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Joshua Kim

Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States Member Since 2005

mostly nonfiction listener

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  • "Pros and Cons of "Why Nations F..."

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    I read Why Nations Fail this month while traveling in South Korea. The book was much on my mind as I looked across the DMZ at North Korea on the 38th parallel. South Korea, a country of about 50 million people, enjoys a per capital PPP (purchasing power parity) GDP of around $32,000. (The U.S. is $48,000 by comparison - wealthier but also with a less equally distributed income). In North Korea, the GDP per capita (PPP) is $2,400 - an incredibly low numbers that still probably understates how desperately poor (and hungry) are the people of North Korea.

    Why should North Korea be so poor, and South Korea so rich?

    The two countries share common cultural roots, geography, and access to natural resources. This is the question Acemoglu and Robinson attempt to answer in Why Nations Fail. They look at examples such as North Korea, as well as other natural experiments of societies that share similar exogenous traits (resources, climate, etc.) - such as the twin Nogales's in Mexico and Arizona.

    Acemoglu and Robinson's explanation as to why some nations are poor and others rich has everything to do with the elites. Poor nations are poor because the people who run these countries have made their subjects destitute in service of enriching themselves.

    North Korea can best be understood as being run by a criminal family. Mexico is so much poorer than the U.S. because of its history of being run by elites whose main goal was to extract wealth, and who did not need to redistribute economic production as for most of its history the country lacked pluralistic institutions that could check the power of the rulers.

    This argument, that some countries are poor because the powerful keep them poor, stands in direct opposition to the arguments that Jared Diamond makes in Guns, Germs and Steel. Diamond believes that the wealth distribution was largely pre-determined by immunity to disease (or lack thereof), access to domesticable livestock, and the raw materials and technologies to make advanced weapons.

    I am a huge fan of Diamond's writing, but Why Nations Fail has me thoroughly convinced that more deterministic view of development (as put forward by Diamond and others) is problematic. Why Nations Fail should definitely be on the syllabus in any economic history or development course, and on the bookshelf (physical or virtual) of anyone interested in global inequality, poverty, and why some nations are so much richer than others.

    Should you invest the time to read Why Nations Fail? The book is 544 pages, or almost 18 hours by audiobook (my reading choice). Acemoglu and Robinson would have benefited from a strong-willed editor, one who was willing to push them to provide less historical detail (the book has a ton from around the world across numerous societies), and more analysis of the implications of their arguments for countries like China and India.

    I came away from Why Nations Fail thinking that if the argument is correct then China's long-term economic prospects might not be as good as we assume, and India's may be better. But having spent time time in South Korea, which developed so rapidly at least partly under a repressive military regime, it is hard to square this conclusion with the recent facts of some of our fastest developing countries.

    Perhaps Acemoglu and Robinson next book will take outliers and implications, building on top of the theoretical foundations for development and inequality laid out in Why Nations Fail.


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    Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (301)

    Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

    Ryan says: "Important themes, with blind spots"
  • "Should Be on Your List"

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    This book is almost too perfectly aligned with my core beliefs that the story of the world is one of progress. The mental architecture that I place new learning is built around a narrative of progress. The story is one technology driven change towards lower mortality, lower fertility, better nutrition, and better health. My training in both demography and history has taught me to be weary of any talk of "better days or golden ages" - as I appreciate lower child mortality, the spread of democracy, and expanded access to education.

    So Ridley has written the book that conforms to almost all my prior beliefs - although he arrives at his conclusions by routes I probably wouldn't go. First, Ridley is clearly leans libertarian. He is suspicious of the role of government in promoting progress. I'd be interested in how he explains away government led policies that are responsible for so much of the progress we have enjoyed, everything from sewer projects to social security, civil rights legislation to medicare, medicaid, and the recent health care bill. I think Ridley does not give enough credit to the role of organized labor for contributing to spreading the benefits of capitalism to more people, nor does he seem to grasp the importance of government in supporting education at every level.

    His dismissal of global warming as a major concern will get lots of attention for being basically wrong-headed, and I'd agree that he oversells his case and therefore gets the actions that we should be taking basically wrong. (My take…worry less, invest prudently).

    I like that Ridley comes out as a fan of hydrocarbons and big oil (timely given the BP disaster), and his critique of ethanol is accurate and devastating. But he misses the importance of investing in alternative energy as an engine to insure innovation, seemingly blinded by the idea of a zero sum game of social investments (which is strange as he rails against zero sum thinking). I like a book where I agree with the conclusions but disagree with how the argument is derived. This tells me that the fundamental truth of the progress story is intact - and where we need to argue and debate is around the means rather than the ends.

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    The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Matt Ridley
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (183)

    Life is getting better at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before.

    Darkcoffee says: "Delightful Case for Things Looking Up"
  • "Best nonfiction book of 2011"

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    2011 was a great year for nonfiction, but no book comes close to The Quest for claiming top honors.

    Everything we do depends on energy. Every industry, including higher education, ultimately is possible due to energy. Without energy, we could not teach or do research, heat our classrooms and offices, or cool our data centers. If you walked to campus today (or worked at home) that is terrific, but most of us relied on gasoline to power our cars for our commute. Higher ed may not be like the airlines, where fuel is the largest expense (ours is labor), but we are no less dependent on energy to run our business than Southwest airlines.

    The past, present, and future of worldwide energy is a big topic, one that requires a big book. The Quest is 816 pages, none of which are wasted. This is an efficient book. Yergin manages to keep the narrative moving along without skimping on either the stories or the numbers.

    The Quest systematically examines every major source of energy, including oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar and wind. The origins, technology, sustainability, and personalities attached to each of these major energy sources is given a complete and balanced treatment.

    Readers looking either for an indictment or defense of our carbon or renewable fuel sources will be disappointed, as Yergin is scrupulously even-handed and non-polemical. Energy turns out to be too important, and too complicated, to be reduced to simple narratives and slogans. Rather, Yergin manages to consider the role of energy in the environment as well as the economy, while making strong (and actionable) policy recommendations for a sustainable energy future.

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    The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Daniel Yergin
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (183)

    A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change. It is a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them. From the jammed streets of Beijing to the shores of the Caspian Sea, from the conflicts in the Mideast to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin takes us into the decisions that are shaping our future.

    Joshua Kim says: "Best nonfiction book of 2011"
  1. Why Nations Fail: The Ori...
  2. The Rational Optimist: Ho...
  3. The Quest: Energy, Securi...
  4. .

A Peek at John S.'s Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
297
 
Seattle, WA United States 128 REVIEWS / 162 ratings Member Since 2005 18 Followers / Following 0
 
John S.'s greatest hits:
  • Chasing the Devil

    "Great historical footsteps coverage"

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    Graham Greene, along with his cousin Barbara and a host of bearers, traveled through Sierra Leone and Liberia in the mid-thirties; seventy five years later, Tim Butcher followed their route (as closely as he could) to see what traces of their journey remain.
    At first, I felt that the story seemed a bit padded, as the actual trip didn't begin until he and his companions left Freetown almost a quarter of the way through the book. Sierra Leone proved a bit tricky to interpret, however, as the Greenes traveled via a railway that hasn't existed for over a generation, leaving Butcher to give impressions as best he could.
    The second half of the book, through Liberia with a brief cut through Guinea (as the Greenes had done) proved more ... swashbuckling, in that Liberia's chaos, while initially directed at the Americo-Liberian elite, quickly became a violent tale of inter-tribal conflict. Thus, the author manages to work in the Greenes' experience, as well as his own, filtered by the stories and visual evidence of warfare.
    Barbara Greene's book is harder to get a hold of, but I'd recommend (at least) reading Graham's book before tackling this one. A strong interest in travel narrative, or a background in West African history, would come in handy as well. Very good narration.

  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    "I don't often give five stars"

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    but this is a real breakthrough book on conditions in North Korea. Demick has done a terrific job of creating a gripping narrative, based upon her extensive interviews with the defectors, including transitions between stories - one person arrives, fresh out of the Yalu River border, at a house in China, sees a bowl of rice and meat just sitting there on the doorstep, thinks to herself, "That's more food than I've had at any meal back home in many years!", and then realizes it means there's a potentially fierce dog nearby ... fade to next story.

    Karen White's audio narration is especially noteworthy - obvious that she made an extra effort to pronounce Korean words correctly.

    Highly recommended!

  • Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think

    "One can skim the print version"

    Overall

    This is not, I repeat not, a "general interest" book on Africa - more like a (supplementary) text for a business/marketing course. Narrator does a terrific job with the material, but unless an audio listener has a strong, specific interest in African business (or cannot read print books), this one might prove tough to get through.

  • Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story

    "PDF not essential"

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    Twenty-six entries each starting with a brief overview of a letter of the alphabet (historical background, phonetics, etc.), used as a jumping off point for a digression of a specific linguistic (for lack of a better term) aspect. Some were (at least mildly) interesting, while others (often having to do with the author's own life) weren't. Overall, the book worked to pass time when I needed to fill short periods with background noise. Rosen's reading was okay as author-narrated books go, but I might've preferred to skim the print book I think if I had to go back and decide again.

    One point that irritated me more as the book went on was the incredibly U. K. centric focus. I accept that Rosen is English himself, but as most folks for whom English is their primary language are NOT British, the short shrift he gives in passing to that fact seemed a bit ... patronizing - with a "zee"!

Neuron

Neuron Sweden 08-18-13 Member Since 2012

Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction audiobook addict.

HELPFUL VOTES
35
ratings
REVIEWS
20
17
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
3
6
  • "Excellent overview over current and..."

    4 of 4 helpful votes

    I will start by admitting that I am a fan of Richard Muller. Before I even went to university I watched every lecture in his "Physics for future presidents" course at UC Berkeley, which was one of the first courses to become available online as a free webcast. I would describe Muller as an honest and rigorous scientist who is not afraid to speak his mind even when his views are controversial. He is also very critical of the way that different energy issues are portrayed in the media, something which you will realize if you read this book.

    One good example of what can only be called overblown media reporting is what followed the BP oil spill in the Mexican gulf. When it happened the media was reporting on little else and many high standing politicians described it as one of the worst (sometimes the worst) environmental disasters in the history of mankind. What happened next? Suddenly the media moved on and I was surprised to learn (from this book) that though the initial explosion killed 11 workers, the subsequent oil spill only caused 6000-30.000 bird deaths. "Only" is indeed the appropriate term here, considering that glass windows kill 100.000.000 birds annually and power lines kill many million more. The BP oil spill was unfortunate, and it cost human lives, some birds and a lot of money to fix it, but it is clear that the media and the politicians got a bit carried away with this one.

    Another so called " disaster" which got an unfair treatment in the media was the Fukushima power plant accident. To date not a single person have died from the radiation released and the prognosis is that a few hundred extra cancers, some of which could have a fatal outcome, will be the result of this “disaster”. My Fukushima headline would have read: “No deaths from breakdown of old nuclear power plant even though it was hit with an 8.0 earthquake and a tsunami”... (also see my pre-fukushima post on the irrational fear of nuclear power as well as my Review of the book “Radiation”).

    Richard Muller spends a good deal of this book discussing the ever controversial topic of Global Warming. He was at a point very critical of the methodology used by climate researchers when they calculated the rate of global warming. For example it is not appropriate to use weather stations in populated areas because as population grows so does temperature. He also found some of the mathematics used... funky...

    For this reason he did his own study, and unlike IPCC researchers this study was/is completely transparent with all data freely available for anyone who desires to make their own calculations. What did Muller find? Basically he says that the IPCC, despite their sometimes flawed methods, are correct. In other words, according to Muller the globe has warmed, and this warming has been due to human caused increases in atmospheric CO2 levels. While backing their overall conclusions about the temperature increase on earth Muller does not seem to share many peoples sense of pending disaster due to this warming. Models that predict the future climate of earth tends to have a lot of uncertainty associated with them, and it is almost impossible to know if we are able to come up with technologies that will significantly alter the future climate.

    He also says that if we really want to prevent increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we should turn our efforts to China. For quite a long time they have been building one coal plant per week spewing out not only CO2, but also huge amounts of other pollutants such as lead and arsenic. Convincing them to use clean energy sources such as solar or nuclear power (by paying them if necessary), makes a lot more sense than going for expensive alternatives in the west. That is, if you aim to achieve the maximal reduction of CO2 release per dollar, that dollar should be invested in China. Muller also reiterates several times throughout the book that energy conservation will be a huge part of the future. Proper isolation of houses, driving efficient cars etc can drastically reduce energy expenditure.

