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Scott

Santa Clara, CA, United States
  • 80
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  • 240
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  • 98
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  • The Order of Time

  • By: Carlo Rovelli
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,273
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,165
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,149

In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most listeners, this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it appears. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where, at the most fundamental level, time disappears.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brain Workout With A Great Narrator

  • By Raymond on 05-15-18

What's missing is the physics

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

Reviewed: 07-29-18

Carlo Rovelli is a fascinating man. Steeped in the physics of loop quantum gravity, and in the philosophy and psychology of time. This book is a kind of poetry about time. It seems that, in the absence of a provable theory of time, we'll have to settle for this kind of poetry.
I found the book lacking. Not because I don't like poetry, but rather because I was hoping for more physics. There are recent speculations on the directionality of time that weren't discussed, and it seems to me that these are important in a contemporary book about time.
It should be said that I'm an advocate for Block Time, and found Rovelli's dismissal of it to be illogical. Simply stating that time is a sequence of events doesn't even address the issue of block time, let alone add clarity to the nature of time itself.
On balance, because Rovelli is such a compelling thinker and provides real insights into the nature of time, this book is worthwhile. Be prepared, however. This is not a book on the connection between quantum gravity and time, rather it is a book on the philosophical nature of time, and how each of creates time at the intersection of memory and anticipation in our brains.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Looting Machine

  • Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth
  • By: Tom Burgis
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115

The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals, and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China, and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 percent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 percent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Indispensable reading

  • By Kindle Customer on 06-09-15

Frightening, Fascinating, Fatiguing

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

Reviewed: 07-29-18

When Tom Burgis tells us, at the start of this book, how he suffered a nervous breakdown, it's easy to see why. The sheer magnitude and hopelessness of the problem in Africa is almost beyond imagining.
This is an important book. One with which college students should be familiar. The wealth we enjoy is purchased on the misery of millions of Africans, and most of us remain blissfully unaware, if not totally unfeeling.
I had to take this book in pieces, it's so powerfully overwhelming. It has left me hating a system over which it seems I have no control whatever. Still, I'm glad to know the truth of it.
Listen to this book. Grover Gardner is the best narrator one can imagine, and the subject matter is of the utmost importance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Beyond Infinity

  • An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics
  • By: Eugenia Cheng
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

In Beyond Infinity, musician, chef, and mathematician Eugenia Cheng takes listeners on a startling journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions. Beginning with the classic thought experiment of Hilbert's hotel - the place where you can (almost) always find a room, if you don't mind being moved from room to room over the course of the night - she explores the wild and woolly world of the infinitely large and the infinitely small.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Overflowing With Needless Examples & Anecdotes

  • By Richard on 04-22-17

Maybe for children, but not for me

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

Reviewed: 04-13-17

Beyond Infinity features a lot of stories about the author, and several analogies regarding young children, but not a lot about infinity or mathematics.
The narration, while perky in the extreme, isn't so bad, but it's more appropriate for a young children's book. Actually, maybe that's exactly what this is—a book for young children.
The book is charming, but it's the mathematical ideas that I want access to, and this book is so cutesy that I'm going to return it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Who Rules the World?

  • By: Noam Chomsky
  • Narrated by: Brian Jones
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 749
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 656
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 650

In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky argues that the United States, through its military-first policies and its unstinting devotion to maintaining a world-spanning empire, is both risking catastrophe and wrecking the global commons.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Informative

  • By Kristopher on 07-28-16

UNLISTENABLE

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

Reviewed: 10-26-16

Regardless of how important it is to hear what Mr. Chomsky has to say—this audiobook is unlistenable.

It's because the narration is horrible. Brian Jones reads in the most bizarre fashion imaginable—with a panic-stricken, hyper-emotional, gravelly whisper—as though he's deathly afraid that someone in the next room might hear him. It's completely weird, and thoroughly distracting.

Furthermore, Jones has adopted a tone of complete sarcasm, as though he's making an ongoing joke—some kind of insinuation, like "Boy, isn't the establishment stupid—not smart like us!" I've read enough Chomsky to know that it should be read in a factual, not a sneering tone. It's an insult to any serious listener.

To be fair, I don't think ANY of this should be blamed on Mr. Chomsky. He's extremely insightful, and there's just no way he'd want the serious facts of his book to be slaughtered—ruined—by such demeaning narration. Sorry, Noam—you really got shafted on this one!

There may be listeners who'll take exception to this harsh review, but there are certainly others who are simply too politically correct or too timid to mention it.

For my part, it sickens me that Chomsky's book—so pertinent, timely, and necessary—is trivialized by such terrible narration.

Before I abandoned it, I had listened to perhaps thirty minutes of the book—after which I only wanted to retain it long enough to publish this negative review. After that, I'm planning on asking Audible for my money back.

Don't be cowed, Audible Listeners! Stand up for quality! Stand up for sanity! Don't tolerate bad narration! And sorry again, Noam—I'll catch you in print!

37 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • The Hunt for Vulcan

  • …And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
  • By: Thomas Levenson
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,166
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,065
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,064

For more than 50 years, the world's top scientists searched for the "missing" planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton's theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era's most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it. There was just one problem: It was never there.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is great stuff!

  • By Mark A. Hurt on 11-22-15

Entertaining and Informative

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

Reviewed: 09-11-16

A delightful thread in science, and in history—well-written, and well read. The science is just right, not too daunting, but detailed enough to give genuine insights into Einstein's theories.
I was especially interested in the description of how Einstein developed the math to describe his new theory of gravity—with the help of just about any competent physicist and mathematician he could find—in the years between 1906 and 1915.
It had always seemed to me that he couldn't possibly have quickly come up with the elegant equations we see today, as a result of his spectacular insight that what is constant over all the universe isn't time, rather it's the speed of light. Developing the math to describe this insight took many years, and the collaboration of many brilliant minds.
Moreover, this book is fun to listen to, with delightful historical insights—and just the right amount of wry humor.

  • The Black Arrow

  • A Tale of the Two Roses
  • By: Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

In this swashbuckling novel set in 15th-century England, young Richard Shelton discovers that he has been betrayed by the guardian who raised him - a man involved in the murder of his father. Seventeen-year-old Richard joins the fellowship of the Black Arrow to avenge the death, rescue the woman he loves, and participate in the struggle between the Yorks and Lancasters in the War of the Roses.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A goodly story—well written, and well read

  • By Scott on 06-14-16

A goodly story—well written, and well read

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

Reviewed: 06-14-16

Written in wonderful, archaic, almost poetical prose, this delightful story will seem familiar to all, with its intrigues, disguises, chivalry, battles, and damsels in distress.
Gildart Jackson's reading is beautifully rendered, lending excellent clarity to what might have been difficult to understand in the hands of a less skillful narrator.
Ultimately, it's Stevenson's use of language, and his characterizations that set this book apart. For me, listening to this book was an education in prose, storytelling, and diction. Truly, time well spent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Dissent

  • How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind and Changed the History of Free Speech in America
  • By: Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Danny Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178

Free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one's political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • How a 78 year old man can learn & change his mind

  • By Jean on 09-23-13

A fascinating account—well-written, and well-read

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

Reviewed: 02-04-15

The evolution of free speech in the United States turns on this remarkable account of Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous 1919 Supreme Court dissent.
Well-researched, beautifully written, and expertly narrated, this audiobook is absolutely captivating. With freedom of speech still at the forefront of modern contention and debate, this book is more timely than ever. Thomas Healy vividly brings us back into a tulmultous era of clashes between government, anarchists, socialists, pacifists, and the changing ideals of Oliver Wendell Holmes himself.
In this book, we see Holmes' transformation from the viewpoint that, "If you have conviction enough, and power enough, there's nothing to prevent you killing someone with whom you disagree," to, "We can only know if we are right by giving air to, and considering all diverse opinions on an issue." Through his personal correspondence, the influence of Holmes' close friends and other contemporaries on his ideas are lucidly presented, and convincingly laid out before us. This book is worthwhile from first to last—a great tribute to a key era in American legal thinking, and to one of the foremost figures in American legal thought.
Moreover, Danny Campbell's reading is top notch. He maintains interest and energy throughout this sometimes complex and involved story, and makes listening to this account of a great turning-point in constitutional law actually exciting. While accurately conveying the meaning of the text, he manages a touch of genuine humanity that brings out the listener's sympathy for all the characters involved.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the legal basis for free speech, for history buffs of any stripe, and especially for fans of Oliver Wendell Holmes.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Bismarck

  • The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship
  • By: Niklas Zetterling, Michael Tamelander
  • Narrated by: Charles Constant
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 103
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99

The sinking of the German battleship Bismarck - a masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch guns - was one of the most dramatic events of World War II. She left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance. British battlecruiser Hood was quickly dispatched from Scapa Flow to intercept the Bismarck, together with new battleship Prince of Wales.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must read for any WWII Naval Historian!

  • By Rick on 10-14-13

Excellent writing sunk by bad narration

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

Reviewed: 01-30-15

The writing for "Bismarck" is so excellent, so compelling, and frequently so exciting that it breaks my heart not to be able to recommend this audiobook highly.

