While not a professional historian, the author of this lively audiobook offers pitch-perfect anecdotes and insights on the eight presidents who inherited the position from their elected predecessors. Award-winning narrator Arthur Morey keeps the pace up throughout, and when sharing particularly remarkable stories--Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech directly following an attempt on... 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
Narrator John Sessions's adept vocal skills are well employed in this account of the various missteps, miscalculations, and willful blindness of the British government and its people in handling the rise of Hitler from 1933 to the evacuation of Dunkirk. Sessions's voice moves at a deliberate pace that is easy to follow, and he usually affects a distinct voice for quotes--with a... Read More
Pete Cross offers a solid, easy-to-follow narration of this work about dinosaurs, museums, and American exceptionalism. His even tone carries the text well. He varies it effectively to point out irony and humor. During America's Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early 1900s, individual excess among industrialists was common. This phenomenon spread to fossil hunting and display.... 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
Derek Perkins narrates this engrossing audiobook on French cuisine with style, sass, and a sense of irony. His decidedly English accent and diction work well with the stories of French food and provide a kind of middle road through the culinary love-hate relationship between France and the U.S. The authors, a husband-and-wife team, are American and French. Stories of France's... 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
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
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
Narrator James Thomas's baritone is a good fit for this account of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in American military history. Rather than a mere recounting of the battle, Martin weaves in Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation while also bringing to the listener the president's grief over the death of his son Willie earlier in the year, as well as details... Read More
Patrick Lawlor's blends wry humor with a "gee whiz" tone as he narrates Wright's twisted love letter to his adopted state. It's full of interesting stories, such as the start of auto racing on the sands of Daytona Beach and NASA's lunar missions at Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy). Lawlor rattles off facts with ease when Wright talks about black bears' proliferation or the... 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
This audiobook provides insight into yet another group of unknown heroes of WWII, the soldiers on four Allied ships who braved the Arctic to deliver supplies needed by their fellow troops. Arthur Morey's performance complements the author's detailed description of how these soldiers accomplished their mission. Like a newsreel broadcaster, Morey's presentation is well paced. But... Read More
Narrator David Shih does a remarkable job with this audiobook about the contributions of Chinese immigrants in the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad. His deep, gentle voice is inviting, and he urges us to keep listening by pacing himself well and enunciating clearly. Shih gives Chang's story depth and heft by accentuating the trials these workers were forced to... Read More
Daniel Okrent narrates his extensively researched work on the history of eugenics in the United States, illuminating a largely forgotten dark chapter of American history. Given the abundance of detail, Okrent's comfortably relaxed pace is beneficial as he thoroughly describes the birth of the American eugenics movement and its key figures. Okrent chronicles the movement's... Read More
Listen closely and you can discern what makes Gabra Zackman such an accomplished audiobook narrator. Historian Hoganson uses her adopted home of Champaign, Illinois, to make her case that the Midwest has had a long historic relationship with the needs of foreign powers--especially Britain. From land ownership to hog species, the author shows just how important these needs were... Read More
Writer-narrator John Norwich brings a personal touch and a lifetime of experience to this breezy popular history of France from Roman times to the end of WWII. His voice, while aged, is pleasing and listenable. His narration is effortlessly clear, expressive, and well paced. His general manner is that of a cultured man of intelligence and learning who is indulging himself in a... 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
This excellent audio production of Seward's popular overview delivers all the drama and pageantry of the Hundred Years War (Britain versus France, 1337-1453). Nigel Patterson is a particularly apt narrator. His firm pacing, confident diction, and unaffected delivery reflect Seward's lucid and unsparing narrative in which kings and potentates receive the same frank assessment as... Read More
With her warm voice and inquisitive tone, narrator Charlotte Strevens brings listeners back to the difficult early days of the American Colonies. In 1621, 56 young women set sail from England to Jamestown, Virginia. They had been sent by the Virginia Company of London after it was ascertained that each came from a respectable family and had good references. The women did not... Read More
Listeners are transported back to the 1960s by Heath Hardage Lee and her painstaking research. She narrates the incredible true story of a group of military wives whose advocacy gained their husbands' freedom after they had been taken prisoner during the Vietnam War. Lee takes on the role of interpreter as she explains the strict gender roles at play in American society in the... Read More
Narrator Susan Duerden smoothly paces this thousand-year history of scholarly ideas that were lost and then rediscovered. The plethora of historical figures and intellectual works, especially from the medieval Arab world, at once sets this audiobook apart and makes it maddening. It unfolds a history of ideas from 500 to 1500, with attention to Muslim scientific achievements... Read More
Jennifer Dixon narrates this audiobook on the life of twelfth-century Empress Matilda in an expressive and engaged tone that transport listeners to an earlier time. As the only legitimate daughter of Henry I, ruler of England and Normandy, and the widow of Henry V, ruler of the Romans, Empress Matilda played an important role in political affairs--both in her own right, and... Read More
Jacques Roy's nuanced performance of Higginbotham's harrowing audiobook keeps listeners deeply engaged. In 1986, the Russian nuclear plant at Chernobyl failed. The result was a disaster of a global scale, with the details surrounding the event unclear until now. Many characters are involved up and down the chain of command--from the technical staff at the plant all the way up... Read More
Listeners may find themselves checking for symptoms as they explore this well-researched volume detailing efforts to identify and eradicate better known and more obscure pandemics of the twentieth century, including Spanish influenza, parrot fever, AIDS and ebola. John Lee's narration appreciably enhances this illuminating audiobook. His steady voice, careful pacing, and... Read More
What's a pirate? What's a privateer? Narrator Jonathan Cowley draws fine lines with his voice as author Angus Konstam makes such distinctions. Listeners likely won't retain all the historical details, even if they remember the precise terms for famous figures like Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan. After all, the first known pirates were in the fourteenth century B.C., and... Read More
Narrator Jefferson Mays delivers something between a conspiratorial and a conversational tone in his impeccable performance of this revelatory story. He seems to delight in the machinations that are part of The Plaza hotel's decidedly checkered history. Mays subtly evokes the crowded cast of guests--from the fictional Eloise to the Beatles--and owners--from Harry Black and... Read More
Narrator Donald Corren does a masterful job reading this audiobook. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that if states wanted to segregate African-Americans from whites, then it was constitutional for them to do so. That the case made few ripples at the time speaks volumes about the country at the turn of the twentieth century. Its legacy, though, was dramatic. Corren's tone has... Read More
This audiobook examining the life of Servilia, mother of Marcus Junius Brutus, is written by a classics scholar. As such, it poses challenges for listeners. First, the scope is fairly broad, covering dozens of lesser-known Romans whose names may be unfamiliar to a general audience. Second, despite much interesting data on the lives of Servilia, her relations, and the times in... Read More
Benjamin Fife narrates the true story of refugees from all corners of the world who have found themselves in Denver, Colorado. Because the characters of this audiobook come from countries that are disparate and have unique accents, Fife makes the smart choice to temper his delivery of the exposition. He reads it plainly, slowly, and clearly so that when he cuts to a Bhutanese... Read More
With minimal emotional inflection, Paul Heitsch narrates this account of the fire that led to the rise of the gay liberation movement. On June 24, 1973, 31 men and one woman perished in an arson fire at The Up Stairs Lounge, a New Orleans bar. It was the worst attack against gays until 2016. Time and again, descriptions of the dead, dying, and burned are juxtaposed with news... Read More
Narrator Henry Strozier does a fine job bringing focus and balance to a difficult and uneven text. Diamond (GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL; COLLAPSE) is a bold and provocative historian, and his critique of how nations meet crisis offers a singular set of examples that include Finland, Chile, Japan (twice), Germany, and Indonesia, as well as the present U.S. Speaking from experience... 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
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