It's in the top 20% of all books I've read, and I've been reading books for almost 60 years.
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.
I enjoyed the sailboat voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti quite a bit.
I'd like to take the BOAC navigator out to lunch, because I used to be a Navigator also.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
I would have if I could have.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was great when the O'Neil family gets back together.
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!
'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!!
GTT has a lot of specific election and demographic data about Texas, it is a good reference for that sort thing.
The early history of Texas and the details about the various Texas Native American tribes.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Reading about the 36th and 88th Divisions.
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.
It's a long book, but well structured to keep one's interest high.
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