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  • The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta

  • The Persian Challenge
  • By: Paul A. Rahe
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 38

More than 2,500 years ago, a confederation of small Greek city-states defeated the invading armies of Persia, the most powerful empire in the world. In this meticulously researched study, historian Paul Rahe argues that Sparta was responsible for the initial establishment of the Hellenic defensive coalition and was, in fact, the most essential player in its ultimate victory.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Investigation Undermined by Bad Editing

  • By Richard on 02-12-16

Excellent Investigation Undermined by Bad Editing

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

Reviewed: 02-12-16

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It would be reedited, which would involve rerecording parts of the narration.

What did you like best about this story?

For those who enjoy Herodotus, Rahe presents an excellent integration of Herodotus's story with current research into the details of that story based on other accounts of history and archaeological research. Rahe's account is fascinating, if perhaps mis-titled since it struck me that rather than really focusing on a thesis about Sparta's strategy, he was really giving worthy study of Herodotus.

Would you be willing to try another one of Bronson Pinchot’s performances?

Maybe. The real question with this one is why the final product turned out so bad. At times Pinchot's reading is great. However--and it is a gigantic 'however'--about every 30-120 seconds, there is an awkward pause, followed by a phrase with Greek names (cities, people, etc.) which are then pronounced with an intonation that does not at all fit the rest of the sentence. Whether these terms are mispronounced or have been rerecorded to be properly pronounced according to someone's understanding of correct pronunciation I do not know. I can only note that some of them vary considerably from pronunciation used commonly in some academic circles (but 'correct' with ancient Greek pronunciation is a tricky topic). Regardless, the final result is jarring and often painful to listen to. It has forced me to return this book to audible despite the fact that, were it more polished, it would be joy to listen to Rahe's account at least 2-3 more times.

This much I can say with complete conviction: Whomever gave the final go ahead on releasing this version and selling it to people should be personally very, very ashamed. This goes for everyone on that chain of command, whether it be Pinchot, the producers, the audio editors, or even Rahe himself if he was asked to OK the audio before it was released.

Any additional comments?

Someone should have the sense of decency to repair this very flawed final product and present the improved version to all who purchased it at no additional cost. (Frankly, anyone who endured the full recording should be recompensed for her trouble.)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Soldier's Passion for Order

  • Sherman
  • By: John F. Marszalek
  • Narrated by: Kevin Charles Minatrea
  • Length: 20 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

General William Tecumseh Sherman has come down to us as the implacable destroyer of the Civil War, notorious for his burning of Atlanta and his brutal march to the sea. A probing biography that explains Sherman's style of warfare and the threads of self-possession and insecurity that made up his character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Honest Study of a Flawed Hero

  • By Chris on 09-20-14

Best (Audio) Biography on Sherman

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

Reviewed: 11-13-15

Would you consider the audio edition of A Soldier's Passion for Order to be better than the print version?

This is much better than the other audiobook bios of Sherman. In particular, it far surpasses "Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman". That text has a forced, heavy-handed analysis of Sherman, the author frequently interrupting the story to give your his judgment of Sherman (which is not especially wise) instead of just presenting the information and leaving the reader to judge for himself. This one does the work much better, has all (or nearly all) the same information plus more, and makes the experience of the book much more pleasant.

What does Kevin Charles Minatrea bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He reads it will, in general, but his accented quoting of Sherman is forced and doesn't sound like someone from Ohio. It sounds more like someone from West Virginia or Kentucky.

  • A World Lit Only by Fire

  • The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age
  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 467
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 267
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 269

From tales of chivalrous knights to the barbarity of trial by ordeal, no era has been a greater source of awe, horror, and wonder than the Middle Ages. In handsomely crafted prose and with the grace and authority of his extraordinary gift for narrative history, William Manchester leads us from a civilization tottering on the brink of collapse to the grandeur of its rebirth, the Renaissance.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Ill informed and narrow

  • By Eric on 09-01-11

Pretty good, but performancediting wasn't polished

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

Reviewed: 04-30-13

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Edit the performance better. The narrator is good, but they spliced in a bunch of the recording and you can tell the difference easily. I found it rather distracting.

Other than that, the overall storyline of the book was a little odd. I'm not sure I fully understood or appreciated what the thesis was. But it's an interesting collection of bits from history.