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MR

MR Dublin, Ireland Member Since 2011
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  • "I knew there were bad Popes,but not..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well written and well read . It was an unexpected treat to find that the book takes one through the swirling storm of the history of Europe since Roman times with the Pontifex Maximus at its vortex. This provides an different and fascinating viewpoint.

    I had forgotten the scale of the power and influence the office held ,intertwined with temporal power. I also did not know quite how mad and bad so many of them were. This book does not take a antagonistic stance against the papacy but the careful setting out of the facts reveals an astonishing parade of fools,knaves,lechers,villains and incompetents. This is a rotten barrel of apples with just a few goodish ones in the lot.

    The one problem is,that for a history of this type it would be useful to have the written version to thumb backwards and forwards ,to bookmark and note, because the endless succession of Clements,Alexanders , Piuses and Johns along with Kings and Emperors likewise sharing a small list of names is almost impossible to follow on audio. I had to give up the effort to rewind and recall and often lost the thread. I will probaly buy a print copy for my bookshelves because it would be a superb reference book to dip into.

    Otherwise - the audio is well worth the effort.

    More

    The Popes: A History

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By John Julius Norwich
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (29)

    Well known for his histories of Norman Sicily, Venice, the Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean, John Julius Norwich has now turned his attention to the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter himself - traditionally (though by no means historically) the first pope - to the present Benedict XVI.Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unques­tionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable iniquity.

    R says: "A Stroll through 2,000 Years of European History"
  1. The Popes: A History
  2. .

A Peek at Dave's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
40
 
stevenage, United Kingdom 18 REVIEWS / 20 ratings Member Since 2010 4 Followers / Following 0
 
Dave's greatest hits:
  • A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

    "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.

  • A History of the Middle East

    "Uneven and inevitably badly out of date"

    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.

  • The Popes: A History

    "The Popes - warts and all"

    Overall

    The popes have enbodied some of the best features of mankind, and some of the worst. Their colourful story is at least as entertaining and disgraceful as that of any line of monarchs, and this book tells it all rather well. The author shows no sign of giving the popes more respect than they are due, and for many that is almost no respect at all. Their often sordid story is told with understandably distaste but without sensationalising it or trying to apologise for it. Although a fairly long book it deals with a very long story, and seemed to pace things about right, so when (all too rarely) a pope concerns himself with matters of doctrine and nothing more, the narrative does not go into long tedious discussions of the points in question. In short, this is a very accessible history for the general reader. Michael Jayston as the narrator is brilliant, so of the whole package I can have nothing but praise.

  • Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization

    "Good solid account"

    Overall

    I enjoyed listening to this account of one of the lesser-known civilisations on the ancient world. Naturally the Punic Wars are better known, as is Hannibal's trip across the Alps, but this history covers the whole of Carthage's history, which puts those events into their proper context. The book is well written and covers all aspects of Carthage and her world - not just the fights with Rome. Of course evidence is scarce, but the story that emerges is interesting and well told.

    The narrator reads the text well, and if not the greatest reading in the world then it is certainly plenty good enough and I found it easy to listen to. If you have an interest in Carthage or Republican Rome then this book is recommended.

M. SAUNDERS

M. SAUNDERS FRANCE 13/04/2013

philmaddict

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  • "Indian Summer: The Secret History o..."

    1 of 1 helpful votes

    Covering a vast subject the end of empire in India will interest many people . Its intelligent and scholarly but still entertaining and informative , well read too. Certainly a book worthy of your time and investment.

    More

    Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Alex von Tunzelmann
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (3)

    At midnight on 15 August, 1947, India left the British Empire. This defining moment of world history had been brought about by a handful of people:Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the new nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, despatched to get Britain out of India. Within hours of the midnight chimes, their dreams of freedom and democracy would turn to chaos, bloodshed and war.

    M. SAUNDERS says: "Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an"

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    Story
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    • By Charles Emerson
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    Performance
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    Story
    (13)

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    • By Jonathan Clements
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
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    Performance
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    Story
    (9)

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    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dick Durham
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    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

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    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    • Narrated By Thomas F. Madden
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

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    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs)
    • By Max Hastings
    • Narrated By Barnaby Edwards
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

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    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Christopher Lee
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    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

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    Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Lawrence Wright, Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
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    Story
    (0)

    A gripping day-by-day account of the 1978 Camp David conference, when President Jimmy Carter persuaded Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to sign the first peace treaty in the modern Middle East, one which endures to this day.

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    A Morning in June: Defending Outpost Harry

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James W. Evans
    • Narrated By Matt Armstrong
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The last days of the Korean War saw savage battles for control of important local terrain features, and in the trench warfare of the Chorwon Valley a young U.S. Army lieutenant was assigned to lead an infantry company charged with holding Outpost Harry against a determined Chinese assault. The battle devolved into hand-to-hand combat during a period of constant, intense fighting that lasted two days.

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UNABRIDGED) by Joel M. Hoffman Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross

    The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Joel M. Hoffman
    • Narrated By Jonathan Todd Ross
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In The Bible's Cutting Room Floor, acclaimed author and translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman gives us the stories and other texts that didn't make it into the Bible even though they offer penetrating insight into the Bible and its teachings. The Book of Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve's time in the Garden of Eden, but not their saga after they get kicked out or the lessons they have for us about good and evil.

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    The July/August 2014 Issue of Foreign Affairs: What Really Happened

    • HIGHLIGHTS (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Foreign Affairs
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
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    "What Really Happened in Iran", by Ray Takeyh: Conventional wisdom about the 1953 coup in Iran rests on the myth that the CIA toppled the country's democratically elected prime minister. In reality, the coup was primarily a domestic Iranian affair, and the CIA's impact was ultimately insignificant.

  •  
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UNABRIDGED) by Geoffrey Wawro Narrated by Geoffrey Wawro

    A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Geoffrey Wawro
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Wawro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
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    The Austro-Hungarian army that marched east and south to confront the Russians and Serbs in the opening campaigns of World War I had a glorious past but a pitiful present. Speaking a mystifying array of languages and lugging outdated weapons, the Austrian troops were hopelessly unprepared for the industrialized warfare that would shortly consume Europe.

  • The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity (






UNABRIDGED) by Sandra M. Gilbert Narrated by Suzanne Toren

    The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sandra M. Gilbert
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Focusing on contemporary practices, The Culinary Imagination traces the social, aesthetic, and political history of food from myth to modernity, from ancient sources to our current wave of food mania. What does it mean to transform raw stuff into cooked dishes, which then become part of our own bodies; to savor festive meals yet resolve to renounce gluttony; to act as predators where in another life we might have become prey?

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UNABRIDGED) by Alan Rems Narrated by Michael Prichard

    South Pacific Cauldron: World War II's Great Forgotten Battlegrounds

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Alan Rems
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    Unlike most other World War II accounts, this work covers the South Pacific operations in detail. The audiobook includes many now-forgotten operations that deserve to be well remembered. Significantly, the official Australian history of World War II correctly observed that Australia's part in the Pacific war is barely mentioned in American histories. This volume finally brings the major Australian contribution to the fore.

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