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Richard

  • 39
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 114
  • ratings
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 984
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 877
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 871

Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus looked to the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century explores the present. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He's done it again

  • By Anonymous User on 06-09-2018

Absolutely brilliant.

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

Reviewed: 08-03-2019

I now need to buy and read this excellent insight into humanity. The last chapter came as a complete surprise. Having analysed the 21 lessons I now need to understand my mind, and my motivation for living. Even though scientists know a little how the brain works it knows virtually nothing about the mind. Despite everything that the author has written in the previous chapters make absolute sense. This book should be mandatory reading for all politicians and leaders. Finally, the book is not about dogma or religion. It is just about common sense.

  • The Coroners Lunch

  • By: Colin Cotterill
  • Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Laos, 1972. The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over. Most of the educated class has fled, but 72-year-old Dr Siri Paiboun, a Paris-trained doctor, remains and is appointed state coroner. When three bodies are recovered from a reservoir, Dr.Siri establishes the cause of death was not drowning - they seem to have been electrocuted. And then there is the inexplicable death of a Party bigwig's wife at a banquet. Dr.Siri doesn't think her death was from natural causes.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Could have been set in Pinner

  • By Richard on 21-02-2019

Could have been set in Pinner

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

Reviewed: 21-02-2019

Very weak story. Nothing very much about Laos: that's the most disappointing aspect. I wouldn't recommend it. Sorry, but not sorry.

  • Tombland

  • The Shardlake Series, Book 7
  • By: C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 37 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

The nominal king, Edward VI, is 11 years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great read and factual

  • By Amazon Customer on 15-03-2019

Not as good as the previous books

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

Reviewed: 07-02-2019

The story line was a bit tedious. The writer seems intent on becoming an historian. I bought the book for the story line and the human aspects of the fiction. Not sure if I would buy a future novel of the main protagonist's life.

  • The Battle for Spain

  • By: Antony Beevor
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 18 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

The civil war that tore Spain apart between 1936 and 1939 and attracted liberals and socialists from across the world to support the cause against Franco was one of the most hard-fought and bitterest conflicts of the 20th century: a war of atrocities and political genocide and a military testing ground before WWII for the Russians, Italians and Germans, whose Condor Legion so notoriously destroyed Guernica.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beevor's authority on war-history is unsurpassable

  • By Phillip on 19-12-2014

Essential reading to understand why WW2 occurred.

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

Reviewed: 27-01-2019

It was not only the Treaty of Versailles that contributed to WW2, nor the rise of the Soviet Union, but the weakness of so called democratic nations to wash their hands of events in Spain in the 1930s. Beevor 's concluding remarks are sobering in their analysis of this inevitable tragedy. The Spanish Civil War was a disaster waiting to happen assisted ably by the Catholic Church. And we now fear Islam!

  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 24 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Rather verbose

  • By Richard on 07-01-2019

Rather verbose

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

Reviewed: 07-01-2019

Published in 2003 this biography gilds the lily about Franklin. I am definitely a fan of Franklin, although not the writing style of Isaacson. Like a lot of American writers he could use one word where he uses two. He talks about the American Dream, but this is a rather old fashioned concept, especially in the time of Trump. I completed the book, but it was hard work. Too much is made of the US, especially when one considers the Founding Fathers dream is collapsing under its own lost vision. Slavery has been replaced by the huge prison population, murders and the lack of a social security safety network; I suspect Franklin would agree if he was alive today.

  • The Blood of Rome

  • Eagles of the Empire, Book 17
  • By: Simon Scarrow
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

It is AD 55. As trouble brews on the eastern fringes of the Roman Empire, Tribune Cato and Centurion Macro must prepare for war.... The wily Parthian Empire has invaded Armenia, a frontier territory claimed by Rome, ousting King Rhadamistus. The king is ambitious and ruthless, but he is vital to Rome's strategic interests. General Corbulo must restore him to power while also readying the troops for war with the powerful Parthian Empire. Corbulo orders new arrivals Cato and Macro, and their elite cohort of Praetorian Guards, to carry out the task.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great story.

  • By Delmar on 24-11-2018

A bit more of the same

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

Reviewed: 01-01-2019

Whilst enjoyable Macro's and other enlisted Roman voices became repetitive and grating
despite this Jonathan Keeble is an excellent narrator.

The story line was nothing new and Cato's character needs some work on, together with the plot. Overall, very good, though.

  • Noble House

  • The Epic Novel of Modern Hong Kong: The Asian Saga, Book 5
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 54 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Set in Hong Kong in 1963, the action of Noble House spans scarcely more than a week, but these are days of high adventure: from kidnapping and murder to financial double dealing and natural catastrophes - fire, flood, landslide. Yet they are also days filled with all the mystery and romance of Hong Kong - the heart of Asia - rich in every trade...money, flesh, opium, power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Prescient

  • By Richard on 24-12-2018

Prescient

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

Reviewed: 24-12-2018

Possibly the best of the series. A bit dated but how Clavell predicted the future with the demise of soviet Russia and the rise of the Middle Kingdom. Being the only civilized culture in the world we now face the hegemony Of the PRC and world domination by Xu Xinping.. The decline of the west and Trump ‘s presidency we now face an uncertain future

  • The Spy and the Traitor

  • By: Ben MacIntyre
  • Narrated by: Ben Macintyre
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 94

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another cracking spy yarn, and this one is true!

  • By Kirsty on 31-12-2018

Unbelievable, but True

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

Reviewed: 17-11-2018

I could not stop listening. What personal cost this man displayed to preserve freedom and democracy in the West. I am sure that modern day socialists and marxists squirm when they reflect on the courage of this man. What are the alternatives to Democracy? Jeremy Corbyn should be made to read this book, and left wing apologists should experience some time in Chinese or Russian re-education camp. They should also reflect on the inhumanity of extremes of left and right ideological thinking.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • King Rat

  • The Asian Saga, Book 4
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18

The time is World War II. The place is a brutal prison camp deep in Japanese-occupied territory. Here, within the seething mass of humanity, one man, an American corporal, seeks dominance over both captives and captors alike. His weapons are human courage, unblinking understanding of human weaknesses, and total willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his path.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • King Rat: the best Clavell novel.

  • By Richard on 14-11-2018

King Rat: the best Clavell novel.

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

Reviewed: 14-11-2018

Sat up last night listening to the last 5 hours. A horrific tale, unfortunately true. Mans inhumanity to man shows through streaked with human misery and compassion. In 2018 we don’t understand the significance of the book. I am not sure I will be able to sleep tonight.

  • Vietnam

  • An Epic History of a Divisive War 1945-1975
  • By: Max Hastings
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble, Max Hastings - introduction
  • Length: 33 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 17

Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another thorough history novel by this author

  • By Anonymous User on 09-02-2019

Very disturbing and Depressing

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

Reviewed: 12-11-2018

I listened to this excellent history of the Vietnam War ever written. Read in conjunction with the Audible narration which gave the tragedy more resonance than if I had just read the book. The the last chapter sums up my feelings about what has happened to Vietnam since the end of WW2. Having lived in Vietnam for more than 6 years and having worked as firstly a diplomat and then as a consultant since 2002, the Gerontocracy of the northern leadership and their mendacity defies belief. Only coming back from Saigon and Hanoi just recently the South remains a separate nation from the north. Despite that Marxist Leninist theory is indeed still taught at schools as the Author indicates. The lessons of Vietnam obviously hasn’t been learned by the West. There is still a huge divide between the rural poor and the rich urban population. The big fear now is China. Despite that I am confident that once a new generation sweeps through the Vietnamese political system there will eventually be change for the future.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful