I am an avid eclectic reader.
Eri Hotta is an independent scholar specializing in Japan international relations. Hotta was born in Tokyo. She received her BA in history from Princeton University, master and Ph.D. from Oxford. She taught at Oxford from 2001-2005. What led me to read this book was it offered the view point of Japan leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. Hotta makes two central points, 1). Japan’s leaders and its people were influenced by a belief that Japan was destined for international greatness---going to war was a gamble. 2). Japan’s policy making process by 1940 was not open and parliamentary but Japan was not a dictatorship. Decision involved preliminary bargaining interaction with a complex administrative structure. The Japanese constitution allowed the military to advise the Emperor independently of the rest of the government. The author pain staking guides the reader through a convoluted mesh of personalities and principles. Hotta provides a brief history of Japan so the reader can understand what is happening in the eight months leading up to Pearl Harbor. Reading the book led me to learn something about Japanese politics and how Japan’s admiration for the United States began to turn sour in the first part of the twentieth century. A Hotta point out the Japanese language tends to be vague which led to problems with negotiation with the U.S. Secretary of State. Even though Hotta explains about Japanese history, government and politics she lays the blame for the war directly on Japan. Laurel Merlington did a good job narrating the book. If you are interested WWII history this book would interest you.
Tyler Trafford was a reporter in Calgary Alberta Canada. Following his mother's death in 2004 he inherited a Campbell soup cardboard box from his Mother. It was crammed with letters, a journal and photographs that revealed a history of his mother he never imagined. His mother was a beautiful girl from a rich family in Montreal whose Mother was controlling. She met a young pilot from Norway who was training at a nearby base. His name was Jens Muller, the love letters were from him. He went down over German and was a P.O. W. he was with a group that escaped. A movie was made about the escape called "The Great Escape" Muller was one of the few that made it out. I will not spoil the story but Trafford wrote the book about how he puts his mother's life as a young woman together. It does show how decision made can effect our life forever. Mike Vendetti does a good job reading the story.
An interesting story of the life of David Petraeus showing how he learned from one assignment and applied the knowledge gained to the next. A good over view of the wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The book also allow an insight into the sacrifice a high ranking officer wife and family must make. Petraeus's wife was the daughter of a famous General so she knew what was expected of her. The book tried to give a favorable view of the war in Afghanistan but I was left with a feeling we should have approached this problem differently, we expected to much from a tribal culture. Paula Broadwell is a person one should keep an eye out for she may become a leader herself. James Lurie did a good job narrating the story. This is a good book to understand the making of a famous General and to get more in-depth insight into current affairs.
Phlegm, Bile, Black Blood and Red Blood. My God! How did we ever make it as a race let alone a country? That little tie bit is just a taste of some of the rocks Mr. Philbrick has overturned to give us the story behind Bunker Hill and the hardships the American Patriots overcame to become the United States. People like (Dr.) Warren, and Church, Washington and Adams as well as countless other took on the 18th century just as ardent as the themselves. The redcoats were really no match then, were they?
I'm never disappointed when I read a Philbrick book. Whether he tells of the wooden whaling ships on the high seas or the same on an expedition. The story behind the Mayflower or Custer's last stand, he never lets the reader down. Bunker Hill is just another fine example of the writer sharing a story in a way that makes sense to the reader without dumbing it down, and without the endless ramble of how we got from page 1 to page 2..
This book was enjoyable, finishing it in about a weekend. And a big part of that goes to Mr. Chris Sorenson whose even tone and inflection made the book even easier to read/listen to. For a moment, I thought I was hearing Dylan Baker (Steve Jobs) which I read/listened to 3 times. Very easy on the ears. Well done!
This book is a credit well spent, and well worth the 12 hours to hear. Traveling in a few weeks, I may pop it in again!