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W. Morgan

Tennesse
  • 23
  • reviews
  • 114
  • helpful votes
  • 125
  • ratings
  • The Case Against Education

  • Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
  • By: Bryan Caplan
  • Narrated by: Allan Robertson
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

Despite being immensely popular - and immensely lucrative - education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity - in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally, someone says what needs to be said about education

  • By Brandon B. on 05-17-18

Excellent. Worth a listen - especially today.

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I found this to be a compelling case against the current system of government education in the United States.The author certainly presented his argument well and supported his points. He did tire me a bit about signalling - but it's a major problem and central to much of the argument being made.

Educators and those interested in discussions of the problems in the system will likely find food for thought here.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Butchering Art

  • Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
  • By: Lindsey Fitzharris
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,498
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,392
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,392

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of 19th-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation. She conjures up early operating theaters - no place for the squeamish - and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. They were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. A young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister would solve the deadly riddle and change the course of history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not one boring moment!

  • By WRWF on 12-22-17

Very entertaining and interesting

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

This book was quite good. It gives a (horrifying) picture of surgery in the 19th century and the important advances made by men such as Lister.

There is one error in the recording which i noticed - in chapter 11 two dates are given as 1967-1968 when referring clearly to 1867-1868

The book is presented in an entertaining and narrative way. Highly recommended

  • Band of Brothers

  • E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
  • By: Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Narrated by: Tim Jerome
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,241
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,859
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,862

Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to D-Day and victory, Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company, which kept getting the tough assignments. Easy Company was responsible for everything from parachuting into France early D-Day morning to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. Band of Brothers is the account of the men of this remarkable unit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • High Expectations Met

  • By Scott on 02-12-13

Love the book, narration good not great.

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

Reviewed: 03-03-15

Great history and an important tale. The story never lags and you can really get into the personalities of the men. I really enjoyed this book.

I hate to dock the narrator as I think it's quite competent work, but I had a hard time with the different pronunciations of the names based upon numerous other books and documentary videos I'd heard or seen. The inflection and sound general voice work was good - just not great. I'm going with 3 stars - which is, in my judgement, "good".

  • Red Rising

  • By: Pierce Brown
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,523
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,999
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,949

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow, what a performance and what a story

  • By Jared G on 08-27-16

Fun but not requiring superlatives...

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

Reviewed: 09-18-14

I did enjoy this book, though I feel a wee-bit generous in rating it 4 stars (3.8?). The book doesn't tread any new ground or really shock/surprise you, but it is solid and well paced. I recommend it without reservations to those looking for a straightforward and action-filled book.

A very brief plot synopsis:

The setting is a false-meritocracy set in the near future (hundreds of years in the future). Humans are classified by their 'color' which dictates their function (job) and rank in society. Disabused labor-class (slave really) is wronged horribly by the elite leaders of man. He sets out to both change the structure of the civilization and to exact revenge.

The book has elements of Ender's Game, The Hunger Games, Blade Runner, Lord of the Flies weaved into it. It manages to move quite quickly and it has a number of exciting conflicts, character building and personal pain - but not a whole lot of ambiguity in the characters - they fairly characterized.

I enjoyed the book and found the reading pleasing.

(Being a dad - I'd say this book would be great for a mid-to-late teenage child and up who likes science fiction with plenty of action/violence and can handle some language and limited sexuality. I don't recall anything explicit sexually - but the violence is occasionally graphically described. The language is peppered throughout if that kind of thing is important for you to know. Obviously each child/parent is different - just my take.)

  • Steelheart

  • The Reckoners, Book 1
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,234
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,993
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,033

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He got the idea from a near traffic accident

  • By Don Gilbert on 09-26-13

I should have *loved* this ... 3.5 stars

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

Reviewed: 12-17-13

First let me say that a three start book for me is pretty solid and four and five stars for me are reserved for my favorites or those books I will likely return to (possibly repeatedly). Secondly, the narration is perfectly good - but doesn't fall into the five star area for me either - with a half-point scale I would have gone 3.5. Finally - my overall reflects the slight failure of the book to live up to the story/premise in it's actual implementation (the writing) - I wish I could give it a 3.5 as I think 3 comes across as slightly harsh - but I ended up liking but not *really* liking it.

I don't think the below spoils anything - and the plot has been documented elsewhere - so on with some pure opinion:

I should have *loved* this book. The premise is right up my alley - Super-humans have run amok and basically rule the Earth and have territorial battles etc. Mere mortals are left as, basically, serfs in these different 'Epic's' territories. People, as we know, don't tend to love to be treated in such a fashion - so there are some who rise up. Neat setup - love it. The problem I have is the quality of the dialogue and, to a lesser extent, the prose itself.

Anyway - I burned through the book on 3x speed and enjoyed it. It is what we call a 'vacation book' here in my house - it's not meaty, just for fun and entertainment and I think it accomplishes that pretty well.

Thanks - hope this helps,
Will

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Feast for Crows

  • A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,725
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,822
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,818

Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Jarring change in Dotrice's performance

  • By Pi on 06-21-12

This one drags a bit - still good.

