David Strathairn gives an excellent narration of this fascinating and insightful look at how war affects the psyches of men. The author looks closely at Homer's ILIAD, and, to a lesser extent, at other accounts of men in battle. Drawing on his own experience of counseling combat veterans of the Vietnam War, Shay compares instances of grief, betrayal, and "going berserk," among... Read More
Narrator Stephen Graybill's assured performance captures the author's focus on the space race and its part in the social and political complexities of the Cold War era. As the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, American historian Douglas Brinkley celebrates the Kennedy administration's role in the nascent aerospace industry. Listeners gain renewed... Read More
Narrator Suzanne Toren employs her considerable vocal talent to help listeners view America's history through the lens of the female Jewish experience. The work begins in 1654 with the first arrivals and spans more than 350 years. Toren's steady voice and empathetic tone, clear diction, and comfortable pacing engage listeners with this survey of the personal stories of... Read More
This audiobook tells the outrageous story of a dramatic heist and, at the same time, describes the nation of Australia in the latter part of the nineteenth century. In June 1862, a gang of robbers pulled off Australia's most daring crime, absconding with 77 kilograms of gold, worth about $10 million today. Peter Hosking's performance is complicated. On the one hand, his... Read More
Narrator Grover Gardner takes listeners through the buildup and events of the greatest Allied air operation of WWII--which most people have never heard of. The battle took place in Europe in February 1944. The story swings from technical details about how much fuel a bomber can carry to the tactics of a dogfight. Gardner lives up to the challenge, smoothly moving between a cool... Read More
Imagine the plot of a great thriller: During the Cold War, the U.S. designs a secret plan to detonate nuclear bombs over Russia to nullify Soviet control of outer space. It would be a good one, right? According to this nonfiction audiobook, though, it was an actual plan--Operation Argus. Narrator Jon Lescault tells the true story in a straightforward manner, using his deep,... Read More
Audiobook lovers will take special pleasure in the ease and agility of Richard Trinder's narration of one of this season's most exacting texts. This history of the library assembled by Columbus's "natural" son, Hernando, is being compared to GALILEO'S DAUGHTER and THE SWERVE, and rightly, for opening a seemingly narrow window onto a broad view of an age. The prose is lively and... Read More
Archaeologist Monica L. Smith's passion for the history and importance of cities comes through in her narration of this audiobook. More than half of the world's population resides in cities, and this proportion is expected to grow. The intangibles of city life--the breadth of career opportunities; the plethora of dining, cultural, and entertainment options; and the large and... Read More
Stefan Rudnicki's sober narration of this well-written account conveys an anxiety-filled 12 months in American history. December 1941 through December 1942, the first year the U.S. was part of WWII, was the "darkest year" of that conflict for Americans. Looking closely at the day-to-day lives of Americans on the homefront, Klingaman's work does not flinch from noting the many... Read More
This audiobook recounts the dramatic rescue of Allied Forces at Dunkirk, France, during WWII and explains the history of the evacuation that is dramatized in the recent film. Narrator Jonathan Keeble gives listeners a special treat as he demonstrates his command of Scottish, Welsh, and even German accents to portray the soldiers involved in the fight to stop the German army. He... Read More
Narrator Eric Paulins does a serviceable job with this audiobook, whose central debate is over which symbol we want to best represent our nation--the open frontier or the border wall. He is easy to understand and presents each word flawlessly, using a low-pitched voice with a slightly nasal tone. Paulins also succeeds at putting some emotion behind his narration to push this... Read More
Listeners over 50 will enjoy this review of the major political and cultural changes that have occurred during their lifetime--from the resignation of Nixon to the improbable ascendance of Trump. Narrator Fajer Al-Kaisi is a capable guide who moves the audiobook along at a brisk and confident pace. He plays it straight except for a mischievous imitation of Ronald Reagan, and... Read More
George Newbern does a fantastic job narrating this wonderful dive into a college athletic rivalry set amid the political unrest of the 1960s. It's been more than 50 years since the famed 1968 Harvard-Yale football game, an Ivy League match that caught both schools having great seasons. Newbern narrates with the tone of a storyteller and shapes each sentence with the perfect... Read More
Despite an earnest and effective narration by Neil Shah, this audiobook is a slog. It is long, often turgid, and almost overwhelmed by Hindi quotes that make the work nearly inaccessible. The subtitle--"The Many Pasts of an Indian River"--hints at the audiobook's diversity: It is at once a collection of myths, an exegesis of texts, and a cultural history. Author Sudipta Sen... Read More
The most effective narrators are often those who vanish into their subjects like water into sand. That is especially important for audiobooks that explore some facet of contemporary culture or technology such as quantum physics or, in this case, stock market machinations. Narrator Christopher Grove assigns his phrases and clauses degrees of emphasis, guiding the listener... Read More
Narrator Luis Moreno carries a heavy load here, with more than 17 hours of audio, but he's outstanding. Few Americans think of our country as an empire, and Daniel Immerwahr wants us to understand why. Moreno's expressive voice complements the author's narrative style, which is warm and personal rather than academic. Immerwahr builds a compelling case that the United States has... Read More
People say if you remember the 1960s--you weren't there. Happily, Johnny Heller's narration convinces us that music insider Danny Goldberg remembers very well what Haight-Ashbury and the hippie movement were all about. This audiobook is a combination of Goldberg's personal recollections, studies, and suppositions about the hippie phenomenon. He digs deep into the era and... Read More
There's something tantalizing in narrator Jacques Roy's voice as he delivers a history of the Pan-American Highway, which was intended to link North and South America. To start, the author takes listeners back to the 1800s, when the railroad was just a dream. From there, events unfold in a story of disappointments and shortfalls. Latin-American revolutions and famous people... Read More
