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David

Pittsburgh, PA, United States | Member Since 2000

70
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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5

  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (353)
    Story
    (359)

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A very interesting book with some shortcomings."
    "Extraordinary! Book & narrative performance"
    Overall

    What a book! What an extraordinary narrative performance! The sheer human carnage and historical folly of WW II painstakingly, brilliantly detailed. Reading/Listening to books such as The Storm of War ought to be considered a civic duty.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John Keegan
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (35)

    In fiction, the spy is a glamorous figure whose secrets make or break peace, but, historically, has intelligence really been a vital step to military victories? In this breakthrough study, the preeminent war historian John Keegan goes to the heart of a series of important conflicts to develop a powerful argument about military intelligence. In his characteristically wry and perceptive prose, Keegan offers us nothing short of a new history of war through the prism of intelligence.

    D. Littman says: "Military history more than history of intelligence"
    "John Keegan does it again"
    Overall

    Booklist calls Keegan "the most popular, and perhaps the best, contemporary writer of military history." I'd say he's one of the best contemporary writers of any genre, and a writer whose books belong on the shelves with the greatest writers of all time. Why? The extraordinary insight Keegan brings to his a very complex subject, matched, as is the case with all great stylists, a command of language equal to the task. Keegan is primarily an historian with no axes to grind but one who rather, in book after book, brings his axe (a jazz term for instrument) to providing a profound human understanding of a subject I had always thought boring until I picked my first JK book, The Face of Battle. This by now great classic looks at battle from the foot soldier's perspective (four different battles spanning over 1500 years) with the purpose of understanding, psychologically, behaviorally, historically, and, put it this way -- humanly -- what is going one in such scenarios of carnage and death. Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda, is no less exceptional. Keegan takes on our age's mesmerizing fixation with intelligence and gives a stressed warning for those fighting al Qaeda to "shorten their swords" i.e, battles are won not by intelligence but by engaging (and in this case infiltrating) the enemy. Intelligence in War is all about the limits of intelligence in war as it spans in great and intriguing detail specific cases that illuminate given subsidiary points of the thesis.

    16 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Daniel Ellsberg
    • Narrated By Daniel Ellsberg, Dan Cashman
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    Infused with the political passion and turmoil of the Vietnam era, Secrets is the memoir of a daring man, a story about what it takes to make a dramatic life-change in the context of moral challenge, an expose of Washington power politics, and a searing portrait of America at a perilous modern crossroads.

    David says: "5 stars for an account of a 5-star fiasco"
    "5 stars for an account of a 5-star fiasco"
    Overall

    This book is engrossing. Even at this far removed distance in time, and despite of all we know about it, the details of this story are shocking. The presentation is impassioned and at the same time matter of fact and direct about the decades of presidential deception on Vietnam. E.g., Elsberg is listening to a President Johnson speech and notes his reaction and details the lies LBJ told in it. Four presidents lied about Vietnam. All of the four ignored the best advice from the military advisors on what it would take to "win": all the presidents did less but hoped that what they did would bring a resolution to the conflict. An excellent narrator, perfect for this book, Dan Cashman. The introduction and some of the chapters are narrated by the 70-something Daniel Ellsberg. It's a winner.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky explores human nature at its most loathsome and cruel but never flinches at what he finds. The novel tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov, shy, silent, and cruel. They are behind the murder of one of literature's most despicable characters: their father. This was Dostoevsky's final and perhaps his finest work.

    David says: "superb rendition of Dostoyevsky's greatest novel"
    "superb rendition of Dostoyevsky's greatest novel"
    Overall

    Fredrick Davidson does a masterful job of rendering the characters and in my opinion the author's intent in this, the last and arguably greatest of Dostoyevsky's major novels. The very long book should become accessible through this unabridged recording. Buy it and enjoy it: it's a great experience -- as well as being a steal! I've read the book twice; and my understanding and enjoyment of this classic has significantly deepened with Davidson's performance. For instance, Davidson's rendition of the father reveals a dramatically more twisted and demented character that I was able to fathom by my reading alone. Alyosha's great goodness of heart is given more body and substance than I gained through reading. And importantly Davidson's interpretations are justified, in my opinion.

    Dostoyevsky is melodrama brought to high art. It is instructive to know that Dostoyevsky's own father was murdered by his serfs -- they forced vodka down his throat and he literally drowned in the stuff; that as a convicted "radical" he was put through a mock execution; that he had epilepsy, that he was a compulsive gambler, and thankfully, a compulsive sub-vocalizer of voices of fragments of himself and his experience that he rendered into great art. His life imitated a melodrama and all of his imbalanced traits found artistic expression and artistic balance in the serial melodramatic publications of his novels.

    Some listeners (above) have trouble with Davidson's voice. My advice is get used to his idiosyncrasies: he's one of the best readers around. Somewhat fey around the edges with the female characters: but no reader is perfect -- not even Frank Muller! And a precious very few have the great range of emotional as well as intellectual expression as Davidson. His voice is certainly formal, in I think the British manner -- no method acting approach for FD -- and his fans like his voice just the way it is.

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful

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