As the author points out the health bill is over 2,600 pages and contains wheels within wheels making it at least difficult to understand. It is almost impossible to cut through the numbing regulations, dictates and requirements and most importantly what changes will occur in how healthcare was practiced. This book helps to cut through the bill's morass. It is (obviously) written as a critique so the reader has to make his/her own judgement if the author's arguments are plausible. But, on the whole, I find it a great help in formulating an understanding and opinion of the bill. (Recall that as the bill becomes implemented more about its internal working affecting people's, government's and industry's relationships to employees are revealed.) The book is a bit dated. For instance it speaks, and criticizes, of the $600 - 1099 requirement Congress overturned in 2011. I highly recommend it.
If you wanted to know every bit if minute of an event this is your book. Obviously, the telegram was important in bringing the U.S. into WWI. Somewhere that concept is lost in all of the needless detail. (Or I think it's lost; I couldn't finish the book having been down countless alleys and, after a while, not caring.) It's like someone assigned the author a set number of words and having to meet the quota just filled space (In acamedia it's called research, or trying to impress the teacher.) The story is so circuitous that it's hard following the people, the importance of events and where it's all leading. The narration is horrible! The lady reminds me of the English romance novels my wife listens to. Their diction is so perfect that after a while it sounds like cats fighting in a bag. The narration was so distracting that I found myself purposely tuning it out and missing the gist of the book. Finally, said "enough" and deleted it.
The story starts off ok. With the seating of the new Pope (Francis), I thought the story would be topical. But it's all fluff. The story unwinds fairly straight forward and quickly loses steam. It seems to me the writer wanted to visit Rome, Isreal and some islands and needed to show something (tax write-off?) for it. He would have better served the reader if he had the decency to get over the jet-lag first. The plot, dialogue and characters are tired and we've seen them all before.
This is an exhaustive history focused entirely on the 8th Air Force during World War II. At times it is exhausting reading. The airmen's stories become intensely personal and many, too many, were consigned to early deaths. Miller goes beyond the statistics in attempting to answer why/how does someone who knows the odds are against him (and his crewmates) from returning home climb into an airplane to bomb Germany and fight off the Luftwaffe. The answer lies in thier willingness to do their duty in the most prosaic way. They simply did their jobs without glory-seeking and lived from day to day. There is no attempt to burnish anyone's image. Miller treats straigtforwardly the lack of a long-range fighter escort and the resulting deaths caused by set minds on outmoded doctirnes and the inability for the top brass to have their minds' changed by the reality on the ground and in the air.
I think the book will be more attractive to those interested in World War II. The author makes some basic assumptions: The reader knows something about European geography, war planes nomenclature and the general progress of the war as it moved from west to east. I recommend it highly. One of the better reads so far (March) this year.
One becomes inured to the vagaries of Washington politics. Many, outside the Beltway, prefer not to have their noses rubbed in it. Sort of not wanting to see how sausages are made. The first half of this book is boring when it rubs one's nose in the minutia of political maneuvering and jockying for position and one-up-manship. Almost every sentence contains the words: "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall." In the first part you are left with the impression that the only thing that came out of the President's tenure was the Berlin apeach. It appears there were various (numersous?) agencies, departments persons, ad nauseum.that either did not want those words in Reagan's spreech...or did...or maybe some variation; and the author provides not only the official reasons, for or against, but intuited reasons what or what not politicans thought or thought they thought, and so on. It sort of reminds me of a Mozart farce. The author feels the necessity of repeating the five words over and over while comparing the final speach's wording with every conceivable, discarded variation. It portrays, in dreary detail, why Washington is disfunctional.
The second part is worth the listen. (Note the uniform 3 star rating. I rate the first part zero (for boredom) and the second part 4 stars or maybe 4 1/2 stars.) The second part at least gives the President's tenure some perspective. And provides a thumb-nail sketch of what the idea behind those words meant and what they led to. One almost forgets the first part but is on the look-out for repititions sneaking in. On the negative side, I don't think the fact that the Reagans imported a bed from Spain to sleep in, or that Reagan fell off to sleep both times when visiting the Pope add any insight to the demise of the Soviet political and economic system.
As a banker and CPA I found the book enthralling. The characters, and what they schemed and accomplished could have been written last week. I never knew that such sophisticated and complicated financing existed in the 1920's. The author describes the financial details so anyone can understand them. I think he could have better developed the various national economies that Kreuger did business in better. His main focus is on Kreuger and at times it appears he is a universe onto himself apart from world affairs. It seems the world depression was just one of many events that get a mention. One does not get an impression that Kreuger, with all of his financial acumen and personal knowledge of world leaders could have foretold what would happen.
I found the coda far fetched. The author seems to feel that all aspects of Kreuger's death have to be explained or theorized upon. Since none of his scenarios can be verified they take on the aura of the worst of sensationalist tabloid journalism.
Aside from the very last chapter, I found the book fascinating, useful and highly recommend it.
Some authors get into a "grove" for their central character and so it is with Smith. Arkady is the "dumb as a fox" detective (investigator) taking on the entire Soviet system, hating his father and fighting his superiors. He somehow simultaneous loses by winning and wins by losing. The book is still a good read if you limit youself to only one every two years. For me, a shorter time span would make the characters and locations boring. You can always tell that he will solve the case. One other item: Smith's depictions of every day Soviet life are accurate, e.g. car owners do take in their windshield wipers at night and lines for basic essentials are long and tedious. I recommend it with the above caveat.
If you like Big Government solving all problems regardless of the cost or consequences, then you will agree with the author's thesis. I do not subscribe to his arguments and frankly his are not convincing. It's the old canard that society owes those less successful a handout becasue they are not responsible for their adversity. Whatever personal problems an individual has are not their fault. There is a collective guilt that must be atoned by spending more and only Big Government, in its infinite wisdom, knows how to do it. It glorifies "experts" over common sense. The arguments, in many cases, also twist facts or chose them selectively That in all cases our collective sympathy must triumph over reason.
His arguments are tired and old and unconvincing. But then I don't subscribe to the belief that societies all ills must be addressed and remedied by more government whatever the cost or damage both to society or the economy it causes. He believes that more taxes (revenue) and spending (investments) are good unto themselves and neutral to the economy. He discounts individual will to strive and succeed or to overcome. A cabal of the rich, corporations and conservatives stand in the way of utopia with the federal government in the vangard.
Since I was not persuaded by the arguments, I was less than thrilled by the narrator's seeming enthusiasm. He reminds me of old hippie aquiantences I (still) keep in contact with who chase conspiracies, old rock bands, as well as crystal power et. al. and every new (left) fad, gadget, artifice that arrives.
My overall reaction was disgust. I listened and was not persuaded.
As I don't subscribe to the author's politics or economics I found listening frustrating and tedious. The book raises no new persuasive arguments. It's old wine in old bottles. However, if this it your metier, than you will probably find it re-enforcing...certainly not enlightening.
This reminds me of many boring college lectures I sat through. The presentation is halting and many times it seems like the professor is searching for simple words he can not recall. Lots of pauses and sentence completions that make no sense, e.g. "...there were men and women and things like that." Admittedly it's a survey, but the important emperors are glossed over as if they didn't exist. It is hard to tell what/who was iimportant. There also seems to be an editorial bias against Christianity which he treats like a cult and a figment of imagination. (Aside from early Romans the professor appears to give its appeal little credence and stuggles to explain why it "caught on"). Personally I find it disappointing when authors perform their own works. There are so many professionals who do it, well, professionally.
I've read some of Wilson's works, especailly reltated to politics, and have been impressed. I thought this book would take a global view and offer insights into large issues of today. Instead it discusses child development in various cultures. While the examples may be interesting, from an anthropological perspective, I would have liked to see some explicit connection about how adults make decisions. It never brings it into a larger (mature) context of how we act under various situations. I had a hard time understanding the reader. Her voice reminds me of a victorian school marm with an upper-crust English accent. After a while it sounded like chalk acratching on a board.I particuarly didn't like the use of the personal pronoun (as in "I") since Wilson is a man.
Likely, but I will carefully pay attention to the synopsis. I will not listen to him with the same reader.
No. unless I can figure out how to return to my childhood.
This book takes so many side roads that one wonders if there even is a story somewhere in there. Short, incisive excusions may actually help the story and draw the reader into it. It is not the case with this story. It's almost like Melville wanted to show his erudition and lost sight of his goal. I hate to say it, but the movie was better.
I had the misfortune of "saving" this story for a long vacation drive back home. The story is so boring that it should come with a warning label: "Do not drive or use heavy equipment when reading (listening)." This is especially the case during the later part of the first part (book) and almost the entire second part. I found myself so distracted that my truck and my towed boat were weaving from shoulder to median. The best way to listen is to click forward. I found myself clicking forward on my iPod for large sections only to return to the last coherent part of the story.
There's nothing wrong with the characters if they had a prominent place in the story. Mostly they're just ciphers so Mellvile can expound on some subject, or another, that is so distracting that you forget about the white whale.
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