    I have really only touched upon some of the issues that are discussed in this book. Muller offers a perspective on many other energy related issues such as Shale gas/oil, electric cars, fusion, wind/solar/water energy, etc etc. All in all this book is both very educational and at the same time a page turner (keep in mind though that I am kind of a nerd). If you are even just a little interested in the technologies and politics related to energy issues this book is a terrific buy!

    More

    Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Richard A. Muller
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    The near-meltdown of Fukushima, the upheavals in the Middle East, the BP oil rig explosion, and the looming reality of global warming have reminded the president and all U.S. citizens that nothing has more impact on our lives than the supply of and demand for energy. Its procurement dominates our economy and foreign policy more than any other factor. But the "energy question" is more confusing, contentious, and complicated than ever before.

    Neuron says: "Excellent overview over current and future energy"

What's Trending in World Affairs:

  • 4.8 (18 ratings)

    Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Explosion Aboard the Deepwater Horizon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tom Shroder, John Konrad
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    In the spring of 2010 the world watched for weeks as more than 200 million gallons of crude oil billowed from a hole three miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Warnings of various and imminent environmental consequences dominated the news. Deepwater drilling - largely ignored or misunderstood to that point - exploded in the American consciousness in the worst way possible. Fire on the Horizon, written by veteran oil rig captain John Konrad and longtime Washington Post journalist Tom Shroder, recounts in vivid detail the life of the rig itself, from its construction to its improbable journey in the year 2000 to its end.

    Shep says: "An incredibly well-told story"
  • 4.4 (1481 ratings)

    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Barbara Demick
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (1481)
    Performance
    (907)
    Story
    (910)

    Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.

    Gohar says: "The man who wants to be GOD"
  • 4.3 (1105 ratings)

    Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Eric L. Haney
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1105)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (939)

    Delta Force—the US Army’s most elite top-secret strike force. They dominate the modern battlefield, but you won’t hear about their heroics on CNN. No headlines can reveal their top-secret missions, and no book has ever taken readers inside—until now. Here, a founding member of Delta Force takes us behind the veil of secrecy and into the action to reveal the never-before-told story of First Special Forces Operational Detachment-D (Delta Force).

    Darwin8u says: "Informative & Entertaining Memoir >|< Myth"
  • 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..."
  •  
  • 4.4 (571 ratings)

    The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Naomi Klein
    • Narrated By Jennifer Wiltsie
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (159)

    In her ground-breaking reporting, Naomi Klein introduced the term "disaster capitalism". Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic "shock treatment": losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers.

    Nika says: "You can't be neutral..."
  • 4.4 (507 ratings)

    Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (507)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (276)

    An old Chinese proverb says "Women hold up half the sky." Then why do the women of Africa and Asia persistently suffer human rights abuses? Continuing their focus on humanitarian issues, journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take us to Africa and Asia, where many women live in profoundly dire circumstances.

    Nancy says: "This unabridged book is abridged"
  • 4.6 (498 ratings)

    Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sean Parnell, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (498)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (442)

    At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

    Chris says: "Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!"
  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Eric Schlosser
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (245)
    Story
    (244)

    Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved - and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.

    Ethan M. says: "A miracle that we escaped the Cold War alive...."
  • Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Scott Patterson
    • Narrated By Byron Wagner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (129)

    In the beginning was Josh Levine, an idealistic programming genius who dreamed of wresting control of the market from the big exchanges that, again and again, gave the giant institutions an advantage over the little guy. Levine created a computerized trading hub named "Island" where small traders swapped stocks, and over time his invention morphed into a global electronic stock market that sent trillions in capital through a vast jungle of fiber-optic cables.

    Gary says: "Definitive history on Electronic Trading"
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Katherine Boo
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (526)
    Performance
    (451)
    Story
    (458)

    Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption.

    Dr. says: "An Antidote for Shantaram"
  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By John Perkins
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1897)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (475)

    "Economic hit men," John Perkins writes, "are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder."

    Robert P. says: "Excellent Story for people have traveled"
  •  
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (301)

    Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

    Ryan says: "Important themes, with blind spots"
  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sheri Fink
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (432)
    Performance
    (376)
    Story
    (381)

    In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.

    Sharon says: "A Must Read"
  • Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert D. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.

    Andy says: "helpful, but only an inch deep"
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (507)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (276)

    An old Chinese proverb says "Women hold up half the sky." Then why do the women of Africa and Asia persistently suffer human rights abuses? Continuing their focus on humanitarian issues, journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take us to Africa and Asia, where many women live in profoundly dire circumstances.

    Nancy says: "This unabridged book is abridged"
  •  
  • Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Eric L. Haney
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1105)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (939)

    Delta Force—the US Army’s most elite top-secret strike force. They dominate the modern battlefield, but you won’t hear about their heroics on CNN. No headlines can reveal their top-secret missions, and no book has ever taken readers inside—until now. Here, a founding member of Delta Force takes us behind the veil of secrecy and into the action to reveal the never-before-told story of First Special Forces Operational Detachment-D (Delta Force).

    Darwin8u says: "Informative & Entertaining Memoir >|< Myth"
  • The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By George Friedman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (287)

    In The Next 100 Years, Friedman turns his eye on the future. Drawing on a profound understanding of history and geopolitical patterns dating back to the Roman Empire, he shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, experiencing the dawn of a new historical cycle.

    Richard says: "Good Start - slow end"
  • Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Gary Webb
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (50)

    In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One - the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about - without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Lucien says: "Rude Awakening"
  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sean Parnell, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (498)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (442)

    At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

    Chris says: "Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!"
  • My Life Behind Bars

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Gordon Culpin
    • Narrated By Gordon Culpin
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Gordon Culpin’s life behind bars, as a Prison Officer in Kent, England, was challenging and most of all rewarding. Dealing with assaults, deaths, riots and hostage-taking became part of his daily life. He found that the many experiences gained in the armed forces and working in various jobs overseas was an excellent training ground for him and one which enabled him to develop his career in the prison services.

  • Citizens Rising: Independent Journalism and the Spread of Democracy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By David Hoffman
    • Narrated By Ben Bartolone
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    From the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring to today’s continuing conflicts, media have played a decisive role in political affairs across the globe—driving the revolutionary changes shaping today’s new world. This is the first book presenting a comprehensive look at the emergence of media as a primary actor, and not merely an observer, of global affairs. With the rise of digital technology, the power of media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of everyone—including you.

  • Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Robert Spencer
    • Narrated By Russell Niemand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Bestselling author and jihad expert Robert Spencer unveils the shocking truth behind the mainstream media's propaganda about the Arab Spring and shows how the Fort Hood attack, the Boston Marathon bombings, and other violent acts by Muslims in the United States are indeed fresh instances of the Arab Spring ideology coming to this country. Robert Spencer brings years of study on radical Islam to this shocking and insightful book. Arab Winter Comes to America is a powerful warning of the terror and tyranny to come.

  • Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Richard Wiseman
    • Narrated By Peter Noble
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Almost a third of your whole life is spent asleep. Night School uncovers the scientific truth about the sleeping brain - and gives powerful tips on how those hours of apparently ‘dead’ time in the dark can transform your waking life.

    Julia says: "One half of a very good book"
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  • Failures of Leadership: History's Worst Rulers and How Their People Suffered For It

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Frederick Parker
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Bad leaders never learn from their mistakes. Better leaders learn from their mistakes. But the best leaders learn from the mistakes of others, so they do not make them themselves. This exciting new audiobook from historian and entrepreneur Frederick Parker looks at the 20 worst failures of leadership in history and the consequences it meant for those under their rule.

  • Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert D. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.

    Andy says: "helpful, but only an inch deep"
  • Beyond Good Intentions: A Journey into the Realities of International Aid

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Tori Hogan
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Young and idealistic, Tori Hogan travels to Kenya as an intern for Save the Children, intent upon doing her part to improve the lives of refugees. But the cynicism of a young African boy changes Tori’s life and sets her on a course to reconsider everything she thought she knew about helping those in need. Years later, Tori returns to Africa and embarks on a journey through Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, searching for the truth about what does and does not work in international aid.