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Dale

Pittsburgh, PA, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
30
REVIEWS
27
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
59

  • Learning About Liberty: The Cato University Home Study Course

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Cato University
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (36)

    You can deepen your perspectives, knowledge, and insight through exposure to some of the world's most compelling thinkers. The growth of human freedom, and with it science, culture, and capitalistic prosperity, are explained through the works and ideas of some of our civilization's most brilliant thinkers.

    Roy says: "Terrific!"
    "Fantastic Overview"
    Overall

    I am an adult learner becoming increasingly interested in politics, policy and historical underpinnings. This course has been a remarkable help. It is a series of audiobooks and courses that march through the history and development of libertarian political theory. Many key documents and books (the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, etc) are covered in detail. Most of the recordings seem to have been made in the mid-to-late 1980s but it is all still highly relevant for today's issues. There are many different readers throughout the course so it's difficult to comment on their overall quality. Most were quite good but one used Walter Cronkite and I found his famous voice a bit distracting. Otherwise, this is a brilliant course and I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By H.W. Brands
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (91)

    The most famous American of his time, Andrew Jackson is a seminal figure in American history. The first "common man" to rise to the presidency, Jackson embodied the spirit and the vision of the emerging American nation; the term "Jacksonian democracy" is embedded in our national lexicon. With the sweep, passion, and attention to detail that made The First American a Pulitzer Prize finalist, historian H.W. Brands shapes a historical narrative that's as fast-paced and compelling as the best fiction.

    Eric says: "Very Thorough"
    "Very enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been rediscovering American History after flitting through the topic in my childhood. Naturally, my attention tended to focus initially on the Revolutionary period and the Civil War as these events tend to overshadow others. This book goes a long way towards defining and clarifying the period between these two general periods. If one reads a book on Revolutionary America then opens a book about the Civil War, a lot of questions might spring to mind: How did Florida get into the union? And Texas? What was the War of 1812 about? Who were the Whigs? Where did these political parties come from? All of these are addressed to some extent in this book as Andrew Jackson figured large in relation to most of them. Highly recommended both for content and the narrator has a good pace and tone. He style is almost grandfatherly and works well with the material.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Paul C. Nagel
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (54)

    A United States minister, senator, president, and congressman in turn, John Quincy Adams was one of the most prevalent and dedicated Americans in history. Drawing from Adams' 70-year diary, author Paul Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned so many offices.

    James says: "Good Book, Narrow Focus"
    "Decent Tale, Robotic Delivery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nagel's account of JQA is decent and will probably be sufficient for most readers/listeners eager to get a good summary and account of his life and times. Serious scholars should probably look elsewhere. As a relatively short work, Nagel has to make some arguably controversial prioritizations in his telling of JQAs life. For example, only one chapter is devoted to his presidency and the tone of the text is that it was such a dismal failure that one could be excused for ignoring it. (I don't necessarily agree with this.) On the other hand, Nagel does a good job of telling the tale of JQAs life in the House and how he shined in that setting even though it would be easy to miss this since some of his brilliance was in parlimentery tactics at key moments. The narrator is difficult to take at times. He sounds very robotic and occasionally pronounces words oddly or gives awkward phrasing to sentences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas
    • Narrated By David Strathairn, Richard Dreyfuss
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (42)

    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates made history and changed its course through seven legendary match-ups between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during the 1858 Illinois senatorial race. Although he lost the election, Lincoln's gift for oratory and his anti-slavery stance made him a nationally known figure, and led to his election to the presidency in 1860. Never before presented in audio, these debates and great statesmen are brought to life by narrators Richard Dreyfuss and David Strathairn.

    Dale says: "Great fun"
    "Great fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    His unabridged recording of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates by two well-known actors is both great fun and a fantastic insight into a key debate on a central issue in American history. Both actors seem to really get into character (although I wonder if Dreyfuss maybe hams it up a bit... this may be unfair as I do not know the literature regarding how Douglas really spoke and delivered his speeches) and the intervening comments of the 3rd narrator (communicating time, location, and audience interruptions) help to place the listener at the edge of the stage in the crowd. Great stuff.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (326)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (206)

    Americans think of World War II as “The Good War”, a moment when the forces of good resoundingly triumphed over evil. Yet the war was not decided by D-day. It was decided in the East, by the Red Army and Joseph Stalin. While conventional wisdom locates the horrors of World War II in the six million Jews killed in German concentration camps, the reality is even grimmer. In 13 years, the Nazi and Soviet regimes killed 13 million people in the lands between Germany and Russia.

    Joseph says: "Stuck between mad men"
    "I can't stop thinking about it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd heard about this book when it came out and picked it at a whim from audible's catalog. I'm so glad I did because this work is going to stick with me and affect the rest of my life. I was so affected that I had to purchase the print version as well so that the rest of my family can take it in. At first glance, Snyder is giving an accounting of the massive death and misery that covered Eastern Europe (in an area he calls the "Bloodlands") from 1931-1945. I mean "accounting" in the professional sense of the word. He is aiming to give true and accurate numbers, so far as this is possible, to the various mass-killings which occurred it the Bloodlands through state-sponsored actions. What blossoms out of this undertaking is a beautiful explanation of how tyranny came to dominate Europe, how that tyranny morphed into totalitarianism, how that totalitarianism came to view mass-killing as a viable tool, and how that tool was enacted. I came away from this book with an appreciation that the tragedy of this era is not just the holocaust, but that the holocaust was simply the grand finale to unimaginable death and killing as implemented by 2 murderous regimes (Soviet Union, Nazi Germany). In effect, there were multiple holocausts and Snyder attempts to give each it's own story. Very moving and performed very well by the narrator.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Harlow Giles Unger
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (86)

    In this lively and compelling biography, Harlow Giles Unger reveals the dominant political figure of a generation. A fierce fighter in four critical Revolutionary War battles and a courageous survivor of Valley Forge and a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton, James Monroe (1751 - 1831) went on to become America's first full-time politician, dedicating his life to securing America's national and international durability.

    Robert Bartel says: "Readable, but more hero worship than history"
    "flawed, but tolerable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm in the process of devouring audiobooks on early American history. Thus far, I've listened to books on the first 4 presidents as well as Franklin (among others). This biography is the weakest I've encountered so far. The soaring horn intro and exit as well as the narrators deep and smooth voice bring to mind a campaign add. There seems to be very little objectivity or perspective on the part of the author. On the whole, I don't mind when an author openly admires a biography subject but at times this author glorifies Monroe at the expense of other figures like Madison and J.Q. Adams. The text is often trite and hyperbolic and riddled with political cliche's. If one is looking for a summary of Monroe's life with a decent summary of the first 50 years of U.S. history, it's not bad, but I wouldn't consider it a serious academic work.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • James Madison: The Founding Father

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert A. Rutland
    • Narrated By John MacDonald
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    This engaging and sympathetic biography reveals the prolific founding father who Thomas Jefferson described as “the greatest man in the world.” We see Madison the legislator, writer, Secretary of State, president, and elder statesman. Perhaps most importantly, we see a man who believed implicitly in the mutual dependence of democracy and individual freedom and whose life was guided by this philosophy. Accordingly, our constitutional guarantees of civil and religious liberty are in many ways his legacy.

    Dale says: "Adequate but not definitive"
    "Adequate but not definitive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm an amateur historian who's been running through audiobooks about central figures in American history. I've listened to excellent biographies on Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. I turned to this book looking for a good treatment of Madison. I found it adequate but definitely not sufficiently thorough for my tastes. To be fair, the author explicitly states that his intention is not to be necessarily comprehensive. In his prologue, he refers to several more complete biographies of JM and says that his purpose is to (paraphrasing) give a broad overview of JM's political life with an eye towards the context of the time and in the face of several criticisms of JM and other historians have leveled and this one finds somewhat unjust. There is barely any background for JM in this book. We start off with JM in his early political life and go from there. From then on, it's a blow-by-blow account of his political life which is pretty good. The author does come across as "pro-JM" but he gives criticism where it is due (namely his late years as Sec. of State and several blunders leading up to the War of 1812). The recording bothered me a bit. The reader's voice is clear and pleasing but he fails to make any change in tone that might indicate a shift from the author's text to a quote from JM or a contemporary. Add to this some odd editing in the reading so that there are few pauses in cadence (think of a Japanese movie dubbed with English) and it can be quite distracting. I wonder if some of the reviewers about this book mistook quotes from JM's contemporaries praising him to be coming from the author because the context wasn't clear? All in all, decent if you're an amateur like me but likely to leave you wanting if you want a lot of detail.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Jefferson and His Time, Volume 3: Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dumas Malone
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    Here's the third volume in Dumas Malone's distinguished study of Thomas Jefferson and his time. It deals with one of the most fascinating and controversial periods of Jefferson's life, including the final and most crucial phase of his tenure as secretary of state; his retirement to Monticello; his assumption of the leadership of the opposition party; and the crisis during the "half-war" with France, when political oppression was threatened and the freedom of individuals imperiled.

    Dale says: "Classic work, so-so reading"
    "Classic work, so-so reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The work is probably the definitive biography of Thomas Jefferson. It's hard to imagine one more complete or better executed and is a real joy to read. Some reviews on this state that Malone is "pro-Jefferson" and biased towards him. Certainly, Malone is admires Jefferson (I can't imagine spending so many years on one man and not feeling some attachment to him), but he always seems objective regarding the facts in any given controversy and doesn't spare TJ any criticism when warranted. On the other hand, TJ made many enemies over his lifetime and these made numerous claims without necessarily being based in facts. Malone examines each with care and reason. The recording is dated in the late-1990s and was originally on cassette tapes. This is known because there is an occasional slip as she announces the beginning of a new tape from time to time. There are some technical problems and I recall these being mainly in the 1st and 5th volumes. On the whole, they aren't a big deal. Her tone is a bit wry for my taste but she gets the job done (the big, big job).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Jefferson and His Time Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Dumas Malone
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    The second of the six volumes of this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography tells the story of the eventful middle years in the life of Thomas Jefferson: his ministry to France in the years just before the French Revolution and during the early stages of that conflict; his service as secretary of state in President George Washington's first cabinet; the crucial period of his first differences with Alexander Hamilton; and the beginnings of his long struggle with the Federalists.

    John says: "Very Biased"
    "Classic work, so-so reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The work is probably the definitive biography of Thomas Jefferson. It's hard to imagine one more complete or better executed and is a real joy to read. Some reviews on this state that Malone is "pro-Jefferson" and biased towards him. Certainly, Malone is admires Jefferson (I can't imagine spending so many years on one man and not feeling some attachment to him), but he always seems objective regarding the facts in any given controversy and doesn't spare TJ any criticism when warranted. On the other hand, TJ made many enemies over his lifetime and these made numerous claims without necessarily being based in facts. Malone examines each with care and reason. The recording is dated in the late-1990s and was originally on cassette tapes. This is known because there is an occasional slip as she announces the beginning of a new tape from time to time. There are some technical problems and I recall these being mainly in the 1st and 5th volumes. On the whole, they aren't a big deal. Her tone is a bit wry for my taste but she gets the job done (the big, big job).

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Jefferson and His Time, Volume 6: The Sage of Monticello

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Dumas Malone
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    The Sage of Monticello is the sixth and final volume of Dumas Malone's epic masterwork, Jefferson and His Time, a biography begun in 1943 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1975. More wide ranging than the preceding volumes, The Sage of Monticello recounts the accomplishments, friendships, and family difficulties of Jefferson's last 17 years, including his retirement from Washington and the presidency.

    Dale says: "Classic work, so-so reading"
    "Classic work, so-so reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The work is probably the definitive biography of Thomas Jefferson. It's hard to imagine one more complete or better executed and is a real joy to read. Some reviews on this state that Malone is "pro-Jefferson" and biased towards him. Certainly, Malone is admires Jefferson (I can't imagine spending so many years on one man and not feeling some attachment to him), but he always seems objective regarding the facts in any given controversy and doesn't spare TJ any criticism when warranted. On the other hand, TJ made many enemies over his lifetime and these made numerous claims without necessarily being based in facts. Malone examines each with care and reason. The recording is dated in the late-1990s and was originally on cassette tapes. This is known because there is an occasional slip as she announces the beginning of a new tape from time to time. There are some technical problems and I recall these being mainly in the 1st and 5th volumes. On the whole, they aren't a big deal. Her tone is a bit wry for my taste but she gets the job done (the big, big job).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Jefferson and His Time, Volume 5: Second Term, 1805-1809

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dumas Malone
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    The fifth volume of the Jefferson series completes the story of his presidency, carrying him through his troubled second term, but also to the end of an official career that spanned some 40 years. Here is a vibrant account of Jefferson's disparate activities: sponsoring the Lewis and Clark Expedition, concluding the naval "war" with the Barbary pirates, engaging in a political duel with Chief Justice Marshall over the trial of Aaron Burr, and more.

    Dale says: "Classic work, so-so reading"
    "Classic work, so-so reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The work is probably the definitive biography of Thomas Jefferson. It's hard to imagine one more complete or better executed and is a real joy to read. Some reviews on this state that Malone is "pro-Jefferson" and biased towards him. Certainly, Malone is admires Jefferson (I can't imagine spending so many years on one man and not feeling some attachment to him), but he always seems objective regarding the facts in any given controversy and doesn't spare TJ any criticism when warranted. On the other hand, TJ made many enemies over his lifetime and these made numerous claims without necessarily being based in facts. Malone examines each with care and reason. The recording is dated in the late-1990s and was originally on cassette tapes. This is known because there is an occasional slip as she announces the beginning of a new tape from time to time. There are some technical problems and I recall these being mainly in the 1st and 5th volumes. On the whole, they aren't a big deal. Her tone is a bit wry for my taste but she gets the job done (the big, big job).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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