It may be a reflection of our own unsettled times that so many recent audiobooks have featured rogues, pirates, swindlers, and other unprincipled figures in American history. Jay Gould, the most predatory of the notorious robber barons who flourished after the Civil War, raided railroads and built his fortune on ruthless stock market practices--many illegal today, others not.... Read More
Narrating his remarkable history of Lincoln's transformation of the Constitution before and during the Civil War, Noah Feldman sounds like a diligent and accomplished scholar. With his strong voice and clear enunciation, the Harvard Law professor emphasizes important points with vocal intensity that serves his writing well. Feldman says Lincoln took actions that broke the... Read More
Narrating this deeply researched account of early-twentieth-century musicians and organized crime, JD Jackson's engagement gives his performance a "you-are-there" quality that is absolutely infectious. The swagger in his masculine voice sounds at home in the nightclubs and vice districts the author describes, but it's an understated swagger that doesn't seek attention as much... Read More
Emma Gregory's rich, magisterial voice has made her a popular narrator for many fictional melodramas, sagas, epic fantasies, and conspiracy tales. Here those elements combine as she recounts one tumultuous century in British history. Gregory is a commanding and expansive presence as she oversees the clash of armies and the fall of kings and governments. British history is seen... Read More
At 15 hours, this fine audiobook history of the West's role in shaping Middle Eastern politics--and more importantly, its geography--takes a fresh look at some familiar names, including T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, and Woodrow Wilson. Derek Perkins is, as always, a flawless narrator, and few could equal the range of skills required here. Many threads come together in this... Read More
This well-researched and very listenable history of Spain is a solid choice for students, travelers, and anyone else with an interest in that most colorful and ravishing of lands. Luis Soto's elegant narration is history as it should be heard--roiling and melodic. The Spanish names are rendered with grace and precision, the shabbier elements of Spain's history--the Inquisition,... Read More
This hour-by-hour reconstruction of a single historical day gathers force and immediacy with Sasha Higgins's passionate delivery. On July 28, 1794, a spontaneous uprising overthrew Maximilien Robespierre, the French Revolution's most radical leader, and the next day he followed so many of his opponents to the guillotine. Thus ended the Revolution. This momentous day becomes a... Read More
This audiobook is based on a popular BBC podcast with the same title. It's not an audio edit of that program but, rather, a rewrite and re-recording of some of the show's noteworthy case studies. Antonia Bath provides a you-are-there narration as the audiobook lurches through the centuries, digging through archival reports of delusional behavior. With her clipped British... Read More
Julian Elfer's pleasant British-accented voice and smooth delivery lend themselves to easy absorption of the fascinating story. A British deserter in 1820s India wanders improbably to Afghanistan, obsessed with finding lost cities founded by Alexander the Great. Part of Elfer's talent is to shift his tone subtly to fit the text. Describing foolhardy absurdities early on, he... Read More
"Listeners, beware. There are very few happy endings in store," our narrator warns in his introduction to this history of medieval English royals who never made it to the throne. It's a colorful but bloody series of tales. Roger Clark's powerful, richly enunciated narration would in bygone centuries have distinguished him as a bard or court chronicler--and he serves that... Read More
Mack Sanderson's timbre is reminiscent of the classic broadcasters' voices--mellow and richly masculine, with a pleasing rumble in the lower registers. As the author recounts how cutting-edge modern art came to America, Sanderson's voice glides over behind-the-scenes narrative that features many familiar and many more unfamiliar names. Picasso and other modernists were slow to... Read More
Robin Siegerman gives a most winsome narration of this historical overview of the Soviet Union. Fitzpatrick covers the history from before the Revolution of 1917 through civil war, collectivization, forced industrialization, the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, and many other, often traumatic, occurrences and eras through the Russia of today. As a student in the U.S.S.R. in the... Read More
It's really a pity that Paul Craddock's wide-ranging jaunt through the twisty medical history of transplant surgery isn't matched by a skilled narrator. Craddock's gentle English voice is appealing, but his pacing is stilted and awkward, and it's all too slow. He delves into the personalities, quacks, and science of skin, blood, tooth, kidney, and lung transplants. It can be a... Read More
Christopher Brown delivers a straightforward narration of this audiobook, which is subtitled "A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University." The story features Jane Stanford, a most eccentric woman who was cofounder of Stanford University (1885) with her husband and who steered the institution after his death in 1893. Jane Stanford was murdered in... Read More
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