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Joe Bloggs

Simple Joe

WASHINGTON, IL, United States | Member Since 2011

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 49 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 119 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Paul Kengor
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    In his memoir, Barack Obama omits the full name of his mentor, simply calling him "Frank." Now, the truth is out: Never has a figure as deeply troubling and controversial as Frank Marshall Davis had such an impact on the development of an American president. Although other radical influences on Obama - from Jeremiah Wright to Bill Ayers-have been scrutinized, the public knows little about Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA, cited by the Associated Press as an "important influence" on Obama....

    Mike says: "So that's where Obama got many of his ideas!"
    "Insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Who Frank Marshal Davis was is a matter of record. Nobody would give a rats butt about this guy if it wasn't for the fact that he was a role model and mentor to Obama. It's quite clear to any thinking person that Obama is and was a Marxist, and that he was heavily influenced by Frank.

    What does all this mean? Let me answer my own question with another question: What would it mean if Vladimir Lennon or Joseph Stalin were POTUS? Obama isn't those men, but he believes the same things they believed, as did Frank Marshal Davis.

    First of all you need a really big crisis. Then you get "temporary" powers to deal with the crisis. But then you don't give those powers back, and who can make you give them back? Nobody. Will this work in United States? I'm afraid that's not going to be a theoretical question much longer.

    But back to the book, It's engaging, readable, insightful and chocked full of information. It does at times get difficult to keep the cast of Communist characters straight. The book is so based in facts that at times it's difficult to draw the lines as to what it all means for yourself, but the author eventually gets around to telling us. Like why the move to Hawaii? He eventually gets around to telling us that was a Moscow initiative, but not for a while. So I'm here wondering for a long time, "Ok, tell me why the sudden move to Hawaii!!" It's sort of like someone telling you a trivia question and then not getting around to telling you the answer for a long time. Just tell me. I don't freaking know the answer if you don't tell me.

    The author stops short of drawing conclusions about certain things, but you can figure these out for yourself, usually. We don't all have the towering intellect to immediately draw the necessary conclusions without someone pointing them out. Like the David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrot connection. All have commi parents that knew each other and such, so what is the connection? Obviously the Commi's are a small community that sticks together, but is there a deeper plot? It's this sort of failure to draw the lines that I find frustrating. But factual journalism doesn't seem to allow for a conclusion to be drawn. Only a question can be asked. Well, Mr. Professor - draw the damn conclusion please because the rest of us are left wondering what the heck it is you are getting at.

    Although the book focuses on Frank the Communist, and mentions that he wrote a book called Sex Rebel, it fails to give more than a single dimension of Frank. Frank was an angry black man, but unlike the vast majority of black people, this man was a Communist. It would have been nice to include more of the personal side of Frank. I don't feel like I have a complete picture of the man. Maybe there isn't much more that that though. He's a poet, a writer, a Communist loyal to mother Russia. Perhaps it's not possible to get an accurate picture of a man like Frank for a lot of reasons: He's dead and anyone who knew him is either old, dead or motivated to lie about who he was.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in the Moonshine Capital of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Max Watman
    • Narrated By Max Watman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    In Chasing the White Dog, journalist Max Watman traces the historical roots and contemporary story of hooch. He takes us to the backwoods of Appalachia and the gritty nip joints of Philadelphia, from a federal courthouse to Pocono Speedway, profiling the colorful characters who make up white whiskey's lore. Along the way, Watman chronicles his hilarious attempts to distill his own moonshine - the essential ingredients and the many ways it can all go wrong - from his initial ill-fated batch to his first successful jar of 'shine.

    Joe Bloggs says: "Meandering, yet Descriptive and insightful"
    "Meandering, yet Descriptive and insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Chasing the White Dog the most enjoyable?

    I liked the writing style. Max Watman did an excellent job of telling the stories in the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When he brewed his own moonshine


    Any additional comments?

    The upside is the great story telling, the downside for me was when the book wandered from adventures to a history lesson. I wanted more adventure, more close calls with the police, more of what's it really like to work on a still site or something of that nature. While the history of moonshine goes back to the 1700's, that stuff is ancient history to me, and I thought too much of the book focused on that history and the history of NASCAR. I wished Max was out in the woods making illegal brew or something exciting, but it seems like he kept himself at a distance somewhat. I know that it might not be possible to get that involved in an illegal operation, but that's the juice of this sort of book. Sorry for the rant, but I felt like it had to be said.

    Other than my rant above, I loved the book and have not found anything quite like it. If you want to get a historical perspective from yesterday to present day, then this book is excellent. If you want outrageous adventure, then this book is rather tame.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jordan Belfort
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (176)

    In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent.

    wowziewoo says: "Way too Abridged!"
    "The drug addict of wall street"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Wolf of Wall Street to be better than the print version?

    Saw the movie, but didn't read the book. Who the hell reads a book and listens to the audio version anyway?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wolf of Wall Street?

    Helicopter landing? Blue ball treatment from his wife? I'm not sure, because there are a few to choose from. Personally, I would say the story of ordering Martini's until either Belfort or the stock broker he worked for passed out.


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

    Sometimes but not always.


    Any additional comments?

    Surprisingly little dirt and detail about the securities fraud. I wanted to hear more of the dirt and less details about Belforts family life. All of the details about doing drugs were great, but enough is enough already! I just think that part was a bit overdone.

    The book reads like a story from Tony Soprano or your local mafia boss. It's got this wise guy feel to it that sort of explains some things about Jordan Belfort.

    I like how the people in the book are given nicknames like the spitter and the drizzler. I also like how Belfort describes everything from his point of view, which is frequently distorted as hell due to his drug use and his self centered outlook on everything. It works because it's real. That's the main thing about this book that makes it worth reading, it's real. The people are real, the problems are real and Belfort is real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eye of the Needle

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By Eric Lincoln
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2267)
    Performance
    (1311)
    Story
    (1315)

    One enemy spy knows the secret of the Allies' greatest deception, a brilliant aristocrat and ruthless assassin - code name: "The Needle" - who holds the key to the ultimate Nazi victory.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "Just OK by Follett Standards"
    "Into the mind of a Nazi Spy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Eye of the Needle the most enjoyable?

    Excellent historical accuracy. The author really captures the sentiment of the time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked the history professor, but I also found The Needle interesting. The German spy makes this novel because he is absolutely cold blooded and calculating. Of course he tells himself that he is killing for his Country, but he even goes so far as killing a fellow spy because that spy might give him away. His only weakness is not killing a beautiful woman who saves his life, which becomes his downfall.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the scene where the woman defends herself in a cabin when the Needle is trying to get in. It's an all out war between them, even though the Needle doesn't want to hurt the woman. This scene is perhaps even a metaphor for the war between Germany and Great Britain.


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

    I was a bit saddened when the man with no legs lost his fight with the Needle. I was hoping he would win and that would be the end of the Needle.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4150)
    Performance
    (3684)
    Story
    (3698)

    Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies—and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable.

    Mikeyxote says: "Great listen for tech fans"
    "Mitnick - much more than a social engineer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Ghost in the Wires in three words, what would they be?

    The story of Kevin Mitnick from high school through fugitive hacker. Some of the moves Kevin makes seem to defy logic, such as trusting a guy who betrayed him, but that is what really happened. I found myself cheering for the hacker as he eluded the Feds time and again, even though we already know the outcome.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    It's a real story that spares few details. However, there are a number of times I get the feeling there is a hell of a lot more to some of the stories than what is in the book. For instance Kevin says he read Kenny Uston's book on blackjack and was pretty good at keeping track of high cards but never seemed to leave the casino with much more than he started with. Things like this make me wonder if maybe Mitnick didn't hit the Casino's for a few grand now and then, making sure he stayed under their radar. It is a perfectly plausible assumption.


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

    Eight months in solitary confinement. People just don't realize how horrible solitary can be.


    Any additional comments?

    The story is riveting and technical details are mostly excluded except for the social engineering hacks. It's almost like peering inside Kevin Mitnick's mind and seeing what makes him tick. He plays off his superior intelligence and skills as easy tricks and credits much of his hacking success to social engineering. I'm sure the book is accurate and I'm sure social engineering was a big help, but I'm also sure social engineering is just one tool in Mitnick's rather large hacking toolbox.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Fortunate Son

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier, Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (410)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (352)

    When veteran operator Pike Logan and partner Jennifer Cahill receive a letter from Blaisdell Consulting - the umbrella cover company for their real employer, a top secret counterterrorist unit called the Taskforce - they expect orders for their next mission-impossible tasking. Instead, they learn that their latest actions have gotten them fired, despite having saved thousands of innocent lives. Pike's shock and fury is redirected when their commander Colonel Kurt Hale asks him and Jennifer for help with a personal matter.

    L. G. Scott says: "Best one yet!"
    "Best Pike Logan Yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up No Fortunate Son in three words, what would they be?

    Pike Kicks Ass


    Which character – as performed by Henry Strozier and Rich Orlow – was your favorite?

    Pike Logan


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Pike Logan Unleashed


    Any additional comments?

    Pike is cut loose from the super secret group and I couldn't be happier because this means Pike is off his leash! Pike and Jennifer track down kidnappers whose only plan is to kill their victims and others to make a profit and get away with their crimes. Jennifer has a change of heart and stops being so damned annoying all of time! Pike displays an ability for deceit that that he has heretofore kept hidden! An exciting book and hopefully a portent of things to come.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Enemy of Mine

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow, Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (212)

    In retired Delta Force officer Brad Taylor’s third Pike Logan thriller, a tentative peace between Israel and Palestine has been brokered by the United States. But the Taskforce - a clandestine team operating outside of US law to protect the country from terrorism - gets wind of an assassination attempt on the American envoy sent to solidify the treaty. The Taskforce must devote every resource to saving his life - and preventing another bloody outbreak of violence.

    Joe Bloggs says: "Pike's Revenge"
    "Pike's Revenge"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pike Logan of course.


    What does Rich Orlow and Henry Strozier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    They work well as a team.


    Any additional comments?

    This is partially a story about revenge for both Pike and Jennifer. Jennifer gets a bit annoying with all of her thoughts about being a good person and being better than the people they are sent to kill. The plot twists and turns in unexpected directions which keep things interesting. The oversight council is still annoying, but it gives you a sense of how frustrated Pike must feel when terrorists are about to escape and politicians wring their hands.

    I like Pike the rage filled man who is on the ragged edge of going berserk and this book definitely has that. It also brings Pike back to a sane place and he shows some superhuman restraint. This book feels like Brad Taylor is hitting his stride in terms of writing and everything is getting more polished and presentable. There is plenty of action and the pace is fast. There is also a lot of thought provoking story going on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All Necessary Force

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier, Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (249)

    Best-selling author Brad Taylor draws upon his own experiences as a Delta Force commander for his exciting series starring elite Taskforce operative Pike Logan. In All Necessary Force, Logan and his partner Jennifer Cahill are trailing two terrorist organizations from Asia to Egypt when a deadly threat arrives in the U.S.

    Don says: "Editing makes a difference"
    "Pike Logan Kicks Butt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare All Necessary Force to and why?

    Any other Brad Taylor books featuring Pike Logan


    What about Henry Strozier and Rich Orlow ’s performance did you like?

    I'm still getting used to the two readers format. Having listened to many books done by a single reader it does take a little getting used to and there is a good and a bad to it. I think they did a great job.


    Any additional comments?

    Pike is back in action and using all the force necessary to get the job done. In short he's kicking ass and filling body bags. I like the fast paced action. What I don't like is all the talk about task force approval for this and omega authority for that. I get it that politicians wring their hands while terrorists take real actions, but the oversight council is even getting on my nerves.

    I don't have a lot of love for Jennifer either. She is sort of Pike's sidekick and while she makes the story interesting, I really don't see anyone with her unease for killing being on the front lines of a terrorism task force.

    The story is great and fast paced. I can't wait to read the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Rough Man: A Pike Logan Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By J. D. Jackson, Neil Kaplan
    Overall
    (567)
    Performance
    (481)
    Story
    (479)

    A former Delta Force commander, Brad Taylor proves with this breathtaking debut thriller that Vince Flynn and Brad Thor have company. A collection of top operatives, the Taskforce was commissioned by the highest levels of government, kept secret from the media and even Congress. The best of the Taskforce bunch, Pike Logan knows the greatest threat to American security is one or two idealogues. Unfortunately for them, they’ve just crossed Pike’s path.

    Teresa says: "terrible narration"
    "One Good Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about One Rough Man?

    The character of Pike Logan and his attitude. Pike really comes alive when he talks about operations and his own life. I love the use of Pike in the first person also.


    What other book might you compare One Rough Man to and why?

    Many thrillers have a similar main hero character, but none are quite like Pike Logan. The Mitch Rap books by Vince Flynn are sort of similar, but very different in many ways. I would say the Ben Coes books are fairly similar.


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

    When Pike takes out a couple of drug cartel thugs on his boat with his bare hands. They watched him get his ass kicked earlier and didn't realize that Pike just didn't have it in him to stomp some college kid. He unleashes 9 months of pent up rage on the deserving thugs who were about to torture and kill Jennifer who becomes a main character in the book. It was awesome.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't stop listening and that's something I can't say about too many books. Thank God this series is already far along so I can enjoy many more hours of Pike Logan's adventures.

    When the ancient WMD was first discovered I groaned inwardly wondering what the hell kind of book I was reading, but as it turned out the scenario is actually not an impossibility as we later find out. I have to give the book an A for originality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lions of Lucerne

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Brad Thor
    • Narrated By Armand Schultz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1692)
    Performance
    (1513)
    Story
    (1512)

    On the snow-covered slopes of Utah, the unthinkable has just become a nightmarish reality: thirty Secret Service agents have been viciously executed and the vacationing president of the United States kidnapped by one of the most lethal terrorist organizations in the Middle East - the Fatah Revolutionary Council. But surviving agent and ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath doesn't believe the Fatah Revolutionary Council is responsible for the attack.

    Carol says: "Great Scott Harvath"
    "A masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a book late in the Scott Harvath series and decided to go back to the beginning and listen to book one. The way things change in the world so quickly, you never really know how applicable some of the stuff will be for today, however I was not disappointed.

    The Lions of Lucerne is a masterpiece from beginning to end, and it's non-stop twists and turns from beginning to end. You really cannot figure this book out until the end, and there is no lack of action either. Another great thing about this book is that it sticks with the main character and doesn't get bogged down trying to explain everything from everyone else's perspective. So many books get caught up explaining everything and the hero sort of steps in every third chapter to do something, but this book sticks with Harvath almost exclusively.

    You can really tell when an author puts in the extra time, and this novel is a fitting first novel to kick off the series. Thor wasn't just throwing something at the wall and seeing if it would stick, he was taking aim and put the bullet right through the center of the target. In short, this book is everything a book of the genre should be. I cannot wait to start the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Full Black

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brad Thor
    • Narrated By Armand Schultz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1847)
    Performance
    (1494)
    Story
    (1505)

    Born in shadow and kept from heads of state, there are some missions so deadly, so sensitive, that they simply don't exist. so deadly, so sensitive, that they simply don't exist. When one such mission goes horribly wrong, a wave of dramatic terrorist attacks is set in motion. Their goal: the complete and total collapse of the United States. With the CIA's intelligence abilities hobbled, former Navy SEAL Team 6 member turned covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath launches an audacious plan to infiltrate the terrorists' network and prevent one of the biggest threats the U.S. has ever faced.

    Sean says: "More More"
    "When partial black just won't do"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scott Harvath is back and kicking terrorist ass, but not until after the terrorists do some damage just to get the blood boiling. This novel is one of the best of the series, and doesn't disappoint.

    The thing about a book like this is, you know it's good when the plot seems absolutely plausible even though it's outrageous on the surface. The plot in this book is more or less completely plausible, some parts more than others but it's truly not much of a stretch. This book never strays into unbelievable land and keeps things interesting with individual plots that intersect and weave together.

    James Standing is the perfect villain and Thor does a wonderful job explaining what makes this man the way he is. I especially like the interview Standing has with a reporter and their verbal sparing over political ideas. The ideas are pretty much old hat for me, but I enjoyed the presentation anyway. It gets so heated that you wish you could jump in and make a point yourself.

    Bottom line: I loved the book and can't wait to start the next Brad Thor novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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