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  • 21
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  • At the Water's Edge

  • A Novel
  • By: Sara Gruen
  • Narrated by: Justine Eyre
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,366
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,227
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,236

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the colonel's favor is to succeed where the colonel very publicly failed - by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By Julie Angles on 04-20-15

Water for Elephants - pretty good, but this ?

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

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Exploration by the author of the mind and motivation of a vapid, naive young American woman brought home to me in something less than vivid technicolor that I have little interest if any in the mind and motivation of a vapid, naive young American woman and still less in the author's exploration of same.

  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

  • By: Alan Cumming
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,031
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,474

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Part of Saturday

  • By George Knight on 12-16-14

Not the whole story ?

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

Reviewed: 02-24-18

Many reviews have been written and much of what has been written reflects my own views so I will endeavor not to repeat beyond saying well-written, with occasional moments of humor a welcome relief from great sadness. A true story which has a time line that is inexorable and at the same time outside the writer's control. Read with the insight that can only arise when an author is reading his own material. I found the "Now" "Then" mechanism a trifle artificial. That quibble aside, a compulsive listen. Two comments.
1) There is a massive blank space in the story. There is no information about Alec Cumming's parents. Alan at one point in the story asks his father if he had been badly treated as a child but we get no response. It is possible that Alan did not address the issue because there was just no information available, but surely his mother knew something about Alec Cumming's background. The story paints a dramatic story of a man who clearly had his demons. As a child Alan had no means of putting his father's cruelty into some kind of context. In the book Alan surmises, probably correctly, that his mother's father, the other of the book's twin subjects, suffered from PTSD, and assigns to himself a similar and credible diagnosis resulting from his father's treatment of him as a child. But though through the book Alan identifies the various ways in which his father messes with his mind and the pleasure the father appears to derive from doing so, I don't think we even start on our way to first base when it comes to trying to understand why his father is the way he is. Of course, it would hardly be surprising if Alan were to recuse himself from this task by suggesting that following his whole dysfunctional childhood he could hardly be expected to be sufficiently dispassionate or objective for such a task. Yet surely that is the task that he must undertake if he is really to come full circle.
2) We learn that Alan's elder brother Tom and Alan himself share sufficient genetic material for there to be an absolute certainty that they have the same father. But I am sure that I will not have been the only one to point out that that is at this stage the only certainty. Unless further tests were done comparing the material of Alan and Alec, we do not have certainty that Alec is Alan's father, for that assumption is based on the further assumption that Tom is Alec's son. Unless ruled out genetically or by historical fact, it is possible that the man Alec always assumed to be Alan's father was actually Tom's father as well. We may wish to muse on the fact that Alec inspite of his various dalliances appears not to have had any other children, that Alan does not appear to favor either of his parents, that Alec indicated that he and his wife had "sporadic" sexual relations around the time Alan was conceived, and that Alec beat up as much on Tom as he did on Alan (thus also disavowing Tom's paternity ?). I expect many will criticise me for these speculations so in my defense I will merely note that in writing the book Alan Cuming put it all out there for us to see, to analyze and to chew over, and that he himself talks of his dedication to finding the truth.
I will finish by observing that while the kind of physical and mental abuse described in this book is, or at least was, a lot more common than any of us will be comfortable with, Cuming's portrayal is unique not only because of his gift of language but more so because being an actor, used to examining and analyzing his most inner feelings, he is able to bring to us a level of understanding that would not be within the grasp of a lesser mortal,

  • Winter King

  • The Dawn of Tudor England
  • By: Thomas Penn
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 446
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 443

A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent portrayal of a man and his time

  • By E. Stein on 06-09-12

A breath of Fresh Air

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

First of all, not first in importance but to get it out of the way, an excellent performance on the part of the always reliable Simon Vance. Pacing perfect, pronunciation perfect, enunciation perfect.
And now for the book. Too many historians trying to use their professional knowledge to take advantage of the public's love of stories from the past end up writing dumbed down pulp fiction. So it is refreshing to listen to a book written by an academic with excellent credentials and a more than usually competent turn of phrase and who is equal to addressing some of the more abstruse aspects of early Tudor administration in terms that the layman can readily understand. And to use a hackeyed phrase, our author is extraordinarily successful in bringing Henry to life. Here is a king who has inherited all the uncertainties and insecurities of medieval kingship based on an if anything even less certain claim to the throne than any of his forebears. We see the usual number of beheadings, imprisonments and tortures that characterized the Wars of the Roses-beridden fifteenth century. But Henry brought a new approach. He marginalized the aristocracy which under the traditional lines of power inherited from the feudal system had been the king's main means of governing the country outside London. He did this by picking them off one by one and either imprisoned/beheaded them or put them under crushing financial constraints. In the meantime he began to take professional men, especially lawyers, and had them take charge of the two main administrative functions of government - meting out justice and collecting money through fines, duties and taxes.
Some 65 years ago G R Elton published the Tudor Revolution in Government arguing that Henry VIII and his servants Wolsley and especially Thomas Cromwell were responsible for modernizing government to the point that his reign is the focal point at which England ceased being medieval and became modern. That theory has of course been largely modified since but most of the attacks were on the basis of Elton's own misinterpretation of events, and of developments that succeeded Henry VIII's reign. While Thomas Penn does not make this claim, The Winter King may have established such a turning point, based on the switch from the medieval government through aristocracy, members of which occupied their administrative positions as of right, to government through professional men who owed their jobs not to tradition but to the king's favor and who were appointed not because of their lineage but because of their competence. Thomas Cromwell was just such a man.
Penn paints a brilliant tapestry of early Tudor life, where power is often transitory and always personal, and where unexpected death and illness, storms shipwrecks and famine can at a stroke change the political landscape, creating additional levels of uncertainty to an already uncertain existence. One might in retrospect, conclude that to the extent that feudalism established a medieval political and social framework, that framework had been progressively eaten away by internecine civil war and that by the time Henry arrived on the scene a replacement had become urgently necessary. If so, then Henry must be credited with laying down the foundations of what was to provide that replacement.

  • No One Would Listen

  • A True Financial Thriller
  • By: Harry Markopolos
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Harry Markopolos, Frank Casey, and others
  • Length: 13 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,602
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,821
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,817

No One Would Listen is the exclusive story of the Harry Markopolos-lead investigation into Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme. While a lot has been written about Madoff's scam, few actually know how Markopolos and his team - affectionately called "the Fox Hounds" by Markopolos himself - uncovered what Madoff was doing years before this financial disaster reached its pinnacle. Unfortunately, no one listened, until the damage of the world's largest financial fraud ever was irreversible.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Liked the story, but not the author

  • By Brock on 05-08-13

An opportunity blown

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

Reviewed: 11-18-17

Hard to know where to start.
The performance is terrible - a monotony that clearly signalled that the reader neither understood nor cared about the content. The gimic towards the end of the book of having people characterized in the book reading their own material served no useful purpose. Most of the material had already been well covered in the book and these readings served merely as repetition.
I'm not going to waste time retelling the story here - just some observations:
1) The whole bit about the author being in danger from Madoff , extensive and several times revisited, is a desperate effort to inject a little excitement into a book which given the subject matter, is sadly lacking in drama. At no point was he in danger. The danger thing therefore becomes comic - not altogether helpful to the book as a whole.
2) The author has very little ability to select what subject matter is of interest to the reader and what is not. The whole section about what kind of engagement ring he is going to buy for his wife is of no interest at all. It is possible the author did intend this bit to be humorous - it falls flat and should have been omitted altogether.
3) One has a continual sense that he is worried he does not have enough to write about. So certain questions - his inability to get the SEC to investigate the case, the appalling incompetence of the SEC, what Madoff what actually doing - all of these are revisited from top to bottom it seems like once every 20 pages. Repetition, the restatement of subject matter again and again, saying what he had already said before, regurgitating the same old stuff, going over the subject matter repetitiously.....
4) The author has a flawed understanding of the role of audit and of regulatory examinations. He fulminates a) over the failure of independent auditors carrying out audits, and especially audits of the Madoff group, to detect fraud, and b) over a similar failure on the part of the SEC. What he fails to understand is that it is not the role of auditors or SEC personnel to search for or detect fraud during routine examinations. It is their role to ensure that operations are being carried out in accordance with legal and regulatory guidelines. The audit function exists to discourage fraud because it increases the risk that the perpetrator may be detected, but provided examiners fully follow audit and examination procedures, they should not be held to blame for the non-detection of fraud. He complains bitterly about the number of lawyers at the SEC, but they were there for a reason - their job was to ensure compliance. His whole rant about the lawyers is totally wide of the mark and merely serves to expose his own ignorance. Now of course he was right about the SEC failing to act when complaints about Madoff were brought to their attention, and also when an investigative examination of Madoff failed to deliver the goods. But to use these occurrences as justification to rave about the inadequacies of the entire SEC provides material perhaps for the only truly comical portion of the book.
5) What Harry Markopolis, so full of his own self importance, totally fails to realize is that far from being the solution , he and his associates and peers are a major part of the problem. To understand this you have to grasp that most of Wall Street is a massive casino. The financial markets offer two, possibly three useful purposes. First they provide the means whereby financial resources can be transferred from areas where there is surplus to areas where there is need. Secondly, they provide the means whereby those with surplus resources can be rewarded for making those resources available. A third purpose may be served by the greed in the market, which will pounce on any resource user that is ineffective or inefficient. I am less sanguine about this function since it is driven by greed, and motivation in the areas of mergers and acquisitions is seldom influenced by concerns for the well-being of the individuals concerned. However, it must be admitted that the markets can exert discipline on users of resources and that is not a bad thing. The problem is, the rest of Wall Street is dedicated to inventing casino games that will separate people from their money.
Mr. Marcopolis is a case in point. His structured investments are geared to the occurrence of occuring in the future. Investors looking for a higher yield than is generally available in the market look like these "investments" because they offer the opportunity to speculate. Investors can earn that higher yield but also run the risk of losing all or a significant part of their investment. Not unlike a roulette wheel. These vehicles exist for the single and sole purpose of speculation, and they provide no more economic benefit to the world at large than does the Las Vegas casino. But Mr. Marcopolis seems to think that we should have a massive SEC dedicated to making sure that the casino operators do not cheat the speculators. In general I suppose it is important to restrict the number of zeroes on the roulette wheel and make sure its spin has not been interfered with, that marked cards are not being used at the baccarat table and that the craps game dice are not loaded. But I am not sure I understand why I as a tax payer should be required to pay to make sure a casino that does not attract me in the slightest as a patron doesn't rip off its customers. In that sense, all of Mr. Madoff's victims must have realized in their heart of hearts that they were playing in the casino. They were getting free lunches on a regular basis where free lunches are proverbial for their non-occurrence. So my sympathy for the victims is somewhat limited.
6) One thing that is evident from the book is that Marcopolis wore blinkers that provided him with a very narrow field of view. Tellingly, towards the end of the book he admits that at no point in the affair did he try to see the matter from Madoff's point of view. If he had, he would have realized that Madoff got on the merrygoround the way many Wall Street fraudsters do - he made a bad trade and lost money and didn't want to fess up. So he made another trade to try to recoup and that went wrong and the rest is history. For a period of time he probably hoped that a massive market turn around would suddenly put him in the money but he will pretty soon have realized that the only choices were to come clean or to continue the ponzi scheme until he could go no further. If Marcopolis had actually thought about it, he would have seen that the reason Madoff was doing it was not because he had a secret way of making money , but because he didn't. Marcopolis would also seen that his own concerns for his safety were comical to say the least - it is much more likely that Madoff was concerned for his own safety.
9) Marcopolis makes a plea for whistleblowers to receive rewards from the SEC. Probably not a bad idea, but let us remember that Marcopolis had, at the time he published the book, a large number of outstanding whistleblower cases he was researching and so his comment is self-serving to say the least. Also worth observing that, as I noted in 4) above, the role of the SEC examination is not to find fraud. In that sense the statistics quoted by Marcopolis showing the far higher success of whistleblow cases are misleading.
8) I think Marcopolis's obsession with complex structured transactions was his own undoing. As he himself pointed out, anyone carrying out a simple reconciliation of Madoff's bank accounts would have realized there was no trading going on. Every time Marcopolis went to the SEC he was talking about complexity and saying if they didn't understand this and that he would help them. It may well have been the complexity that put the SEC off. If Marcopolis had merely said " you have to review the Madoff operation accounts", a process the SEC does all the time, eventually they might have taken this low risk advice and it would have all been over. Seems to me that Marcopolis's misdirection was a big part of the problem.

So, a badly written, badly read book about something a whole lot less complicated than it would appear. I think Michael Lewis would have done a far better job - pity Marcopolis didn't get him involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Darkest Secret

  • A Novel
  • By: Alex Marwood
  • Narrated by: Beverley A. Crick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,139
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,030
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,031

Real estate mogul Sean Jackson is throwing himself a splashy 50th birthday party, but trouble starts almost immediately: His ex-wife has sent his teenage daughters to the party without telling him; his current wife has fired the nanny; and he's finding it difficult to sneak away to his mistress. Then something truly terrible happens: one of his three-year-old twins goes missing. No trace of her is ever found. The attendees of the party, nicknamed the Jackson Associates by the press, become infamous overnight.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Christina on 09-14-16

Very few authors I will look out for - this is one

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

Reviewed: 10-20-17

Well, was I surprised ! Actually, I bought the physical book at an airport bookstall on spec. I knew nothing about it at all. Then of course I left the book on the plane on the return flight, so I downloaded it from Audible just for the last few chapters. Had to see how it turned out. Glad I did.
Marwood is a clever writer. Not only does the protagonist change from chapter to chapter, but you also have flash backs left right and center, yet somehow she keeps it all under control, all totally consistent. A tour de force.
This is a novel. Now, it may (actually it does) involve a mystery, but no-one should demean this book by consigning it to the rubbish dump that is "mystery, thriller and suspense". These characters have dimension. They have history. They have personality. They interact. And are they wholly believable ? Well, you can't have everything and as with most art forms a little willingness to suspend disbelief can go a long way. Oh, and I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. Can't remember when that last happened.
So yes, I'll be looking out for her next. It's not deep. It's not philosophical. But its a good read, good enough for me really to want to finish it. Haven't been that invested in a long time.

  • Walking the Himalayas

  • By: Levison Wood
  • Narrated by: Levison Wood
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83

Praised by Bear Grylls, Levison Wood has been called "the toughest man on TV" ( The Times UK). Now, following in the footsteps of the great explorers, Levison recounts the beauty and danger he found along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan, the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, the disputed territories of Kashmir, and the earthquake-ravaged lands of Nepal. Over the course of six months, Wood and his trusted guides trekked 1,700 grueling miles across the roof of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like chatting with a friend

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-07-16

Sorry but I got bored

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

Reviewed: 10-20-17

Levison Wood writes quite well and he clearly has not been reluctant to expose himself to all sorts of dangers, and I guess that's something you have to admire him for. So just why didn't this book have me sitting on the edge of my seat ? I guess because it didn't rise to the level of being fascinating. I regret that I did not have difficulty in putting this one down (or rather, stopping the recording) whenever there was something more interesting to do. Perhaps unfairly, I began to get the feeling that his object was more to get it done so that he could go back with a good subject for a new book than to give rein to a sincere and abiding interest and curiosity about what he would find on the way. Truth is, about half way through I came to the conclusion that I was not going to learn anything that would move my mind along new and interesting pathways and I gave up. Sorry.

  • The Lost City of the Monkey God

  • A True Story
  • By: Douglas Preston
  • Narrated by: Bill Mumy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,585
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,246
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,243

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Danger and Discovery in the Jungle

  • By Jim N on 01-08-17

An interesting story, well told, poorly delivered

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

Reviewed: 10-20-17

As reader of a book primarily about a place in Spanish speaking Honduras, why would you select a person who apart from his breathy, overdramatic style, which you may or may not care for (I don't), has no clue whatever as to the pronunciation of Spanish words. To those who do not speak Spanish perhaps it does not matter. To me the mangled pronunciation was painful beyond belief, right from the first "mosquisha" (the word is pronounced, as with almost all Spanish words, exactly the way it is spelled - Mosquitia). It implies the very disrespect for local culture that this book is partly intended to dispel.

OK, so with that out of the way, yes, this is an interesting book. For me it was especially so because the author had a couple of important pieces of information to deliver. First, in spite of public opinion whipped up by archaeological professionals either out of jealousy or of a misbegotten loyalty to the gone and hopefully soon forgotten Zelaya regime, this was not a treasure hunt. This was a genuine well-organized archaeological expedition carried out inspite of considerable risk to those involved and well-recorded at all of its stages. The extensive use of LIDAR, which has rocked the profession from its complacent perch, has helped to demonstrate LIDAR's universal potential and it clearly must be considered an important adjunct to, if not replacement of, the traditional field walk, especially when special circumstances like dense jungle get in the way of the latter.

The second issue involves mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease contracted by most of the members of the expedition. The disease, carried by sandflies, is not nice and there does not appear to be any way of curing it, only of pushing it into remission using treatment that takes its own toll on the people concerned. I can only wish them the very best in their efforts to keep this thing at bay. But what is scary in the longer term, as Preston points out, is that while leish has not historically been prevalent in the US, cases are beginning to show up. The theory, quite tenable I think, is that with climate change the range of the vector, the sandfly in this case, is gradually moving northward. By 2080 leish may be as common in this country as it is in Central and South America. And there are half a dozen other not nice diseases that may be migrating in a similar way.

So, Preston in writing a pretty good adventure story has succeeded in raising important issues. The decision to include them must have been a difficult one since they are out of keeping with the "feel good" nature of the rest of the book, and I applaud him for doing so, even though I will admit that when I got to some of the descriptive material about the parasite I nearly decided that was enough. I'm glad I didn't.

  • A Legacy of Spies

  • A Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,610
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,482
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,472

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley, and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • All for England

  • By Darwin8u on 09-12-17

Another great LeCarre, it goes without saying, but

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

Reviewed: 10-07-17

Occasionally confusing with frequent time shifts but as always, beautifully crafted, with moments of tension and suitably menacing softly spoken characters. The story as such, as good as any Le Carre. But why did he leave the denouement entirely to our imagination - Le Carre who would without doubt have made it a tour de force ? It seems almost like the writer himself got bored or tired, didn't feel equal to the task of producing one more passage of vintage workmanship. And for me, the Smiley Europe statement rings false, probably because I am disappointed with the European response to Brexit, the "we never really wanted you here in the first place, you have nothing in common with us, and now you've decided to leave we are really going to stick it to you". I don't think that's the Europe that Smiley had in mind.
I have to say that Hollander's reading is outstanding - pacing perfect, he has an ability to bring characters immediately to life with appropriate accents, tones and mannerisms of speach even to the point of producing one character pretending to speak like another.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Smashing Physics

  • Inside the Discovery of the Higgs Boson
  • By: Jon Butterworth
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 557
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 503
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 496

The first insider account of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the discovery of the Higgs particle - and what it all means for our understanding of the laws of nature. The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, Great book.

  • By Austin on 12-31-14

Outstanding

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

Reviewed: 10-02-17

Mr. Butterworth has a nice folksy way of writing, excellently captured by Mr. Keeble. And this is the very best sort of science writing. Butterworth makes a heroic effort to make comprehensible to the layman what is extremely complex. Many times I was out of my depth, but on the other hand, never did I feel that Butterworth was talking down to me. There are of course many successful scientific journalists, some better than others, but very few scientist of Mr. Butterworth's cutting edge caliber who can write. My guess is that his insights and descriptions have an authenticity that the journalist cannot hope to emulate. I have a nodding acquaintance with the subject matter and I feel that I have benefited not only from hearing the story but also from being exposed to Butterworth's observations about the relationships between investigative science on the one hand and the academic scientific community, the government, the press and the general public on the other. I do believe that a more solid ground in nuclear physics would have helped appreciate the excitements and disappointments involved. I also think this is not a book for the complete layman. But for me, it was an opportunity to bring myself up to date with developments even if my understanding was somewhat superficial, and it was an opportunity to enjoy Mr. Butterworth's engaging style.

  • Scythia

  • The History and Legacy of the Scythians
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Jim D Johnston
  • Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Among all the peoples of the ancient Near East, few are more misunderstood than the Scythians. The Scythians swept into Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE and left a large swath of destruction in their wake. They challenged old, strong, and venerable kingdoms such as the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Medes, until they were defeated by the Medes and then gradually disappeared into historical obscurity once more.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not really worth the time

  • By christopher on 10-01-17

Not really worth the time

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-17

This is a summary only and really isn't worth the time spent listening to it. Writer mentions archaeological work done by the Russians and then says virtually nothing about it. Work is peppered with quotes from Herodotus - it would probably be half as long (and its pretty short) if he just told us what Herodotus said instead of laboriously quoting him verbatim. I suppose for anyone who just wants a "who did what when" to get through an exam its probably OK. As to new insights as to Scythian organization, language, culture etc. it does not deliver anything.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful