- helpful votes
Outstanding! Best History and Best Course Ever!
What did you love best about Turning Points in Middle Eastern History?
The lectures tied events, people, places - and in particularly the resulting effects - into things a naive "Westerner" like me could really identify and relate to.
What did you like best about this story?
It's critical history people are rarely taught in school - and it's fascinating as well.
What does Professor Eamonn Gearon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
His diction was incredibly clear and very well paced - which really helped me Google maps after each lecture!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
History will make anyone cry...
Any additional comments?
I own and love many "Great Courses" - but this course is by far my favorite.
Down to Earth and Far Out Too
This book was really entertaining and interesting. I was expecting either an "American Dream Come True" or "Shattered American Dream" account, but this was neither. It was actually a very down to earth account of a more than slightly strange situation.
The author's story meanders through normal situations like awful babysitting jobs to completely crazy situations like being stuck in the middle of an Anti-Shah demonstration in Washington D.C.. She's sincere as she details both the good and bad experieces she and her family experienced here.
I didn't think the reader had the right voice for this book - but she was clear and distinct. And if you're looking for an interesting book on life in America through an Immigrant's eyes that won't leave you completely despondant - this is a great choice.
22 of 26 people found this review helpful
It's not hard to see why this book became an underground hit so quickly. It's witty, outrageous, foriegn and down to earth all at the same time. I found the author's angle extremely refreshing. Instead of taking a pro or con stance on the French, you can tell the author is merely trying to hang on for the ride. Not since "Bridget Jones Diary" - the book, which is far wittier than the movie - has an author's uncensored opinions cracked me up like this.
This book is definately far closer to an "R" rating rather than "PG" - but the author does manage to deftly brag about his exploits while side-stepping the full out explicits. But the highlights are his adventures dealing with what should have been mundane tasks.
Some books are obviously written by people who studied years to become professional writers. You'll quickly ascertain that this book was instead written by a mere mortal with a great wit who has actually slogged through these adventures instead of dreaming them up.
Not Grounbreaking, but not Bad
I found this book more "Supportive" then "Enlightening". Most of the tips were simple common sense, but relevant all the same. And I do have to admit some of the odder suggestions do have merit. For example, I laughed at the "Aroma Therapy" suggestion - but had to admit I found the smell of a hot pizza completely distracting.
I found just remembering that millions of other people have the same problem and the gentle pep talk most helpful. So if you're looking for miracle cures - keep looking. If a few words of encouragement instead of pressure will be a refreshing change - this book may be for you.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I expected this book to be a "Cliff Notes" for the big name Self Help Books, I didn't expect it to be so interesting. Not only are books and people I never expected included (the Bible, Ben Franklin, Marcus Aurelius), the historical perspectives and background into the author's lives made this a very accessable jaunt through the Philosophy of the past few millenium.
The author does give you a pretty good overview of the "Essence" of each book, as well as the points of both the critics and fans of the book. I really apreciated the historical insight - I never realized Dale Carnegy's "How to Make Friends and Influence People" was ground breaking for his time. The biographys of the authors are well done too - I'm not big into Louise Hay's "New Age" healing, but I have to admit I have more respect for her after hearing the things she's overcome in her life.
One of the most thought-provoking points of the book was in the introduction. Yes, it seems like we're swamped with self-help books these days - but the author points out that we're also facing a dizzying array of options and freedom that our ancestors never imagined. There's no shame in taking advantage of as much self-help as we can get...
104 of 108 people found this review helpful
Hemingway without being TOO Hemingway
I honestly didn't read any Hemingway until 20 year after I learned who he was (and that was mostly because of his super-model offspring). But after "Farewell to Arms" I quickly realized how this man drop-kicked a whole new level of intensity into literature.
But this work is nothing like the gut wrenching drama in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" or "The Son also Rises". This collection of memoirs reads more like short stories, and the short stories are even more fascinating because they're based on real people and events. Hemingway's view of the world is still pretty macho - but he's also struggling with money and not sure if he'll ever be a success at this point. He's also not sure if having to rub shoulders with these other soon to be iconoclastic characters is worth his while either. The frank and irreverant observations are even more fun considering our current celebrity obsessed culture.
So if you've thought Hemingway was too heavy for your taste, you still may really enjoy this book. If you enjoy reading first hand accounts of important literary figures, you'll love this book. And if you ever plan to go to Paris, you must hear this book!
34 of 38 people found this review helpful
Good for a few laughs
This audio is good for a few laughs at a good price. I was wondering where the Irish humor would come in, and found out there was actually very little true Irish humor involved. (What does the classic Tim Allen "Power Tools" routine have to do with classic Irish lore???) It's basically some good shorts from comedians with Irish Heritage.
A lot of the clips are old 80's and 90's classics so the humor may seem a bit dated, but it's still generally good stuff. It's also fairly clean by today's standards - I'd rate it a PG (not PG 13) for content and language.
Finally - Rational instead of Judgemental
This book dives into some pretty touchy subjects and some extremely technical and scientific theories - but the author managed to break most of it down into digestable chunks. My grasp of Gnomes and the Big Bang has improved considerably.
But the real beauty of this book is that it's not about judging anyone. The author respectfully points out the strengths and weaknesses of both extreme Atheist and Fundamentalist arguments, and moves past them into the amazing things that science is discovering. The author does devote an entire chapter on his personal journey from atheism to believing in the existance of God, but he also forewarns you and tells you which chapter to pick up on if you want to skip that section. It's simply so refreshing to get such an informative viewpoint without the politics - I'll be buying this book for many people for Christmas this year...
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Why didn't they have this when I was a kid!
I fully expected this to be the typical "young loser end's up saving the day" sports story - but it far surpassed my expectations. Yes, the main character is a loser at school and sports, but his adventures and terrors are hilariously described. And yes, the story peaks at a big softball game - but even there I was caught off-guard with how hysterical the events became.
Henry Winkler is a surprisingly great narrator, and this production will keep kids and adults grinning. There should be an Academy Awards for Mini-Van entertainment so this production could be honored. Anyone who loves sports will love this audio, but any kid (or adult) who dreads sports will love it even more.
Too much fun
I was looking for an audiobook to listen to with my nephews, but after 15 minutes I had to listen to it for myself ahead of time. I've been in tears from laughing too hard more than once.
The story's great, the narration is great, the side jokes for parents are great - this is the funniest kid's audio I've ever heard. Be forewarned there are quite a few queasy references to toads flattened on the highway (the hero keeps his dried, flattened relatives in his room as an homage), slugs, intestines and the neccessity to pee in self-defense - but anyone who's ever been near real toads will appreciate that these biological facts are celebrated in such creative and hilarious detail. I have a feeling this aunt will be getting the entire series....
1 of 1 people found this review helpful