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How did the narrator detract from the book?
The narration in this book is the worst I've heard from Audible. I wish I could get a refund as it makes the book absolutely unlistenable in my opinion. Fawley reads at a snail's pace, with flat monotone, over-enunciated diction and absolutely no emphasis or colour. It is like listening to a text-to-speech computer program, there's so little connection with the text, or sense of pacing or atmosphere. It was bitterly disappointing. I strongly recommend listening to a sample before wasting a credit on it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
If this had been written by one of my undergraduates, I would have given it an "F" and handed it back. While there are a variety of problems, I'll point out only a few that are indicative:
1) Research - the book claims that Constantine the Great made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. He did not - he legalized it. This occurred under Theodosius. That's shoddy research and makes most claims in the book suspect.
2) Logic - Parsons bases his argument on the romanticized view of "empire" in the West (which I think is accurate). However, when discussing the Umayyad Caliphate, he dismisses outright the possibility that modern groups (i.e. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc.) do not have a similarly romanticized view of this Caliphate, even while offering quotes that support a romanticized view. Is it ONLY Westerners who romanticize history and empire? That seems inconsistent to human behavior!
3) Case Selection - Parsons states that his list of selected cases is neither "exhaustive nor definitive." The not-exhaustive part I get. But not definitive? If at least ONE of the cases studied is not a definitive example of empire, in a book about empires, then why were these cases chosen? Further, one wonders about the logic of Parsons' case selection? Why were the Assyrians and Egyptians excluded (the Assyrians, especially, could have supported his thesis)? Similarly the Hittites, Moghuls, or Alexander's brief "empire."
I genuinely wanted to like this book - but it quickly devolved from a thorough academic examination of the excesses of empire to poorly researched revisionist history that favored histrionics over history.
What didn’t you like about Thomas Fawley’s performance?
Some of the pronunciations made my ears hurt!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful