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  • 19
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  • 12
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  • Guns, Germs and Steel

  • The Fate of Human Societies
  • By: Jared Diamond
  • Narrated by: Doug Ordunio
  • Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,357
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,487
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,478

Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A story all should know, not all can endure

  • By Daniel on 12-19-11

Really good perspective on technology and history

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

Reviewed: 05-18-14

If you could sum up Guns, Germs and Steel in three words, what would they be?

Innovation, infection, history

Who was your favorite character and why?

I can't say there was a character per se that was interesting, but the entire concept that history is an interaction with technology and biology was enlightening.

What about Doug Ordunio’s performance did you like?

It seems natural rather than didactic.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Just as there was no outstanding "character" there was no outstanding portion. It all worked well together to make a point.

  • Faust

  • By: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Narrated by: Tim Habeger
  • Length: 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 161

Goethe's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great work, decent translation, poor narration

  • By Beasley on 01-14-14

German Gothic at its finest

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

Reviewed: 05-18-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because it delves into the human dichotomy of good and evil.

What did you like best about this story?

How Faust finally repents his miserable treatment of Gretchen.

Which character – as performed by Tim Habeger – was your favorite?

Faust.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, mostly because I needed to. I think the book could be listened to in parts because the story has natural breaks of time in it that would do well as listening breaks.

Any additional comments?

There is a reason this is a classic in world literature - read it to see.

  • On the Beach

  • By: Nevil Shute
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 724
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 659
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 661

A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Personally a Tremendous Influence

  • By N. Rogers on 06-07-14

Cold War classic for our times

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

Reviewed: 05-18-14

Where does On the Beach rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my favorite books, probably top 20.

What other book might you compare On the Beach to and why?

Classic in the genres of Failsafe and Dr. Strangelove, but much more personal. We say we don't know when we will die, but what will you do when there is a date on the calendar for you?

Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He is an excellent narrator. This is no exception.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Finding corpses at a picnic trying to party themselves into eternity was a haunting image.

Any additional comments?

Without sounding maudlin, this is a book about politics and technology gone far wrong, and has lessons for us today. Also, anyone who knows someone with a terminal disease can relate to the coping skills this story reveals.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Arcadia

  • By: Tom Stoppard
  • Narrated by: Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Jennifer Dundas, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194

Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia merges science with human concerns and ideals, examining the universe’s influence in our everyday lives and ultimate fates through relationship between past and present, order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge. Set in an English country house in the year 1809-1812 and 1989, the play examines the lives of two modern scholars and the house's current residents with the lives of those who lived there 180 years earlier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great production

  • By M. W. Roberts on 02-23-11

Even in Arcadia...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-11

This dramatization is not quite the playwright's original text, but it takes some helpful artistic liberties that describe scenes and make the unspoken parts of the play flow easily within the dialogue. As far as the play, Stoppard is a master of transforming life's circumstances into math problems. He ruined statistical probability and chance in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." He bashed Zeno's Paradox and geometry in "Jumpers." Now thermodynamics and Mandelbrot's fractals fall victim to the wit and genius of Stoppard; telling his love stories and the tragi-comedic foibles of life through the ages, using sex as the chaotic "strange attractor" that ruins the Newtonian universe. I listened to this dramatization, then read the play, then listened again with even more enjoyment. A friend of mine listened to the dramatization before attending a recent performance in New York, and he said that the audio "preview" greatly enhanced his enjoyment of the play itself. Even if you don't know one thing about entropy or self-similarity, this rendition will provide a delightful brain-teaser.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • By: Thucydides
  • Narrated by: Pat Bottino
  • Length: 22 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

The Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 B.C. and continued intermittently for 27 years. It pitted the all-powerful land force of Sparta and its allies against the supremely powerful naval force of Athens. Thucydides actually participated in this conflict, a war that he realized would have a greater influence on the history of Greece than any other. He vividly narrates exciting episodes and carefully describes tactical aspects of the war, and also provides illuminating character profiles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing, Beautiful and Important Piece of History

  • By Darwin8u on 06-30-12

Got Me Past the Greek Names

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-11

I tried to read this years ago and got bogged down in the Greek names. Somehow, it is easier to "hear" than to "see" them, and this long but informative narration made it so much simpler to understand for me. Carefully attend to the politicians' speeches. They are frighteningly modern in their rhetoric, so human nature has not changed much in a couple of millennia. I think everyone involved in war, public policy or history should read this.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

  • By: Jack Weatherford
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
  • Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,972
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,649
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,664

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, insightful, intriguing.

  • By Peter on 03-05-10

Don't Miss the Afterword!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-11

Within my filtered and stilted education for matters historical, the Mongols were painted as a genuine barbarian horde. This retelling of the empire as the first great multinational trans-denominational corporation is fascinating! Even better, the story of the research itself is like a detective novella. This really helps me understand the torch that lit the bonfire of the Renaissance.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful