.

An American history written by one author is inevitably going to have its flaws, biases or omissions. I gave it 5 stars because given the impossibility of the task, it is extraordinarily well done.

Mark Ashby gives an intelligent, easy to follow reading.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

  • By: Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa - translator
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,371
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,031
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,039

One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Audiobook!

  • By Greg on 02-26-14

Wonderfully Rich Novel, Beautifully Performed If

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

Reviewed: 02-09-14

Some books, like Joyce’s Ulysses, gain immeasurably from audio readings but paradoxically can be frustrating to listeners because of the density of detail, number of characters and the bewildering nonlinear narrative flow.

I think 100 Years falls into this category. Fortunately, I discovered an approach that helped me a lot. I first simply listened to a chapter, then read the SparkNotes and/or Cliff Notes chapter summary available free online (referring to the character lists as necessary) and then re-listened to the same chapter. I found my comprehension and enjoyment of the book increased dramatically.

It also increased my appreciation of John Lee’s approach. He reads the English translation with a rhythmic lilt, which usually I associate with poetry, not prose. But it gives the book an “epic” feel as if you were listening to the Bible or Homer or Dante being read. I initially found this strange and irritating but grew to appreciate how it created a dreamlike, hallucinatory quality.

56 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Our Oriental Heritage

  • The Story of Civilization, Volume 1
  • By: Will Durant
  • Narrated by: Robin Field
  • Length: 50 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 734
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728

The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Michael on 11-30-13

Living, Breathing History

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

Reviewed: 12-01-13

Two caveats. This first volume was written in the 1930’s so some of its information is inevitably dated. Secondly, this book is really more about giving the Eastern context necessary for understanding Western civilization than a comprehensive guide to Eastern civilization.

That being said, it is a beautifully written history, alive with detail, with generous amounts of quoted literature giving the testimony and mindset of the people who lived through these times. One thing I like about Durant’s approach is that while he is always lively and opinionated, he doesn’t create strawmen. He is always sure to present the best case for differing points of view. It would be nice to see more of that quality in these polarized times.

This was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

The Brothers Karamazov
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Constantine Gregory
    
    


    
    Length: 36 hrs and 59 mins
    7 ratings
    Overall 4.9
  • The Brothers Karamazov

  • By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Narrated by: Constantine Gregory
  • Length: 36 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a titanic figure among the world’s great authors, and The Brothers Karamazov is often hailed as his finest novel. A masterpiece on many levels, it transcends the boundaries of a gripping murder mystery to become a moving account of the battle between love and hate, faith and despair, compassion and cruelty, good and evil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally an Audible Karamazov that's Great

  • By James on 07-25-13

Extraordinary Reading of an Extraordinary Book

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

Reviewed: 09-07-13

I acquired this from Audible when it was briefly available in July but for some reason disappeared until now. I'm glad it is available again for other listeners to enjoy. Constantine Gregory does a superb job of conveying the richness of this book. I used to think of Brothers as just a dark and pessimistic work. While Gregory does justice to those qualities when present, he also brings out warmth, humor, and suspense, qualities which I never really focused on when I read the novel before. He also manages to make the long philosophical passages engaging and not monotonous. Highly recommended.