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Dystopic Denizen

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  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 27
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  • The Road to Unfreedom

  • Russia, Europe, America
  • By: Timothy Snyder
  • Narrated by: Timothy Snyder
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 388

With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be absolute. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. But we now know this to be premature. Authoritarianism first returned in Russia, as Putin developed a political system dedicated solely to the consolidation and exercise of power. In the last six years, it has creeped from east to west as nationalism inflames Europe, abetted by Russian propaganda and cyberwarfare.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Exploration of Current Events

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-14-18

Listen Well, Westerners.

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

The Road to Unfreedom combines political philosophy, geopolitics, history (ancient and contemporary), and current events to develop a clear-eyed view of modern Russia's desires, fears, and wars (physical and digital). Snyder uses all of this rich contextual information to develop and present a piercing model of "Inevitability" and "Eternity" Politics, which allows readers to grasp the material while deepening their understanding of geopolitical events.

Reading this book is an awakening. Western societies have slept on their laurels for decades, assuming that a democratic and capitalistic world future was inevitable. Snyder shows how we gradually became soft targets for malign influence campaigns as history slipped away from us. Synder also illustrates many startling similarities between America and Russia in 2018. To save western democracies and political institutions, Snyder urges readers to pay attention to history, everyday propaganda, world events, and the philosophical underpinnings that guide the political perceptions of our friends, enemies, and selves. He is absolutely right: we cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand any longer.

Timothy Synder is a gifted researcher, author and narrator. The Road to Unfreedom is among the most compelling nonfiction books I have personally encountered, and it's absolutely instrumental for understanding the complex relationships between Russia and western states today.

Please listen to this book. Open your ears and eyes while there remains time and dimming opportunity to reverse course.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

  • The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
  • By: Peter Pomerantsev
  • Narrated by: Antony Ferguson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 405
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 368
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 366

Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of 21st-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship far subtler than 20th century strains, that is rapidly rising to challenge the West.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By Elle Kay on 11-25-16

Captivating Story with Narration Issues

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

This book offers a great look into the modern Russian psyche, as well as the myriad ways that Russian citizens are manipulated by their leaders and state-controlled media. Well worth listening for anyone trying to build an understanding of Russia as it is today.

Sadly, the narrator cannot do accents to save his life. His attempt at a Russian accent sounds like a bad Jamaican accent, but his American accent is pretty poor too. Can't pronounce Russian words or "Nuclear" correctly.

That said, the information in this book was good enough to pull me through to the mediocre narration. If you choose not to listen, I suggest picking up a paper or digital copy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Future Is History

  • How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Masha Gessen
  • Length: 16 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 519
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 474

Hailed for her "fearless indictment of the most powerful man in Russia" ( The Wall Street Journal), award-winning journalist Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you can keep the characters straight...

  • By Margot on 02-18-18

Urgent and Deeply Enlightening

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

Reviewed: 07-02-18

This book should be required reading for citizens across the globe, but especially those in the west. Contemporary Russian history and events have gone unnoticed by too many, and Masha Gessen makes a compelling case for everyone to catch up and begin paying attention quickly.

Gessen's story of rising totalitarianism is illustrated brilliantly by the stories of real Russians living through the transition from communist totalitarianism, to pseudo-democracy, then to far-right totalitarianism. She supports these vivid examples with robust sociological accounts, which collectively present a trustworthy view into the minds of Russian citizens. Her account of Russian academia is also fascinating: suffocating censorship through the early 90's, gasping for air in the wake of glasnost, and plunged back into a state of suppression and fear under Putin's new totalitarian regime.

This book is urgently important. We ignore these events at the peril of ourselves and the nations we inhabit.

  • The Circle

  • By: Dave Eggers
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,999
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7,346
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7,365

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Terrifying look at a techno-destruction of privacy

  • By FinanceBuzz on 01-20-14

Thoughtful Dystopia for our Times

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

Reviewed: 01-04-17

While Eggers leaves some to be desired in the way of character depth and tying up loose ends, this book is ultimately full of interesting possibilities and accurate, back-handed critiques of the current tech and social media landscape. Totalitarianism is alive, modernized, and unstoppable in the Circle.

If you like 1984, Brave New World, and other dark prophecies of human society's future, then read this book to the end. Don't let the surface Utopianism fool you- there is a darker story worth your time, and it unfolds in quick and surprising ways.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful