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James

Member Since 2009

56
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 113 reviews
  • 145 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 222 purchased in 2014
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8

  • Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Robert Spencer
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Most terrorism experts agree: it is not "if" we are attacked again, but "when." Yet the assault has already happened. A silent battle is being waged on our nation every day. Not with guns and bombs, but via covert sources: Islamic charities, the ACLU, even presidential candidates.

    Richard says: "Intro to the Radical Islamic Agenda for America"
    "Good To Be On Your Guard... but Not Paranoid"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book to be a fascinating look into the various dynamics to make up the fabric of America itself, the blending of the “melting pot” of various cultures, religions and peoples from all over the world.

    The author takes somewhat of a paranoid perspective (and probably rightfully so since America was attacked on 9/11) in investigating and taking a close look at the infiltration of Islam throughout American culture.

    Of course, we should a learned a long time ago that “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch more”, but there’s a natural tendency to fall into “groupthink” and develop an “us versus them” mentality.

    I don’t believe this is good in the long run, but it is one of the knee-jerk reactions that people tend to fall into.

    There’s no doubt we have enemies both abroad and now in the homeland, but we have to realize what we’re doing to ourselves if we begin to become isolationist, paint other groups with the same broad brush, profile and pre-judge people and situations just because it’s based out of fear.

    I do agree with the author in this regard, and that we need to be on our guard, notice things that are “out of the ordinary” and be sure we report those unusual activities to the proper authorities.
    This is a good book to read, and as long as you keep a level head and rationale about everything, it can be very helpful in all of us trying to figure out how to get along a little bit better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Howard Hughes lived one of the greatest, most heroic, misunderstood, mysterious, bizarre, and tragic lives in American history. In this brilliantly documented biography, the mythology that surrounded that life is disentangled from the truth.

    James says: "Fascinating, Fascinating, Fascinating!!!"
    "Fascinating, Fascinating, Fascinating!!!"
    Overall
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    I've read several books about Howard Hughes throughout the years, but this book by Donald Bartlett, tops them all!

    The author takes us on an intriguing adventure that totally captivates you from start to finish. Hughes, as has been well chronicled throughout the years, was an intriguing, yet dashing figure and personality throughout the mid-part of the last century. When he was younger, he had the world at his fingertips, with movie starlets for girlfriends anytime he wanted, boatloads full of money, the ear of every influential politician of his era, and so much more.

    It's an intriguing tale of what we may nowadays call "mental illness", which was fueled by addictions to painkillers and narcotics, psychosis, a mistrust of people in general, fear of germs and, finally, his own "inner circle" closing in around him and taken advantage of him while he mindlessly toiled away the days/weeks watching television butt naked as he eventually lost control of his empire.

    The story did get a little tedious when the author went into probably a little bit too much detail, and some of the business dealings that Hughes was able to construct, but other than that, this text will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

    I don't know if I learned anything new about the life and times of Howard Hughes, but this rendition of the story that is been told before, is by far the very best. A must-read for those who like mystery, intrigue, adventure, featuring one of the wealthiest and best-known personalities that this country has ever produced.


    Excellent!!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Becky Pettit
    • Narrated By Denise Washington Blomberg
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Invisible Men provides an eye-opening examination of how mass incarceration has concealed decades of racial inequality. Pettit marshals a wealth of evidence correlating the explosion in prison growth with the disappearance of millions of black men into the American penal system.

    James says: "A Lot of What We Already Know.... And so Much More"
    "A Lot of What We Already Know.... And so Much More"
    Overall
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    This book covers one of the "fastest growing industries in America", that being the penal system institution that continues to incarcerate more Americans (pro rata), and disproportionately, Americans of color, then any other penal system institution in the world.

    The author, Becky Petit, does an okay job of sharing with us the statistics, that in this case, show a dis-proportionality towards African Americans in particular (and to a lesser degree, Hispanic Americans).

    I've studied these kind of social dynamics for years, and am very familiar with most of the things that were covered in this book. I still enjoyed the overall information that I gathered, in particular, some of the things I took note of were, the exponential growth of the penal system in America since the 70's, and the incarceration rates of people of color that are filling these jails/prisons to the point where they are bursting at the seams.

    The author "borrowed" the title of this book from famed author, Ralph Ellison, and his book "Invisible Man", in which he says "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me" – Ralph Ellison.

    The author shares with us that in January 2009, 1.8 million people stood on the Mall in Washington to celebrate the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama. The irony was, at that very same moment in time, 2.3 million Americans sat in American prisons and jails cells. Over half of them being African-Americans.

    The United States incarceration rate is at a higher percentage of its population than at any other time during its history. The United States also leads the world in the highest percentage of its population behind bars. If we include the numbers of people on probation, parole and supervision, over 5.8 million people are in such circumstances. Current reports show that if the trends continue, one out of every three black men will spend some portion of their adult life in prison.

    The author does do a great job in sharing with us the "historical overview" that is necessary in framing the discussion. She takes us back to the time of the Declaration of Independence, where Thomas Jefferson says that "all men are created equal, with an inalienable rights for the pursuit of liberty, freedom and happiness as governed by the laws of the land" (not an exact quote, but pretty close). Yet, at the same time the hypocrisy was that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a man for demographic and political purposes. Therefore rendering 40% of the African-American population "invisible". Those dynamics persist to this day, as blacks are still underrepresented, and given a disproportionate share and allocations, especially when it comes from federal/state assistance.

    It is estimated that as of 2009, fully up to 5% of African-American men were not accounted for in the national statistics. The reasons vary from the legacy of slavery, not wanting to be tracked and traced, homelessness, incarcerations, etc.

    These are just a few of the items that were shared with us in this book, and anyone with a "social conscience" will find this book intriguing and helpful, especially along with the historical overviews, as to how/why American penal systems continue to be bursting at the seams, disproportionately so with prisoners of color.

    Incarcerating people, be it for petty or felony crimes, is only "a very small part of the overall puzzle" and needs to be coupled with "reentry into society programs, education and mentoring programs, job skill set training programs, mental health assistance, family dynamics, and so much more. We all have a lot to do in "getting our oars into the water" and will just have to keep pushing on to better solutions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Hooman Majd
    • Narrated By Hooman Majd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (67)

    The grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, journalist Hooman Majd is uniquely qualified to explain contemporary Iran's complex and misunderstood culture to Western listeners. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ provides an intimate look at a paradoxical country that is both deeply religious and highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet informed by a history of democratic and reformist traditions.

    Ryan says: "An informative tour, with some biases"
    "Wow!!! Like Driving Your Car with the Break On!"
    Overall
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    I read this book with a great deal of interest and fascination into the world of the Ayatollah's/Islam/Modern Day Iran. With Iran being in the headlines on a more frequent and regular basis (At least since the days of the captive hostages during Pres. Carter's administration), mainly because of the "attempts to rein in Iran's nuclear program", it indeed turned out to be a fascinating read and a look behind what we typically get fed by our own media.

    With the Iranian civilization having such an extremely long history, there are bound to be huge chunks of it that most Americans have no ideal about. The author, Hooman Majd, did a pretty good job in conveying to us a lot of the confusing and conflicting dynamics at play, especially in modern-day Iran. This is a country that is deeply steeped in cultural and religious backgrounds, yet at the same time, especially with its younger population, moving forward to try to find its place on the world stage.

    One of the most interesting things that I've came across in the book that the author said was "the conservative religious right in America, would probably find a kinship with the conservative dogma of the Ayatollah's/Islam in the fact that both would find similarities in religion ruling the day, frowning upon premarital sex, abortion, sinful music, etc." (this is not verbatim) And I thought to myself, "hmmm, there are actually some good points being made here".

    The author also points out that the Iranians have developed an interesting David versus Goliath mentality against not only Israel, but the United States and the Western world. It's not that they were ever going to outright "win" any battles against all of that, but just by the fact that they "stand up to all of that" and hold their ground, and many times his victory enough.

    Although we Westerners tend not to know much about the Islamic/Muslim world of things, this book might be helpful in peeling back some of the layers to help us get an up close look at not only the ongoing propaganda's, but it look at real everyday life of real everyday people living in modern-day Iran.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Giants on Our Hands: The Unemployed Elephants of Asia

    • UNABRIDGED (28 mins)
    • By Adam Fowler
    • Narrated By Adam Fowler
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    For 5,000 years and more, elephants have served humanity, as a living tractor, pile driver, fork-lift, tank, and 4WD. But the working elephant is now at the end of its economic usefulness. Adam Fowler explores the plight of thousands of captive elephants in Asia and their historic and changing relationship with man.

    James says: "Elephants Rule!"
    "Elephants Rule!"
    Overall
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    An interesting look at the life of elephants that are in captivity and made to perform circus acts or hard labor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost on Planet China

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By J. Maarten Troost
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (452)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (226)

    When the travel bug bit, J. Maarten Troost took on the world's most populous and intriguing nation. As Troost relates his gonzo adventure - dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai, eating yak in Tibet, deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as cattle penis with garlic), and visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead) - he reveals a vast, complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

    Dan says: "Funny but harsh with some underlying truth."
    "Nailed It! J. Maarten Troost Nails It!"
    Overall
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    This was absolutely one of the best books I've read on China because it really gave an accurate and humorous overview from the author’s perspective.

    I've been traveling in and out of China several times over the last couple of years, and the author is right on with a slight exaggeration or two here and there, but overall, this is an excellent read, especially if you ever plan on visiting China!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Escape from Alcatraz

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By J. Campbell Bruce
    • Narrated By Patrick Cullen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (40)

    Mobster Al "Scarface" Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, Robert Stroud, aka the Birdman: only the most violent, desperate criminals went to Alcatraz Island, called "The Rock" and known for its harsh conditions. This gripping true crime classic, originally written in 1963 and newly reissued, tells the story of life on The Rock and of 14 ingenious escape attempts by the prisoners.

    Memyselfhjb says: "Four star history"
    "Intense and Captivating! This Book Is Great!"
    Overall
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    This book about “The Rock” was one of the most captivating and intense books that I’ve ever read! I didn't know what to expect when I started listening to it, but it just kept getting better and better as it went on!

    Some of the most notorious and notable crime figures of all time did time at Alcatraz and the author does a great job of telling the story of each and every one of them. Crime bosses such as Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly and so many more we covered and so many more!

    If you’re into intense true crime books, this one should be at the top of your list!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sex After Forty: The Best You Ever Had!

    • UNABRIDGED (23 mins)
    • By Calvin Colarusso M.D.
    • Narrated By Ken Maxon
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The best sex you ever had? After 40? It's a claim that Calvin A. Colarusso, M.D, master clinician, backs up in his latest book, while explaining the biology and psychology of the middle years. Believe the myth that sexual function always decreases after you hit the big four-zero? Not true! This text guides you through the joys of intimacy you couldn't begin to understand in your teens, the benefits of sex within a long-term committed relationship, and healthy adaptations as our bodies change and the years pass.

    James says: "Quality Over Quantity and Enjoying More Than Ever!"
    "Quality Over Quantity and Enjoying More Than Ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
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    I found this book to be helpful and handy now that I’m well over forty and finding that balance between quantity vs. quality. Sex After Forty by Calvin Colanussso does a really good job in helping us all to understand some basic functions and realistic expectations of the “middle years” and how to make the best of them.

    The book is short and concise, so it’ll also serve as a great reference book from time to time.
    Enjoy, and enjoy better than ever!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (2048)
    Performance
    (641)
    Story
    (638)

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
    "Fantastic!"
    Overall
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    This book offers a great look not only at the inside, but the history of the CIA. It’s interesting to take a look and to hear the stories, but also to realize that the same thing that ravages other industries and organizations (lack of information, overconfidence, unwillingness to change, etc.) plagued the CIA as well. No surprise there!

    I understand, as the author puts it, “the CIA has to break the laws of other countries in order to gather information”, but this book gives incredulous situations and stories that have occurred throughout the history of the CIA.

    I thought it was a very good book, although a little long and winding, but it good enough to keep my attention throughout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Fallows
    • Narrated By Catherine Byers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (51)

    Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin - China's most common language - or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its people, and its culture's conundrums.

    Catherine says: "Interesting examination of Chinese culture"
    "Right On!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this was a terrific book written in an enjoyable, upbeat and sometimes humorous manner by the author, Deborah Fallows.

    As one who lives in China for most of the year, I can see firsthand what she shares with us, especially in regards to name selection, mate selection, social orders of the day, and so much more.

    The author also does a great job in helping us to understand and even learn a few Chinese words along the way.

    I highly recommend this book whether you’re planning on going to China or just want to learn a few more things about China.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Devils Are Here

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    Overall
    (467)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (215)

    As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers? According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy.

    eurilynn says: "Excellent!"
    "Hmmm... This Pretty Much Sums It All Up!"
    Overall
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    I know that a lot of books have been written (and I’ve read my fair share of them) and conversations/debates have been had in regards to the housing meltdown and what caused it and who’s to blame. This book, All The Devils Are Here” by Bethany McLean, is by far one of the best books that I've come across and does an excellent job in bringing together all of “the culprits” and various parties involved and “laying blame” appropriately where it belongs.

    As the author points out, Human Nature is something that can be easily manipulated, and hard to control, but it’s always at work. That had a role to play in all of this as well.

    I know that most of the “housing crisis” is behind us now, but let’s just hope that we've all learned our lessons (we probably won’t remember them or course… it’s human nature as well), can benefit from lessons learned, and now move forward to a better overall society.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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