One of the best audiobooks I have listened to. May be a little slow at first, but this builds an entire history of the rise of islamic fundamentalism from the 1940s on. In particular, the final chapters track closely the rise of Al Quada and make for fascinating listening. The amount of research/interviews the author must have done is almost incomprehensible, as he brings the reader right into meetings/conversations that occurred in the most isolated countries in the world. A truly phenomenol comprehensive review, that keeps building and getting better throughout.
this is a gripping book. I was a big fan of Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb". It should be noted that this book is both history mixed with a significant amount of 'editorial',i.e. it is much more biased. Instead of just focusing on facts, the author's deep seeded believe that the arms race was avoidable, tragic, and a huge waste of resources is more than evident. I would have preferred he let the reader come to his/her own conclusions.
that being said, the book starts with an unbelievable chapter about the Chernobyl disaster, setting the stage for the rest of the story. This is an incredible way to do this, becuase it makes the reader realize in real terms what nuclear war would have been like, given that Chernobyl would only be a taste of the devastation.
The middle sections of the book are a little dry, with long discussions about particulars of the gorbachov/Reagan summits the go one for lengthy periods. The West (and the Reagan administration in particular, although not necessarily Reagan himself) comes out of the book looking quite silly, while Gorbachev comes out looking quite heroic. i am not sure things are really that black and white.
In the end though, this was just an awesome look back at how isolated decisions look silly in a historical context, and makes you wonder what type of silly decisions we are making today. would recommend highly.
Narration is outstanding as well.
Really enjoyed the book, and after getting used to the narroator thought pace/reading was excellent.
I found the book interesting because most of what i read is 20th century history in which the author is farther temporally removed from the subject. The close temporal relationship to the subject of this book makes the history more intriguing, given that the authors have access to the thoughts and even quotes of what went on in certain meetings etc. In this regard, I found this incredibly interesting.
What I got out of this however, is that it's still hard to figure out, for instance, what happend to Clinton and why she lost. yes, you get a flavor of the "Clinton paranoia" that seems to be omnipresent whenever bill and hiliary are involved. it's always someone else's fault and everyone is out to get them. But even then, there is not great insight into exactly what they could have done differently to change an outcome. The bottom line is that its hard to understand why the flux of the election went the way it did, other than that the country was really ready for a completely different approach and, as is usual in politics, you need both a figure with a particular message and the times/nation has to be at a point in history that mirrors that message. I think you could argue the same thing about the Reagan revolution.
Overall, very enjoyable, but not overly insightful. Maybe understanding 2008 is just beyond rationale analysis, and the election results were sort of inevitable given the mood the country.
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
Truly unforgettable piece of investigative journalism at its best; the emotions in the reviews attest to the haunting staying power of the horrific events being recounted. Meticulously researched and presented in a way that has you feel the impending storm approaching with each page, compounded by the prescience of tragedy. Fink gives a brief explanation of the geography and history of the land and the levees, and some insight as to the worse case scenario prior to the storm. The land so dependent on the infrastructure of the system -- the citizens also dependent on the systems. What follows is a domino effect-like breakdown of those systems that had provided such a false sense of security, from the personal morals and responsibilities, to the corporate policies, to the government. Fink shows a top-rate journalist's ability to accurately report the events unattached to opinion, having each person responsible for their actions without labeling them good guy/bad guy; and there are times, in certain situations that you flip back and forth with your own judgements, but always keep the weight of decision in your own mind.
The account does get long as it goes over the legal process and how it was perceived by the media, but the details helped -- like a necessary stretch after a long hard workout, stress relief; and it is an interesting look at the machinations of the legal system and corporate power. Still, a fact to consider for some readers. Kristen Potter gives a flawless and pragmatic performance, always concise and neutral, piling onto the reader the responsibility of their own conclusion. I remembered a disaster preparedness drill we went through at our hospital to pass the JCAHO guidelines... The drill-coordinator gave us the ol' *who would you throw out of the boat if the boat was going to sink* dilemma. The supervisors in the boats started rationalizing whom and why, as the drill-coordinator listened straight faced. When everyone had decided on whom to toss overboard to lighten their boat, the coordinator said, "but, you have to get everyone safely to shore." We, the Hospital Administrative Directors, had not counted on that possibility.
I found the book fascinating and heartbreaking. One of the few times I have felt truly like I was walking in the shoes of another, from an obese paralyzed black man, to an old beloved mother, to a frantic nurse with children at home, to a doctor juggling whom to put on the rescue helicopter, to a daughter hundreds of miles away. I certainly have made some moral adjustments. Excellent, informative, very haunting.