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I've read a number of non-fiction narratives. This one is very average. The subject matter is difficult to get very excited about. It may be the abridgement that has detracted from the work of the author. Many times it is the side stories and facts that I find most fascinating. Those stories are not in this recording. It is like the difference between a newspaper account and being at an event. I picked up a copy of the book at work one day and started reading through it. All of the little stories I found enlightening were left out of the abridged version. This book does a good job of dealing with the primary storyline involving the measurement of the earth to determine the size of the meter. Beyond that, I found the narrative not very interesting.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
This is pretty high level history of science, linking significant changes in scientific practice with other historical changes. Alder argues that the transition to standardized metric measures in revolutionary France was largely driven by enlightenment and revolutionary politics. The book is well written and argued. It's accessible but based on the author's academic scholarship.
The audiobook reader would have been excellent if only he had not assumed a totally ridiculous fake French accent for quotations. The accent is a distracting joke. Think of Inspector Clouseau or John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Funny in those movies, yes, but only irritating here. Terrible decision that harmed an otherwise fine reading performance.