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The Lifelong Learner

Santa Monica | Member Since 2005

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 265 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Joby Warrick
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (271)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (203)

    In December 2009, a group of the CIA’s top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Khost, Afghanistan, to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian double-agent who infiltrated the upper ranks of al-Qaeda. For months, he had sent shocking revelations from inside the terrorist network and now promised to help the CIA assassinate Osama bin Laden’s top deputy. Instead, as he stepped from his car, he detonated a 30-pound bomb strapped to his chest, instantly killing seven CIA operatives....

    Melissa says: "Great modern history story"
    "A Real "Page Turner""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could hardly put it down. No problem with the unfamiliar names - look up one or two online if you need to. Reads like a top thriller novel, except for the tragic end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (142)

    How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators. Introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree.

    Andy says: "deserves seven stars"
    "An Interesting Amble through a Big Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A little confused. I couldn't figure out his structure until the end. But he made a good story out of an enormous library of information. And he made it interesting, in bites you can follow. He colors some of his narrative with editorials parading as facts. This cheer leading got heavy handed and tiresome in the era and chapter on rural electrification and continued into the modern era and public television. Too bad. It detracts from an otherwise pleasant story. I've enjoyed two of this author's other books immensely. This one has its moments but is a little frustrating to read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Robert D. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    In this extraordinary audiobook, Robert D. Kaplan lets listeners experience up close the American military worldwide in the air, at sea, and on the ground. Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts provides a riveting ground-level portrait of the Global War on Terrorism on several continents.

    Charlotte A. Hu says: "Great Detail, Brings Life and Understanding to Air"
    "The story is over before you want it to be"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kaplan's excellent overview takes you into places you didn't know existed on the map of American influence. While the myriad and diversity of military missions are interesting, Kaplan tells a deeper story of the gamut of human characters who do this work. It's their stories that make you unable to put down the book. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Intellectuals and Society

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Thomas Sowell
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (165)

    This is a study of how intellectuals as a class affect modern societies by shaping the climate of opinion in which official policies develop, on issues ranging from economics to law to war and peace. You will hear a withering and clear-eyed critique about (but not for) intellectuals that explores their impact on public opinion, policy, and society at large.

    Gare&Sophia says: "An efficient attack on liberal philosophy."
    "Flawed thinking creates flawed social experiments"
    Overall

    This book shows the folly of what happens when it's easier to concentrate power than knowledge -- social engineering that backfires.

    "Intellectuals" "who romanticize cultures which leave the world in poverty, disease and chaos, trash cultures that lead the world in prosperity, medical advances and law and order." They look the other way when masses flee societies they romanticize. They look away when tough stances against aggression may nip war in the bud and wait until the bombs are falling on them to act. They encourage the poor to blame poverty on the rich, a tragically detrimental view that discourages the self-examination that might lead them to make fundamental changes in their own lives instead.

    The group he focuses on are the people whose narrow view is limited to the wrongs they see around them and attribute to some evil in the American system. Yet they ignore the broad perspective of human behavior and cultures in their context. This leads to seriously flawed thinking and social experiments we're better off without.

    Well supported and thoughtfully presented.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Hundred Days: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 19

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (151)

    Patrick O'Brian transports you to the high seas of the Napoleonic era when the French demagogue is making a desperate attempt to control the European world. While Napoleon pursues the British across Europe, rumors fly about him forging a secret link with the forces of Islam. Soon an ominous horde of Muslim mercenaries gather.

    Bearwife says: "Another fabulous installment"
    "Great moments, but not best effort"
    Overall

    Love the O'Brian series, and this reader is phenomenal. This just isn't the best example. Bogs down in places. Dark. Killing off characters who are long-time "friends" made me think more of the author's own darkness at the time of writing was making its way into the book. Possible. Understandable. Don't let it keep you from reading, but don't expect the dashing tales of old.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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