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

Reviewed: 09-24-13

Honestly, I had to push through this one a bit. There were parts which were engaging and characters I was glad to hear tales of, but the best bits were a bit sparse and, especially when compared to book three, it didn't move things a long as much as I'd like - and it's a pretty lengthy read/listen.

Still, there is a lot to like if you're a fan of Westeros - and in most good series there are installments which don't live up to their surrounding books. All in all I'm certainly happy with it - just not *as* happy as I was with books one, two and especially three.

Hope this helps,
Will

  • Gettysburg

  • By: Stephen Sears
  • Narrated by: Ed Sala
  • Length: 23 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 723
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 667
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 665

Best-selling author and acclaimed Civil War expert Stephen W. Sears, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “arguably the preeminent living historian of the war’s eastern theater,” crafts what will stand the test of time as the definitive history of the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. Drawing on years of research, Sears focuses on the big picture, capturing the entire essence of the momentous three day struggle while offering fresh insights that will surprise even the best versed Civil War buffs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Storyteller's Craft and the Scholar's Care

  • By John on 02-18-17

I loved this detailed account of the battle

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

Reviewed: 09-24-13

I've seen some complaints about the author's perspective or personal feelings about various leaders in the battle and campaign, but find them basically uninteresting. This was a superb and detailed account of the battle and it's consequences and aftermath. It's astonishing how many mistakes, miscues and missed opportunities there were in this battle - inlcuding the somewhat accidental initiation of general battle at a site not to Lee's liking.

Keeping it brief - I give it 4 stars as a book I would listen to again, but may not find the time for. It did keep me listening and I did not want to turn the book off - but it didn't drive me mad with the desire to continue the way some books do. I don't fault the book for this - it's tougher to pull off that kind of engagement with historical non-fiction (even though I love the genre).

Highly recommended - especially for those with interest in the battle and it's main leaders or those with a general notion of the battle looking for details.

Thanks - hope this review helps!
Will

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

  • By: Daniel N. Robinson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Daniel N. Robinson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,714
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,541
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,510

Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Hard Review to Write

  • By Ark1836 on 11-20-15

Great overview with some degree of detail

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

Reviewed: 09-24-13

I found this to be a thought-provoking and interesting overview of many of the major philosophers and their respective reasonings and arguments. This isn't a scant overview where you get a handful of minutes on profound thinkers, you get a little bit more than - usually at least one full lecture and often more when the philosopher or philosophy is refered back to in later lectures.

The Professor clearly has mastery over his course and it's a pleasure to have had he opportunity to sit in on his classes while in my car, or on my lawn mower.... or layed out on the couch/floor.

I definitely recommend this as a great starting point and believe it will push you to consider or read/listen to more writings/lectures on the subject or, at least, on a particular philosophy or philosopher.

4/5 stars represents something I'd possibly listen to again - and I very well may - probbaly selectively based upon interest in a particular lecture or two. Trying to get away from LOVING everything I hear - but I'm frequently failing. This one slips to just shy of 5 because it didn't have me so 'eager' to continue listening at every breath of my day.

Thanks,
Will

75 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Gatsby

  • By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,079
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,860

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simple, Beautiful, and Exquisitely Textured

  • By Darwin8u on 04-09-13

Love the book - overall would be a 4.5

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

Reviewed: 09-24-13

I am a big fan of the book. I've listened to it in audible form at least sixe times and revisit it pretty regularly. This particular recording is my second favorite fof the three I have listened to.

I think the narration here is stellar - it falls short of Frank Muller for me, but I think the style may please some listeners more than Muller's reading. Jake reads it almost as the embodiment of Nick, which he pulls off very well. The reading is a disaffected and has a pretentiousness to it that suits the character perectly. I can't mark this book down for it's performance at all - it's great, just not my personal favorite.

So my personal picks of the three audio versions I have listened to:

1) Frank Muller's read (is this unavailable now!?!?)
2) Jake Gyllenhaal (this book - great)
3) Tim Robbins (good - not quite up to the above in my mind)

I have sampled many other narrations and found them lacking - but I would have to check them again to provide details. There are recordings I plan to check out as well - but none have warranted the buy yet since I have such good listens available already.

Anyway - hope this helps!
Will

  • The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection

  • By: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
  • Narrated by: Stockard Channing
  • Length: 18 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,935
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,607
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,604

Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning…. In this audio collection, join Ramona, one of Beverly Cleary’s most beloved characters, on all her wacky adventures!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ramona's Table of Contents

  • By Ellen on 11-10-16

We love Ramona... all five of us!

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

Reviewed: 07-03-13

I read Ramona as a kid and so did my wife. I'm pleased to say the stories hold up ... more than hold up, they are great.

We listened to all 19 hours on a couple of road trips we took over the past year and there was never a time when any of my kids (boy 5, boy 7 and girl 10) complained about listening to tales about Ramona.

I was relatively familiar with the older books, having read them forever ago, but the newer ones were (un-shockingly) excellent.

Stockard Channing's narration is perfect and the tales have ups and downs for the Quimby family, but they learn and love and live and we laugh and cry and smile.

Thanks Beverly Cleary for giving us Ramona and Beezus and Henry and Risby and Picky-Picky and "Yard Ape" and all the rest!


*Highly Recommended* for families and kids of all ages (even pushing 40).

8 of 8 people found this review helpful