This book is a good and worthwhile listen as it provides the completion of the Shackleton story. In this book, I found heroes and frustration. But as this is abridged, I think I missed out on much that would have connected me to the men this book is about.
Bottom line: As information, this is great. As a story, this lacks some character development.
I would definitely listen to this again. The heroic and heartbreaking story of these brave and determined Soldiers is gripping and emotional and reminds me that the US Soldier is the most capable, flexible, and resilient Soldier in the world. I was in Jalalabad, working for the brigade 3-61 CAV fell under when all this went down, and I can tell you that the story treated all of the Officers and Enlisted men of the Brigade/Squadron/Troops/Platoon very fairly.
The history behind the creation of the outpost is compelling, as are the men and women who were involved. I was fascinated as the local dynamics shifted with each new unit. Then, when the final battle was told, I found myself sitting in my driveway for long periods of time with this book on the radio. I just couldn't tear myself away.
I cannot point out one single person as my favorite in the story. So many of the Soldiers were distinctive, with functions and personalities that were fascinating.
Overall, Rob Shapiro was uninspired in his reading. Much of the time, he either sounded tired or bored. If the story wasn't so very gripping, I'd have had to put the book aside.
For the story, yes. For the reader, no.
Watch out as this book is laced with a thinly disguised political agenda, so much so that it is distracting from the actual story of the Heroes. I'm not one who likes to have the story of Soldiers used for personal agenda - using their words out of context for political motives. But get by that and the story is incredible, and well told.
I just finished the last book of the series and am looking back on the Gunslingers story at the beginning. This first book is a humble beginning to what becomes an incredible and rich tale. But though the book is humble in relation to the larger story, it is still filled with interesting characters and a compelling line. It is a very appropriate and well done start.
George Guidall, the narrator, took some getting used to. But after a little while I was really enjoying his reading. I especially like his voice for the Gunslinger.
I just finished this last installment in the Dark Tower series. And I must say, I think this may be the best book series I've ever read (or listened to in this case). This last book really digs deep into the characters and shows just how far the journey has taken them as people. As I was listening to this one, I kept reflecting back to the characters as they started and realizing how much they've developed.
If you've been following the entire series, you will not be disappointed. If you are thinking about starting the series, do yourself a big favor: go to the first book of the series (The Gunslinger) and get started.
I just finished off this audiobook and have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair is an extremely principled and honorable fellow. I already knew that, no matter the media attacks, his personal vision completely changed politics in Britain for the better on both sides of the political spectrum because it caused everyone to honestly evaluate the way they do business. This book addresses the hard decisions and personal pain over making those decisions that Mr. Blair had to endure. I may not agree with the total sum of his politics; but after this book, I can respect his reasoning in addition to respecting the man. This is a very compelling listen. Mr. Blair is not the greatest narrator ever (kind of fast talking with sudden stops), but his reading this relays a very personal telling and is well worth it.
I have always been relatively middle of the road when it comes to politics. I'm typically fiscally conservative while being socially liberal. But I always approach the media (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, whatever) with a great deal of skepticism and distrust. As the media portrayed G.W. Bush as a militant conservative in all aspects, read this book with an OPEN MIND and you'll find that this is just not true. Yes, of course he made many decisions that were conservative, but he also put into action many programs and ideas that fall into the liberal agenda. And whatever your stance on Iraq and Afghanistan, his reasoning and decision making in these wars are fascinating.
I have many friends that hate G.W. Bush, essentially, just because he's Bush and for no substantive reason. This book is not for them. I also have friends that are definitely Democrat in their thinking, and after reading this book they still don't agree with much in the way of his politics, but they but they understand and respect the man.
On the other side of the coin, many conservatives will have severe heartburn with many of the decisions he made that addressed the liberal agenda. They came into this book looking for validation of a very conservative way of thinking. People I know have come away with an "I can't believe he did that" attitude towards some of the more liberal decisions he made.
Regardless, G.W. Bush seems to write this book without regard to station in either the liberal or conservative camps. He plainly outlines his major decisions, explains the thought and research that went into making those decisions, and leaves it to the readers to decide who the man really is.
I originally read this book 20 years ago, and remembered that it was one of my favorites back then. So I came into this with the hopes that I hadn't outgrown this story. Well, I haven't. This story was great fun with the magic and mystery and excitement and caring for the characters. To me, this book didn't take as long as many other Stephen King books to get going. And once it was going, it was hard to turn off. I listened to this on my daily commutes and often found myself unable to turn off the car because I wanted to find out how a situation turned out.
This story is quite a chase as we ride along on the investigation for a mysterious man who has been hired to kill France's president. The story is written very engagingly, and I found myself really hoping for the success of all of the authorities involved. But also, I liked the character of the Jackal. Several of his actions and reasons I could totally understand.
Overall, this is an enjoyable story and totally worth the listen. And Simon Prebble does a great job of narration.
Throughout the story, I felt a great amount of sympathy for all of the main characters. I many times found myself mentally spent when I had listened to the book for a good chunk of time. Much of this was due to the author's reading of the book. He is extremely talented, relating sorrow when one man basically bids his life goodbye, and relating coldness and hatred from the evil presence.
This story of a simple idea with far-reaching consequences is fascinating, especially when the plan goes into action and we are able to watch how events unfold with unexpected complexity. Be ready for a lot of background on the main players in the telling. But the provided background really helped me to identify with these people.
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