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G Douglas Whistler

  • 18
  • reviews
  • 60
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • Brave New World

  • By: Aldous Huxley
  • Narrated by: Michael York
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,804
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,804

On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A. F. (After Ford, the deity).

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Marred by narration

  • By George on 06-08-11

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 18-03-19

A fascinating, well-told story, thoughtfully predictive & yet speaking so fully in the voice of its time. Brilliant. And, faultlessly read, with drama & profundity.

  • Like a Thief in Broad Daylight

  • Power in the Era of Post-Humanity
  • By: Slavoj Žižek
  • Narrated by: Jamie East
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

In recent years, techno-scientific progress has started to utterly transform our world - changing it almost beyond recognition. In this extraordinary new audiobook, renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek turns to look at the brave new world of Big Tech, revealing how, with each new wave of innovation, we find ourselves moving closer and closer to a bizarrely literal realisation of Marx's prediction that 'all that is solid melts into air'. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just about to dive back in...

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-01-19

Excellent text, sub-par performance

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

Reviewed: 14-02-19

An excellent, complex, thought-provoking, universalising book which I'd recommend to anyone willing to concentrate to what's being said. - This performance of it was not good, though: The reader, although having a pleasant enough voice, struggled with pronunciation of all the non-English words & names, & mis-spoke a number of the English words too. In addition, he spoke very quickly, often even stumbling towards the end of a sentence, & with no change in tone between quoted passages & the author's own writings, unnecessarily confusing the interpretation of it.

  • Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems

  • By: The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Professor Edward F. Stuart PhD
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

Ever since we produced our course Thinking About Capitalism, customers have expressed interest in a follow-up course that could help them understand socialism in the same way. After much consideration, we determined that it actually would be more beneficial to create a course that compares and contrasts the two major global economic theories, examining them in ways that move past the polemics many of us are used to and looking at these systems as they relate to one another and the world at large.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A history of why capitalism was best all along!

  • By G Douglas Whistler on 07-12-18

A history of why capitalism was best all along!

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

Reviewed: 07-12-18

This lecture series is a basic introduction to the various, specific, real-world political-economic systems employed in Europe, Asia, & the United States in the twentieth century.  It is not very ambitious in terms of looking further than the global North, & it does not address intended, imagined, or ideal poltical economic systems.  These lectures are a twentieth-century economic history course, not a comparative economics course.

The lecturer is a US-American, whose pro-market, consumer-focussed stance is unwavering, & whose willingness to tie the value of (non-free market) economic systems to the personal & political failings of their proponents is highly ideological & reductionist.  In addition, he has a frustrating habit of expending a lot of time on tangentially-relevant personal anecdotes rather than the subject of his lectures.  His personal pride, sexism, obsession with the national origins of individuals, interest in the 'national' characteristics of economics, & (in one instance) open racism (he justified US slavery on the grounds of Africans' better tolerance to labouring under a hot sun!) made parts of the course particularly difficult.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

  • By: Karl Marx
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

Widely debated since its publication in 1848, The Communist Manifesto is one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Presenting an analytical approach to the problems of capitalism and the resulting class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the text lays out the rationale and goals of communism as conceived by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent selection - not excellently read

  • By G Douglas Whistler on 07-09-18

An excellent selection - not excellently read

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

This is a very good introduction to the writings & opinions of Marx for the student of political economy or history, showcasing some of his most famous & pithiest short works. The performance, unfortunately, does not live up to the text: McLaren gives very little intonation & emphasis where one would expect it & runs long nineteenth-century sentences & paragraphs into one another so as to make opaque their sense. In addition, his pronunciation of non-English words is inconsistent, often resulting in that what word he's pronouncing is difficult to ascertain.

  • The Wealth of Nations

  • By: Adam Smith
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 36 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

The foundation for all modern economic thought and political economy, The Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of Scottish economist Adam Smith, who introduces the world to the very idea of economics and capitalism in the modern sense of the words.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but pace yourself

  • By Anonymous User on 06-07-17

Important, but dull

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

Reviewed: 08-08-18

Very well read, by a clear- & well-intoned reader, & putting forward economically foundational & politically intriguing positions (which inform a historical & contemporary understanding of Western poltical-economy), I found this book, nonetheless, quite dull - which is a pity. In part, this perceived flaw is a result of the format - audiobooks being less well-equipped to engagingly & comparatively present statistical & numerical data than the printed page -, but it should also be born in mind that I finished it, an event unlikely (I should imagine) if I were to attempt to read the printed text. I'm thinking of this as an 'important' book, but which I hope never to read (or hear read) again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Metamorphoses

  • By: Ovid
  • Narrated by: David Horovitch
  • Length: 17 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

The Metamorphoses by Publius Ovidius Naso (43 B.C. - A.D. 17) has, over the centuries, been the most popular and influential work from our classical tradition. This extraordinary collection of some 250 Greek and Roman myths and folk tales has always been a popular favorite, and has decisively shaped western art and literature from the moment it was completed in A.D. 8. The stories are particularly vivid when read by David Horovitch, in this new lively verse translation by Ian Johnston.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not at all what I was expecting.

  • By Tifrap on 30-04-17

Superb!

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

Reviewed: 23-11-17

An excellent performance in a beautiful voice, spoken with clarity, enthusiasm, & requisit grandeur.

