I let this expire without finishing it. It's possible that I will check it out again another time, because the subject matter is interesting. But the...moreI let this expire without finishing it. It's possible that I will check it out again another time, because the subject matter is interesting. But the writing just isn't very good. It's structure is scattered and it is full tenuous connections and sloppy reasoning. The author fails to build solid arguments for his conclusions, instead, as his main support, he awkwardly wedges in what he seems to think are clever quotes from authorities. The author's personal voice is obtrusive and the audiobook reader's manner and intonation are annoying.(less)
This is a straightforward history of the rise and fall of Carthage, the great Mediterranean civilization. The struggle is...moreCarthage Must be Destroyed.
This is a straightforward history of the rise and fall of Carthage, the great Mediterranean civilization. The struggle is that most of the historical sources for the story of Carthage filter through it's great rival and eventual destroyer, Rome. The author supplements this very biased history with some archaeological evidence. He primarily teases out what can be known of the truth by comparing the sources and analyzing them in conjunction with what else is known of cultures in question. I found it very interesting to hear from this perspective. I hadn't given Carthage much thought prior to listening to this. One thing I found especially interesting was the adoption and adaption of the myth of Heracles-Melkart throughout the cultures of the region; and how it was used as propaganda. This is another history book that I listened to, instead of reading. I do find that it is a little more difficult to retain the information this way, but I still enjoyed it. (less)
This is brutal - the grim story of Eastern Europe (primarily Ukraine, Poland, & Belarus) during the times of the regimes of Stalin and of Hitler....moreThis is brutal - the grim story of Eastern Europe (primarily Ukraine, Poland, & Belarus) during the times of the regimes of Stalin and of Hitler. I think that I am a fairly well-educated person, but this book was an eye-opener for me. As bad as I thought World War II was, it was so much worse. Most of what happened leading up to the war, during the war, and following the war in the east is just not talked about much. I found it especially interesting to learn about the history of the collectivization of the Ukraine, in light of the current events in the Ukraine - very enlightening. I listened to this as an audiobook. It was the first time I've tried to listen to a history book, instead of reading it. I found some advantage in it; in some ways hearing it is an easier method to take in the information - it is a little like listening to a lecture in class, which I have always enjoyed. However, unlike a class where an instructor would respond to the listeners by pausing for ingestion when needed, and possibly answering questions; the pace while listening as an audiobook is unrelenting. Because I listen while I work, it is not always possible for me to pause or go back if I felt overwhelmed. I did listen to some parts multiple times, because I felt like there was too much to take in the first time. I felt like the writing was quite good, the information was presented in an understandable, though unrelenting way. Midway through, I did feel a little horror-fatigue, as it is one horror after another after another. I felt like the author was very good at presenting both the numbers side of things and the personal side of things at the same time. He would often include personal stories within the larger narrative. That helped me to see the tragedies as what they were, millions of personal tragedies, not just one giant impersonal horror. I also felt like the author was quite good at presenting the reason why and how these things happened. I felt that the conclusion, which speaks about each person as individuals, both the perpetrators and the victims was insightful and useful. I do recommend reading this book, because it is so enlightening; it gave me a fuller understanding of the history that is still effecting us today; however, go into it knowing it will be a rough ride. (less)
Enjoyed the book, though personally I do find the negativity a bit wearing at times. Despite that, I found it inspiring, actually, and hope to walk pa...moreEnjoyed the book, though personally I do find the negativity a bit wearing at times. Despite that, I found it inspiring, actually, and hope to walk part of the Appalachian trail sometime soon. (less)
Loved looking at all the pictures. I read some, but not all of the text. It was more trivia about each painting, describing what certain details allud...moreLoved looking at all the pictures. I read some, but not all of the text. It was more trivia about each painting, describing what certain details alluded to, than how to "read" a painting. (less)
This is a light-reading, extremely interesting history of Oranges. Yeah, I know, who knew citrus was so interesting? Mcphee, focuses on Florida, but r...moreThis is a light-reading, extremely interesting history of Oranges. Yeah, I know, who knew citrus was so interesting? Mcphee, focuses on Florida, but reviews the entire history of citrus. Did you know that a seed from an orange, or lime, or lemon, may not actually grow into that particular citrus? You might plant a lime seed and get and orange or lemon tree. Weird, huh? My only criticisms of this book are: 1. Sometimes I wanted to know even more about a particular topic, and 2. (not exactly a criticism) that it was written in the 60s and I'm sure the orange industry has changed a lot since then, and I'd be interested in an update.(less)