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Rachel

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Engaging narrator, excellent prose but slightly dodgy on historical fact.

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

Reviewed: 12-06-2018

Absolutely a fun listen if you are after an interesting overview of history. The prose is deliciously written. Where it went off the rails for me is where the author consciously decides to take printed gossip regarding an historic figure as fact, on the basis that it was recorded. In the case of,say, the Borgia family, much of what has come down to us are the crazy rumours. The more scandalous a rumour the likelier someone would have recorded it. I think as an introduction to broad ideas it's fun, but take it with a grain of salt and listen to a few other books on the subject.

Fantastic book. Narration runs on too quickly.

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

Reviewed: 01-02-2018

Would you listen to The Empires of Ancient Persia again? Why?

This is exactly the kind of introduction to Persian history I've been looking for. It's very accessible. I'm only part way through, but it's got great information clearly expressed.

What three words best describe Colin Fluxman’s performance?

I'm finding the narration very problematic. While the narrator is very clear in enunciation, there are no pauses for ends of paragraphs, which makes some of the content seem to leap around. The pauses at the ends of sentences are very short, again making some of the content blur together. I think I'm more frustrated because it could have been a great narration with a little room to breathe. It feels like this is possibly an advanced computer voice, a narrator who is rushing to get through the book, or the editors got carried away in eliminating pauses.

1 person found this helpful

Very enjoyable!

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

Reviewed: 15-05-2017

Fantastic course - I love histories viewed through specific lenses (art, architecture, music, medicine) so this was always going to be interesting for me, but this wasn't just interesting, it's also entertaining. Great lecturer! Ken Albala is superb! He makes all the aspects of his lecture really come to life. Brilliant!

2 people found this helpful

Rubicon cover art

The book is excellent.

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

Reviewed: 12-04-2017

If you could sum up Rubicon in three words, what would they be?

Tom Holland certainly knows how to write an engaging work! He blends the everyday Roman experience and motivators with the grand strokes of history, giving a fuller understanding to why the Roman republic gave way to empire. It's like all the best parts of my Latin and Classics classes rolled into a story.

What other book might you compare Rubicon to, and why?

I recently also read Dynasty by Tom Holland, and it made me curious to see what his take on the final years of the republic would be like.

What aspect of Steven Crossley’s performance might you have changed?

I know that we can't really know how the ancient Roman's said their names, but the pronunciations of some words were too distracting. The narrator often uses English vowel sounds rather than European ones, so Marius becomes "Mary-iss" instead of "Mah-rius", Campania became Cam-pain-ya. It's not the end of the world but it's very different from how I've herd those words pronounced and it just grated. Other than that the narrator is good.

2 people found this helpful

Starts out strong, decends into trying to be funny

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

Reviewed: 07-09-2016

Is there anything you would change about this book?

If I could edit out all the "stupid Irish" and "miserly Scots" jokes that ruined the second half of the book, I'd give this a much higher rating. It's interesting to hear the history relayed in a jocular story telling style, rather than a dry academic work, but my experience was that it sunk itself under the weight of jokes that are half a century out of fashion. It was also jolting to hear the First Nations peoples view given a nod then pretty much consigned to being a bit part in the narrative of European racial thinking. Could have stood a bit more history from the point of view of local people, and fewer "jokes". But still a pretty good book.

Should be mandatory reading for all

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

Reviewed: 29-08-2016

What did you like most about And the Band Played On?

I've listened to this book probably six or seven times now. It's a unique document of both the mood of the "before AIDS" time, and the early failures by political leaders (on many fronts) that let the virus turn from a terrifying tragedy into an epidemic in supposedly the most advanced country of the 20th Century. But more interesting is the documenting of the amazing work done by doctors, health workers and the people who became community organisers in trying to figure out what this disease was, and how to stem it's spread. From the comfort of the 21st century, it's easy to forget that for the first two decades it was a terrifying and mysterious death sentence, and one that often bought with it banishment from society. I honestly believe this book belongs in the "Classics" section of literature. It might make uncomfortable reading, but we need to remember the dark times of history, and in the words of those who lived those dark times.

2 people found this helpful

Fascinating overview of an era

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

Reviewed: 05-08-2016

What did you like most about Season of the Witch?

A really engaging overview of the swirling cultural changes in the USA, looked at through the story of a city that became the epicentre of so much of that history. Particularly interesting to me was the look at how and why the hippy "summer of love" unravelled, and the wider cost to San Francisco's infrastructure that thousands of runaway teens flooding into an unprepared city had, particularly when drugs became the driving force of the movement.
Very listenable - I re-listened to it twice already.

Enjoyable light listen

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

Reviewed: 14-12-2015

What did you like most about The Liar?

I've been a bit hit or miss with Nora Roberts's stories in the past, but gave this a go and I'm happy I did. It's charming portrait of small town life and close knit family makes up for some of the themes that irked me.
The unravelling of the mystery is done with deft timing, and was an enjoyable listen.
The narrator is gold. Perfect voice for bringing this book to life and was one of the main reason's I enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

Better than I was expecting

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

Reviewed: 23-07-2015

This e-book is pretty solid advice. I must confess I was expecting an Australian accented narrator, and some of the Aussie vernacular sits badly with the dulcet American narration. It took me out of the narration every now and again and I'd be contemplating accents, rather than information.
But as someone who has tried with varying levels of success to quit sugar a few times, this approach is workable for me. I like that Sarah Wilson includes references to the research she has used and that she is honest about the detox process being potentially uncomfortable and difficult. Overall it's pretty solid. It does what it says on the box.
My issue with the narration is a personal preference. She's a good narrator, it just didn't work for me.

5 people found this helpful

Engaging story

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

Reviewed: 26-05-2015

Enjoyable and engaging story. I always enjoy exploration of cities through the eyes of characters and this book takes you into parts of Paris I didn't know existed.
The mystery itself is a good tale as well.