Tag Archives: kenneth c davis

Don’t Know Much about Geography by Kenneth C. Davis

Don’t Know Much About Geography by Kenneth C. Davis (unabridged audiobook; 13 hrs on 10 discs): This was just the book I was looking for. Geography is a science not just of place names and boundaries, but of politics and culture and environment and history. I learned tons about exploration and wars and colonization and weather and climate and more, all in bite-sized chunks that somehow managed to be very accessible without talking down to the reader. I never felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge, and it opened my eyes to a number of subjects I never knew could be interesting. Definitely recommended as a solid introduction.

A note on the audio: There are six narrators credited here. Joe Ochman read about 95% of this book. Paul Boehmer read the “geographic voices” quotes. Kenneth C. Davis read the introduction. The rest of the folks read some (but not all) of the chapter titles. I have absolutely no idea why they were included, but I wish they hadn’t been, since changing narrators is kind of jarring.

Don’t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis

Don’t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis (unabridged audiobook read by John Lee; 20 hours 20 min on 17 discs): Wow, this book is long. I mean, it’s interesting, but there’s so much information covering so vast a scope that reading it is like running a marathon. Each section covers a geographical region such as Africa or Western Europe, with the countries boasting the most well-documented mythologies getting the most treatment, such as Egypt, India, and Greece/Rome. Each section includes a timeline, a “who’s who” of gods and goddesses, relevant quotes, and answers to common questions like “was there really a Trojan War?” Though many comparisons are made, there is no separate section for Judeo-Christian mythology, having covered it in depth in his other book, Don’t Know Much About the Bible. Davis holds nothing back, describing a representative sample of each culture’s myths in (often hilarious) detail. For example, I was surprised (and kind of disgusted) by how many creation myths involved excrement and other bodily fluids of the gods, and laughed at the tales of the trickster god’s magical penis. The little asides and pop culture references were also often amusing. Though admittedly not meant to be a thorough compendium of mythology (and I would have loved for the “New World” section to have been much longer), it is certainly an excellent start. The writing is very accessible and has made me want to read more of the original myths, particularly the Norse and Egyptian tales. A word of warning, though: once you read the section on Egypt, you will never see the Washington Monument the same way ever again.

On the audio version: It’s always interesting to listen to the same people read vastly different books. Lee is an excellent narrator, with the added personal bonus of making me feel like the book was being read to me by Dawsey Adams. The two short myths at the back, specially recorded just for the audiobook, were fun and well worth listening to, even if the African one about the lion was kind of tragic.

Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis

Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis: A friendly question-and-answer format with entertaining answers about American history from Columbus to Clinton. The post-Watergate coverage is pretty slim, but at that point it could probably be assumed that most readers remembered those years clearly. (There is an updated version, but my copy was printed in 1995.) I learned quite a bit about those bits we skipped in school, like the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Though it could not replace a traditional history course, since there is an assumption that you know enough basic information to ask the questions being answered, it is an excellent refresher for those who have long since forgotten the names and dates they learned in school. Like most good popular history books, it brings out the human side of history, turning the names into people and the dates into actions with consequences.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

© 2010-2021 kate weber All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright