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  • Sapiens

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,376
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,084
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,075

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens? In this bold and provocative audiobook, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here, and where we're going.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Life changing book

  • By Bradley Janse van Rensburg on 06-13-17

Revisionist, anti-humanist and very opinionated

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

The whole premise of the book is to try to take an impartial view of the history of Homo Sapiens, however the view turns out to be very biased and not exactly humanist.

For example, the extinction of many large species is blamed solely on humans, agricultural revolution was unnatural and humans ended up worse off as the food surplus only lead to population growth and nothing more, etc. (in reality, the food surplus is what lead to the development of civilization as humans finally had time to do something else instead of constantly searching for food). Overall, the further into the book the more it becomes apparent that according to the author the development of civilization was a mistake and Sapiens is to blame for almost everything.

The writing is quite captivating and the sensationalist aspect of the book probably should appeal to the mass reader, however, if one looks past this and the superficial sophistry of the book, what is left is a rather average post-modernist rant about how civilization is bad, we humans should be ashamed of everything and how nothing good ever comes from scientific progress. At the core, the philosophy and the world view behind the book are quite reactionary and anti-humanist, very much like those of the Church in the Middle Ages.

But maybe I am expecting too much, probably it is just impossible to write a good and objective history of humankind in one relatively brief book, so no wonder that the author failed to do this. Although I tried hard, I could not finish the book and left it in the middle as would probably better spend time reading something else on the subject.

  • Medieval Europe

  • By: Chris Wickham
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 119

The millennium between the breakup of the western Roman Empire and the Reformation was a long and hugely transformative period - one not easily chronicled within a single book. Yet distinguished historian Chris Wickham has taken up the challenge in this landmark book, and he succeeds in producing the most riveting account of medieval Europe in a generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • outstanding, absolutely outstanding.

  • By Anonymous User on 05-11-17

Obscure language, excellent otherwise

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

Reviewed: 03-21-17

Would you try another book from Chris Wickham and/or Derek Perkins?

While the book is well-researched and neatly organized, its significant shortcoming is the overly complex language used for the sake of complexity itself. Sometimes the language makes it really hard to see "the forest behind the trees" and understand the original thought of the author. For example, instead of "corruption" it is "the culture of giving money in the hope of getting favors in return" and there are numerous other examples of such sophistry.In this regard the author is a bit similar to the famous Greek historian Polybius, whose histories were really one of a kind once you get past the elusive language of the author and start seeing the flawless logical analysis of the events. Unfortunately, back in the time not everybody would have enough patience to decipher the meaning hidden behind complex grammatical forms and most of his history works were eventually lost as a result.I think the point of using the language and professional terms is not to make books sound more sophisticated and academic, but rather to skillfully illuminate the ideas presented and put them into the right context. I am not sure that this book always succeeds in doing that.But if you manage to get past through the obscure language and get to the point then this book will not disappoint.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful