You no longer follow Blake

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Blake

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Blake

Annapolis, MD, United States | Member Since 2007

100
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 132 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
12

  • Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Norman, Elizabeth Norman
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (859)
    Performance
    (460)
    Story
    (453)

    For the first four months of 1942, U.S., Filipino, and Japanese soldiers fought what was America's first major land battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny Philippine peninsula of Bataan. It ended with the surrender of 76,000 Filipinos and Americans, the single largest defeat in American military history. The defeat, though, was only the beginning, as Michael and Elizabeth M. Norman make dramatically clear in this powerfully original book.

    Parusski says: "Riveting and heartbreaking"
    "A Wonderful Marriage of Story, Words and Narration"
    Overall

    This is how history is supposed to be written, and narrated. Michael and Elizabeth Norman present a powerful work stitching together the overall story of horrific events with the common thread of a central soldier, Bud Steele, and a few other American and Japanese who appear throughout the captivating pages. Michael Pritchard delivers a brilliant interpretation of the text with a voice that is sensitive at all times to the mood of the moment - soft when necessary, urgent when called for, and always entertaining. The authors go deep into the psyche of the ordinary Japanese soldiers and their campaign commander to help the reader understand how the horrible events that took place were part of a chain of seeming inevitability. This work is an admirable marriage of comprehensive research, skillful writing and a narration of artistry. If there is a fault it is in leaving the fate of some of the people mentioned in the text hanging in historical mystery. Even so, this is a fantastic read and will probably rank among your favorites.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Assignment to Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A.J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Timothy M. Gay
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In February 1943, a group of journalists - including a young wire service correspondent named Walter Cronkite and cub reporter Andy Rooney - clamored to fly along on a bombing raid over Nazi Germany. Seven of the 64 bombers that attacked a U-boat base that day never made it back to England. A fellow survivor, Homer Bigart of the New York Herald Tribune, asked Cronkite if he’d thought through a lede. "I think I’m going to say," mused Cronkite, “that I’ve just returned from an assignment to hell."

    Kathleen says: "WW II correspondents adventures in the war."
    "Work Doesn't Like Up to its Title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you keep waiting for Hell to reveal itself in Assignment to Hell you'll arrive at the last page wondering where you missed it. There's very little drama in this book but there's a lot of descriptions of time spent well behind the lines in hotel rooms and restaurants. While Timothy Gay does a decent job recycling all the material that's available in other works about the various WWII correspondents he includes in this book, there's nothing in this book that will make you happy to have read this dabbling into these men's stories rather than to have read the original available first-hand accounts by the writers themselves. Sadly, the title is a way to work some recognizable names onto the cover while the contents do little credit to the stories of these correspondents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (272)
    Story
    (266)

    On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy.

    Trip says: "A secret history of WWII crossed with Monty Python"
    "Worthy Read on the Double Cross System"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is Ben Macintyre’s third book covering much the same general topic matter of Britain's spymasters during World War II. His previous books dive deep into the real-life characters of Agent ZigZag and all the colorful members of Britain's MI5 war effort. Many of those same characters return here in Double Cross, but whereas those books are very up close and personal, Double Cross is a bit distant. Perhaps due to the relative lack of historical material to draw from, and certainly from including too many thinly illustrated double and triple agents into the narrative, Double Cross doesn't get the reader as close to the people whose stories are being told as in Macintyre’s other efforts. John lee does a masterful job in reading the words and keeping the story lively. All in all, an enjoyable read, but a bit lackluster compares to Macintyre’s other efforts on the same subjects.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
    • Narrated By Jeremy Davidson
    Overall
    (760)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (639)

    In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.

    Paul Bennett says: "Fine book, adequate narration"
    "Plodding Book that Never Finds a Narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As much as I wanted this book to be a glimpse of a little known aspect of World War II, it instead left me searching to see if a better book on the subject has been written. The authors throw in far too many uninteresting characters and stories, ending up with a plodding book that avoids getting interesting until the very end. The book doesn't shed any light on who in command supporting the effort and allocating personnel to the task of art preservation. The authors includes letters home from the people involved verbatim without trying to spin into them into the narrative. This is unfortunately a very weak effort at a possibly interesting story. But it will take a better writer to answer that question.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12954)
    Performance
    (8827)
    Story
    (8877)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Annie M. says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Superb!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a perfectly written and read book. Laura Hillenbrand tells this amazing in a way the reader lives it. She is a master of the writing craft and this book was destined to be a classic on her first keystroke.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    On April 30, 1975, for 24 straight harrowing hours, a small band of U.S. Marines exhibited exceptional bravery to evacuate thousands from Saigon as North Vietnamese forces surged toward the city.

    History says: "Harrowing and riveting"
    "Masterfully Crafted Narrative Superbly Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Within a few pages the authors masterfully pull the reader right alongside these embassy guard Marines and diplomats in a way that their stories are not just read but shared. This is truly an outstanding example of expertly telling the activities and emotions of multiple characters in multiple locations and weaving their lives into a coherent and thoroughly captivating narrative. The reading by Bronson Pinchot, the TV and movie actor, is absolutely brilliant. Pinchot delivers an energetic reading with exactly the right amount of dramatic infusion to add to the already gripping story being told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Ruins of Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Ronald Spector
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    Americans are accustomed to thinking that World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. Yet on the mainland of Asia, in the vast arc stretching from Manchuria to Burma, peace was a brief, fretful interlude. In some parts of Asia, such as Java and Southern Indonesia, only a few weeks passed before new fighting broke out between nationalist forces and the former colonial powers.

    S says: "Informative, but not an engrossing listen"
    "More Than You Want to Know About Post-War Asia"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes the Cliff Notes version of a book are all that's really necessary, and the story of post-WWII Asia as told by Ronald Spector is one of these cases. The high level version, since everyone already knows things turned out poorly: the colonials came back to their old empires, screwed things up, the independence movements took advantage of really bad management of the reintroduction of colonial rule, the British screwed everything up, the Dutch and French did even worse, and the Americans backed the wrong sides after abandoning previous alliances. This is told in far too many pages. The only revelation, or surprise in this book, is the degree to which the former colonial powers depended on the defeated Japanese Army across Asia to help combat the rising tide of revolution, with Japanese units in some cases stranded for years after the surrender, fighting alongside their former enemies. Narrator Michael Pritchard does an excellent job of adding flavor to otherwise bland pages, but by the end, the reader is happy this book came to an end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Craig Nelson
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (46)

    Immediately after Japan's December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt sought to restore the honor of the United States with a dramatic act of vengeance: a retaliatory bombing raid on Tokyo itself. In those early days of World War II, America was ill-prepared for any sort of warfare. But FDR was not to be dissuaded, and at his bidding a squadron of scarcely trained army fliers, led by the famous daredevil Jimmy Doolittle, set forth on what everyone regarded as a suicide mission.

    William says: "Heroic Attempt"
    "A Great Story Written Like a History Textbook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While the pilots of the Doolittle Raid flew at treetop level, the author Craig Nelson tells their stories from 30,000 feet, far too high to get into the B-25 bombers with any of the crew members who took part in this historic mission. The story reads like a history lesson, and includes long passages about the Pearl Harbor and Midway battles before and after the Doolittle Raid to put the mission into historical context, rather than getting personal with the men of the mission itself. The reader will come away with a good overview of the mission, and it's importance, but in the process learn very little of the 80 men on the 16 B-25 bombers who took part in the mission. The narrative bounces around from crew to crew so frequently, without connecting to any individual crewmen, that it never touches any of them deeply. This is made far worse by a narrator who reads this book like one run-on sentence, far too often without as much as a pause as the author changes from crew to crew. The narrator reads this book as if he's in a race to get to the end of it, which unfortunately comes without ever really learning who these amazing men of the Doolittle Raid really were.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Finish Forty and Home: The Untold World War II Story of B-24s in the Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Phil Scearce
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    During the early years of World War II in the Pacific theatre, against overwhelming odds, young American airmen flew the longest and most perilous bombing missions of the war. They faced determined Japanese fighters without fighter escort, relentless anti-aircraft fire with no deviations from target, and thousands of miles of over-water flying with no alternative landing sites.

    Douglas says: "Compelling History of the Pacific Air War"
    "Lackluster Storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading Laura Hillenbrand's masterful "Unbroken" I was pleasantly surprised to find this book written about the same B-24 squadron during WWII. But any similarity between the two books ends there. In the preface the author speaks of this book wanting to honor his father and that Phil Scearce does. But this book is not masterful, compelling nor particularly well written. Unfortunately, the book is clearly based on squadron records and it continually reads that way, with dialog added to disjointed stories attempting to add to the dry action reports and squadron logs of those official records. What this book is thoroughly lacking is an interesting narrative. There's no captivating central character, and this is made very clear when by 1944, the author's father has logged six combat missions while others in the squadron are going home having completed the (then) 30 required missions.
    The author has created a beginning to end account of this B-24 squadron, but unfortunately it reads like a Wikipedia article rather than an action-packed account of the brave men who flew, fought and died in this squadron.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Todd Balf
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    The Darkest Jungle tells the harrowing story of America's first ship canal exploration across a narrow piece of land in Central America called the Darien, a place that loomed large in the minds of the world's most courageous adventurers in the nineteenth century. With rivals from England and France days behind, the 27-member U.S. expedition landed on the Atlantic shore at Caledonia Bay in eastern Panama to begin their mad dash up the coast-hugging mountains of the Darien wilderness.

    Curtis says: "Disappointing"
    "Good Story But Not Well Told"
    Overall

    A book about a great adventure like this one should put the reader into the jungle right alongside the participants. Well written books like The River of Doubt by Candice Millard, Into Africa by Martin Dugard, Shadows in the Jungle by Larry Alexander, do exactly that, from cover to cover. The Darkest Jungle however, never rises to the story, fails to transport the reader's imagination into the jungle and never elicits suspense nor sympathy for any of the many characters. This is not a well written book, and worse, it is very poorly constructed. The author front loads the text with biographies on all the characters, before the reader has a chance to know or care who any of the people are and why any are to be important in the later narrative. Better books find a way to paint the characters as the story progresses. The end of the book falls off with many chapters of postscript that could have been woven into the text if properly edited. The narration, while credible, fails to deliver any excitement and is read as if the narrator is in a hurry to finish the project. All in all, this is not a great effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1955)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (934)

    At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

    Stephen says: "River of Doubt"
    "Superb in Every Way"
    Overall

    This is a superb account of adventure and danger in the Amazonian rain forest told brilliantly by author Candice Millard, and read equally so by narrator Paul Michael. The author has carefully researched the surviving details of this expedition and crafted a story so riveting, and painted the participants so fully, that she takes the reader along the perilous route as if a member of the expedition. The only flaw of this book is that it ends. Put this book next on your list. Curiously, in the first chapter the author writes Theodore Roosevelt "had a voice that sounded as if he had just taken a sip of helium" yet the narrator uses a voice closely resembling Franklin Roosevelt's recorded voice for quoted passages. Probably a calculated and wise substitution that saves the reader from the terror of Teddy's helium voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.