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Dave

Dave stevenage, United Kingdom Member Since 2010
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  • "Bad Romans make great listening"

    Overall

    This is essentially a political history of the last century or so of the Roman Republic, ranging from the exploits of Sulla to the rise to the top of Augustus, the first true emperor of Rome. 'Rubicon' is as evocative a title as any, but while Caesar figures prominently of course, it is not primarily about his fateful move in 49 BCE nor about his life and death in general. Instead it is a guide through the roller-coaster journey of Roman politics in the last century BCE, and on the whole it shows Roman politicians as unscrupulous, power-hungry and generally prepared to do anything to achieve their personal aims.

    It's a cracking story and it is well told, putting into perspective events that most people will have heard of, like Caesar's 'invasions' of Britain and his later murder. The text moves along nicely, and it is very well read. Major events like wars with 'barbarians' and the Spartacus Slave Revolt are only touched on, and then only when they had an effect on the power politics of the day. Still it is an enjoyable eye-opener into how the Republic's politics worked, and if nothing else it makes even our own disreputable politicians look practically saint-like by comparison.

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    Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tom Holland
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama.

    Dave says: "Bad Romans make great listening"
  • "Just superb"

    Overall

    This is a wonderfully told story of an often horrific series of events which chronicle one of the more tragic chapters in the history of the decline and fall of colonialism. It is far more than just a telling of events - it takes great pains to examine the motivations and thinking of both sides, and explains how some of France's apparently most loyal subjects could contemplate revolt and the murder of their leader. With hindsight it all seems like tragically pointless violence, but this book puts those events on context, and clearly benefits from considerable correspondence and interviews with many of the major participants.

    A good book is easily spoiled by a poor reader, but this one is top notch. Always clear, and never sounds like he is tiring of what he is reading. The reviewer that said 5% of the text was in French is talking nonsense. Yes there are a few phrases which are untranslated, and that is indeed a pity for those of us with only a long-forgotten school-boy French to rely on, but it does not materially impair a thoroughly enjoyable book that illuminates one of the more terrible episodes in the recent history of Europe's retreat from empire, and explains events that deserve to be better known in the English-speaking world.

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    A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Alistair Horne
    • Narrated By James Adams
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It caused the fall of six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict, and as many European settlers were driven into exile. From the perspective of half a century, it looks less like the last colonial war than the first postmodern one.

    Dave says: "Just superb"
  • "Uneven and inevitably badly out of ..."

    Overall

    Anyone that writes a history 'up to the present' knows that their work is likely to start dating quite quickly. If you write on the Middle East then events move on at an even greater pace. There are two things you need to know about this book. One is it really only picks up the story at the start of the 19th century, and gradually goes into more and more detail as we travel through time. The second is the book was clearly written in 1990 as the author mentions the build up of forces following Sadaam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, but makes no mention of the war that followed. Just think what has happened since then. The Gulf War, the second Gulf War, Israel invading Lebanon, Iranian threats on nuclear weapons, some self determination for Palestine, the Arab Spring and so on. So much has happened in the last 21 years that this book inevitably leaves the story only half told, and the final chapter, pondering what the 1990s might hold, is naturally redundant to say the least.

    Given a book this age that criticism is inevitable, but aside from that this is quite an interesting tale which reveals much of the complexity of inter-arab relations as well as the more obvious problems of the region. The reader never puts a foot wrong but his delivery is not particularly inspiring. Also the quality of the recording can vary, with the sound suddenly becoming a fair bit quieter for a while, then louder again, or the quality of the acoustics change. This is a minor point, but a bit off-putting.

    If you are considering downloading this book then clearly you have an interest in the subject, and this book will satisfy that interest, if somewhat dryly. Despite its faults it did the job and I do not begruidge the time I spent listening to it.

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    A History of the Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Peter Mansfield
    • Narrated By Richard Brown
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In this masterly work of synthesis, Peter Mansfield, drawing on his experience as a journalist and a historian, explores two centuries of history in the Middle East. He forms a picture of the historical, political, and social history of the meeting point of Occident and Orient, from Bonaparte's marauding invasion of Egypt to the start of the Gulf War. For more than four thousand years, the Middle East has provided a setting for titanic struggles between great civilizations and religions. In this century it became the focus of rivalry between the European powers as the last major Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks crumbled and collapsed. The discovery of the world's greatest oil reserves gave the region global economic importance as well as a unique strategic value. The foundation of a national state by immigrant Zionist Jews created one of the most insoluble political problems of our era, which is compounded by the reassertion of Islamic consciousness among the great majority of the region's inhabitants. In two penetrating final chapters, Peter Mansfield discusses Saddam Hussein and the prospects for the future.

    Dave says: "Uneven and inevitably badly out of date"
  1. Rubicon: The Triumph and ...
  2. A Savage War of Peace: Al...
  3. A History of the Middle East
  4. .

A fascinating insight into World War I

A Great Introduction To The Great War

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    • By Andrew Marr
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    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
    • Narrated By Richard Burnip
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    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
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    • By Christopher D. Kolenda
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UNABRIDGED) by Peter Harmsen Narrated by George Backman
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    Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Peter Harmsen
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    Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jo Becker
    • Narrated By Jamie Leonhart
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    NPR American Chronicles: World War I

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By NPR
    • Narrated By Rachel Martin
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    Famously referred to by US president Woodrow Wilson as "the war to end all wars", the First World War eclipsed all previous wars with its scale of destruction. With over 27 nations involved, the battle-field horrors and political outcomes of the first truly global military conflict had repercussions that are still felt today. NPR presents a vivid portrait of what most experts consider the first modern war, including profiles of America's flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, unlikely savior of war-torn Belgium Herbert Hoover, and the last surviving doughboy Frank Buckles.

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UNABRIDGED) by Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt Narrated by Glenn Hascall
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    The Death of Stonewall Jackson

    • UNABRIDGED (9 mins)
    • By Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    The Civil War made enemies of friends, exacted vengeance for a cause, and aligned commitment and ideology over personal perspective. In this historic audiobook we learn about the fervent passion with which Stonewall Jackson assumed his role. We are witness to friendly fire that took his life. More than that we are witness to a man of conviction in the face of imposing odds. A historical event co-written by President Teddy Roosevelt and narrated by Glenn Hascall.

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UNABRIDGED) by Susan Burch, Hannah Joyner Narrated by Corey Johnson
    Play Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson

    Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Susan Burch, Hannah Joyner
    • Narrated By Corey Johnson
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    Junius Wilson (1908-2001) spent 76 years at a state mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, including 6 in the criminal ward. He had never been declared insane by a medical professional or found guilty of any criminal charge. But he was deaf and black in the Jim Crow South. Unspeakable is the story of his life.

  • The Battle of Trenton (






UNABRIDGED) by Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt Narrated by Glenn Hascall
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    The Battle of Trenton

    • UNABRIDGED (10 mins)
    • By Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    George Washington was leading a ragged group of soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Odds were not favorable and Washington's generals were not cooperative. In the cold nights leading to Christmas, Washington willingly fought with his own troops to do what should not have been possible. Had Washington not been willing to lead there may have come a day when America would be free of England, but many believe without his leadership this war would have been lost and freedom delayed.

  • Remember the Alamo (






UNABRIDGED) by Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt Narrated by Glenn Hascall
    Play Remember the Alamo

    Remember the Alamo

    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    Facing incredible odds is a common theme in American history. In his case the entire loss at the Alamo brought about an troop that fought and won a victory of troops from Mexico. Meet many famous men, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston. A historical event co-written by President Teddy Roosevelt and narrated by Glenn Hascall.

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  • Beyond Shangri-La: America and Tibet's Move into the Twenty-First Century: American Encounters/Global Interactions (






UNABRIDGED) by John Kenneth Knaus Narrated by Steve Berner
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    Beyond Shangri-La: America and Tibet's Move into the Twenty-First Century: American Encounters/Global Interactions

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By John Kenneth Knaus
    • Narrated By Steve Berner
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    Beyond Shangri-La chronicles relations between the Tibetans and the United States since 1908, when a Dalai Lama first met with U.S. representatives. What was initially a distant alliance became more intimate and entangled in the late 1950s, when the Tibetan people launched an armed resistance movement against the Chinese occupiers. The Tibetans fought to oust the Chinese and to maintain the presence of the current Dalai Lama and his direction of their country.

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