Metamorphoses itself is a cornucopia of stories & myths brought together in the time of Augustus to entertain, enrapture, provoke, explore, & inform listeners, in beautiful verse, using the framework of a history of the world & a recurrent theme of transformations (normally of humans to animals or plants). It is rambling, in one sense, being one long narrative, undivided in any meaningful ways; it is epic in another, tackling issues of great importance & even philosophical positions alongside telling well-known or patently metaphorical tales. Fascinating.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Napoleon the Great

  • By: Andrew Roberts
  • Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Length: 37 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 610
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 610

Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives. In the space of just 20 years, from October 1795, when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the (horribly mismanaged) battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe. After seizing power in a coup d'état, he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the revolution had descended.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A brilliant history

  • By Simon on 20-08-15

Brilliant succinct biography

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

Reviewed: 27-04-17

A brilliant biography, covering Napoleon's whole lifespan, including events in his personal life, his governmental decisions & initiatives, & (especially) his military actions, sprinkled throughout with Napoleon's own testimony, & those of his colleagues, fellows, family, & lovers, taken, primarily, from his letters. Highly recommended as a introduction to this great figure, & as a military & (later) legislative history of the French Revolution & First Empire.

The performance was very good, with few noticeable errors. Thorne is, however, slightly inconsistent with his pronunciation of words (sometimes giving international & sometime British variants of the same words), & his French is occassionally a little too lispy to be fully intelligible - I didn't notice many outright mistakes, but throughout he employs a slightly impenetrable accent.

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 cover art
  • Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

  • By: Tony Judt
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 43 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 226

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world’s most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through 34 nations and 60 years of political and cultural change—all in one integrated, enthralling narrative.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A stunning piece of synthesis

  • By Judy Corstjens on 19-08-14

Excellent text, perfectly read

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

Reviewed: 08-04-17

Judt's is a magisterial study of the social, political, and ideological fallout of the European wars which came to an end in 1945.  Quite self-conscious of the fact, his historical mode is tragedy; he is moved most by human suffering. But his book includes detailed accounts of such varied additional topics as TV viewership, car ownership, voter turnout, average lifespans, party election results, governmental departments expenditure percentages, relative military capabilities, literary output, philosophical development, and food rationing.  He is at pains (especially in the first two parts) to discuss all European countries equally, and, where he discusses specific processes or trends, he patiently does so for each relevant state or region in turn.  He slips from this careful egality later in the book, though.

His political views are quite transparent: he is a capitalist European centrist, who, interestingly, shows no particular preference for democratic politics (in the UK/US model), apparently favouring the benevolent and decisive cabinet-government models of Blair, Mitterrand, and (less benevolent, more autocratic, but still presented as admirably determined) Thatcher.  He has no interest in praising any aspects of the Soviet bloc, since, for him, civil liberties and freedom from state repression are paramount; - thus, he is actually only critical of the "weak" and "indecisive"  Gorbachev, whom we might expect to solicit respect.  On a related if somewhat more trivial note, he is violently opposed to Modern architecture; this bias skews some of his arguments, so that some of the apparently intolerable awfulness of Eastern European life in the 1970s and '80s is actually little more than aesthetic.  The text is also, reflecting Judt's personal and professional specialties, very Anglo-French-normative; in fact, even Britain is treated as less familiar than France.  As such, unfortunately, we thus get more on the French internal dialogue than the equally significant British, let alone German.  Also, certain states do not fit well in Judt's chosen narrative: Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus are largely excluded, and I don't recall Iceland being mentioned at all!

The text was published in 2005, and suffers for that: Judt's dogged interest in the "ever-closer union" clause of the EU's arrangements is short-sighted given its long periods of legislative stagnation, the obvious resistance of its populations to that aspect, and in light of its recent moves to fragmentation.  Furthermore, while he does make efforts to discuss the traditionally underrepresented and minorities, his efforts are often slightly patronising and, in the case of his discussions of the actions of women, sexual assaults, and non-hetro-sexualities, normally undermining.  In his early discussion of the Red Army's violence en route to Berlin in 1945, for instance, he feels a need to explain (justify?) the thousands of rapes committed on women by the advancing USSR soldiers, while offering no "explaination" for other hideous crimes.

The narration is near faultless.  Cosham's voice is perfect for this text, and his easy pronunciation of names, words, and whole passages in many European languages is excellent.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • All Things Made New

  • The Reformation and Its Legacy
  • By: Diarmaid MacCulloch
  • Narrated by: Neil Scott-Barbour
  • Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good book, dreadful reader

  • By a m wrightson on 07-03-18

Varied essay collection

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

Reviewed: 16-03-17

This is a very interesting & varied collection of essays on (principally) the English Reformation, in accessible & entertaining language, as one would expect from MacCulloch.

The narrator has a kind, authoritative voice, though is somewhat inconsistent in his pronunciation, especially of non-English words.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • From Bacteria to Bach and Back

  • The Evolution of Minds
  • By: Daniel C. Dennett
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 82

What is human consciousness, and how is it possible? This question fascinates thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is Daniel C. Dennett's brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains, and human culture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent Dennett exploration

  • By G Douglas Whistler on 12-03-17

An excellent Dennett exploration

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

Reviewed: 12-03-17

This brilliant exploration through many fields of investigation is another triumph for one of the deepest thinking philosophers of our times. His style, as always, is accessible, clear, jovial, and entertaining, while his conclusions and food for thought are fascinating and convincing. An excellent new book, which invaluably updates, reexplains, and delves deeper into ideas with which listeners may already be familiar through his "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", "Consciousness Explained", "Freedom Evolves", and "Breaking the Spell".

The performance in this version is very strong; Perkins' voice and tone suit Dennett's style well, and he is to be praised for dealing well with Dennett's occasionally idiosyncratic sentence structure and use of grammatical syntax. There are several pronunciation mistakes, but nothing to distract from the text.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful