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Manish S. Vaidya

Los Gatos, CA, USA
  • 3
  • reviews
  • 0
  • helpful votes
  • 4
  • ratings
  • The Silk Roads

  • A New History of the World
  • By: Peter Frankopan
  • Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
  • Length: 24 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,398
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,245

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Really Makes the World Go Round

  • By Mom in Santa Fe on 07-29-16

Good content ruined by the narrator

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

I had been wanting to get to this book for a long time. The historical content is excellent. Although I felt that the author had stretched the narrative too far into the recent history, while the silk road essentially ends in my opinion after the fall of the Byzantine empire.

My biggest problem was the narrator - the bit snobbish British accent was a bit irritating, but he really got to me with his mimicking of the local accents. Especially when narrating passages attributed to Asians. As a person of Indian origin, I particularly found the narration of Indian quotes almost offensive

  • Taj Mahal

  • Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire
  • By: Diana Preston, Michael Preston
  • Narrated by: James Adams
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

While Galileo was suffering under house arrest at the hands of Pope Urban VIII, the 30 Years War was ruining Europe, and the Pilgrims were struggling to survive in the New World, work began on what would become one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Taj Mahal. Built by the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, its flawless symmetry and gleaming presence have for centuries dazzled all who have seen it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A broad perspective

  • By Neil on 11-01-09

Detailed, fascinating account of mughal dynasty

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

Reviewed: 05-29-15

Wonderful account of the history of the Mughal dynasty. The name is very misleading. Although the book gives a lot of details on the Taj Mahal, it provides a rich and fascinating account of the history of the Mughal dynasty stretching from Babur all the way to Aurangzeb. Must read for anyone interested in this history

  • Red Heat

  • Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean
  • By: Alex von Tunzelmann
  • Narrated by: Sarah Coomes
  • Length: 19 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

The Caribbean crises of the Cold War are revealed as never before in this riveting story of clashing ideologies, the rise of the politics of fear, the machinations of superpowers, and the daring of the brazen mavericks who took them on. The superpowers thought they could use Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting, not extraordinary.

  • By History on 10-24-11

Epic, sweeping & meticulously researched saga

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

Reviewed: 05-29-15

Epic, sweeping & meticulously researched saga of the tumultuous 20th century history of the Caribbean islands. Alex puts in lot of hard work in writing the history for her readers. And it shows. Also I love the fact that she is able to bring out the human nature of the historical figures, instead of just making them dry caricatures. We are all human and sometimes it best to understand history within the context of the frailties and pitfalls of human nature. The sequence describing the tantrum thrown by Papa Doc when his daughter went off with her disgraced husband is an excellent example of this type of historical narrative.

My only grudge is that this is really 3 books combined in one - History of Cuba, that of Haiti & of the Dominican Republic. Although intertwined, each would have made a compelling narrative on its own. I felt towards the end not enough justice was done to telling the story of Castro & to some extent Che. At one point I got on Netflix and watched a documentary on Castro which gave me lot more information.

That doesn't take away at all from the compelling nature of this book. It should be required reading for any student of Caribbean history. And a pleasurable, informative and fascinating read for any history buff.

The audible narrative is also pleasant and the reader captures the spirit of the book well, along with her emphasis on French pronunciations which makes it even more interesting.

Thanks Alex for another wonderful historical read (following Indian summer)