The reason? The reading is amateurish. It simply ruins the book. I stuck it out to the end only because I wanted to learn more about the war in the North Atlantic, and about the fate of the Bismarck, but the halting, robotic narration, and the constant mis-emphasis on nearly every sentence made it tortuous indeed.

The battle scenes are truly remarkable. One can easily envision the spectacular sights and sounds—from the ship, the men, and the huge guns. Again, however, the narration almost totally obscures both the excitement and the action. What a pity.

Apparently, the publishers also recognized their mistake, and picked a far more skilled narrator for the reading of "Tirpitz," the story of the Bismarck's sister ship, by the same authors.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hopalong Cassidy

  • By: Clarence E. Mulford
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

Hopalong Cassidy, the iconic western cowboy hero conceived by Clarence Mulford, was immortalized in a highly popular film series starring William Boyd from 1935-1948. A tough-talking and violent character in print, Hopalong Cassidy was remade into a clean-cut screen hero who roamed the West with his sidekicks and fought villains who took advantage of the weak. Here Cassidy is drawn as Mulford originally conceived; rough-and-tumble, foul-mouthed, and thriving on brawls and gunplay.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Legend Comes Back Strong

  • By Robert Scot on 06-18-13

A Rip-Snortin', Rootin'-Tootin' Thrill Ride!

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

Reviewed: 01-16-15

Topped off by some of the best narration EVER, this fast-paced, thrill-packed, humor-filled adventure story is a page right out of the Old West.

R.C. Bray is so absolutely amazing, so totally engaging, in the telling of this tale, that his narration deserves top billing. His reading has such phenomenal focus, dynamism, and fluency, and his powerful and gritty characterizations are so wonderful, I wish I could award his narration the six stars it deserves. He portrays all the characters, men and woman alike, with complete mastery. Jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly fantastic! Honestly, this is the best narration I have ever heard—and I've heard plenty.

As for Clarence E. Mulford's writing, it's gritty, picturesque and beautiful. I felt like I was slapping leather right along with the cow punchers, and walking bow-legged right beside them. His characterizations are so engaging, and the Old Western landscape he paints is so vivid I could see all of it in my mind's eye, and hear the sounds and silences of the wide open spaces with remarkable clarity.

And talk about action! The book is action-packed and non-stop. What a ride! Plus, it's downright hilarious—the playful, jibing banter among the cowpokes kept me laughing throughout.

Even the romance in the book is handled with delightful humor and just a bit of bashful awkwardness—perfect.

One caution. This book was written in 1910, and tells the story from an American cowboy's perspective, so the racial slurs may be off-putting to some listeners. But frankly, that's the way it was, and that's the way it's told. My recommendation is to just let it go, and have fun. Both the story and the narration are worth it.

This book is a joy to listen to. Do not hesitate. Get it. Listen to it. Again, special thanks to R. C. Bray for his terrific narration.

This is a rip-snortin', rootin'-tootin' thrill ride!

  • Tirpitz

  • The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship
  • By: Niklas Zetterling, Michael Tamelander
  • Narrated by: Pete Larkin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

Whilst the Kriegsmarine's surface fleet, restricted for much of the period after 1919 by the terms of the Versailles Treaty, was relatively small in comparison to the Royal Navy, it did possess a number of highly potent battleships and other capital vessels that could - and did - pose a major threat to British interests in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. Amongst the most powerful were the two battleships - the Bismarck and the Tirpitz.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great and compelling saga, wonderfully read

  • By Scott on 12-31-14

A great and compelling saga, wonderfully read

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

Reviewed: 12-31-14

This book uses the great German battleship Tirpitz as the focal point for the story of naval warfare in the North Atlantic in WWII, and does it brilliantly. Much of the book isn't about the Tirpitz per se, although the mighty battleship is like a powerful chess piece lurking in the background—influencing events by its mere existence and deadly possiblities.

Generally, the book focuses on Allied supply convoys in the North Atlantic, bound for both America, and significantly—also for Russia. It reveals the naval strategies and political maneuverings which governed the use of naval resources on both sides of the conflict.
Essential to the story, the book gives a detailed description of "Operation Chariot," the successful attempt by the Allies to destroy the dry dock at St Nazaire in German occupied France.

Overall, this is a thrilling and wonderful book—fascinating from beginning to end.

Furthermore, Pete Larkin's narration is really great. He brings the story to life with clarity and professionalism. His reading style is remarkably consistent from first to last. It's his narration that turns this story of WWII naval strategy into a great and compelling saga.

Sadly, the companion book to "Tirpitz," "Bismarck," by the same authors, is not nearly as well read. Where the narration of "Tirpitz" keeps the action flowing and makes it exciting to listen to, "Bismarck" comes across as stilted and confusing. If nothing else, these two books highlight the huge difference that narration can make.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful