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  • reviews
  • 86
  • helpful votes
  • 58
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  • Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations

  • By: Brian M. Fagan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Brian M. Fagan
  • Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 659
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 593
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587

Where do we come from? How did our ancestors settle this planet? How did the great historic civilizations of the world develop? How does a past so shadowy that it has to be painstakingly reconstructed from fragmentary, largely unwritten records nonetheless make us who and what we are?

These 36 lectures bring you the answers that the latest scientific and archaeological research and theorizing suggest about human origins, how populations developed, and the ways in which civilizations spread throughout the globe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great Conceptually But Becoming Dated

  • By JCurtis on 09-25-13

First Civilizations and a bit of prehistory

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

Reviewed: 02-18-19

Good information but first part of book was just to set the stage for what the instructor really is interested in.

  • The Mother Tongue

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Stephen McLaughlin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 903
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 812
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 814

With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson - the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent - brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience, and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't) to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More satire than history

  • By Barbara on 12-18-15

Wish I had the print book

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

Reviewed: 02-18-19

Difficult to follow - one book that would be better to read in print than to listen to. The author spells many words to illustrate differences either over time, eg Middle English vs modern English or between dialects.

  • The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

  • A New History of a Lost World
  • By: Steve Brusatte
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,479
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,289
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,275

In this stunning narrative spanning more than 200 million years, Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field - discovering 10 new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork - masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • "The Rise of the Scientists Who Study Dinosaurs"

  • By Daniel Powell on 09-16-18

Dinosaurs and the scientists that study them

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

Reviewed: 02-18-19

I did learn about dinosaurs by listening to this book. So in that regard it was a good listen. But agree with other reviewers that the author spent too much time lauding his many friends and telling his and others’ life stories.

76 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Now I Know

  • The Revealing Stories Behind the World's Most Interesting Facts
  • By: Dan Lewis
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Arthur
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 600
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 595

Did you know that there are actually 27 letters in the alphabet, or that the U.S. had a plan to invade Canada? And what actually happened to the flags left on the moon? Even if you think you have a handle on all things trivia, you're guaranteed a big surprise with Now I Know. From uncovering what happens to lost luggage to New York City's plan to crack down on crime by banning pinball, this book will challenge your knowledge of the fascinating stories behind the world's greatest facts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Quirky!

  • By Janelle on 10-18-17

Trite

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

Not much here. Yes it is entertaining at times but each is too short to learn much about any of it.

  • The Revolutionary Genius of Plants

  • A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior
  • By: Stefano Mancuso
  • Narrated by: Gibson Frazier
  • Length: 4 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136

Do plants have intelligence? Do they have memory? Are they better problem solvers than people? The Revolutionary Genius of Plants - a fascinating, paradigm-shifting work that upends everything you thought you knew about plants - makes a compelling scientific case that these and other astonishing ideas are all true. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Inaccurate book description

  • By windelbo on 02-18-19

Much that is not about plants

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

Learned omethings about plants that I didn’t know. But why did he need to include sections about democracy and about chili peppers? Would that he had stuck with more fascinating information about plants.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,926
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22,881
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,727

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Should be required reading

  • By Blue Zion on 12-22-18

Good history - good questions for current Sapiens

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

Excellent historical depth. I learned much from this book. The ending posses some very deep and unsettling questions that should be asked by all current Sapiens

  • The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague

  • By: Dorsey Armstrong, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,333
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,236
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,239

Many of us know the Black Death as a catastrophic event of the medieval world. But the Black Death was arguably the most significant event in Western history, profoundly affecting every aspect of human life, from the economic and social to the political, religious, and cultural. In its wake the plague left a world that was utterly changed, forever altering the traditional structure of European societies and forcing a rethinking of every single system of Western civilization: food production and trade, the church, political institutions, law, art, and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • informative, interesting, well organized

  • By Tricia Munter on 06-12-16

Well Done

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

Reviewed: 08-03-18

Enjoyed this a great deal. As a life-time student of history I knew some of this material but learned much more.

  • To Say Nothing of the Dog

  • Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last
  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 20 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,746
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,751

In this Hugo-winner from Connie Willis, when too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fun read

  • By Sara on 07-23-08

Entertaining but silly

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

Reviewed: 06-25-18

the central topic - locating an ugly statue was trivial. But I did finish it because it was entertaining. The first book was much better.

  • Get Well Soon

  • History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,881
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,413
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,392

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Human Reactions to Historical Disasters

  • By N. Rogers on 08-12-17

Trite and Poorly Done

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

Reviewed: 02-24-18

This is one if the worst books I've ever read. The author must have aimed it at childish middle schoolers. There is some good I formation but her attempts at humor fall flat and trivialize her subject matter. I couldn't finish it. If you haven't bought it, dont bother.

  • Braiding Sweetgrass

  • Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
  • By: Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Narrated by: Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Length: 16 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,909
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,769
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,774

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Many thanks for this gift

  • By Jessica Mayer on 01-04-17

Learned so much

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

Reviewed: 02-19-18

Excellent. I learned so much about plants and animals and the relationship we have to this earth. I hope we can all learn to appreciate the gifts the earth has given to us. May we find ways to give back before it is too late.