los angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2008
This book masterfully uses real diaries and letters from people that actually LIVED through WWII, to convey much of its events. It keeps a good pace throughout, and is quite entertaining; especially for how dry this subject matter usually can be. Hastings uses the real voices from the past at the perfect time, every time, to accentuate how the larger events were affecting the civilians and soldiers. Once you start getting lulled to sleep by details (i.e. casualty figures), he wakes you up with something emotionally jarring; like a letter from a woman that lost all four of her children in a battle.
If you have a love of WWII history, add this to your library. If you're looking for a detailed, in-depth overview of the tactics and battles of the war, this may not be your book. It is much more focused on the "human" aspect of the war, which was a breath of fresh air.
Narrator is very good. Like the guys that narrate those old WWII documentaries on the History Channel.
Ok, this will be quick, since there are something like five MILLION reviews of this book on here, and the odds are good that NO ONE will read this mine.
Truth is, I felt obligated to write this because I usually can't stand fantasy stories... I LOVE sci-fi, but for some reason I could just never get into an fantasy pieces, and believe me, I've tried.
This book, however, just converted me!
To say this book is "genius" for a fantasy book is an understatement. This book is genius, period. I rank it with the greatest books EVER written... EVER. I'm not kidding. It's up there with War and Peace, Ulysses, Winds of War, Lolita, and the Bible.
Sanderson's mind is capable of creating worlds and characters which I could not even conceive of being possible to create. So much depth in every little thing; from the rocks to the clothing. This guy is incredible.
Here's to hoping you never die, Mr. Sanderson. May the world be blessed with your incredible works of literary art for decades to come!
First off, this book is GREAT when it actually sticks to the content associated with its title (and synopsis on Audible). When it talks about the physiology and psychological affects of combat on our soldiers, it is top notch.
However, this book is a wolf in sheep's clothing for the far right wing. About 2/3 of the way through the book, it decides to become a hit piece against pretty much EVERYTHING that pisses off the far right wing in this country. It squarely sets its sights mostly on Hollywood.
Now, don't get me wrong, I agree there is a debate that needs to take place here, and in fact I actually agree with some of Grossman's opinions on media violence. HOWEVER, I did not get this book to be lectured on (what I consider to be) a far right wing agenda. Had I wanted a book like that, I would have PURCHASED a book like that. The author (Grossman) isn't even remotely objective about it, seemingly failing to recognize that the far right could actually be wrong about anything. He even goes so far as to give religious advice, which I found to be ridiculous, and uncalled for, especially considering the fact that his tone was preachy enough without it.
I'm not going to list point-by-poiint where Grossman is wrong, because I'm not being paid to write this review or debate him. Bottom line is, the book's title and synopsis (on Audible) is VERY misleading. This is a far-right wing propaganda piece, for a large section of it, and had I been warned of this in either the synopsis or title, I would have NEVER purchased it.
If you are a far right winger, and you're interested in this subject, this book is for you. I mean that sincerely. You will actually enjoy it quite a bit. However, if you are a free-thinking, rational minded moderate, that doesn't feel like being lectured on things like; why we should take Draconian measures in censoring our country's art, why ALL drugs should be illegal (even harmless ones like marijuana), and why YOU should believe in and worship the Christian God, then my advice is to stay as far away from this book as possible.
I feel it necessary to add this postscript - the anecdotes in his book, referring to the BRAVE men and women that serve this country's military are outstanding. This review IN NO WAY is meant to take away from or disparage the sacrifices they have made in serving our great country. I give thanks for them every day I am alive. This includes the author, who has served this country for many years. This review should only reflect the fact that I am incredibly disappointed with how misleading the title and synopsis of the book are.
First off, the reviews praising this book, the story (content) of this book, are spot on... it's GREAT! The story takes us into a world so filled with detail and stories about life and love, that you can't help but be sucked in. The book is borderline genius, plain and simple.
Now comes the part that truly amazes me about this audiobook. The publisher/producer decided to do 2 HUGE things to sabotage the success of this audiobook...
First, between each chapter there are LOUD, annoying bird "songs". Yes, birds chirp, seemingly out of nowhere, right in your ear when you're trying to listen to WORDS. This is annoying, jolting, and pointless. It literally adds NOTHING positive to the book, and only serves to annoy the heck out of you at times when you're really invested in this amazing story.
Second, and this is the big complaint... For some unknown/unexplainable reason, the author is unaware that there are "professional readers" out there that read (perform) many of the books on Audible. She's either unaware of this fact, or worse, she actually considers HERSELF a "professional reader". In my opinion, the latter is unforgivable, if true. Trust me, she's not anywhere close to being a "professional reader". She's terrible. Her character voices are laughable. Her inflections are usually misplaced and nonsensical. It's like having a child (an untalented child) read a book to you, and it sucks. You don't want this author reading ANYTHING to you , ever.
What this supreme misstep does do, however, is show just how incredible the story of this book actually is. Even with (what I would consider) one of the worst narrators in the history of Audible, the story still remains interesting, intriguing, and unique. I loved it from start to finish, and the author deserves ALL the credit for that. If the producers ever acquire the much-needed skill of common sense, they'll hire one of the many "professional readers" out there, remake this, and it will be 5 stars across the board, hands down.
As for now, the best I can say is, if you're willing to go through a bit of torture, a great story awaits you at the end.
I'm only writing this review because I saw where another review stated how terrible the narration is. While it's true, the professor does correct himself here and there, I found it no more irritating than any other college lecture course I've taken over the years. He's human. He makes mistakes. He corrects himself. Get over it.
The substance of the course is EXCELLENT. If you're interested in the cases that have shaped our Bill Of Rights, this is the course for you. Prof. Finn knows this subject like the back of his hand, and educates you in a clear, entertaining manner that I found to be very enjoyable.
This book absolutely blew me away. It details the evolution of how today's "bullies with badges" came to be. Let's face it, cops are not liked by a vast majority of citizens in this country, and for VERY good reason. A high percentage of cops suffer from "little penis syndrome" (they feel the need to pick on those whom they deem weaker, in order to build themselves up in their own head), have an ax to grind with one or more segments of the population (i.e. they're racist, anti-women, anti-homeless), and/or they're just outright PSYCHOPATHS. This book does a fine job of detailing this behavior in a historical context, while integrating various political motivations.
What it only briefly touches on, however, is how to fix the system. Psychological evaluations by INDEPENDENT EXPERTS (not inter-department shills) once a week for EVERY cop on the force is a good place to start. Every cop should also be equipped with "Google Glass" type cameras that record every move, for months BEFORE they're given their badge and gun (as well as 24/7 after they become armed). Review boards of unbiased citizens, with ZERO LINK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT, should be the ones looking over the complaints received from the public, NOT internal affairs (who are just cops, themselves!!). It sickened me to learn that around only 1% of all public complaints against LAPD cops are ever truly taken seriously. That department takes "corruption" to levels that even Al Capone would be proud of.
Further, the book makes a compelling case as to why cops deserve to be punished MUCH harsher than the average citizen, if they break certain laws. Cops are given an ENORMOUS amount of power and trust in our society. They are the only armed people, roaming amongst the unarmed sheep, for 99.9% of the calls they respond to. So, if they break the public's trust, they should be severely punished, right? 60 years for each instance of officer misconduct, even for small offense, would be fine with me.
The book makes the iron-clad assertion that cops in this country need to be reigned in. I agree there are some very good cops out there... some heroes, even. But, most of the ones I've seen are power-hungry psychopaths, looking to exact vengeance on a society that never truly appreciated the magnificent "gifts" they brought to the table. There is very little, if any, oversight, when it comes to monitoring their interactions with the public. We've given them their power, and as a society we must control this monster before it's too late. Today's LAPD, for example, is becoming more and more like the Nazi Gestapo with each day that goes by. Is a Nazi-like America really what we ultimately want for our grandchildren? I think not.
The reviews currently on Audible seem to be all over the place, in regards to this book, so I hope to make things clear. For what this book is, it is GENIUS.
It tells the stories of some of the "lowest men on the totem pole" in the US Army, prior to the US entering the war. You're not going to get the big battles, the big personalities (like MacArthur or Patton), or the big action. What you will get is TONS of tension and human conflict! Jones' ability to make these characters real is remarkable. The situations they find themselves in, while not the most exciting, are filled with drama.
The stakes are high in almost every scene, and the character are so fleshed out that we actually care what happens to them. The writing is some of the best I've ever read, in terms of transporting the reader into the gritty, terrible world that these men occupied on a daily basis. It wasn't pretty, but it was real.
The narrator was a mixed bag for me. Some of the time he seemed to be whispering, which was a bit odd and unnecessary. However, his different voices help the characters stand out, which is greatly needed when there are this many to keep track of.
Overall, if you enjoy WWII historical fiction, and want something that delves deeper into the human psychodrama of soldiers, instead of just the battles, this is the book for you.
This book is for children. Well, either it's for children or VERY slow adults. Truth be told, for the young adult (early teens) market who's into military history and tech, this book is probably not so bad. However, I am an adult, and I saw no warning anywhere in the description, letting me know who this book was written for.
Where to begin with this steaming pile... The dialogue is so unimaginative and stale, it comes across like a high school kid wrote it. The plot is so utterly unrealistic that it's cringe-worthy. The author seems to be guessing as to much of the military tactics and strategy throughout. You won't care about any of the characters. None are unique, memorable, or likable.
I'm not a fan of Tom Clancy, but I've seen where other reviewers compare this guy to him. That's rubbish. This guy makes Clancy look like the greatest writer to have ever lived... and, again, I'm not a Clancy fan. This writer is just that bad.
The worst part about this book are the characters. The leaders of China and the US are retarded. I mean that literally. They come across as mentally deficient to the point of retardation. Everything from the decisions they make, to the way they speak, to the way they are constantly talking to themselves, all of it is completely retarded.
What may be worse than the retarded characters is the fact that the author "played it safe" by making some of the leaders on both sides racist. Really? Racists in the White House, and running China? Really? It would be laughable how contemptible this author considers China, if it wasn't so sad. Obviously, this clown believes more in stereotypes from the 1980's than he does in actually researching his subjects.
I could go on, but this should suffice. This book is a complete waste of time and money for any adult with an IQ over 80.
The narrator is good.
First of all, if you're going to have a title like "Scary Monsters and Super Freaks", you'd better have some INCREDIBLE stories contained therein. There aren't any. Not one.
The "Super Freak" is a reference to Rick James. Ok... seriously?! I was expecting stories about all sorts of depraved, terrible individuals that committed unspeakable acts....and you give me RICK JAMES??!! That joke would ALMOST be funny, if i didn't value my time and money.
There are some good stories in here. Nothing great, and certainly nothing that lives up to that title. There's one about Rodney King which was interesting, and a few about cult figures, that I found noteworthy.
Overall, I feel incredibly misled by the title of this book. It takes every ounce of self control I have for me NOT to give this 3 stars. Based on the fact that the narrator is good, and some of the stories were actually memorable, I'm giving it 4. In truth, it's a 3.5. Had I not been misled so badly by the title, I'm sure my view of this book would've been more favorable.
Oppenheimer was one of the most important people in the history of mankind, when you consider how he contributed to science, and the development/harnessing of atomic energy. Talk about a world creator/destroyer; this was that guy! A genius like him comes around but once every century or so. Monk does a superb job in researching the complex life of a complex man.
It easily could've gotten bogged down in meaningless details, but never did. It held my interest throughout. If you care at all about physics, science, or the history of nuclear weapons, this is the book for you.
As far as biographies go, this is top 5 of the ones I've read. I've read over 50.
Narrator is outstanding!
First off, this is a GREAT book. Very well researched, full of new information, and written in a way that will hold your attention; especially if you enjoy CIA/black ops/ SEALs stuff.
Now for the negative, and it's not really a negative, just something you should keep in mind.
This author comes across as VERY anti-targeted strikes/ anti-drones. In fairness, he does present both sides of the argument, but he presents much more of the "innocent civilian casualties" side than perhaps is necessary.
He tends to disregard the mindset of most Americans, which is "if people are hanging out with terrorists (IE in the same car with them), then they are probably people that are a threat to the US" I'm not saying I agree with this, and there are always exceptions, but it's certainly a stance that deserved more weight in the book. Let's face it, other than journalists, there aren't many "innocent" people riding around in cars in the desert with the leaders of Al Qaeda. There just aren't.
This didn't paint my enjoyment of the book, however. The author doesn't beat you over the head with one particular opinion or the other, he just simply spends a bit too much time talking to the family members of suspected terrorists. For the most part, he sets out all the facts and lets you decide. I'd give this book 5 stars, simply based on the classified information and incredible interviews that are inside. The story and narrator make it outstanding.
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