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If you could sum up Monsoon in three words, what would they be?
A frustrating listen. This book just doesn't cut it without visuals--which makes this a frustrating listen. The listener constantly is thinking that it would be great to look at a map or illustration to aid in visualizing the author's explanation. This is particularly true in the opening sections when the topics are about voyages, seasonal weather patterns, geographic features, etc. In his own words, "... a map of these seas is central to a historical understanding ..."It is possible that someone who really knows the geography of this region would do fine without the visuals, but somehow I don't think that makes up a large share of the possible readers. Sure it is possible to consult a few maps while reading the book, but that doesn't work well for me since I listen on my bike commute. Instead of moving this book into audible, the book should be featured as an ipad or other book that could take advantage of maps, illustrations, photos, etc. As to the content of the narrative, I found it a reasonable slice of the world to include in a single book, and the author has significant insight and has done a good job of making this into a sweep of history in a way that informs the current situation. So it is still worth the listen, particularly as some of the content covers nations and political movements that are not common topics in the Economist or other news sources.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
The sections when the author talks about the history of specific rulers and nations, the solid research and narrative work well.
Have you listened to any of John Pruden’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Pruden is an ideal narrator as his voice has expression but never gets in the way of the material.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is a comprehensive look at the past, present and future of the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean and its political, geographical, and economical importance to world order. Kaplan has researched heavily and shares his insights fully. As third world countries begin to raise themselves economically in status, old political balances begin to shift. It is not a book you take to bed with you. In fact the only way for me to stay engaged was to keep maps on hand for my own reference.