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I'm interested in paleoanthropology, and the story of the discovery of the first hominids is a compelling one.
Unfortunately, Ann Gibbons doesn't tell the story all that well. There are a few too many characters in this story, and Gibbons seems to feel like she needs to give a mini-bio for everyone she introduces. This doesn't work because sometimes the profiles are longer than the part in the story the character plays. Very annoying. Gibbons also tries overly hard to bring the reader into the story, i.e. to take the reader there, with some pretty silly examples. This is not great science writing.
However, what's really bad is the narration. Rodman reads the book like she's reading a story to a Kindergarten class, complete with excitement in her voice at all the wrong parts. I would probably be able to recommend this book had the narration been better, but as it was I couldn't wait to finish with it because the reading was so grating.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
Gibbons covers her topic thoroughly and weaves together the complete story so that it keeps the listener's attention throughout. I agree with Michael from Baltimore's review that the tensions among paleanthropologists is one of the fascinating aspects of the whole story.
However, be advised that the narration has problems. This production needed much better editorial oversight. Raudman's peculiar inflections frequently over-emphasize a word, disrupting the flow. She sometimes sounded as though she were reading a children's story. Raudman also mis-pronounces various words: Oligocene (ollie GOH seen?), Poitiers, and many other words throughout. The result for me was that at certain moments, I had to mentally replay sentences in order to repair the author's original meaning. The issue is actually not a problem of having a bad narrator. Rather, it shows that the producers of the audio program did not pay sufficient attention to editorial detail--certainly not to the level warranted by the author's effort to produce an excellent popular science narrative.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful