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Thomas

Mostly non-fiction: biographies, history, science, etc.

WATERFORD, MI, United States | Member Since 2001

ratings
14
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Madeleine Albright
    • Narrated By Madeleine Albright
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    The next president, whether Democrat or Republican, will face the daunting task of repairing America's core relationships and tarnished credibility after the damage caused during the past seven years. In Memo to the President Elect, former secretary of state and best-selling author Madeleine Albright offers provocative ideas about how to confront the striking array of challenges that the next commander-in-chief will face.

    John says: "Disappointing"
    "Timely, again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this to read for the last presidential election cycle, but never got around to it. At least I made it for this cycle. I am sure Albright would agree her advice is still good for the upcoming President Elect. I was real excited about the introductory material that Albright came from getting out of meetings between her former foreign minister colleagues: "Madeleine's Exes". I'd like to know more about individually where the different pieces of advice came from. Still, I am sure Albright could provide all the cogent and considered advice on her own, from my recollection of a particularly insightful talk she gave at Oakland Universty.

    Basically, her advice and humble and flexible. She's not afraid of military action but sees many options in foreign policy before that - and the spots in the world that need the attention.

    Great narration by Albright herself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bell Labs: Life in the Crown Jewel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Narain Gehani
    • Narrated By Stow Lovejoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Narain Gehani tells the fascinating story of the transition Bell Labs is undergoing as it adapts to new business conditions. Bell Labs researchers, who once were free to focus on innovation, research excellence, and prizes, now have to worry about business relevance. The culture of lifetime employment is gone and the pendulum has swung from basic to applied research.

    Greg says: "Boring  couldnt finish listening"
    "Missed opportunity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narrated by Stow Lovejoy, this is a poor delivery of a weak story about what should be a thrilling telling one of the most potent R&D think tanks American industry has produced. Gehani brushes over personally creating the C programming language and working alongside mighty brains that pushed aside pigeono poo to discover cosmic background radiation left over from The Big Bang. Instead, Gehani feels compelled to talk about managerial details like the lack of power of the Bell Labs president and intricacies of an employee's expense report.

    Finally, at the very end, with the story of birthing a business to provide in-car navigation aids (Magellan) does Gehani get it together for the tone of story he should have told, but buy then it is tool late...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Anthony Bourdain
    • Narrated By Anthony Bourdain
    Overall
    (3535)
    Performance
    (1447)
    Story
    (1441)

    Last summer, The New Yorker published chef Anthony Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Now, the author uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable audiobook, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.

    Holly says: "Kitchen Confidential"
    "Insights from the Insider"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think Julia Childs and Henry Miller have a secret lovechild and his name is Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain's delight in exposing the gutter in tha galleyand pirate crews in the kitchen is effusive and vivid in this tell-all of life from dishwasher to chef in New York kitchens. Sometimes it is a bit too Manhattan-centric, but Bourdain makes no apologies for that or any of his ribald ways, drug-taking or the sending back out of reclaimed bread. Yes, you may never look at the bread basket, buffets, or fish special again after this revelatory book.

    Hearing it read by the author is a real treat. His use of New York and culinary slang in long, multi-adjective rants sounds like a hip Beat's rhythmic patter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rape of Nanking

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Iris Chang
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (114)

    In December 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. Amazingly, the story of this atrocity- one of the worst in world history- continues to be denied by the Japanese government.

    Douglas says: "Powerful"
    "Best narrator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Iris Chang's crisp and economic delivery makes this one of the best nonfiction audiobooks I have ever enjoyed.

    The evil perpetrated upon the conquered Chinese by the Japanese is appalling. To think, even the local Nazi contingent felt things had gone too far and set up a safe zone for the persecuted to find succor behind the swastika...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Douglas Adams
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (87)

    Not content with merely hitchhiking across the galaxy, confused Earthling Arthur Dent goes in search of God's Final Message to His Creation. What will he find along the way - against all odds, at the eleventh hour, and in the unlikeliest place of all? Find out in volume 4 of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 5-part "trilogy."

    Patrick Y. says: "Great for a road trip!"
    "Adams' Narration makes it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Always a bit of a muddle compared to the previous three, the greatest charm to this book in my mind is the biscuit-eating story, although I prefer the elaborated version from "The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time".

    However, narration by Adams himself makes this all worthwhile and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jim Powell
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    In the minds of historians and the American public alike, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of our greatest presidents, not least because he supposedly saved America from the Great Depression. But as historian Jim Powell reveals in this groundbreaking book, Roosevelt's New Deal policies actually prolonged and exacerbated the economic disaster.

    David says: "Very Important"
    "An enlightening closer look"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating and detail account taking apart FDR's New Deal and exposing it weaknesses. Some things I learned here new to me were that unit banking laws in American versus the branch banking laws in Canada (more like current laws) may have been one reason why the Depression was longer and worse in the U.S. than right across the border in Canada. Also, the Depression was much longer than I knew: 17% average unemployment for most of a decaded with no year below 14% during that time. The book makes a compelling case that the U.S. emerged from the Great Depression in spite of FDR's policies, not because of them.

    Good narration.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Horatio's Drive

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
    • Narrated By Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a "horseless buggy" - but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a 31-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet $50 that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here - in Jackson's own words - is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud.

    Elizabeth says: "Great story!"
    "A good sandwich, but too much bread"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my second time taking in the Dayton Duncan-Ken Burns audiobook about plucky doctor-turned-adventurer Horatio Jackson's historic first crossing of the U.S. continent by automobile. The challenges, the individual triumph, the unplanned three-way race make for a compelling, exciting American tale. Cameo narration by Tom Hanks and, at the NYC end, George Plimpton, and others make for a great, exciting, entertaining telling. However, Ken Burns' lengthy, self-indulgent introduction borders on narcissism and takes away from the initial energy, while Duncan's panoramic road trip paean and excessive Walt Whitman quotes take away from the already perfect conclusion: Horation finally making it home.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the Fish Patrol

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By Jim Roberts
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Thomas says: "Needs updated narration"
    "Needs updated narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    London's chronoligical, tightly coupled tales of Fish Patrol fights with oyster pirates, Greek scofflaw salmon poachers and more is marred by this 1982 audio production with low audio quality and a narrator that is just phoning it in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dayna Baer, Robert Baer
    • Narrated By Robert Baer, Dayna Baer, Richard McGonagle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    Robert Baer was known inside the CIA as perhaps the best operative working the Middle East. Dana was originally tasked for Agency background checks, but always wanted more. When Bob and Dayna met on a mission in Sarajevo, it wasn’t love at first sight. But there was something there, a spark. And as the danger escalated and their affection for each other grew, they realized it was time to leave “the Company,” to somehow rediscover the people they’d once been. As worldly as they both were, the couple didn’t realize at first that turning in their Agency ID cards would not be enough to put their covert past behind.

    Lynn says: "Secret Agent Man and Woman"
    "Excellent husband & wife memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally read spy memoirs as they are an interestiong between two of my favorite non-fiction genres: true crime and military history. This one I was partly also intersted in due to Baer's fairly frequent appearance as a guest commentator on TV and his inspiration to the film "Syriana". This book did not disappoint from lacking in intrigue and action since it is a very human, compelling husband-wife autobiography about being in the CIA and trying to outlive. Like "Honor Thy Father", the book is a tale of the banality of the underworld, but most of it is the two trying to outlive their spy past, despite the world intruding on their remote home and overcoming the obstacles of their independent effort to international adoption through Pakistan. The book is told in a relfective, philosophical almost wistful telling as if their lives are rather unreal and dreamlike, which is how they seem to me.

    I really appreciate the trade-off narration between both the Baers in this excellent husband & wife memoir. It highlighted the different points of view both had of their shared experience.

    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
    (1882)
    Performance
    (849)
    Story
    (862)

    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"
    "non-fiction "Heart of Darkness""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An engrossing, nail-biter of a true story of Amazonian exploration, privation, murder, and survival. It reveals our former president to my a unique scholar-adventurer. Further, it reveals the unexplored Amazon at that time to be fascinatine, dangerous, and challenging.

    This is a modern era, non-fiction "Heart of Darkness"

    Very good narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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