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New York, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

  • 46 reviews
  • 648 ratings
  • 1191 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2015

  • Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Janet Reitman
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals.

    Matt says: "My cup of tea."
    "Very good introduction..."
    Overall an extremely complex subject. Reitman has done her homework and has come out with a fair-minded yet damning excoriation of one of the world's strangest phenomena.

    This is a lucid and readable (listenable?) account of Scientology that is, fascinatingly, heavy on facts. Her discussion of the Lisa McPherson case is useful both for its examination of a shocking incident and for what we can infer from it about Scientology and its relationship to its adherents - and to truth.

    26 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson

    This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes heinous crimes.

    Ronald says: "Compelling and important – highly recommend"
    "A must-listen for free thinkers"

    This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking guide to the thoughtless and bloody (living) legacy of religion. Mr. Harris is an expert writer and social critic; this is him at his finest. There are controversial passages - about the ethics of torture, for example. But as a clear-eyed challenger of nonsense, Harris has few peers. If you count yourself among the intelligent and critical of the species, read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

    • UNABRIDGED (103 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Randy Shilts
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine

    By the time Rock Hudson's death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously?

    ricketsj says: "Stunning, informative, well-written, but biased."
    "A-plus journalism"

    Shilts managed to write three of the most important works of nonfiction touching on gay people in the twentieth century. This book is one that is so carefully researched and intelligently presented that it really brings one into the complex mindsets that pervaded the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

    It's broad in its geographical scope, yet stunningly personal, too. It shows us that the people who fought for the rights of people with aids often fought bitterly among themselves. It reveals the horrendous complacency and silence of the Reagan administration that might well be characterized as criminally negligent.

    Shilts himself would succumb to AIDS not so many years after the events chronicled in this book. It stands as a living monument to his intelligence and humanity. It's a book everyone should read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

    • ABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Korda
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs

    Michael Korda's Hero is the story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile, including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes, made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia".

    Ron says: "Excellent book and narration"
    "Excellent book and narration"

    Lawrence was an enigma; at the height of his fame he retreated from the public eye. Korda captures the complexity without explaining it away. He presents Lawrence's life without simplifying it. The tone of the book is one of deep pathos and an ineluctable pitch towards disaster, but it's a lovely thing nonetheless.

    I do wish we had had the option of an unabridged version.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens

    Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature.

    Laura says: "Truth, the whole truth and nothing but."
    "A life of a kind of hero"

    Hitchens may not be to your taste. If you're like me, he's a bit intimidating. His intellect can scorch his humanity now and then. But I think he is among our greatest public intellectuals. I have never heard nor read him without thinking that I need to work and think and write and speak with more dedication. When I don't agree with him, I still want to be a better person.

    "Hitch-22" is scintillating, maddening, hilarious, touching, and entertaining. The sixties and Oxford come alive, as do his family and friends. I have given it three listens so far, but I'll keep coming back to it.

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Antonia Fraser
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor

    The self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV, ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in 17th-century Europe. Now, Antonia Fraser goes behind the well-known tales of Louis' accomplishments and follies, exploring in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.

    Louise says: "Excellent!"
    "I will never get that time back"

    This was a bit of a snore-fest for me. Some lives interest me, others apparently not so much. Maybe it's a cultural thing. I had a bad case of buyer's remorse halfway through "Love & Louis XIV."

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    Bronwyn Soell says: "One of the finest audiobooks I have heard"
    "Superb in every particular"

    This is a stunning book and it's not easy to decide how best to praise it. Mantel has elucidated a world in brilliant detail. The underlying psychological tissue of the story is so compelling, lightly rendered yet tightly woven that I am left with the impression that we can really understand Thomas Cromwell in some meaningful way. If on the other hand Mantel's Cromwell is merely an artful illusion it is of no importance. She has given life to one of the great characters in modern literature, along with a world for him - and for us - to inhabit.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Life of Thomas More

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Peter Ackroyd
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Life of Thomas More went straight to #1 on the London Times best seller list when published in the United Kingdom. It remained in that position for over a month, garnering the kind of praise that is rarely given. Thomas More was not only a great man of the church, he was also arguably the most brilliant lawyer the English-speaking world has ever known.

    Andy says: "Great Man"
    "Extraordinary cautionary tale"

    It would be hard to overestimate the level of fascination Thomas More continues to generate. I found him at times completely medieval in outlook and at other times thoroughly modern. His particular faith was the least compelling thing about him from my point of view, though the interaction of his beliefs with those of Henry VIII set the stage for More's greatest hour: his silence in the face of lengthy persecution, and his pungent revelation of his views in the moments after his conviction. More's life and mind are worth our time.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Autobiography of Henry VIII

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Margaret George
    • Narrated By David Case
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Margaret George's novel brings into focus the larger-than-life King Henry VIII, monarch of prodigious appetites for wine, women, and song.

    Amy M. Walts says: "Perfection!"
    "A great romp"

    This book is a fine introduction to the life of the most overexposed and misunderstood character in the English-speaking world. Endlessly entertaining but, whenever possible, following the historical record. That's not to say it doesn't take some dramatic liberties. I enjoyed the writing and over-the-top narration very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Thomas Hardy
    • Narrated By Peter Firth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When John Durbeyfield discovers a family connection to the ancient Norman family, the D'Urbervilles, the fate of daughter Tess is transformed. Sent by her ambitious parents to visit her wealthy D'Urberville cousins, Tess attracts the attention of the unscrupulous Alec. Seduced and discarded by him and alone in the world, she finds work as a milkmaid, and the love of Angel Clare. Yet his love cannot accept the truth about Tess's past.

    Claire says: "Peter Firth gets this book"

    A heartbreaking story possesses both the clarity of rural life and the confusion of the epic struggles of a human heart. Tess and Angel Clare are so beautifully realized that the frustration one feels with them becomes all-too-real. The narration of this version, by Peter Firth, is among the best in the catalog that I've encountered so far. Tess is a book to read and re-read with your ears, eyes, mind, and heart.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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