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Jim In Texas!

I'm just a big kid.

Austin, TX, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
47
REVIEWS
26
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
65

  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (511)
    Performance
    (455)
    Story
    (454)

    Keith Stewart, a retiring and ingenious engineer, could not have been happier in his little house in the shabby London suburb of Ealing. There he invented the mini-motor, the six-volt generator, and the tiny Congreve clock. Then a chain of events sweeps him into deep waters and leads him to his happiest discovery yet.

    Paula says: "Just Simply a Great Story!"
    "Hologram of a Decent Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Trustee from the Toolroom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's in the top 20% of all books I've read, and I've been reading books for almost 60 years.


    What other book might you compare Trustee from the Toolroom to and why?

    At first I thought 'Cinderella', but that's not correct because Cinderella is a decent person who wants to marry the prince, and in the end she gets what she wants.

    Keith Stewart already has the life he wants, centered around making miniature machines and living with his wife of many years. He wants nothing else until a tragedy forces him to take massive risks for the benefit of a small child.

    Really, this book is more like 'The Lord of the Rings'. While there are no 'dark forces', like Frodo, Keith must leave his happy home and set off to strange and dangerous places for the benefit of others. Like Frodo, the last thing Keith wanted was a quest.

    Keith doesn't risk his life to monsters, but he risks his entire meager net worth and his life in his quest to fulfill his duty as a trustee.

    Richard Bach once wrote that Neville Shute's writing is 'a hologram of a decent man'. Nowhere is that hologram more visible than in this book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the sailboat voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti quite a bit.


    If you could take any character from Trustee from the Toolroom out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'd like to take the BOAC navigator out to lunch, because I used to be a Navigator also.


    Any additional comments?

    This book takes place in the immediate period following World War II. It is startling to the modern reader to read how difficult, time-consuming, and expensive travel and communication was only a short time ago.

    Besides the wonderful story, this book provides a fasinating look at how many of the everyday aspects of life have become so much easier in recent years.

    I only gave the narration four stars. Frank Muller is just about the best American reader there is, but he's still an American. He reads the European characters as well as any American could, but not as well as a Brit would have.

    I'm a Texan who had the happiness of living in England for several years. I don't think all Americans appreciate the hundreds of different accents and dialects that we just combine in to a 'British Accent'. I assure you, regional and class accents are a huge deal in UK.

    While he can't read every book, I sure wish Patrick Tull had read this one,

    43 of 45 people found this review helpful
  • The Tuloriad: Legacy of the Aldenata

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Ringo, Tom Kratman
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (144)

    Of the once innumerable battle clans of the possess only a handful survive. And that on the sufferance of a group of despised Indowy and Himmit. Plucked from the maelstrom on Earth they are cast out into the eternal blackness of the stars with only a slightly insane Indowy and a computer virus to guide them.

    Roman says: "Alien religiou conversion story does not ring true"
    "Slow paced, a bit dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This wasn't a horrible book, but it was surprisingly dull compared to all the other books in this series.

    The 'aliens' are even more human like than in the rest of Ringo's universe, to the extent they can be easily converted to human religion. To be fair, the characters are likeable and interesting.

    Do NOT read this book until you've read most or all of the Aldenata series. To enjoy it at all you'll need to be pretty familiar with the Aldenata universe.

    If you are a Ringo fan but can't get through the endless talking talking talking comprises most of this book, at least listen to the last five minutes, there is some interesting foreshadowing there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Mahaffey
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (87)

    From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Fascinating Stories, Easily Digested Numbers"
    "Fascinating Stories, Easily Digested Numbers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Atomic Accidents the most enjoyable?

    Mahaffey does one of the best jobs of combining hard science, complete with numbers, with fascinating human stories I've ever heard.

    This isn't a text book, it's a smart funny guy who happens to be a subject matter expert telling you history in a very human way.

    The first accident in the book is literally a train wreck, and each subsequent story of nuclear errors, accidents, and disasters have a 'can't take your ears off of this train wreck' quality.


    What other book might you compare Atomic Accidents to and why?

    This is sort of like 'Cosmos' for nuclear power production history.

    Or it least it would be if Carl Sagan or Niel Tyson had senses of humor and didn't talk down to the audience.


    Which character – as performed by Tom Weiner – was your favorite?

    The book is written in the first person, so there is only one character.

    Weiner does a great job reading this book, with the glaring exception of pronouncing the word 'Tritium'. For some reason he pronounces 'trit-E-um' as 'trisham'! I actually had to stop the audio and go to the web to double check that there wasn't really an element called 'trisham'!

    I don't blame Weiner for this, I blame Blackstone's producer for not catching this glaring error.

    I've been listening to audio books since the late 70s, and I've alway found Blackstone readings to have inferior production values. I will say that the production quality in this book is much better than past Blackstone recordings, but they still have work to do match the quality of studios like Recorded Books LLC.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have if I could have.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a partisan rant, the history of nuclear power, good and bad, is related with emphasis on the 'bad'.

    After telling you the 'bad' Mahaffey provides the hard facts and numbers to help readers keep a sense of perspective when thinking about future energy alternatives for the U.S. and the world.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter International

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6584)
    Performance
    (5787)
    Story
    (5786)

    Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

    Konstantin says: "Suprizingly entertaining"
    "My first fantasy novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I'm a 'hard science fiction' fan, and have never been attracted to the fantasy/magic/vampire type of novels.

    I somehow stumbled upon Larry Correia's blog, where I read an absolutely hilarious rant concerning some kind of war between writers involving identity politics.

    I'm a John Ringo fan. Based on Larry's blog, Larry is cut from the same cloth.

    Despite my misgivings about fantasy novels, I took the plunge and spent a credit on "MHI". I'm glad I did.

    This book is still pretty 'science fictionany'.

    If you have read Ringo's Aldanada novels, MHI is very similar. Just substitute really hard to kill monsters invading earth for Ringo's really hard to kill aliens invading earth, and go with the flow.

    Like Ringo's heros, Correia's heros are really hard to kill. Correia's heros frequently get the crap beat out of them, and like in Ringo's novels,Correia's universe includes a method by which a hero can be kind of regenerated without long hospital stays between beatings.

    Correia is a talented writer with a great sense of humor. That's a good thing, because there is a lot of blood and gore in this novel, without the large dose of ironic humor this would have been a really depressing 20 hours of listening.

    I like long audio books, and this is a long one, in a good way. I enjoyed MHI a lot, it's certainly a credit well spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eye of the Storm: Legacy of the Aldenata

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Ringo
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (260)

    In an instant the world changed for Lieutenant General Michael O'Neal. His beloved Corps of the last remaining ACS destroyed beneath the guns of the Fleet, his staff shot before his eyes, arrested on the charge of war crimes, he faces a short, one-sided trial, a trip to the Fleet Penal Facility and a bullet to the back of the head while trying to "escape".

    Colin says: "Nice to see Michael O'Neal back, and his daughters"
    "The Band is back together!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    To fully appreciate this book one needs to have read most of the earlier books in the series, I'd recommend doing that. If the first two books hook you then you'll like this one for sure.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Eye of the Storm?

    I'm a huge fan of the Patrick O'Brian 'Master and Commander' series. There is ship boarding sequence in 'Eye' that O'Brian would have loved.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It was great when the O'Neil family gets back together.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I kind of got a little tired of this universe and so delayed downloading 'Eye'. It was wonderful to see Ringo bring back most of the really interesting characters and put them all on the same team.

    It was great that for once I didn't have to suffer through hundreds of pages of humans getting their butts kicked, although by the end of this book our species is clearly not out of the woods.

    I personally find Ringo's obsession with smoking, dipping, and breast ogling to be a bit tiresome, but I can put up with this minor fobble of his.

    I'm a retired Air Force Navigator and really enjoyed his discussion of the psychology of 'tactical call signs'. He was spot on with this aspect of military life, or my name isn't Hootman!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6088)
    Performance
    (5788)
    Story
    (5797)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Good science, great entertainment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    'The Martian' is one of the most enjoyed science fiction books I've ever read, and I've been reading them for over 50 years!

    The story is both exciting and fun. The characters are all great, especially 'The Martian'!

    There's lot of real science in it. The physics is all based on real earth physics, no magic, no aliens, no FTL, no holodecks. Just fun and adventure!

    The performance and production quality are outstanding.

    I normally don't buy books shorter than 12 hours, but the famous magician Brian Brushwood recommended it. Brian was right!

    Eleven star recommendation!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Randolph B. Campbell
    • Narrated By Jacob Sommer
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Gone to Texas engagingly tells the story of the Lone Star State, from the arrival of humans in the Panhandle more than 10,000 years ago to the opening of the 21st Century. Focusing on the state's successive waves of immigrants, the audiobook offers an inclusive view of the vast array of Texans who, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land, created a history and an idea of Texas.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Good history from year zero through about 1962"
    "Good history from year zero through about 1962"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Gone to Texas again? Why?

    GTT has a lot of specific election and demographic data about Texas, it is a good reference for that sort thing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gone to Texas?

    The early history of Texas and the details about the various Texas Native American tribes.


    Any additional comments?

    The author is clearly a liberal Democrat. That's fine for most of the book, but it distorts his telling of the history of post WWII Texas.

    To give you one example, he connects Lee Harvey Oswald with vague 'conservative groups'. He never mentions that Oswald was literally a card carrying Communist.

    The narrator has an excellent reading voice, but he was let down by an incompetent producer. Sommer has no idea how to pronounce the many Tejano based personal and place names we use in Texas.

    It took me a while to figure out who this 'Juan Sagwin' person was for example. I'd never heard of 'U-va-lee' Texas, which is really pronounced 'U-vall-dee'. Many names and place names are mangled this way.

    It's the job of the audio book producer to catch these kinds of mistakes, not the narrator.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By James Holland
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    The night of 16 May, 1943: Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge 9000-lb cylindrical bomb strapped underneath it. Their mission: to destroy three dams deep within the German heartland, which provide the lifeblood to the industries supplying the Third Reich's war machine.

    Alex says: "Comprehensive AND Gripping"
    "A must for anyone interested in Air Warfare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Everyone likely to read this review has heard of the Dambusters and seen the movie.

    This book takes you behind the scenes from the conception of the weapon through the decision to proceed with the technical development, through the testing, through the formation of 617 squadron, the training of the squadron, the execution of the mission , and the mission's aftermath.

    The author provides a lot of personal detail on all the key players, enough to give one a real picture of these individuals as ordinary humans who on this one night rose to become extraordinary heroes.

    The production quality and narration are both first rate. This book itself and the narration are NOT dry recitations of facts.

    The author and reader really convey the feelings and emotions of the people involved.

    Years ago I was a navigator in an airplane called the F-111 from RAF Upper Heyford in England. The F-111 is a supersonic military airplane specifically designed to fly exactly the kind of low level attack mission that 617 Squadron performed that night.

    The F-111 had four high performance radars, two terrain following autopilots, a complex weapons delivery computer, and a high precision internal navigation system.

    617 didn't have anything like what we had. They flew a night low level into a very capable air defense network.

    They had a large high altitude bomber. They had only the most primitive navigation technology, and really nothing but the pilot's eyes to keep the huge Lancaster bomber out of the trees and power lines.

    The book goes in to a lot of detail about the ingress and egress phases of the mission. To me, as a former navigator, they were nail biting.

    The Dambuster's mission would have been a real challenge to pull off in an F-111. How these crews every managed to do it with Lancasters is beyond me.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Chris Jones
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    In November 2002, U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin, left on what was to be a routine 14-week mission to maintain the International Space Station. But then, on February 1, 2003, the Columbia space shuttle exploded beneath them. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride home.

    Dan says: "Very good story"
    "A look behind the scences"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a good book for people interested in the details of what it might be like to be an astronaut or cosmonaut assigned to a long duration space station mission.

    The book has an emotional, flowery tone that can be just a bit cloying, but the level of real detail and fascinating detail make up for that.

    The audio book production quality is excellent, the narrator does a great job.

    Recommended for readers interested in the American and Russian space programs.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mole: The Cold War Memoir of Winston Bates

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Peter Warner
    • Narrated By David Ledoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Recruited by a foreign power in postwar Paris and sent to Washington, Winston Bates is without training or talent. He might be a walking definition of the anti-spy. Yet he makes his way onto the staff of the powerful Senator Richard Russell, head of the Armed Services Committee. From that perch, Bates has extensive and revealing contacts with the Dulles brothers, Richard Bissell, Richard Helms, Lyndon Johnson, Joe Alsop, Walter Lippman, Roy Cohn, and even Ollie North - to name but a few of the historical players in the American experience Winston befriends - and haplessly betrays for a quarter century.

    Anne says: "An excellent read (listen)"
    "Unlikable Forest Gump with a Liberal Arts Degree"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is the story of Winston Bates, a cynical liberal arts major with a photographic memory.

    Living the Bohemian life style in Paris in the late 1940s, a casual meeting at a party and his exceptional memory leads to an opportunity to deliver packages for an embassy.

    Winston's package delivery job leads to jobs in Washington DC,, where for the next 30 years Winston participates in and more or less controls many of the major events and crisis's of the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan administrations. All from behind the scenes.

    Winston knows pretty much everyone who is anyone in Washington in those days. In general Winston is a not very likable person. David Ledoux perfectly reads the book in the slightly nasal, whiney, voice of the oh-so-superior life long graduate student. Anyone who has spent time in a college will recognize the voice of Winston.

    The production quality of the audio presentation is excellent. There are no distracting cuts, breathing, or changes in timbre or pace.

    If you are, as I am, a student of the Cold War you will enjoy this book. Of course you must suspend a lot of disbelieve, but that's ok. It's a fun review of Cold War history and there are many amusing moments along the way.

    If you've never heard of Francis Gary Powers, if you don't know what the Berlin Airlift was, if you've never heard of the Bay of Pigs, then you probably can skip this book.

    If those subjects peak your interest, then buy this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Rick Atkinson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (124)

    In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of Battle, he follows the American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943, attack Italy two months later, and then fight their way, mile by bloody mile, north toward Rome. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and their military advisors bitterly debated whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even wise.

    Robert says: "The utter waste and horror of war..."
    "An excellent history of an important campaign"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Day of Battle?

    My father (J. Nelson Howard, Texas A&M class of 1944) participated in the events in this book, first with the 36th Division and latter with the 88th Division. I have a letter he wrote home on June 5, 1944 from Rome. The day after he was one of the first GI's into Rome.

    Dad didn't talk a lot about his time Italy, but I know he hated Mark Clark, as did his Aggie friends.

    I learned some of the reasons why from this book, and also heard Clark's side of the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Day of Battle?

    Reading about the 36th and 88th Divisions.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    Davis's performance was excellent. His Italian was excellent. His German, British, and French accents were a tad off, but at least he didn't overdo them.

    Overall production value of this recording was excellent, there were no dropouts, changing speeds and volumes, or repeated clips.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a long book, but well structured to keep one's interest high.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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