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Shane

Greece
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  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 22
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  • The Romanovs: 1613-1918

  • By: Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale
  • Length: 28 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 135
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of 20 tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thorough History

  • By Shane on 12-06-2016

Thorough History

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

Reviewed: 12-06-2016

This book was a really fantastic look at a topic not known by most of the historically literate west. The author does a fantastic job at explaining this usually new material in a way that, while detailed, is easy to follow. Although there were times when the amount of names got confusing, the narrative was so centered around the important characters, that confusion was kept to a minimum.

This book did not propose any groundbreaking insights or controversial theories, but rather it told a long, detailed story well. It is one of the best books I have listened to on Audible to date.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Lenin's Tomb

  • The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
  • By: David Remnick
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 29 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this best-selling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Topic Well Told

  • By Shane on 30-05-2016

Fascinating Topic Well Told

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

Reviewed: 30-05-2016

This book was phenomenal. It did a really good job of telling the story though the eyes of a reporter who was there, constantly weaving in personal anecdotes with societal events. The protagonist (the author) clearly has a few bones to pick with the USSR government (as he should) but still manages to be remarkably objective given that this was written so close to the historical events it describes.

  • 1177 B.C.

  • The Year Civilization Collapsed
  • By: Eric H. Cline
  • Narrated by: Andy Caploe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15

In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Very complicated

  • By Shane on 30-05-2016

Very complicated

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

Reviewed: 30-05-2016

I really like what this book is trying to do, and I respect it far more than the two stars indicate. However, the book was very dense and it is easy to get lost in the endless sea of names. Generally, I can just listen to the book multiple times, but with 1177 I still can't quite get into it. What I do complement the book on is for not oversimplifying, what is clearly a complex story. I would far rather not understand a convoluted book than understand completely a false one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Great Catherine

  • The Life of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia
  • By: Carolly Erickson
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Prize-winning historian and biographer, Carolly Erickson has created an eminently readable biography that recognizes the humanity of Great Catherine—Empress of Russia—with her majesty and immense capability. Dispelling some of the myths surrounding her voracious sexual appetite, the biographer portrays Catherine as a lonely woman far ahead of her time—achieving greatness in an era when women were executed on a husband’s whim.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Biography

  • By Shane on 30-05-2016

Good Biography

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

Reviewed: 30-05-2016

I'm not usually a fan of biographies but this one was exceptionally good. I think it is far more comprehensible to write a biography in someone who lived in pre-industrial times because you can tell a cohesive story without being completely superficial. Catherine was thus a great choice of topic and the execution of this book was spot on.

  • A Patriot's History of the United States

  • By: Larry Schweikart, Michael Allen
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 50 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Since the liberal revolution of the '60s and '70s, American history books have been biased toward the negative. They overemphasize America's racism, sexism, and bigotry while downplaying the greatness of her patriots. As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington, more on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II than on D-day or Iwo Jima. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America's true and proud history.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Detailed but Unsurprisingly Biased

  • By Shane on 29-05-2016

Detailed but Unsurprisingly Biased

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

It all but explicitly says it in the title, but this book is not exactly designed to be an objective look at American history. It probably could have been called "An Early 21st Century Conservative's History of The United States". That being said the book did a good job at what it wanted to do, which is to provide a counterpoint to many more left-leaning histories of the United States. I'm very glad I read it.

  • A History of the Twentieth Century

  • By: Martin Gilbert
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 29 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Martin Gilbert, author of the multivolume biography of Winston Churchill and other brilliant works of history, chronicles world events year by year, from the dawn of aviation to the flourishing technology age, taking us through World War I to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the United States and Hider as chancellor of Germany.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Strange but Well Done

  • By Shane on 29-05-2016

Strange but Well Done

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

The format of this book was really unique. It is continuously read almost as a news cast with no analysis or input from the author besides what was actually happening. I'm really glad I read it even if I'd probably prefer a more conventionally written book most times.

  • Bolivar

  • American Liberator
  • By: Marie Arana
  • Narrated by: David Crommett
  • Length: 20 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good but Superficial

  • By Shane on 29-05-2016

Good but Superficial

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

This book gave a pretty good overview of not only Simon Bolivar's life but the period he lived in. It was well written and there wasn't any overt ideological bias that makes some biographies unreadable. The only thing the book lacked was a really critical analysis of the decisions that he made.

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Why Violence Has Declined
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 36 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187

We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic

  • By Simon Webster on 30-07-2015

A Work of Our Times

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

This book is one of the best I've ever listened to. It is relentlessly data driven and proposes a positive but nuanced thesis: violence has declined. It does a lot to combat the emotional nostalgia that tricks many of us into believing that the world is falling apart today. While Pinker rightly identifies several troubling concerns about the modern world, this work dispels the myth that we have somehow fallen from a lost paradise.

  • The Thirty Years War

  • By: C. V. Wedgwood
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 19 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

Initially, the Thirty Years War was precipitated in 1618 by religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. But the conflict soon spread beyond religion to encompass the internal politics and balance of power within the Empire, and then later to the other European powers. By the end, it became simply a dynastic struggle between Bourbon France and Habsburg Spain. And almost all of it was fought out in Germany. Entire regions were depopulated and destroyed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best

  • By Shane on 29-05-2016

The Best

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

This was the first book I ever listened to on audible and I am still trying to match it. There are not many new ideas put forward in this book, no interesting innovations, or controversial opinions. Just a well spoken, well written, nuanced look at one of the most interesting events in European history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,801
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,622
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,615

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I expected but brilliant!

  • By Michael on 27-11-2015

Near Perfect Book

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

Reviewed: 29-05-2016

This book did a better job than I could have expected at going over the history of modern science in a compelling fashion. It was witty, entertaining and most importantly (from what I could tell) accurate.