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Presbyter

New York
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 31
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • Peter the Great

  • His Life and World
  • By: Robert K. Massie
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 43 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 782
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 661
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 651

This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter's birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good

  • By Adam on 10-26-11

Massive Massie work spottily read.

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

Reviewed: 12-20-14

Would you be willing to try another one of Frederick Davidson’s performances?

I have been ambivalent ever since I heard his first narration. His diction in this book is rather poor with him swallowing the end of almost every sentence.

Was Peter the Great worth the listening time?

I'm finding it a rather tough go.

  • The Great Siege

  • Malta 1565
  • By: Ernle Bradford
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 494
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 445
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 447

Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the most powerful ruler in the world, was determined to conquer Europe. Only one thing stood in his way: the island of Malta, occupied by the Knights of Saint John, the Holy Roman Empire’s finest warriors. Determined to capture Malta and use its port to launch operations against Europe, Suleiman sent overwhelming forces. A few thousand defenders in Fort Saint Elmo fought to the last man.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stirring tale of courage and endurance

  • By Tad Davis on 08-18-13

Classic Heroism, with modern resonance.

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

Reviewed: 05-05-13

What did you love best about The Great Siege?

One of the less well-known episodes in a centuries' old struggle for mastery of the Mediterranean and Italy. Told with verve, detail, color, and appreciation for the mind-sets and virtues of the combatants.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Great Siege?

The fall of Fort Saint Elmo.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Voice and diction.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Siege at Peking

  • By: Peter Fleming
  • Narrated by: David Shaw-Parker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

In June 1900 the foreign legations at Peking were attacked by troops of the Boxer rebellion and Imperial Chinese troops. The ensuing siege lasted 55 days and shook the world. In this work, Peter Fleming traces its history and impact.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old school, but engaging

  • By J. on 09-07-12

So, THAT'S where they got the movie from!

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

Reviewed: 01-01-13

As a youth I was thrilled by the (now) old-fashioned derring-do, color, and bravery of the movie "55 Days in Peking" with Charleston Heston, David Niven, Ava Gardner et al. The story of the "Boxer Rebellion" and its siege of the foreign legations in Peking in 1900 was drawn from this book. Well-written, well-paced, and very well read!
The only quibble is that the book reflects its provenance ( UK, 1959) when the author quotes Frenchmen in their original French and leaves their words untranslated. One supposes Peter Fleming assumed any educated person could handle a few sentences in French ;-) However, at least the French is well-pronounced by the narrator.

Recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • That Woman

  • The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
  • By: Anne Sebba
  • Narrated by: Samantha Bond
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 243
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 241

Here is the first full-scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the 20th century, a character who figured prominently in the blockbuster film The King’s Speech. This is the story of the American divorcée notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating read...

  • By Gwynne O'Reagan on 04-22-12

A new take on an old story

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

Reviewed: 08-27-12

Anne Sebba's book on the Duchess of Windsor was interesting and full of detail. Her speculation on Wallis' physical-sexual condition while seeming a little speculative provided a possible explanation of how a thrice-married woman in an era of little or no contraception never had a child and often struck observers as having an almost masculine persona. The book also provided some real insight into her two prior husbands who often seem shadowy figures in most other accounts.
The narration was very well done.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940

  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Richard Brown
  • Length: 36 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,581
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,289
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,284

This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb - Review of Both Volume I & Volume II

  • By Wolfpacker on 01-23-09

Good book, poorly read.

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

Reviewed: 07-28-12

The last, unfortunately, of William Manchester's planned multi-volume biography of WSC. I purchased and read the book many years ago. As I had some driving time ahead this summer I thought it would be fun to re-visit it by istening to it in the car. Mistake!
The narrator makes the book very difficult to listen to. He has an odd tendency to swallow final syllables of words making it hard at times to understand the meaning. Also, he cannot resist the dreadful temptation to "imitate" Churchill when his words are quoted; which is very often of course.
This is a pet peeve of mine and, in my opinion, as his imitation is bad it makes the listening tedious in the extreme: "an outrage up with which I will not put". ;-)

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Charlemagne
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Richard Winston
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Charlton Griffin
    
    


    
    Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
    978 ratings
    Overall 3.9
  • Charlemagne

  • By: Richard Winston
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 978
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 543
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 546

Charlemagne was easily one of the most fascinating figures in Western civilization, as well as the most heroic and romantic. The 47 years of his reign marked some of the most significant and far reaching events of the Middle Ages. Undoubtedly, it was his enlightened vision for Europe that resulted in the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of cultural flowering that never really ceased to develop, and which led in a straight line directly to that period of astonishing achievement we now call the High Gothic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Remarkable History

  • By Carol T. Carr on 07-12-04

The Father of Europe comes alive

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-31-11

A splendid book; written in an admiring yet appropriately critical spirit. The author makes Charles come alive both as ruler and as a human being.
The recording has some "hokey" elements ( music, sound effects, reverb) but is well presented. However, someone needed to coach the narrator on correct Latin/French pronunciation.
But on the whole, well worth the listening.

  • Charles de Gaulle

  • By: Don Cook
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 22 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

This magnificent volume by veteran European correspondent Don Cook is the first major biography of de Gaulle written by an American from an American perspective. Rich with new anecdotal material, it offers fresh evaluations and sheds new light on Europe's most controversial and enigmatic general, politician, and statesman.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great book about a complex person

  • By Wallen on 04-20-11

Well done, but....

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-23-10

This magisterial biography is well known in the vast literature on the subject character. It is well recorded by and large, but here I venture some reservations. I have found this particular narrator to be a bit too "arch" and "overly-Britsy" for me taste, though he has done several of the serious history works I've purchased. Someone does however need to correct pronunciations e.g.: the British battleship "Resolution" pronounced as if it were a French word; and the well-known American Admiral Leahy prononunced as "Lee-hee". Minor yes, but annoying.
Also there is a practice I've noticed in other recordings: the tendency to imitate the real or imagined voice of someone quoted. Here Churchill is given a sort of commonplace imitation treatment by the narrator. I'm not sure if this practice is professional or too "show biz" for me.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Churchill

  • By: Roy Jenkins
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 38 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 699
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 362

In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best of British Political Soap Opera

  • By K. Ray on 12-15-02

A splendid book, well-read...but....

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-14-09

No doubt the late (Lord) Roy Jenkins' biography of Winston Churchill is a most enjoyable, detailed, and balanced account of WSC's extraordinary life. Not as exhaustive (perhaps exhausting) as Sir Martin Gilbert's official biography, it is nonetheless thorough and enlivened by the author's own long experience in British politics and government.
The narrator is clear and engaging; but was allowed to convey direct quotes by using different accents and tones of voice. When it comes to him reading WSC himself, it becomes annoying as the man's voice himself is so well known and his own recorded speeches so readily available.
On the whole, however, very well worth the listening!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Three Empires on the Nile

  • The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899
  • By: Dominic Green
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

Three Empires on the Nile tells of the rise of the first modern Islamic state and its fateful encounter with the British Empire of Queen Victoria. Ever since the self-proclaimed Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi gathered an army in the Sudan and besieged and captured Khartoum under its British overlord Charles Gordon, the dream of a new caliphate has haunted modern Islamists. The 19th-century origins of it all were even more dramatic and strange than today's headlines.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astoundingly good

  • By Sean O'Keefe on 05-05-07

An old story, recent as todat's news

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-16-09

A beautifully read absorbing story of Khedives, Mahdis, imperialists, "Chinese" Gordon, Kitchener of Khartoum, the Sudan, the Suez Canal, etc. Today it's the Taliban, Darfur, Islamic fundamentalism and jihad. A timely book.
It also got me to rent the 1966 Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier epic film "Khartoum" which is remarkably accurate.
The author is modern in his lack of reverence for the British "protectors" of Egypt but holds no phony politically correct view of militant Islam either.
Held my attention and the narrator was very easy on the ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Napoleon

  • By: Paul Johnson
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Paul Johnson's book is a refreshing return to a concept whose time has come once again: the Great Man theory of biography. It serves as "the greatest possible refutation of those who hold that events are governed by forces, classes, economics, and geography rather than the powerful wills of men and women". Napoleon truly was the Great Man of his age, a towering and terrible genius who managed to conquer the Continent.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not your standard biography

  • By Mark Grannis on 04-24-05

Interesting, insightful, well-read. but.....

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-23-09

Paul Johnson does a good job in this relatively short book in objectively examining, and demolishing, the shallow cult of Bonaparte. He reinforces what Churchill observed: that Napoleon was as great as a man could be, without being good.
Johnson does make one elementary error that surprised me however: he conflated Napoleon's brothers Lucien and Louis as if they were the same person. One would think such a basic error would have been picked up in the editing.
The narrator was superb.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful