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Carl

United Kingdom
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  • Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia

  • By: Alexis Q. Castor, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Alexis Q. Castor
  • Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

All cultures lie in the shadow of ancient Mesopotamia-the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that is now mostly encompassed by the borders of modern Iraq. In this fascinating series of 36 lectures, an award-winning teacher leads you on a vivid journey through Mesopotamian history-from Neolithic times to the age of Alexander the Great.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Comprehensive, Intelligent but incomplete

  • By Alex on 15-07-14

Not good.

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

Reviewed: 24-02-14

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who can't think should enjoy this.

Has Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia put you off other books in this genre?

No, just from "Great Courses".

What didn’t you like about Professor Alexis Q. Castor’s performance?

Everything. She talks like she doesn't understand the subject.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Rage. She attempts to persuade us that irrigation is a bad thing.

Any additional comments?

The facts are broadly correct, but this woman has this weird agenda where she seems to be against the important facts of history and wants to focus on "what women did" and has a particular fetish for the wonders of hunter-gathering despite the "high infant mortality rates" and has a serious aversion to "work". Avoid if you're interested in serious history, or thinking.

3 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Flame of Islam

  • By: Harold Lamb
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

A history of the Crusades. Out of the chaos of Muslim tribal warfare and regional animosity arose a military genius such as Islam had never known: Saladin. Uniting the sultanates of Cairo and Damascus, Saladin created a single powerful state. Luring the crusaders into an ill-considered confrontation, he destroyed their army at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, leaving the few remaining crusaders clinging perilously to a series of towns and forts along the Levantine coast. Into this desperate situation stepped the most formidable warrior of the age, Richard the Lion-Hearted.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • History delivered like a Tolkein novel

  • By Portia on 27-01-14

Absolutely amazing

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

Reviewed: 03-10-13

Any additional comments?

I haven't even finished it yet, but I thoroughly recommend it. It really is a thrilling journey through Saladin's capture of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade.

I had never really understood just how fearsome Richard the Lionheart was, but the book is packed with Muslim accounts of the Crusaders and the king in action, and Frankly (pun intended), it is one of the most awe-inspiring and thrilling reads I've had the pleasure of enjoying.

The account of the Battle of Jaffa is particularly excellent, with the description of how Richard and 15 mounted men carved through the hordes of Muslim cavalry, with Richard himself being a figure of such martial terror to the Muslims that, despite outnumbering him and his retinue by several orders of magnitude, they were too afraid of him to dare approach, sitting still in their saddles as Saladin repeatedly ordered them to engage.

Lamb's writing is first-class, like all his work, and he gives a full and fair account from both sides - Saladin and his brother are both brilliantly represented and it is easy to sympathise with Saladin and respect his iron will. I've yet to encounter a dull section or one that does not do justice to the events portrayed.

It is narrated by Charlton Griffin, and he has the perfect voice for the material, deep, commanding and measured.

Fully recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 16,695
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,719
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 15,691

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exhilarating adventure. Brilliantly executed.

  • By Kaggy on 30-08-14

Great book, definitely worth the read

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

Reviewed: 01-07-13

Any additional comments?

Was really enjoyable, the log entries were a very compelling format for most of the story, the characters were entertaining and engaging, especially Watney. Really exciting end too. Thoroughly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful