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Keefer

SAN MATEO, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
20
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (295)

    Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.

    Michael says: "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
    "Stunning contrast between social strata in USA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do you feel like there's a different set of rules for the rich and the poor, but can't quite put your finder on why? Perhaps you still hold out for attaining the American Dream, but it seems to be slipping away.

    After reading this book, you'll have little doubt where things stand in the USA. You'll probably wonder why protests like Ferguson, MO don't happen more often.

    The writing lived up to my expectations from reading several Matt Taibbi pieces in Rolling Stone. The narration did the writing justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Mark Mazzetti
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (104)

    Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Mazzetti examines secret wars over the past decade, tracking key characters from the intelligence and military communities across the world. Among the characters we meet in The Way of the Knife are a young CIA officer dropped into the tribal areas to learn the hard way how the spy games in Pakistan are played; an Air Force test pilot who fired the first drone missile in the Nevada desert; and a chain-smoking Pentagon official who ran an off-the-books spying operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Dennis says: "Telling us what the government and media won't."
    "Excellent critique of covert operations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book does a fine job laying-bear the drawbacks of an increasingly militarized CIA and increasingly covert DoD. It also examines the misadventures of using private contractors to do the US government's dirty work, and of becoming involved with unsavory groups or states to achieve short-term goals, which will have long-term negative consequences.

    The chronology of the book is sometimes a bit jarring. In a few places it jumps forward or backwards in time suddenly. I think the editing could have been better from a continuity and cohesiveness standpoint. The book also suffers from a little bit of tunnel-vision--it follows the arc of several figures, but doesn't (in my opinion) give a broad assessment or characterization of programs overall. That's understandable, due to the difficulty of getting on-the-record statements from people involved in covert action and the intelligence world, but it does restrict the completeness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Diamond Age

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jennifer Wiltsie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3184)
    Performance
    (1233)
    Story
    (1246)

    Neal Stephenson, "the hottest science fiction writer in America", takes science fiction to dazzling new levels. The Diamond Age is a stunning tale; set in 21st-century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens what a state-of-the-art interactive device falls into the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life, and the entire future of humanity, is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.

    Tango says: "The rock could use a bit more polishing"
    "Stunningly good narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read the other reviews raving about the narration and told myself "I won't need to comment on that in my review." Guess what? The narration is AWESOME. There are dozens of characters and Wiltsie does them all in highly distinct and very convincing voices, switching back and forth between them with hardly a missed beat.

    The story is pretty much what I expected from Stephenson: Futuristic, but in a believable way, weaves in low-level technology concepts via allegories, slightly uncomfortable in places, and fascinating commentary on social systems. Thoroughly enjoyable escapism.

    Have I mentioned that the narration is fantastic?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Zero Day: A Jeff Aiken Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Mark Russinovich
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (788)
    Performance
    (720)
    Story
    (725)

    An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction. At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events.

    Brian says: "Techno-thriller that gets the tech right"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It really pains me to write a negative review for this book. For one, Mark Russinovich is a really smart guy who has been very generous in sharing his knowledge of obscure Windows internals. As a computer security professional, I'm also very eager for thrillers with hacker themes.

    Before the downers, if you're an IT person who wants to read a book where computer experts are the central figures and aren't too concerned about the plot, you'll probably enjoy this book any way.

    The story was just too weak for me. The technical parts were highly dumbed down and not very accurate, which surprised me because Russinovich is very knowledgeable on these subjects. The interactions were sexualized to the point where it distracted a lot from the plot, in my opinion. There are ways to work sex into stories without beating the reader over the head with it. The attempts at describing relationships seemed very strained to me, like someone trying to fit human interaction into a crude algorithm.

    I'm not sure how many of my complaints stem from bad writing to begin with, or bad editing. I hope editors will allow more technically accurate and detailed depictions in Russinovich's future works, and hopefully encourage a lot of coaching in character development and interaction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snow Crash

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (5400)
    Performance
    (2736)
    Story
    (2791)

    Neal Stephenson is a blazing new force on the sci-fi scene. With the groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he has "vaulted onto the literary stage." It weaves virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility - in short, it is the gigathriller of the information age.

    A. Tuck says: "Classic Stephenson"
    "Great story, outstanding narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has the best first chapter of any book I've ever read.

    The story combines computer hacking, sword fighting, corruption, religion, and dystopian future in a way that's easy to imagine. As a hacker I found the book interesting, although the descriptions are simple enough for anyone to follow. I did find some of the etymology a bit tedious, but the historical and mythological elements were enjoyable.

    Stephenson did an outstanding job of writing in the voice of his characters, and Davis gave extremely convincing performances for each of them. This is the best narration I've listened to on an audible book yet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Shane Harris
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Our surveillance state was born in the brain of Admiral John Poindexter in 1983. Poindexter, President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, realized that the United States might have prevented the terrorist massacre of 241 Marines in Beirut if only intelligence agencies had been able to analyze in real time data they had on the attackers. Poindexter poured government know-how and funds into his dream---a system that would sift reams of data for signs of terrorist activity.

    Keefer says: "Important context for privacy debate"
    "Important context for privacy debate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Shane Harris does such a good job of explaining the rationale behind the creation of the modern US surveillance state and the motivations of the people who created it that in the end I felt it was lacking compelling arguments against such domestic spying. Despite that, the book does chronicle the rapid erosion of protections for US persons in the face of comprehensive government eavesdropping. I heartily recommend this book to anyone seeking a better understanding of privacy and surveillance issues.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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