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tdg

Member Since 2013

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 182 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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  • The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Peter Heather
    • Narrated By Allan Robertson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart.

    tdg says: "A very interesting listen"
    "A very interesting listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Probably one of the most comprehensive histories of the fall of Rome, I've read. I am captivated by how a superpower, whose culture, however violent, was centuries beyond those who sought to destroy it, yet was in the end, brought down by them.

    This book demonstrates how Roman corruption, imperialism, and foriegn aid all contributed to their ultimate demise. The fall of Rome didn't happen suddenly or easily, but was the result of a wearing down of the government by internal and external forces working together. So prescient for us today.

    The performance was great. A bit slow for me, but with Audible I was easily able to fix that. What I appreciate most in Allan Robertson's read is his and pronounciation. An enjoyable experience.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter Brown
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (89)

    Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.

    Jacobus says: "A learned, well-balanced postmodern history"
    "Heady material"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A gap in my historical knowledge, this book explores the interplay between Christianity and traditional Roman views on wealth and how this brought about modern thought and the Catholic church.

    I also gleaned insight into some parallels between the decline of Rome and the decline of the United States, but I don't think the author intended that.

    I can admit this book is in many ways over my head. The writer quotes copious amounts of Latin, at some points I'm unsure why it was necessary.

    While this is not my century or region of interest, I can say I learned a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Company Aytch: A Side Show of the Big Show

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Sam Watkins
    • Narrated By Dan Calhoun
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    This book is considered to be the best account of the Civil War ever written from the Confederate point of view. It is also the one most frequently cited by historians of the Western campaigns. Sam Watkins, a high private in the Army of Tennessee, brings a vividness and detail to his story unmatched in the genre.

    Jan says: "Company Aytch"
    "Great book, wouldn't recommend for children "
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was released on a children's label. With images of exploded heads and entrails and brain covered faces, I wouldn't let my xl under 14 it.

    But this book is an amazing first hand account of famous battles and from the losing side. Our is riveting. The author writes like a country grandpa recounting the horrors of his youth.

    Thw narrator, Dan Calhoun was a very poor choice. He makes no attempt to mimic the accent Sam Watkins would have had. The book's name is Company Aych, he couldn't even say that. He just says "h".His accent almost sounds like Indiana, replacing words ending in "a" with endings of" er".

    His slow even-toned read detracted from the story for me. Sam Elliot would have been the perfect narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Max Blumenthal
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (46)

    In Goliath, New York Times best-selling author Max Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. Beginning with the national elections carried out during Israel's war on Gaza in 2008/9, which brought into power the country's most right-wing government to date, Blumenthal tells the story of Israel in the wake of the collapse of the Oslo peace process.

    William says: "The truth is rarely pretty"
    "One-sided and very biased"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although the author is of jewish decent, he proceeds to tell a very biased anti-semitic tale. He fails to paint a complete picture of the complex Israeli situation. Not once does he mention that the Palestinian leadership are committed to the anihilation of, not just the Jewish state, but of the Jewish people. Rather than show a whole picture that places Israeli actions, good or bad against the realities of Palestinian hatred, terrorism, and religious manipulation from within and without, we are given a purely propaganda piece. In fairness, Mr. Blumenthal does let us know that the Israeli government feels the very existence of the nation is at stake, he dismisses this as paranoia.

    This book pounds, to the point of beating a dead horse, the message that Israel is a Nazi state, persecuting the poor innocents of palestine. Palestinians are portrayed as blameless victims, subjected to racial slurs, physical abuse, and indiscriminate murder. Their land stolen by Israeli aggression through no provocation. The 6 day war is insinuated to have been Israel's unprovoked land grab. No mention of the Arab provocation or attacks. The spoils of a war they didn't start is called an unfair land theft.

    I have no doubt atrocities have been committed; on both sides. Neither the Israelis or Palestinians are blameless innocents. I'm sure many Palestians are caught in a situation they want nothing to do with, but their leadership has put them there. When Mr. Blumenthal tells heart-wrenching tales of Palestinians caught in the Israeli retribution for missile attacks, the missile attacks are either not mentioned or downplayed.

    Why does Max Blumenthal ignore the whole story and write a monotonous string of one-sided accusations and anecdotal stories sympathetic only to the palestinians? I don't know, but an understanding of Israel requires two sides of a very complex historical conflict. I didn't feel Blumenthal cared about that. I felt he set out to damage Israel and promote the Palestinian cause.

    As for the performance, it was superb.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (51 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (1516)
    Performance
    (1191)
    Story
    (1222)

    Debt of Honor ends as Jack Ryan is confirmed vice president minutes before a mammoth act of terrorism kills the President, most of his cabinet, all but a few members of Congress, the entire Supreme Court and all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suddenly Ryan is President, which is where Executive Orders begins.

    Thomas says: "Don't some of us wish Jack ryan was real?"
    "A good core story surrounded by distractions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Clancy, I think. However, this book was implausible at so many levels. It contains a good core story, but is degraded by the reader's performance, subplots that should have been omitted, and offensive undertones.

    First the multiple assassination attempts, could have been interesting, but they weren't all developed. The Mountain Men subplot was the worst. When I completed the book, I came to the conclusion that someone demanded this subplot be added. It was not completely thought out. The characters were flat and the story only popped up here and there and ended in a dull thud, never having any climax. I am convinced a publisher demanded it so the book wasn't all about evil Muslims. Seemed like a balancing act.

    Now I really did like the Iraqi Ebola plague. Great story there and the war was interesting as well. Had the story concentrated on this and the VP conflict and not chased bunnies down dark holes I would have been happier.

    I think Mr. Clancy has much more faith in the press than I do. At one point, he has a reporter confessing to dishonest reporting and apologizing not once, but twice! Even before the writing of this book, reporters were political operatives who put more importance on making political points than getting facts right. No reporter would apologize unless pressured to do so and certainly not twice. In fact, I would expect a reporter who's proven wrong might react like a scorned lover and become even more aggressive and hostile. But that's one personal opinion.

    The way Clancy writes sometimes makes me uncomfortable. When he was covering the Mountain Men even the narrative took on the character's voice. The racist verbiage didn't end when the characters stopped speaking or thinking and I found this offensive. I also noticed he peppered in a lot of racist sentiments even into Ryan's interactions with staff. I didn't like this at all.

    The narrator. Michael Prichard was just awful reading this one. His cadence was boringly slow, even at 1.5X he sounded slow. His portrayal of different characters was so monotone that at times I wasn't sure who was speaking. His women sounded no different from the males. This book required a ton of accents (like any Clancy book) and I didn't feel he always got them right. Perhaps he was off his game. I listened to the next book and Mr. Prichard was much better, if still slow.

    I rated this book overall at 2 stars somewhat out of personal preference but when the good story elements are balanced against the poor, the racial tones, and the poor read, I feel I rated this book correctly. At least in this listener's opinion.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Debt of Honor: A Jack Ryan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By John MacDonald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (926)
    Story
    (933)

    Clancy plunges hero Jack Ryan into nonstop high adventure, as two seemingly unrelated occurrences being a chain of events that will stun the world. Called out of retirement to serve as National Security Advisor to the president, Ryan, with the help of CIA officers John Clark and Domingo Chavez, must prepare the untested president to meet the challenges of a new world order.

    Louann says: "Narrator not so great"
    "Far fetched, not Clancy's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After a few faulty gas tanks resulted in 6 deaths, the US government leaps at the chance to engage Japan in a trade war, to which Japan responds with a shooting war. This story written even as Free Trade Agreements were coming into force in America and beyond.

    I found the plot hard to swallow and in general the story flow to be weak for a Clancy thriller. As the story concluded I was shocked by the grand and dramatic ending. It made me wonder if Osama bin Laden had perhaps read this book. The conclusion is surprisingly prophetic and if only for this, worth the listen.

    MacDonald's performance was fair, not great, but not bad. My opinion was worse until I began listening to the robotic performance of "Executive Orders". I think I've just been spoiled by a spat of extremely good performances in other audible books.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2640)
    Performance
    (2330)
    Story
    (2335)

    More than a million listeners have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, the can't-stop-listening work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

    Kristina says: "MUST READ/LISTEN"
    "Nice sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    O'Reilly's followup to Killing Lincoln, was refreshing. My knowledge of this era in history is much lower and this book brought several new facts to my attention.

    I felt O'Reilly explored Oswald much more than he had Booth. If anything was lacking it was a better understanding of why Oswald killed Kennedy. I concluded the book still not fully appreciating that.

    When it came to the assassination of the President, O'Reilly became a bit more graphic than I felt necessary. His attention to detail went beyond reasonable, in my humble opinion. However, the story was well told.

    More attention might have been given to Ruby and some of the conspiracy theories, as he had given alternative conspiracy theories in the Lincoln book. He really glazes over the wild conspiracies and sticks to the known facts. I don't criticize that other than I am always interested in rebuttals to those theories.

    Again O'Reilly reads like everything is a commentary, however, something is different in this book from his last. I think the difference is his personal knowledge and experience. Lincoln was a page from a history book, but Kennedy is someone O'Reilly was aware of as a child. O'Reilly seems to be a bit more passionate in his performance as a result.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4354)
    Performance
    (3857)
    Story
    (3876)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "Great for a history novice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As an enthusiast of 19th century America and specifically of the Lincoln era, I found nothing new or fresh in this book. It is a nice overview of the assassination and for those who's sole knowledge of the killing comes from high school it could be enlightening. For example, if you didn't understand Lincoln was murdered as part of a broad conspiracy, this book is for you.

    I found O'Reilly's handling of the conspiracy flat. He does not adequately explore the interactions and events of the conspirators as I felt they should have been covered. Personally, I thought his attribution of Booth's motives a bit off, but then such speculation is just that.

    As for performance, O'Reilly reads this book like he does his TV show. One can tell he was rushing through it at times and we hear minor flubs and inflection errors that are characteristically O'Reilly. Often I felt like I was listening to a news commentary rather than nonfiction history. Is that a negative? Not necessarily. It would have been very strange for O'Reilly to have morphed into another person for the reading of his book.

    Overall, I found the information generally correct, if lacking in details. I would recommend this book to High Schoolers and people with an average interest in history. He does reveal much more about the Lincoln Conspiracy than you will get from High School or even some College courses. If you really want to dig deep into the assassination plot, I recommend American Brutus by Michael W. Kauffman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (736)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (631)

    Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

    Cathi says: "Good book, not crazy about the narrator"
    "Insightful, well worth the read (listen)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Walter Isaacson weaves an engaging almost fanciful story of the life of an American icon.

    As Isaacson points out, each generation recasts Franklin in its own image. After reading this I came away impressed with how diverse and talented Ben Franklin was. From writer to inventor, Franklin was the very image of genius. We all know of his electricity experiments and his role in the founding of the United States, but Walter Isaacson introduces us to a whole new 3D image of the famous printer. Who knew of Franklin's involvement in the invention of refrigeration, for example, or of his observations of a seminal moment in the development of flight?

    This book convincingly sweeps aside the sensational popular idea of Franklin as a womanizer, while at the same time, painting a picture of a man who quite probably was a bigamist. His complex family life comprises much of the book as surely it did Franklin's life. We explore William Franklin's possible maternal connections as well as the complicated and tortured relationship Benjamin had with his son.

    Some of the finest moments for me came when we glimpse his interactions with the other founding fathers, specifically, John and Abigail Adams. Through his own words and those of his contemporaries, we come to know a man who is at once wise, naive, grandfatherly, lecherous, pious, lewd, humorous, serious, friendly, and cantankerous.

    In addition to the engaging content, Nelson Runger's read is superb. He is a pleasure to listen to and he makes the time fly by. I completely enjoyed this book both for its content and the performance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • War and Remembrance

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (2116)
    Performance
    (1806)
    Story
    (1793)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues here in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    aaron says: "What can I say that hasn't already been said??"
    "Brilliant story and exceptional performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    War and Remembrance is a story that follows a family as they fight through the second world war. On its own the story is riveting and an emotional experience. We squirm for Natalie and her uncle, all the while feeling we know their fate, yet hoping for them to make better decisions. Victor Henry is at the same time, a caricature of the classic WWII war commander and a conflicted man.

    If you are looking for a combat book, move on. This is a character study. We are examining people and their experiences in the midst of world turmoil. World events are discussed and battles are featured, but our heroes are studied as people dealing with and surviving a world at war.

    The personal conflicts and sexual affairs surrounding the Henry family seem almost modern yet are cast in a bygone era. Almost in contrast are the Jastrows, whose conflicts and troubles are far more serious life and death issues. The variety of minor characters and situations are equally engaging.

    As the story progresses, Wouk makes certain we are current with the events surrounding the story. He breaks into the fiction with factual historical information from perspectives of both sides of the war, American Victor Henry's and the fictional Nazi General, Armin von Roon.

    Perhaps most interesting to me is Wouk's handling of the Jewish plight in Nazi Germany. Through the use of several characters, Wouk is able to demonstrate their sufferings and their delusions. As a relative, of a survivor, it rang true to my understandings of those times. Shocking and educational.

    If the story has a weakness it is the Pacific and African theaters. While Wouk does visit these area of the world, the stories there are thin. However, this is more than compensated for by the richness of the European stories.

    Had this story not been as compelling as it was, it would still have been a pleasant listen as the narrator, Kevin Pariseau, is incredible. His performance is nearly indescribable. He reads effortlessly in a wide variety of accents, all of which he seems to do very well, and performs female parts convincingly. The latter is no easy task and many an audible book has become humorous when the narrator over-acts or badly reads the role of the opposite sex. However, this is not the case for Pariseau, his performance is flawless. I would listen to him read the newspaper if he happened to.

    I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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