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Mike From Mesa

Mike From Mesa Mesa, AZ Member Since 2003

MikeFromMesa

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  • "A different kind of history"

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    This is one of many books that I have read about The Second World War over the years. I have read enough books about this period that I almost did not buy this one, but I found Mr Hastings' approach very fresh and very different. Instead of following battles through army and division movements Mr Hastings decided to follow the flow of the war through individual diaries and letters. This approach made the period much more personal for me and taught me, as no other book did, what the war was like for those who had to live through it. I was and have remained impressed by his presentation of the war.

    I also appreciated his global prospective. Here I read about the battles in the lesser battlefields of the war - Burma, India, China and so on. Previously I had to read books such as Stillwell And The American Experience In China to find much about what was going on outside of Europe and The Pacific.

    Balanced against the positives I feel the need to mention some negatives.

    1) Mr Hastings keeps referring to all information gained by breaking the enemy codes as Ultra in spite of the fact that the effort to break and utilize the German codes was known as Ultra and the effort to break and utilize the Japanese codes was known as Magic. Thus Mr Hastings refers to the information that helped the US win the Battle Of Midway as Ultra even though this information came directly from Magic. Similarly all such pacific intercepts are incorrectly referred to as Ultra. Perhaps this is a British term, but it is annoying for anyone who knows the history of the Magic intercepts.

    2) There is at least one reference to action taking place in 1952 instead of 1942. I do not have the print version of this book so I am not sure if the print is wrong or the reader just made a mistake. 1952, of course, was 7 years after the end of the war.

    3) There is one passage in the spoken book that refers to 40,000 US soldiers lost during a battle when, from the content, it is clear that it was German soldiers who were lost.

    There are a couple of other items of this sort. But the book is so well done and the diary and letters so revealing of what was happening, that it was easy to overlook them in rating this book. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this period of time and is not concerned with specific troop movements.

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    Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Max Hastings
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (166)

    From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A different kind of history"
  • "A very interesting book with some s..."

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    I have been reading about the Second World War for the last 50 years and so did not expect to find anything really new in this book. I bought it thinking that it would be good to have a single volume that covered both the European and Pacific theaters and with the thought that there might be something new and interesting in it. What I found was a book that was very interesting; not so much because of new material, but rather because the book centers on the "whys" of what happened and contained a great deal of "back story" about the time that is missing in other books (examples - the actions in North Africa before the German troops were deployed there, the importance of the spy operations on both sides, the actions in generally neglected threaters of the war such as Burma, the fact that the Germans had broken the British Naval codes and so on) as well as a good overview of the major actions of the war. Add to that the excellent narration by Christian Rodska, including his ability to make his voice sound exactly like many of the political figures of the time, and this is a hard book to top if you want something on World War 2.

    There are some inaccuracies -

    (a) a rise of 500 feet over a length of 1000 feet does NOT make a 45 degree hill. A simple check of the trig tables shows this to be about 27 degrees,

    (b) a quote from Churchill (to his war cabinet) wrongly attributed to Hitler,

    (c) a statement, with no supporting evidence, that Churchill invented the story of Lord Halifax almost being offered the premiership. This flies in the face of every other book about the period and thus requires some supporting evidence,

    (d) aside from the Philippine Islands, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, very little detail about the Pacific war (with nothing about MacArthur's island hopping campaign). I assume this is because MacArthur's troops were mainly American.

    as well as some other issues.

    But, aside from these minor issues, this book is very interesting, contains a great deal of information about the war in North Africa, the Soviet Union and Western Europe as well as an interesting section on what could have happened if the German Generals had control over the war in the Soviet Union and Europe. I recommend it to anyone interested in a single volume overview of the Second World War.

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    The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (334)
    Story
    (341)

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A very interesting book with some shortcomings."
  • "Wonderful"

    Overall

    Occasionally I come across a book that is so good that I don't know if I should keep listening or turn it off for fear of finishing too quickly. This book is one of those.

    I think that Nadia May, who narrates this and other Barbara Tuchman books, does a wonderful job. Descriptions and events are clear and largely riveting. I have only 2 complaints. One is that not all of the French is translated into English and the other is that there are no maps. I had to get my John Keegan book on the First World War and look at the maps to understand exactly what was happening. However the first complaint is problably a lack in the original printed form of the book and the second is a drawback of narrated books in general. One would hope that given the new visual capabilities of todays devices the producers would find some way to include maps.

    I gave this book 5 stars and think it is worth every one. In my view it is better than either of the other of her books (The Proud Tower and The Distant Mirror) that I have listended to. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the events leading up to the First World War.

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    The Guns of August

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (977)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (415)

    In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Wonderful"
  1. Inferno: The World at War...
  2. The Storm of War: A New H...
  3. The Guns of August
  4. .

Margaret

Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 12-23-12 Member Since 2008
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  • "Best download in months!"

    23 of 23 helpful votes

    This is the fourth course by Professor Drout I've listened to and this may be my favorite. He enthusiastically covers the history of the culture, (religion, literature, language) and the politics of the Vikings (which he explains was a word that originally meant "a man who keeps his boat tied up in the creek behind his farm") and also their importance to European history as a whole.

    He touches on a wide variety of subjects. But the lectures fly by and I found myself wishing the course was longer. I was never bored and I will re-listen to it several more times. I highly recommend this course.

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    The Modern Scholar: The Norsemen - Understanding Vikings and Their Culture

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Professor Michael D.C. Drout
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    Professor Michael D.C. Drout of Wheaton College immerses listeners in the extraordinary legacy of Viking civilization, which developed in what is now Scandinavia during the early Middle Ages. During the course of these lectures, Professor Drout explores how these peoples conquered all of Northern Europe, traveled as far as Byzantium in the East and North America in the West, and left a literary legacy that includes numerous works studied and enjoyed to this day.

    Margaret says: "Best download in months!"

What's Trending in World:

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    A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6274)
    Performance
    (2135)
    Story
    (2143)

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
  • 4.3 (1440 ratings)

    The Demon Under The Microscope

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1440)
    Performance
    (760)
    Story
    (756)

    The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

    John Mertus says: "A pleasure in listening"
  • 4.3 (1208 ratings)

    The Second World War: Milestones to Disaster

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Sir Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (1208)
    Performance
    (639)
    Story
    (636)

    Churchill's history of the Second World War is, and will remain, the definitive work. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction.

    John M says: "Brilliant! Only Churchill could have done this."
  • 4.4 (1096 ratings)

    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
    (1096)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (388)

    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..."
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  • 4.6 (709 ratings)

    A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Adam Makos
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (709)
    Performance
    (641)
    Story
    (647)

    Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger.

    JerryL says: "An Absolutely Incredcredible Audiobook!"
  • 4.5 (593 ratings)

    The Second World War: The Grand Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (312)

    This volume of Churchill's history of the Second World War recounts the events of 1941 surrounding America's entry into the War, Hitler's march on Russia, and the alliance between Britain and America.

    John M says: "Fascinating and Insightful"
  • 4.6 (562 ratings)

    The Second World War: Alone

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (562)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (323)

    "After the first forty days we were alone," writes Churchill. This edition is part two of Churchill's own abridgement of his original six-volume history of the Second World War.

    Amazon Customer says: "the rest of the story"
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    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (556)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (353)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Mike says: "Great for casual linguists"
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6274)
    Performance
    (2135)
    Story
    (2143)

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
  • The Decisive Battles of World History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events. In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.

  • Battle: The Story of the Bulge

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By John Toland
    • Narrated By Dan Butler
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Battle: The Story of the Bulge, John Toland's first work of military history, recounts the saga of beleaguered American troops as they resisted Hitler's deadly counter offensive in World War II's Battle of the Bulge - and turned it into an Allied victory. It is a gripping work, painstakingly researched and imbued with such vivid detail that listeners will feel as though they themselves witnessed these events. This is a book not to be missed by anyone interested in this tumultuous era of our world's history.

    Joseph says: "Wonderful Account"
  •  
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Doug Ordunio
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (709)
    Performance
    (538)
    Story
    (549)

    Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

    Jeremy says: "Informing, Interesting, and Boring all in one"
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3330)
    Performance
    (1961)
    Story
    (1979)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
  • The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (77)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    "unknown" says: "Fascinating!"
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kolbert
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (108)

    A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    Male Perspective says: "Better than expected! Great Book!"
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  • 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
    (108)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (99)

    Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts.

    Jodi Singer says: "Detailed history of Israel, leading to today"
  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (145)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
  • The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (129)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2376)
    Performance
    (1122)
    Story
    (1127)

    Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

    Tina says: "Another wonderful Bryson"
  • Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Peter Harmsen
    • Narrated By George Backman
    Overall
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    This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims. It turned what had been a Japanese adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East. Ultimately, it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia. The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event that helped define and shape the modern world.

  • If You Survive: From Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the End of World War II - One American Officer's Riveting True Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By George Wilson
    • Narrated By Brian Keeler
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    George Wilson has garnered much acclaim for this shattering and enlightening memoir. Detailing his odyssey from July, 1944 until the following summer, If You Survive is a startling first-person account of the final year of World War II. Wilson was the only man from his original company to finish the war. As a Second Lieutenant, he went ashore at Utah Beach after the D-Day invasion amidst burned vehicles, sunken landing craft, and broken fortifications.

  • 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Steven Pressman
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    In early 1939, few Americans were thinking about the darkening storm clouds over Europe. Nor did they have much sympathy for the growing number of Jewish families that were increasingly threatened and brutalized by Adolf Hitler's policies in Germany and Austria. But one ordinary American couple decided that something had to be done. Despite overwhelming obstacles - both in Europe and in the United States - Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus made a bold and unprecedented decision to travel into Nazi Germany in an effort to save a group of Jewish children.

  • The Illuminati's Greatest Hits: Deception, Conspiracies, Murders, and Assassinations by the World's Most Powerful Secret Society

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Frank White
    • Narrated By Mysti Jording
    Overall
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    Born through Adam Weishaupt, in 1776, the secret society group known as the Illuminati have been wreaking havoc on the world ever since. They have fomented wars and have manipulated events from behind the shadows to diabolically implement their agenda of a new world order. People have heard of the Illuminati through popular culture, but most brush off their existence as nothing more than some "conspiracy theory" hatched by conspiracy theorists without doing any valid research that would perhaps discount their existence.

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  • A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Michael Axworthy
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
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    Although frequently vilified, Iran is a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Its political impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbors in the Middle East but also throughout the world. From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient Persian Empires, to the revolution of 1979, the hostage crisis, and the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Michael Axworthy vividly depicts the nation’s rich history.

  • Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mark Lawrence Schrad
    • Narrated By Noah Michael Levine
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    Russia is famous for its vodka, and its culture of extreme intoxication. But just as vodka is central to the lives of many Russians, it is also central to understanding Russian history and politics. In Vodka Politics, Mark Lawrence Schrad argues that debilitating societal alcoholism is not hard-wired into Russians' genetic code, but rather their autocratic political system, which has long wielded vodka as a tool of statecraft. Through a series of historical investigations stretching from Ivan the Terrible through Vladimir Putin, Vodka Politics presents the secret history of the Russian state itself.

  • Supreme Commander: MacArthur's Triumph in Japan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Seymour Morris
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
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    He is the most-decorated general in American history - and the only five-star general to receive the Medal of Honor. Yet Douglas MacArthur’s greatest victory was not in war but in peace. As the uniquely titled Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, he was charged with transforming a defeated, militarist empire into a beacon of peace and democracy - "the greatest gamble ever attempted", he called it.

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