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Thomas

Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States
HELPFUL VOTES
278
ratings
REVIEWS
152
71
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
34
0
  • "awesome"

    Overall

    One of my favorites. Well read (except for the eery 1950s communist background music that is interspersed at the end/beginning of some of the chapters that comes out of nowhere). As a space race/apollo fan i woudl like to think i knew a fair bit about the milestones in this area, but this book is full of stuff you don't get anywhere else, especially the inner workings of the USSR. Well paced, and in the end, has a great summary of the impact of these decisions on the next 40 years of history. Just awesome, highly highly recommeneded.

    More

    Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivals That Ignited the Space Age

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Matthew Brzezinski
    • Narrated By Charles Stransky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (389)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (224)

    On October 4, 1957, a time of Cold War paranoia, the Soviet Union secretly launched the Earth's first artificial moon. No bigger than a basketball, the tiny satellite was powered by a car battery. Yet, for all its simplicity, Sputnik stunned the world.

    Thomas says: "awesome"
  • "outstanding"

    Overall

    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.

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    The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1160)
    Performance
    (453)
    Story
    (452)

    This is a sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans, and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

    John says: "Riveting... Sobering... Chilling..."
  • "very interesting, timely"

    Overall

    As a non-financial background type person, i thought this was very enlightening, since i never think about concepts like these. While a little boring at times, overall, it opened my mind to a new way of conceptualizing what finance is all about. Also, the lessons of the book are really valuable: the regularity with which events like the current financial situation have recurred is a lesson to anyone who wants to invest or consider saving his/her own personal funds.

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    The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1649)
    Performance
    (736)
    Story
    (729)

    Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labor. Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress.

    Ethan M. says: "A mostly successful and interesting history"
  1. Red Moon Rising: Sputnik ...
  2. The Looming Tower: Al-Qae...
  3. The Ascent of Money: A Fi...
  4. .

Melinda

Melinda UT 03-30-14 Member Since 2009

So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

HELPFUL VOTES
7172
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223
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FOLLOWING
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13
  • "'Safe Return Doubtful'"

    14 of 17 helpful votes

    From one island to another; ten thousand miles away, but tens of thousands of years apart...

    I had a mental image at the start of Hoffman's novel: the privileged Rockefeller, a poster boy for REI, standing ankle deep in the swamp mud, surrounded by his equipment bearing entourage; pockets bulging with credit cards and currency, a million dollar smile, and those ubiquitous thick framed black glasses. Gazing back at him, the stone age Asmat people, smeared with ash and mud, bone-pierced septums, bare bodies bejeweld with the skulls and bones of small animals. Progressing from that freeze frame image, a gigantic round boulder suddenly rolling in Rockefeller's direction, the sounds of phhfftt, phhfftt, phhfftt, would have seemed perfectly in order, I was tensed for the attack. No one, including Spielberg himself, could have told this outrageous tale more vibrantly; so eloquently orchestrating the facts and myths to shed some light on the human condition, as well as the mystery.

    Hoffman, a travel journalist and contributing author/editor for National Geographic and Smithsonian, said in an interview that his goal in writing this book was not to solve the mystery of Michael Rockefeller. He wrote: “I [the author] hungered to see a humanity before the Bible, before the Koran, before Christian guilt and shame, before clothes and knives and forks.” By immersing himself in the Asmat culture, Hoffman came to understand far beyond clues, mythology, and hoaxes, what might have happened to Rockefeller, and fundamentally, why.

    The book has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I've tried to figure out from which angle to approach a review. It's so much more than *just* the tale of Michael Rockefeller's disappearance -- which alone could rank among Into Thin Air, Kon Tiki, The Right Stuff, The Perfect Storm. Savage Harvest is back-stage access to an amazing story, a travel pass to trek along with a great story teller/ traveler and a public figure that was an avid adventurer on a quest. It is a revealing excursion through a political history, and an education of an ancient people with a complex spiritual system based on the conception of a dualistic, balanced cosmos...whose village was currently feeling very unbalanced and at odds with the modern concepts imposed on them. "The last great unexplored land," a remote island -- that was until as late as 1953, still practicing the ritual of head-hunting and cannibalism. Hoffman gives his readers a multi-faceted gem that has been crafted with skill and intelligence.

    Most impactful for me: The beginning of the book gives a sequence of Michael's demise, from the capsizing of the boat, to the horrific step-by-step ritual of preparing the body for consumption. But, it is Hoffman's wrap up. He concludes with an enigmatic look at another possibility -- which I will not reveal. In a few places, the book reads more like an educational piece than an adventure novel, restating facts, carefully alignment with objectivity, but the story itself is unimaginably fascinating and drives you forward smoothly over any little bumps. I have no complaints about the narrator, but I do think his voice will be a matter of preference. He neither added nor subtracted from the material.

    ***Perhaps you've gone to the Michael C. Rockefeller wing and seen the art of the Asmat people procured by Rockefeller (he was on his way to pick up a piece on his fatal expedition). The canoes, platters, shields carved from mangrove trees are impressive. The bisj (or bis) poles are hypnotic and eerie. The Asmat believe spirits of deceased ancestors inhabit the sacred wooden poles until their death is avenged. The symbols of the Asmat cosmology, indigenous birds, animals and insects, as well as symbolic references to headhunting, and the crowning phallic symbol, are intricately carved into the trees in cyclic rituals which accompany the death of a great warrior, headhunting raids, and as appeasement of evil spirits. You can also listen to Michael's twin sister and father talk about the pieces, their provenance: *Michael C. Rockefeller Expedition, collected 1961; Indonesia, Monu village, Unir (Undir) River region (upper); Culture: Asmat people.* And, you can hear twin sister Mary explain the thick black framed glasses her brother wore; Michael was dyslexic. All the Rockefeller money couldn't buy for Michael the artifacts, the Asmat had no need for money; they cost him chunks of tobacco, metal axes, ramen noodles, and possibly his life.

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    Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Carl Hoffman
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in remote New Guinea in 1961 has kept the world, and even Michael's powerful, influential family, guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full, astonishing story.

    Melinda says: "'Safe Return Doubtful'"

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    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
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    • By G. J. Meyer
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    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
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    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
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UNABRIDGED) by Edith Hamilton Narrated by Suzanne Toren

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    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Edith Hamilton
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Performance
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    Story
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UNABRIDGED) by Scott Anderson Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner

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    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Anderson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Charles Fred Smith says: "The "Real" Story"
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UNABRIDGED) by Ari Shavit Narrated by Paul Boehmer

    My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Ari Shavit
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
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    Story
    (163)

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    Jan Ziff says: "Great book - unbearable narration"
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UNABRIDGED) by Helen Rappaport Narrated by Karen Cass

    Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Rappaport
    • Narrated By Karen Cass
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    Award-winning and critically acclaimed historian Helen Rappaport turns to the tragic story of the daughters of the last Tsar of all the Russias, slaughtered with their parents at Ekaterinburg. On 17 July 1918, four young women walked down 23 steps into the cellar of a house in Ekaterinburg. The eldest was 22, the youngest only 17. Together with their parents and their 13-year-old brother, they were all brutally murdered. Their crime: to be the daughters of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa of All the Russias.

  • The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History (






UNABRIDGED) by Michael Warner Narrated by Robert J. Eckrich

    The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michael Warner
    • Narrated By Robert J. Eckrich
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    Historian Michael Warner addresses the birth of professional intelligence in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and the subsequent rise of US intelligence during the Cold War. He brings this history up to the present day as intelligence agencies used the struggle against terrorism and the digital revolution to improve capabilities in the 2000s.

  • A Book of Five Rings: The Strategy of Musashi (






UNABRIDGED) by Miyamoto Musashi Narrated by Alan Munro

    A Book of Five Rings: The Strategy of Musashi

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Miyamoto Musashi
    • Narrated By Alan Munro
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    This special edition of A Book of Five Rings contains one hour of traditional Japanese flute (shakuhachi) and 43 minutes of music by traditional japanese ensemble. The music appears track by track at the end of the two and a half hour audiobook and is included as wonderful compliment to this dynamic and elegant listening experience. Legendary 17th-century swordsman Miyamoto Musashi’s exposition of sword fighting, strategy, and Zen philosophy.

  • The Last Voyage of Colombus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition (






UNABRIDGED) by Martin Dugard Narrated by John McDonough

    The Last Voyage of Colombus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    New York Times best-selling author Martin Dugard writes the first account of Columbus’s little-known last voyage. Columbus’ famed 1492 expedition wasn’t his last. After tough times, he was given one more chance. But this voyage didn’t have the fortuitous accidents of 1492. Instead it brought a shipwreck and more violence and mutiny than ever before - pushing an aging explorer to his limit.

  •  
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UNABRIDGED) by John McCain, Mark Salter Narrated by George Wilson

    Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By John McCain, Mark Salter
    • Narrated By George Wilson
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    (0)
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    In this insightful study, John McCain and Mark Salter examine the qualities that define great decisions. They also identify inspiring people who have engaged in difficult decision-making. Ranging from the political judgments made by Abraham Lincoln to the athletic trials faced by swimmer Gertrude Ederle, each chapter of Hard Call illustrates an exceptional choice made in challenging circumstances.

  • The Great Retreat of 1914: From Mons to the Marne (






UNABRIDGED) by Spencer Jones Narrated by Philip Franks

    The Great Retreat of 1914: From Mons to the Marne

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Spencer Jones
    • Narrated By Philip Franks
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    August 1914: In the sweltering heat, the fate of Europe hangs in the balance. Germany is hurling her forces into a carefully planned invasion of Belgium and France. Bound by an 1839 treaty to protect Belgium from any invader, Britain came to its defence. With the British Expeditionary Force numbering just 120,000 men, and dwarfed by the vast manpower of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II remains unfazed by this ‘contemptible little army'. But the BEF was, man for man, the best trained army in Europe.

  • Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story…and Why It Matters Today (






UNABRIDGED) by Edouard Kayihura, Kerry Zukus Narrated by Mirron Willis, Rosalind Ashford

    Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story…and Why It Matters Today

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Edouard Kayihura, Kerry Zukus
    • Narrated By Mirron Willis, Rosalind Ashford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    For the first time, learn what really happened inside the walls of Hotel des Mille Collines. In Inside the Hotel Rwanda, survivor Edouard Kayihura tells his own personal story of what life was really like during those harrowing days within the walls of that infamous hotel and offers the testimonies of others who survived there, from Hutu and Tutsi to UN peacekeepers. Kayihura writes of a divided society and his journey to the place he believed would be safe from slaughter.

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