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Nate W.

St. Louis, MO. USA | Member Since 2012

ratings
54
REVIEWS
17
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
6

  • Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By William Knoedelseder
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (139)

    The engrossing, often scandalous saga of one of the wealthiest, longest-lasting, and most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce—a cautionary tale about prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the blessings and dark consequences of success. This engrossing, vivid narrative captures the Busch saga through five generations. At the same time, it weaves a broader story of American progress and decline over the past 150 years. It's a cautionary tale of prosperity, hubris, and loss.

    Jeremy McGough says: "Couldn't stop listening..."
    "An American Family Empire Down the Drain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I worked at A-B for several years and can attest first-hand to the Busch family cult of personality described in "Bitter Brew." If anything, I found it to be even more palpable and all-consuming in the corporate culture than what is described in the book.

    The decades-long story that unfolds is fascinating in a way akin to reading about a royal family -- the aspirations, the battles, the treacheries, the grudges, and the grooming of heirs are all the same.

    In this way, I see the whole thing as less a cautionary tale of cutthroat capitalism, than a tragic account of fatal and flawed family dynamics.

    My only complaint is that Knoedelseder's telling is more plain and flatly journalistic than the vivid subject matter deserved, and in the end could've benefitted from more descriptive analysis into the meaning of it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blade Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (846)
    Performance
    (489)
    Story
    (498)

    It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment: find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!

    Muddy says: "Pleasantly Surprised"
    "Wanted to like this, but . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    . . . I didn't.

    Two reasons:

    1. Poor character development. You never really know or learn enough about Deckard to understand his actions.

    2. Uneven writing. Dick spends paragraphs and pages describing Deckard's dreams of purchasing an animal, but not much more than a few sentences describing how or why he fell for Rachel. Mercerism is never really laid out enough give the viewer any idea of what is going on with those scenes.

    Scott Brick is solid as usual, though he hams up the noir tone a bit too heavily here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    Overall
    (1289)
    Performance
    (1177)
    Story
    (1177)

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Charles says: "Unique"
    "Ok, not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Story: Well written, starts strong, and the first half really pulls you in. The second half drags a bit.

    Narrator: As noted by others, her male character voices are almost comically bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Delivered From Distraction: Get the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Edward M. Hallowell, John J. Ratey
    • Narrated By Dan Cashman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (723)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (300)

    In 1994, Driven to Distraction sparked a revolution in our understanding of attention deficit disorder. Now a second revolution is under way in the approach to ADD, and the news is great. Drug therapies, our understanding of the role of diet and exercise, even the way we define the disorder, all are changing radically. And doctors are realizing that millions of adults suffer from this condition, though the vast majority of them remain undiagnosed and untreated.

    Lincoln says: "Excellent Book on ADD"
    "Essential Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Put simply, this book is essential reading/listening for anyone who has ADD or loves someone who does.

    As an adult with ADD, I've read several books on the topic. This is the best one.

    Practical, readable and empathetic, it has opened my eyes, changed my thinking and my actions, and helped me understand my own brain in profound ways.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By James Tabor
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (89)

    Blind Descent explores both the brightest and darkest aspects of the timeless human urge to discover—to be first. It is also a thrilling epic about a pursuit that makes even extreme mountaineering and ocean exploration pale by comparison.

    RGH says: "Amazing Courage!!"
    "Great story, poorly organized and poorly narrated."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The source material for Blind Descent is fascinating and more than a little terrifying to imagine. Unfortunately the story suffers a bit in Tabor's treatment. It's poorly organized - - jumping around and difficult to follow in places.

    The writing veers into melodrama and hyperbole more than it should (ie, repeated statements like "what happened next would haunt him for the rest of his life..."). This problem is compounded by the narration. At times it sounds like you're listening to a book length movie trailer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shepherd of the Hills

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Harold Bell Wright
    • Narrated By Jack Sondericker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    Strangers aren't well received in the Mutton Hollow neighborhood of the Ozarks. But there was something different about this old gentleman. The cut of his clothes revealed he was obviously from the world beyond the ridges.

    Stevon says: "a timeless masterpiece"
    "They don't write books like this anymore."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A simple story about the value of simplicity. I found it to be old-fashioned in the best possible way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • True Grit

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Portis
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1895)
    Performance
    (1061)
    Story
    (1068)

    Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.

    Tommygaus says: "So worth it!"
    "Yes, you should read this."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is a classic, some say a masterpiece. Funny, poignant, and the kind story that is so enjoyable and expertly written that it will make you want to start over again at the beginning when you finish.

    Donna Tartt isn't a professional narrator (she's an accomplished author in her own right who happens to also be a big fan of this book), but she makes the absolute most of her naturally sweet Southern lilt. It fits the main character well, and ultimately, I enjoyed her read. This said, it would be nice to hear what a pro could do with characters like those in this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3672)
    Performance
    (2265)
    Story
    (2285)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "Khan!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    THE BOOK: Very enlightening examination of the often-overlooked but incredibly influential Mongol Empire, beginning with Genghis Khan. It's hard to overstate how much the ideas, societal structures, and yes, conquests, of Khan and his heirs influenced modernity.

    A few samples - - 1) he introduced the idea of freedom of religion, and fostered religious tolerance in every land he conquered, 2) there is a strong case to be made that the expansive commercial routes he opened both directly and indirectly brought about the European Renaissance, and 3) Kublai Khan unified China from what was previously a divided land of warring dynasties.

    Weatherford does a great job of shedding light on all of this (and much more), but does so in slightly wooden narrative that, while definitely interesting, also drags a bit in spots.

    THE NARRATOR: Jonathan Davis' voice is pleasant enough, but the performance was uneven, sometimes flat when drama was needed, and (more often) melodramatic when restraint was needed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog of the South

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Charles Portis
    • Narrated By Edward Lewis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (41)

    The Dog of the South is the story of Ray Midge as he tracks down his wife, Norma, who has run off with her first husband, by following credit card receipts (his credit card!). Midge starts out in Norma's lover's compact car, which has 74,000 miles on it and a quarter-turn slack in the steering wheel (they took his Ford Torino!). The trail leads from Arkansas, down to Mexico, and into Honduras.

    Paul says: "Top Ten Funniest Books"
    "Reads Like a Coen Brothers Film . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dry, very funny, and odd in the best possible way, this isn't the book for you if you want adventure, intrigue, drama, or really even that much of a plot.

    Portis doesn't seem interested in those things, focussing his writing instead on the social quirks, delusions of grandeur, and general weirdness of the hopelessly pathetic cast of losers he assembles. He describes these things in effortless and idiosyncratic detail, and crafts dialogue between the characters throughout that will -- if you're in on the joke -- make you laugh hard.

    Reading Portis' novels, it's easy to see why the Coen brothers produced a film of his "True Grit." If you're an admirer of their films, you will feel like you're cracking their code when you read Portis. His penchant for eccentric characters and oddball humor was clearly an influence on them.

    One final note: Edward Lewis' narration was among the best I've ever heard. By this I mean that it perfectly captures the tone of the book and personality of each character, most notably Ray Midge. It matched -- and added to -- the material in the way you want great narration to do. I wish he would narrate more books in this vein, but for the most part the rest of his catalog seems more conventional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10555)
    Performance
    (5796)
    Story
    (5840)

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Uneven, but interesting read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good: unique storyline, uniquely structured, asks big questions

    Bad: The first several chapters drag. As a reader you want to root for, and in some way relate to, the protagonist, but this is hard with Pi, who is more than a little bit precocious and annoying. The book's theme -- basically universalism -- is logically untenable.

    Not a huge fan of Jeff Woodman's stilted, quasi-Indian accent in the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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