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Michael

Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States Member Since 2002

I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

HELPFUL VOTES
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7
  • "Flawed but Important"

    Overall

    This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the CIA. I have rated this five stars, but this is not the perfect book, just a must read. The author clearly focuses only upon the failures of the CIA and glosses over any successes. Nevertheless, there is substantial value is focusing on failures (of course there is also value is focusing on successes, but that would be a different book). This book also does not seem to go out of its way to suggest tangible changes to improve the CIA.

    The material is somewhat dry, and there is some jumping around. The narration is quite good, which helps keep the book interesting. This is not the best book about the CIA, but it is an indispensable viewpoint for anyone who wants to understand the agency.

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    Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (1905)
    Performance
    (515)
    Story
    (513)

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
  • "Loads of Information but problemati..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an excellently supported book that goes into extraordinary detail of the US economy from the period leading up to the great depression to the present. This is not a quick or easy listen. The author may be an expert in economics but he is not an expert writer. The book is very long and filled with annoying mixed metaphors (that are sometimes so bad they are funny), cliches repeated ad nauseam, and jumps wildly between temporally distant causes and effects and from one subject to another. Thus I can’t say this was a pleasure of a listen. Nevertheless the author makes quite a few really excellent points. The author shows extreme political independence casting blame and praise regardless of party. The book is also quite a downer, filled with doom and gloom with almost no way out. This book is filled with facts and statistics that are key to understanding our economic past and future. I did not agree with everything the author proposes (the gold standard), but I was surprised by how much I found quite convincing. Clearly this tomb is not for everyone. This is more than a bit dry and detailed oriented, yet I found it a very rational alternative view of modern economics,

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    The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Stockman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    David Stockman was the architect of the Reagan Revolution that was meant to restore sound money principles to the U.S. government. It failed, derailed by politics, special interests, welfare, and warfare. Stockman describes how the working of free markets and democracy has long been under threat in America and provides a surprising, nonpartisan catalog of the corrupters and defenders. His analysis shows how both liberal and neoconservative interference in markets has proved damaging and often dangerous.

    Michael says: "Loads of Information but problematic writing"
  • "Shockingly Great"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a great book. I really found myself unable to put this down. I somewhat expected a dry, one sided, hatchet job. Instead this was detailed story starting with the early life of the clearly troubled founder of Scientology and continuing to the present day. I fully enjoyed the reading of every footnote. I did not really expect to, but I learned a lot. The writing and the narration were both quite compelling.

    I have not been a fan of Scientology since a friend of mine joined, and after a few years called me having just escaped penniless and only wearing his underwear out of a window after a many hour auditing session with several people pointing out body thetons on him that were visible to them but not visible to my friend. I agree many of the ideas of Scientology are no weirder than any other religion, and I always thought the basic idea of auditing sounded interesting and potentially useful, but there does seem to be a pattern of secrecy and intimidation not seen elsewhere. This book presents a pattern of paranoia, violence; control, and hypocrisy with an intensity that is truly shocking. I would recommend anyone thinking about Scientology to read this book first.

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    Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (991)
    Performance
    (885)
    Story
    (873)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
  1. Legacy of Ashes: The Hist...
  2. The Great Deformation: Th...
  3. Going Clear: Scientology,...
  4. .

A Major New Account

Stranger Than Fiction

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    David says: "Makes sense to me."
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    • By Frank White
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    • By Simon Sebag Montefiore
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    • By Diane Goldstein, Sylvia Grider, Jeannie Banks Thomas
    • Narrated By Cynthia Wallace
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    Ghosts and other supernatural phenomena are widely represented throughout modern culture. They can be found in any number of entertainment, commercial, and other contexts, but popular media or commodified representations of ghosts can be quite different from the beliefs people hold about them, based on tradition or direct experience. Personal belief and cultural tradition on the one hand, and popular and commercial representation on the other, nevertheless continually feed each other.

  • A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    Overall
    (0)
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    Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men was written in response to a competition run by the Academy of Dijon answering the prompt: What is the origin of inequality among men, and whether such inequality is authorized by natural law? Rousseau puts forth the concept of two types of inequity: natural/physical and moral/political. He focuses on moral inequality and its link to power and wealth. He also covers the areas of self-love, compassion for others, and free-agency.