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  • 46
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  • The Ends of the World

  • Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
  • By: Peter Brannen
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 965
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 879
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 876

Our world has ended five times: It has been broiled, frozen, poison gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth's past dead ends, and in the process offers us a glimpse of our possible future. Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the 21st century have analogs in these five extinctions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Kid's Science Book FOR ADULTS!!

  • By aaron on 06-15-17

good but bit melodramatic

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

Learned a lot, strength was on details around extinction events. Author did go bit overboard on the global warming message. Get it but yeah what to do ... which is a bit beyond the scope of the book

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • The Vital Question

  • Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
  • By: Nick Lane
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 874
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 787
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies, and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Ouch!

  • By Mark on 06-24-16

Can be a bit technical, but I learned a lot

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

Reviewed: 06-11-16

I probably learned more from this book about biology / life than from anything previous. At times hard to keep going, can almost make one sleepy. But if you push through it all, it is most definitely educational and informative. For the layman anyway.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Why Violence Has Declined
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 36 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,899
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,321
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,288

We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'd kill for another book this good

  • By Eric Nicolas Morgan on 11-11-11

Not One of Pinker's Best

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

Reviewed: 06-11-16

While generally a Pinker fan, this is not his best work. He does challenge a fundamental assumption, i.e. that the world is getting more violent. But he drifts into soft science, opinion, and social "scientific" narratives that probably aren't his core expertise. And mostly it just lacks the intellectual rigor and thoroughness I would expect. A very good example is the somewhat Sunday afternoon tv sci-fi concept that "if only the bullet that killed Scheubner-Richter had hit Hitler instead" nonsense. This line of reasoning is total abdication to "man makes history" or "randomness makes history" and is ignorant of much broader currents and factors. It is grossly over simplified and kinda of tough to even listen too. As if he, Pinker, never heard of "the stab in the back???" Oh well. It's hard work doing this stuff. But maybe time to just take it easy on Nantucket.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Half Has Never Been Told

  • Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
  • By: Edward E. Baptist
  • Narrated by: Ron Butler
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,620
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,467
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,459

In The Half Has Never Been Told, historian Edward E. Baptist reveals the alarming extent to which slavery shaped our country politically, morally, and most of all, economically. Until the Civil War, our chief form of innovation was slavery. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from their slaves, giving the country a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, a key raw material of the Industrial Revolution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The most definitive history of American slavery;

  • By Robert Fullerton on 01-04-15

Historical Narrative Smack Down...

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

This book isn't perfect. The author tends to get a bit off track with some of the personal stories or go a bit wayward when providing background, a bit flowery in some of the narrative, blurs the line between drama and research a bit. This said, at a fundamental level, this book is an amazing work. It belongs on the short list of "books that have changed one's world view", and I suspect it will stay with me for quite some time. It clearly and systemically explains the institution of slavery and it's growth through a financial and capitalist lens. I.e. our economic system. A perspective that is shockingly missing from our historical narrative. And it's a smack down when laid out. A deeply disturbing smack down. I congratulate the author. I am struck this is a "life's work", and a worthy one at that. Wow....

  • The Wright Brothers

  • By: David McCullough
  • Narrated by: David McCullough
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,914
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,880
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,865

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story behind the story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright's Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story but narration is a little boring

  • By Vince on 08-20-15

I did not know that!

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

Reviewed: 08-03-15

Fast, engaging and inspiring. Over too soon. I thought I knew the story, really had no idea.

  • The Age of Reason Begins

  • A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558 - 1648: The Story of Civilization, Book 7
  • By: Will Durant, Ariel Durant
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 34 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 242

The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists - on the one hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the fathers of modern science and philosophy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mostly 30 Years of War, but Reason bests War

  • By Michael on 05-01-15

Epic, Well Worth It

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

Reviewed: 07-20-15

There is a lot here. Well covered, well discussed, well framed. I learned a lot. Suspect most people will. There are definitely dry spots, but given the expanse that is to be understood. Well worth it. Impressive work.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Wake

  • The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,836
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,750
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,732

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another fascinating non-fiction story from Larson

  • By Calliope on 03-03-18

Interesting But Not Revealing

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

Reviewed: 07-20-15

I listened to this through to the end, and found the general story of course fascinating. But it struck me that the actual work was not particularly penetrating or original. I sensed Larson just gathered up all that was already pretty well known about the Lusitania, stirred it around and churned out a book. I did not get a sense any new ground was being broken, in perspective, specific facts, overall motivations, setting, etc. Also, while I generally like Scott Brick as a narrator, I actually found him "too much" at times for this book. Something about the drama of intonation when discussing manners like who hung out with who for lunch didn't mesh.

  • The Girl on the Train

  • A Novel
  • By: Paula Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133,717
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118,101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117,980

Audie Award, Audiobook of the Year, 2016. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The Girl on The Train

  • By BookReader on 12-30-15

Okay if Stuck on the NJ Turnpike, But Limited

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

Reviewed: 07-20-15

While quite popular and generally highly regarded, I just didn't get it. Overall this strikes me as the work of an aspiring graduate in an MFA program. The characters are thin. Motivations suspect. There is not underlying insight into human behavior or nature. The story is contrived. The mystery missing. The narration is okay. If, as we were, you are say stuck on the NJ turnpike for 4 hours in a blinding rainstorm, it's okay. But once back to real life, it doesn't compete for attention.

  • Daemon

  • By: Daniel Suarez
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,597
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,213

When the obituary of legendary computer game architect Matthew Sobol appears online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events that begins to unravel our interconnected world. This daemon reads news headlines, recruits human followers, and orders assassinations. With Sobol’s secrets buried with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed, it’s up to Detective Peter Sebeck to stop a self-replicating virtual killer before it achieves its ultimate purpose - one that goes far beyond anything Sebeck could have imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever

  • By Erica on 01-22-09

It Hooks You... But

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

Reviewed: 02-01-15

This book is certainly entertaining. And a lot of work and imagination went into it. I can even get the appeal, and maybe imagine I understand some of the underlying message? But then something is just kinda of wrong with it. The premise is a little far fetched, the technical characterizations a little trite and patronizing. But don't thing those are the biggest flaws. I sense that at some fundamental level, the story is just plain "wrong". I don't think the author really understands people, human behavior, and how most of us would react to something like this. Perhaps it is just an over confidence in technology. But there is something amoral about the whole story, which if it were on the level of a 1984 or Brave New World, which it isn't, might be easier to take. Instead it just kinda of feels like "hollywood" in a book. Techno for techno sake, gore for gore sake, and superficial characters and motivations to thread together a pretty engaging story line that takes you from one "cool scene" to the next. It certainly isn't "deep".

  • Matterhorn

  • A Novel of the Vietnam War
  • By: Karl Marlantes
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,711
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,601
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,598

Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Matterhorn

  • By Zachary on 04-20-10

A Masterpiece - On Par With the Greats

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

Reviewed: 02-01-15

I would not normally pick this topic (Vietnam), nor be that attracted to war fiction. And even to start I was a bit wary. But soon the book picks up on you. And then it doesn't let go. The characterizations are wonderful, deep, rich. It has probably some of the better depictions of compromise, contradiction, tension, human failings, and motivations in any book I have read in a while. It stands above most other contemporary works of fiction, and I think you have to go back to more classic authors to match it. The narration is superb. I still have this book in my head, and I finished it over a month ago. A wonderful work.