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Associate Professor at 4 yr. university in educational history and educational administration. Love reading historical books of all genres!

Member Since 2011

  • 7 reviews
  • 61 ratings
  • 359 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

    Mel says: "Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard"
    "James A. Garfield should have lived..."

    The author did well in capturing my attention from the beginning chapter. Millard did a superb job of intertwining the social, scientific and political worlds at the time of the presidential shooting. Being unschooled about the particulars of the Garfield assassination, it was an intriguing read to learn about the shooter, the doctors and the politics of science.
    Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book lay in the details about Garfield's academic life and the role his family played, especially the role of his wife, in many of his political decisions.
    Most importantly, Millard explained in great detail the arrogance of physicians and how their limited knowledge accelerated the death of the president. We are also introduced to the black physician who initially assisted the wounded president.
    A great read sewn-together nicely. Narration was superb and easy to listen to.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield: A Tragedy of the Gilded Age

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By H. W. Brands
    • Narrated By Richard McGonagle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Even before he was shot dead on the stairway of the tony Grand Central Hotel in 1872, financier James “Jubilee Jim” Fisk, Jr., was a notorious New York City figure. From his audacious attempt to corner the gold market in 1869 to his battle for control of the geographically crucial Erie Railroad, Fisk was a flamboyant exemplar of a new financial era marked by volatile fortunes and unprecedented greed and corruption. But it was his scandalously open affair with a showgirl named Josie Mansfield that ultimately led to his demise.

    Amazon Customer says: "Dull and lifeless"
    "Same love story; different era"

    This story, set in the 1870s to 1900s, is a remarkable tale of how love's perils has not changed. What love did to married men in the 1870s is no different than today. The story surrounding the murder allows the reader to understand how powerful men were predisposed to changing the society, through finance, to mirror their belief systems.

    Brands imparts a storyteller magic and I finished it in one sitting. I could not put it down. Beauty had its privileges; beauty brought down two men, and still becomes the advantage of those so blessed with it. I enjoyed this old, Victorian era true story, and the weaving of the tale is done peculiarly well by Brands.

    One area that I wish would have been included is the thinking of the wives of these men. Were they passive participants in their husband's adulterous ways, or were they bystanders stuck in society's norms of the day?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Civilization: The West and the Rest

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Niall Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations.

    Amazon Customer says: "Guns, Germs, and Steel is History 101, this is 201"
    "Civilization Explained"

    This captivating story of the origins and demise of civilizations in the West and East starts off a little slow, but as you listen, it begins to unfold and explain how so many countries in the West outpaced and produced so much more than other nations existing during the same time.

    The unifying theme of the 'killer apps' is appropriate for postmodern readers, giving a clear direction and 'visual' picture of how the West continues to lead the world. The most riveting parts of the book include Ferguson's discussion about the United States' perpetual dependency on religion, specifically Christianity. Why are other Western nations withdrawing from religious activity and the US is not? Is there a correlational connection between capitalism and religion or is the relationship causal?

    This book is not for generalists hoping for an easy read, but perhaps would best suit someone who has a particular interest in anthropology and sociology from a historical perspective.

    In any case, I really enjoyed the author's lively narration of his work.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • 1920: The Year of Six Presidents

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By David Pietrusza
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The presidential election of 1920 was among history's most dramatic. Six once-and-future presidents--Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt--jockeyed for the White House. With voters choosing between Wilson's League of Nations and Harding's front-porch isolationism, the 1920 election shaped modern America.

    D. Littman says: "A fascinating view into the US at the end of WWI"
    "All wanted the presidency..."

    Now this is a book that links men of different political aspirations and regional persuasions to all collide around 1920. The author connects the men through the links to the office of the president. Included in this book are interesting tidbits about each man, such as a thorough background on Herbert Hoover, --who knew his was a geologist by trade and spent quite a bit of time in China early in his career? The book is packed with all kinds of threads between men and how their presence changed the course of American history.
    After reading this book I became more interested in finding out more in depth information on three of the men detailed, especially Woodrow Wilson.
    Really enjoyed it!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Justice Antonin Scalia Speech on Constitutional Interpretation (03/14/05)

    • ORIGINAL (57 mins)
    • By Antonin Scalia

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia makes remarks on the topic of "Constitutional Interpretation." He speaks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

    Jeff says: "Supreme Court for Dummies"
    "In his own words..."

    I am not a fan of Antonin Scalia positions generally, but I did enjoy listening to his own description who he is as a justice of the Supreme Court. It is easy to learn from him, and I assume from this short speech with questions and answers that he is considered to be an accomplished teacher of law.
    I would suggest that this is a good listen for all people of all political persuasions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Paul Collins
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Long Island, a farmer found a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discovered a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumbled upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime were turning up all over New York, but the police were baffled: There were no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most perplexing murder.

    deborah says: "Great look at NYC crime, forensics, and journalism"
    "The worst who dunnit it"

    Starts of strong, but the writing is simplistic, even repetitive. Labored descriptions and it seems to drag on chapter by chapter. I never did care to find out 'who dunnit'. It stopped holding my attention after the fifth chapter.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard Beeman
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Constitutional Convention affected nothing less than a revolution in the nature of the American government. Led by James Madison, a small cohort of delegates devised a plan that would radically alter the balance of power between state and national governments, and then sprung that idea on a largely unsuspecting convention.

    Collette says: "Grand Narrative"
    "Grand Narrative"

    If you ever wanted to clearly understand what really occurred when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia, this is the book for you. I was not too enthralled by the first few pages of the narrator's voice, but as time passed, I began to like the pace, and lack of enthusiasm in his voice. This is the seminal work for looking deep into the hearts and minds of the authors of the US Constitution.

    Much like Goodwin's Team of Rivals, this sweeping work has extensive source materials and uses these source materials to support the finding and lives of these very distinct men. Beeman also carries you back to what the city was like in the late 1700's, thrusting the reader into the time period whether you want to go or not. George Washington's presence at the beginning of the book signals what is about to come!

    I encourage those whose tastes move in early American historical fact, this is the book for you. It is comprehensive in scope and answers those questions that you did not think to ask!


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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