A good story of American heroes, dragged down by the molasses-slow pace of the reader. I listened to most of this book at high speed--that's how slow Dick Hill reads. If I'd listened to the preview, I probably wouldn't have purchased this book.
The first three-fourths of the book are a first-person account of Wharton's travel from Tangier to Rabat, Fes, and Marrakech just after the end of the First World War as a guest of the French governor general, Lyautey. The last fourth deals with Moroccan history and art. There are many details that help carry the listener past a predictable array of Orientalist stereotypes.
Rob Shapiro is perfect for this book, capturing Kaplan's informal narrative voice exceptionally well, and carrying the listener forward through what at times can be a mind-numbing level of detail about the first 20-some years of Sinatra's career. It's a tribute to Shapiro and Kaplan that one sticks with the book for 20+ hours, as there are passages that follow Sinatra's trail on almost a minute-by-minute detail.
Nick Sullivan deserves an Audie Lifetime Achievement Award for this book alone. It is a genuine tour de force of voice acting--he probably plays over 200 different roles in the course of this challenging but entertaining novel, most of which is told in snatches of dialogue. He manages to be convincing as everyone from a New York dowager in her eighties to eight year-old boys and girls, as well as lawyers, doctors, teachers, cops, politicians, ad men, low lifes, members of high society, preachers and sinners, and dozens more. It's a long book, but I found Sullivan made it far easier to follow the story than I was ever able to when I tried to read the book. Bravo, Mr. Sullivan!
Jenkins' account of Churchill's life is strongly influenced by his own career as a Labour MP, and if this biography is anything, it's a political life. We hear about every one of Churchill's many campaigns for office and much of the party intrigues that helped get him in and out of positions of power. For those with the stamina to hang in through dozens of hours of reading, this is a fine listen, one that will certainly leave you in awe of Churchill's own stamina and drive.
I listened to this book after enjoying David McCullough's "John Adams," and I highly recommend this audio book to any fan of that fine work. This recording is read by Nelson Runger, whose pace and tone is perfect for the 18th century. It's an vivid story that is an excellent companion to McCullough's "1776." If George Washington seemed only an icon, this book will revive him as a living, breathing, and inspiring man.
For me, Nelson Runger is one of the finest audio book readers around, and he is a perfect match for the work of David McCullough. Like McCullough, he proceeds at a leisurely pace--but only because he can appreciate so many of the details along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both parts and was sad to have to part with Mr. Adams and Mr. Runger at the end.
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