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Grahame

A lover of good music, good stories and intelligent non-fiction.

Florida, USA | Member Since 2011

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 208 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
16

  • The Guns of August

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (484)
    Performance
    (419)
    Story
    (425)

    Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman here brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten.

    Chrissie says: "Pay attention!"
    "Fascinating, gripping and enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Guns of August rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audio books I've ever listened to. If you think that the assassination of an Austrian Duke was the spark that lit the fires of WW I, then think again. The truth is much more complex and, as described in this book, much more fascinating.

    This is a book that doesn't just describe actual historical events. It imbues them with life, action and suspense. Yes, even though we all "know" what happened at the beginning of WW I, Barbara Tuchman manages to keep us in suspense.

    Her descriptions of the characters involved in these world shattering events brings them vibrantly to life in the mind of the reader.


    What other book might you compare The Guns of August to and why?

    I would compare this book in terms of the quality of writing and it's ability to keep an iron grip on your interest, to "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond and "The Zimmerman Telegram" also by Barbara Tuchman.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator was brilliant. He could do convincing accents from every part of the world: British, German, French, Japanese, American, you name it, he could do it.His narration was crystal clear but never monotone or boring. He had a great flow.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    If you think that any leader we have in the world today is somehow above human frailties, errors and idiosyncrasies, then you need to listen to this book. You will see just how human they really are and just how susceptible to imperfection they are.

    If you want to learn something about humanity and how not to fall into the same traps that humanity has in the past then listen to this and other books like it.

    If you want just a good read to pass away the time, whether commuting or otherwise, then listen to this book. It presents history, historical players and historical facts with the excitement, suspense and entertainment of a novel.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Imperfect Sword: The Lost Stars, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (347)

    President Gwen Iceni and General Artur Drakon have successfully liberated the Midway Star System - but the former rulers of the Syndicate Worlds won’t surrender the region without a fight. The dictatorial regime has ordered the ex–Syndicate CEOs terminated with extreme prejudice and the system’s citizens punished for their defiance.Outnumbered and led by junior officers hastily promoted in the wake of the uprising, Midway’s warships are no match for the fleet massing and preparing to strike.

    Jean says: "Engrossing Space Battles"
    "This series just keeps getting better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am really enjoying the Lost Stars series, even better than the Lost Fleet and Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier, which are both great series in themselves. What I like about this series, is that it has more viewpoint characters and a more intricate plot.

    The quality of the writing and the twists and turns of the stories in the series just keeps getting better.

    This book picks up right where the previous book left off, grabs you by the collar and before you know it, you're hooked.

    The Syndicate are still trying to bring the wayward star system of Midway back under their control and whether by direct force or indirect trickery they are determined to do it.

    President Iceni and General Drakon are coming round to the idea that maybe the people should be allowed to choose a government for themselves, but do they dare take that risky step?

    Political intrigue, space navy engagements, ground force battles, human frailty and double-dealing - all molded into a fascinating story.

    I can't wait for the next book in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: The Feast Of The Drowned

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen Cole
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (793)
    Performance
    (623)
    Story
    (619)

    When a naval cruiser sinks in mysterious circumstances in the North Sea, all aboard are lost. Rose is saddened to learn that the brother of her friend, Keisha, was among the dead. And yet he appears to them as a ghostly apparition, begging to be saved from the coming feast... the feast of the drowned. As the dead crew haunt loved ones all over London, the Doctor and Rose are drawn into a chilling mystery.

    Amazon Customer says: "Creepy, but good!"
    "Abridged To Death"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an abridgment of a Doctor Who novel that ends up sounding like a rushed episode.

    David Tennant does a great job as narrator. Characters were nicely different and the voices he did for the regulars on the show when he was the Doctor actually sounded like the actors. Great job.

    Where it fell down was on the abridgement. It was so abridged that it just took all the life out of the story.

    I got this as a "Daily Deal" for a very low price, so I got my money's worth, but if I'd paid full price or a credit for it I would not have been happy.

    If you want a quick Dr. Who episode without much depth or description of scenes or people or much else then this is okay. I did give it a 3 for story so it wasn't terrible. But it could have been much better if they hadn't cut it so much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steadfast: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1534)
    Performance
    (1427)
    Story
    (1428)

    Geary and the crew of the Dauntless have managed to safely escort important alien representatives to Earth. But before they can make tracks for home, two of Geary’s key lieutenants vanish. The search for his missing men leads Geary on a far-flung chase, ultimately ending at the one spot in space from which all humans have been banned: The moon Europa. Any ship that lands there must stay or be destroyed—leaving Geary to face the most profound moral dilemma of his life.

    rich says: "Black Jack Faces His Toughest Opponent Yet"
    "Jack Campbell (and Christian Rummel) does it again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I couldn't wait for this book to be available on Audible and now that I've finished it, I can't wait for the next one.

    Never dull, never predictable, with brilliant writing and superb narrating. Campbell creates characters you want to follow and Rummel brings them to life. I sometimes can't believe it is just one person doing all those voices.

    If you haven't listened to any of the earlier stories in the Lost Fleet Series or Beyond the Frontier Series, then I'm not sure how you'll find this book. It's good, and the author explains earlier happenings, but you really need to have read the earlier books to get the most out of this one.

    Anyway, kudos to Jack Campbell for another great book and to Christian Rummel for another brilliant performance and I look forward to the next in the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Perilous Shield: The Lost Stars, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (916)
    Performance
    (850)
    Story
    (850)

    Following a successful coup, the leaders of the rebel Midway Star System struggle to forge a government free enough to please its citizens yet strong enough to secure power. But in a world where former rulers have become new foes, an alien threat to humanity may turn old adversaries into uncertain allies. General Artur Drakon knows three words describe someone who confides in a Syndicate CEO: Stupid. Betrayed. Dead. Despite his misgivings, he partnered with another former CEO to overthrow Syndic forces.

    Joki says: "Still Great!"
    "The saga continues and the pace never lets up"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book carries on from the first book of this series and overlaps Guardian in the "Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier" series.

    I highly recommend listening to the first two "Beyond the Frontier" books, then the first "Lost Stars" book, then Guardian, then this one. (And before them listen to the "Lost Fleet" Series. - all excellent books.)

    What I really like about the "Lost Stars" series is the change of style from the "Lost Fleet" series. Here we have multiple viewpoints rather than just one and we are not confined to a ship but have things happening on planets, in space, on orbital facilities - all over the place. I especially like the multiple viewpoints and having multiple main characters.

    The series is the story of basically good people who have been brought up in a tradition of totalitarian government and trained in how to carry out ruthless repression, trying to not only break away from the central government but also from their fixed ideas, their past training, and their past sins.

    The book starts with some overlap of events in the Guardian book, yet Campbell somehow keeps you on the edge of your seat. The overlap is seen from other viewpoints and the dangers to the main characters are different from Guardian and never boring.

    The narration is excellent. He never misses a beat and maintains a consistent rhythm and a pace so that when the book ends, you are just dying for the next one.

    A great book. I can't wait for the next in the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1787)
    Performance
    (853)
    Story
    (844)

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

    Ethan M. says: "A mostly successful and interesting history"
    "Essential to an understanding of our world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want to understand our current economic system, the world financial crisis of 2008 and what will cause the next economic crisis, then you need to understand the roots of the system which perpetuates these booms and busts. It just might help you save your own shirt when others are losing theirs.

    After listening to this book I have a far better understanding of the mundane side of money: loans, credit, stocks, bonds, insurance, etc. and I finally understand the many, seemingly crazy, financial institutions and instruments which are making and losing billions today. Believe it or not, they started out as good ideas that solved real problems, but as the years went on and clever and greedy men saw how to manipulate them, they became "financial weapons of mass destruction," as Warren Buffet so accurately named them.

    I don't think the book pushes any particular political agenda. It seems more interested in the facts of the ascent of money than in any ideology. I liked that because it meant that I could evaluate the data without having to strip out a bias to left or right.

    The narration was excellent and the style of the book is entertaining. It never gets dry or academic.

    I highly recommend it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (833)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (400)

    The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and the exquisitely decorated Books of Hours; and on the other, a time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world of chaos and the plague.

    E. Smakman says: "Gripping, once you get into it"
    "A Fascinating Century Filled with Contrasts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A Distant Mirror again? Why?

    Yes. There is so much in this book that you just can't take it all in with one listen. The book is so superbly written and so well narrated that listening to it many times would be a pleasure.


    What other book might you compare A Distant Mirror to and why?

    The Guns Of August by the same author. It was another superbly written and excellently narrated book that went into the prelude to, causes and first decisive months of World War I.


    What does Nadia May bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She narrates the book just like I would imagine Barbara Tuchman meant it to sound. I'm not an expert, but her pronunciation of French, Italian and other names and quotations sounded totally correct. Her enunciation was such that I never missed a word.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Several times I laughed at the idiotic behavior of people or at the biting wit of both the author and of some of the commentators of the times.

    I also was often stunned at the amazingly stupid decisions made by the aristocracy, especially in battle. Let's load up the barges with fine wines and food and leave the siege engines at home. Let's follow the same tactics time after time after time, even though they fail every time resulting in disaster and huge casualties.

    I was also amazed at the similarities between our own society and that of the 14th Century - A Distant Mirror, indeed.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to three books by this author, The Guns of August, The Zimmerman Telegram and now this one. All three are superb. If you want to be entertained while learning history and its lessons then Barbara Tuchman is the author for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3619)
    Performance
    (3134)
    Story
    (3137)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "John Scalzi and Wil Weaton - what a combination!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Agent to the Stars the most enjoyable?

    A witty, heartwarming and intelligent story read by a superb narrator who is in perfect sync with the story and characters.

    John Scalzi manages to make scenes funny without straying from reality. He doesn't use annoying style, weird characters or unreal behavior to imbue the story with wit and humor. He manages to make it funny using real people in potentially possible situations. But this isn't just a "funny" novel, there is heart in it, some sadness, drama, suspense and humanity.

    Wil Weaton makes the characters and situations come alive. He not only sounds like you'd expect the characters to sound, but his delivery has the right cadence for every part of the story. He is now my favorite narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Agent to the Stars?

    I don't want to give too much away, but the scene where we discover what really happened to Michelle Beck and why, was very poignant.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were a lot of great scenes in this book. The scene where Tom Stein first meets Joshua (an alien) was very funny, yet at the same time very real.

    I very much liked the "scene" where a year goes by as a series of news headlines and stories. It was very well done. If any of the potential scenes described in the news stories had been added to the novel, they would have felt like filler and would have slowed the pace. Presenting them the way John Scalzi did was a stroke of genius. You were told important things you needed to know in an interesting and sometimes satirical way that flowed perfectly with the story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The stories of the two Holocaust survivors were moving moments and the moment when I realized the true purpose of the movie about one of the Holocaust survivors was another.


    Any additional comments?

    After this book I read several more books by John Scalzi and especially the ones narrated by Wil Weaton. John Scalzi is now one of my favorite writers of all time and Wil Weaton is now one of my favorite narrators of all time.

    When you put the two of them together ... what a brilliant combination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Raven in the Foregate: The Twelfth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ellis Peters
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    After years of studying with the Bishop, young Father Ailnoth has come to take over the parish of Holy Cross. But soon Ailnoth's true nature surfaces - harsh, cold-hearted, and merciless - and someone lures him from his home and murders him. Who in Shrewsbury would kill a priest on Christmas Day?

    Grahame says: "Disappointing. Cadfael stories are usually great."
    "Disappointing. Cadfael stories are usually great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Raven in the Foregate better?

    The main thread of the story was a workable and potentially interesting skeleton but instead of live flesh and sinews, what was pasted onto the bones was a pallid and uninteresting filler. I got the idea that the author had run out of ideas and was trying to give the story enough words to make it into a full length novel.

    What would have made it better would have been less passages which had nothing to do with moving the story forward and a few more red herrings that Cadfael had to solve before he could get to the actual mystery.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Probably the next book in the Old Man's War series: The Last Colony


    Which character – as performed by Patrick Tull – was your favorite?

    Patrick Tull is an amazing narrator. Every character he does seems unique, even many of the minor ones. His Cadfael is great and so is his Berringar.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Raven in the Foregate?

    The scene where the Abbot does his sermon at the burial of the murdered priest. I could see no reason at all to include his sermon in the book. It had nothing to do with the story and was incredibly boring.


    Any additional comments?

    I have liked every Ellis Peters novel I've ever read/listened to. This is the first one that I gave up on before finishing. Don't take this review as indicative of the quality of her other books. I'm assuming she had an off year when she wrote this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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