02/22/2012 12:24 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2012

Over-Thinking the 20th Century -- A Book Review

If you have a graduate degree in philosophy plus an additional one in economics, this book might be for you. Everybody else: lots of luck. The late British historian, essayist and university professor, Tony Judt is the source for this material. Timothy Snyder has taken a lengthy conversation with Judt and re-purposed it into a history, biography and ethical treatise on modern political ideas in Europe and the U.S. throughout the 20th century.

It might make better sense to read the print instead of the audiobook edition. With print you can stop, think about things, re-read a section. It might help. With this audiobook, you'd be hitting re-wind so often there's a safety issue if you're listening and driving.

This might have worked better as a Charlie Rose-Tony Judt TV interview. Rose could scrunch up his face in "what are you talking about?" confusion, perhaps forcing Judt to distill his labyrinthian ideas into something more accessible.

With the audiobook, narrator Ralph Cosham has a warm, commanding voice and sounds like he really knows what he's talking about. I wish I did too.

TITLE: Thinking the Twentieth Century
AUTHOR: Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder
GENRE: History and Economics
LENGTH: Audio: 15 hrs and 3 min.
Print: 432 pages
NARRATOR: Ralph Cosham