Audiobook reviews- as short as they can get!

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Railways and The Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed IndiaRailways and The Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India by Christian Wolmar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“..in short, the system works..” and the author carries on describing the current Indian Railway and the chaos that surrounds it, and this line could very well feature in anyone who has had a journey on the Indian Railways. Being a fan of the Indian railways, I enjoyed listening to the book. The author lays out the reasoning behind the birth of the railways in India (to necessitate the propagation of the Raj), the people who built and ran the railways, the Indians who feared it, then loved it and went on to use it as a propaganda machine for the freedom movement. Want to know how weddings, litigations and deaths kept the Indian railways going or that a Noble prize nominee and Indian Astrophysicist and his ‘river physics’ influenced the railway construction or want to know the story behind the ‘Lonely Line’ then pick up this book.
The narrator Jonathan Keeble has done an excellent work.
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Napoleon the GreatNapoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This definitely was the longest book in my Audible library, and took a good few months to complete this! But, in the end I could say ‘Napoleon the Great, indeed!’ as the author intended it to be.
I must confess that my knowledge of Napoleon Bonaparte was not beyond what I learn’t at school to start with, but at the end of what seemed to be a complete narrative of Napoleon’s life, I ended with a love-hate relationship with this larger than life character. I swung from him being a role model to dictator to taking pity on him on his later life.
This book is a good listen (apart from the time when you hear the narrator wheezing through some of the lines-must be the cold flu!)
Give it a go.
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A History of the WorldA History of the World by Andrew Marr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Writing a history of the world is a ridiculous thing to do, the amount of information is too vast for any individual to absorb, the reading limitless and the likelihood of error immense,”-as narrated by the author in the introduction chapter. With that word of caution, we can then step into the rest of the chapters narrated by David Timson, taking them in as a casual read rather than a decisive work of the history of the world.
You name it, it has it- mother, artificial intelligence, slavery, the Incas, the British East India Company, Founding Fathers, Vikings, Musa, religion, etc,.
I found myself pausing every so often to reach out to google the information thrown my way.

And I ended the book thinking …maybe Thanos was right!

May be you end with a different perspective….so read on.
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Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to IndiaInglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, it was a pleasure to listen to the book narrated by the author himself. You can feel the power of his arguments and the passion for his cause.
This book, as I put it, is a catalogue of crimes committed against India due to colonialism. The book lays bare for all to see the rape of India by the British Raj. Facts are presented of the plunder and so are arguments set forth of ‘the goodness’ of the Raj, and the surprise caused by this juxtaposition flys in the face of those people who still think India under the British Raj fared well.
A well researched book worth the listen.
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My Indian OdysseyMy Indian Odyssey by Vincent Ebrahim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is Vincent Ebrahim taking a journey across India in search of his roots and all the while narrating about his experiences. He weaves through iconic sights and sounds that makeup the nation with a perspective that comes with travelling to parts unknown. His describing the curious residents of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai or while trying to keep his balance while riding the Royal Enfield Bullet in the foot hills of Himalayas brings a delight to the listeners.
This is an easy listen and engrossing podcast.
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Homo Deus: A Brief History of TomorrowHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God helps those who help themselves- so did this just obsolve God of all responsibilities? Are you aware of the significance of Nicolae Ceaușescu final speech in 1989? What is a soul? Are we just algorithms? Are we losing out to AI? Phew!
I began listening to this book after a deliberate delay from when I completed his first book- Sapiens, a brief history of humankind. And I was not disappointed. Once again, Yuval Noah Harari puts forth countless arguments that makes you think and may be react upon, but as with his previous book, this work too is an overload of information and the added suppositions.
Give it a go.

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Into the WildInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book could have been so much better. Few might be in awe of Chris’s journeys and few would be inspired and what passed through Chris’s mind during his travels we may not entirely decipher but for the author to draw parallels from his own life and to set aside a chapter to himself did not add to the charm of this book.
A good read but nothing more.

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