Coleen Marlo is an experienced and empathetic narrator. This audiobook history of one beautifully preserved copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the world's first and most valuable printed book, is a capsule study of the peculiar passion that motivates book collectors--what one critic has called "a gentle madness." While the listener discovers that this particular Gutenberg was never... Read More
This well-researched audiobook resembles a thriller with its fast-paced action and multiple cliff-hangers, but it's the biography of a real-life French spy in WWII. The subject of the title, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, led the Alliance, a network of three thousand agents who repeatedly risked their lives gathering intelligence in an effort to rout the Nazis and their Vichy... Read More
Laurence Kennedy brings appropriate vigor and briskness to the narration of Thesiger's classic account of living with Arab tribes in southern Iraq in the 1950s. The account is spare, quick moving, and unsentimental. Kennedy's deep voice, crisp enunciation, and British accent are engaging, and he renders the sense of the text naturally and unaffectedly while imbuing it with... Read More
There's great drama in Watts's history of Rome from the Punic Wars to the fall of the Republic. However, narrator Matthew Kugler tries too hard to convey it, to engage listeners, and to underline the significance of this story with respect to our own time. He starts with the forced drama and the exaggerated emphases of an announcer narrating the trailer for an action thriller.... Read More
This audiobook reminds us that women's suffrage in the U.S. is a relatively recent phenomenon--there are women alive today who were born before women could vote. Narrator Amanda Carlin applies her talents to the history of suffragette Alice Paul and the convoluted battle for female suffrage in the U.S. during the administration of Woodrow Wilson. Carlin's voice brings solemnity... Read More
Narrator Andy Secombe presents this mixture of true crime and literary history set in Victorian England as if he were performing a novel. The story begins with one of the most sensational murders of 1840s England. Lord William Russell was murdered in his bed, his throat slashed so deeply that his head was almost severed from his neck. Secombe does his best to keep things... Read More
While nonfiction, this audiobook is reminiscent of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO. Author and narrator Masha Gessen's essays examine various sites associated with the Stalinist labor camps, called gulags. The print edition includes photos by Misha Friedman. Without the photographs, this audio version is considerably reduced in its effectiveness.... Read More
Corey Snow narrates this true story of an angry tiger on a murderous rampage in the Himalayan foothills. He does so with vigor and excitement, bringing across to listeners the panic of villagers in this region during the early twentieth century. Snow infuses the story, based on actual events, with empathy for the wounded Champawat tiger, as she came to be known. He alternates... Read More
Matthew Lloyd Davies gives a splendid reading of Sir Philip Gibbs's classic narrative of WWI. Gibbs, a journalist and prolific writer with close to 80 titles, was one of five official reporters for the British Army during the war. Most of his published work concerned the Great War, and at least nine have been adapted for the screen. This particular work, which focuses on the... Read More
Those who count the works of David McCullough among their richest listening experiences will welcome what is sure to be one of this year's most popular and lauded audiobooks. As narrator, John Bedford Lloyd possesses many of McCullough's familiar virtues, in particular, a deep-throated calm and a balanced tone free of dogma and bias. Lloyd shows what a skilled narrator can do... Read More
Johnny Heller gives a fine narration of the United States' participation in the Allied attempt to stop the Bolshevik Revolution. When Russia withdrew from fighting the Germans after the Bolsheviks took power, President Wilson dispatched U.S. troops to Northern Russia in the vicinity of Archangelsk and to the Far East around Vladivostok. This account describes the experience of... Read More
Narrator Paul Woodson does a marvelous job with this audiobook. His deep, resonant voice brings to mind nineteenth-century intonations and pronunciations. Narrating at a lively clip, he has a command of the author's intent, pausing and accentuating for effect and to create dramatic tension. What makes Woodson's job a bit easier is that he's narrating history written by one of... Read More
Narrator Matthew Blaney carefully takes listeners through a history of "The Troubles" in Ireland to explain the complicated and tragic murder of Jean McConville. In this period of great turmoil, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought with guerrilla tactics to try to free Northern Ireland from British rule. During this time, a widow with 10 children was taken from her bed and... Read More
Andrea Gallo's steady, authoritative narration suggests reverence for the vast and meticulous research behind this intriguing analysis of life in silence. Listeners are first transported to the bleak world of Philadelphia's infamous Eastern State Penitentiary. While hearing about prisoner mistreatment is sometimes difficult, their isolation from all markers of time and space... Read More
Henry Louis Gates's prose comes across as natural and compelling in Dominic Hoffman's narration. Gates explores how people of color navigated their lives, identity, and culture from the period of Reconstruction to the rise of segregation and the Harlem Renaissance. He draws parallels for listeners to the current rise in white supremacy and its connections with this period in... Read More
This fascinating audiobook tells the story of two British brothers, Charles and John Starr, who were sent to Occupied France to assist the Resistance. Narrator Allan Corduner delivers author Glass's story with precision. Working for a top-secret espionage operation known as the British Special Operations Executive, the brothers laid the groundwork for Winston Churchill's goal... Read More
Ryan narrates his work of LGBTQ history as it played out in Brooklyn over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Those featured include drag kings, a brothel owner, a black lesbian dancer, a transgender man, and others. Ryan's delivery is engaging and, at times, intimate. Exploring the rich but often unrecognized, or even erased, events of Brooklyn's past, he shows how... Read More
Narrator Malcolm Hillgartner deftly navigates his way through this little known piece of history. He recounts the stories of Irish immigrants who fought in the American Civil War and who shortly after invaded Canada for the purpose of using the British province as a pawn in the quest for Irish independence from England. Because of the wide range of characters and nations... Read More
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