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James

Gulf Breeze, FL, United States | Member Since 2011

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 228 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Generation Kill

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Evan Wright
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (204)

    They were called a generation without heroes. Then they were called upon to be heroes. Within hours of 9/11, America's war on terrorism fell to those like the 23 Marines of the First Recon Battalion, the first generation dispatched into open-ended combat since Vietnam.

    James says: "Interesting and well paced, though poorly narrated"
    "Interesting and well paced, though poorly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first account I've read that was written by a reporter and I have to say it's a strikingly different experience than those written by troops. Most of it is devoted to the life and death decisions guys have to make out there and he's very good about laying out the facts and letting you consider it rather than injecting his own opinions into peoples' actions. There are a lot of characters and he does a good job of making sure that they are all fleshed out. The point of this book seemed to be as much about getting you acquainted with the Marines' tasks and hardships in overthrowing Saddam as it was getting you acquainted with exactly who we sent over there to do it. Once you get past the narration it's really a good book.

    My only complaint was the narration which ranged from poor to absurd. The first half of it is SO over-articulated that it can be tortuous at times. For whatever reason he feels the need to make sure you don't miss a transition from one syllable to the next by punctuating the move from one to the next with drastic tone shifts and at times it's like he's just crisply sounding out every word. It's hard to describe but it's very unnatural and it ruins the flow of the book almost as much his complete lack of ability to decipher sarcasm and dry humor. Fortunately as the book progresses it becomes a bit more tolerable as he tones it down a little. The narrator also does a lot of accents but they all come out decidedly Mexican sounding, especially the two Filipinos. I'll be watching out for this narrator in the future.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John Bolton
    • Narrated By John Bolton
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    A veteran of three Republican administrations and a nominee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, John Bolton reveals how the U.S. can lead the way to a more realistic global security arrangement for the 21st century and identifies the next generation of threats to America.

    David says: "A Straight Speaking Diplomat"
    "If you know anything about US foreign policy, skip"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mr. Bolton is a no-nonsense problem solver. The UN is a bureaucratic hell hole.

    Spoiler alert: North Korea and Iran issues go unresolved due to European appeasement and red obstructionism.

    Then the book ends.

    If you've followed the first thing about these two problem nations and US foreign policy over the last decade then you could probably write this book yourself without even performing any research beyond dates.

    I had hopes, and it started out well, then bureaucratic stories take over, then wait what? It's over?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Overall
    (1251)
    Performance
    (1088)
    Story
    (1070)

    Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?

    Kristi Richardson says: ""The Universe is in us!""
    "Well worth $2.50 sale. Would not pay full."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Much more interesting way of looking at the same set of concepts you'll find in other 14 hour titles on the topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tom Holland
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (231)

    The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama.

    Emily says: "Connects the Dots and Fills In the Gaps"
    "Pretty good if hard to follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I won't blame the author for that. So many names, so many similar achievements and similar goals and all of them shifting alliances between the same group of people for about 60 years. Author does a fairly good job of keeping them straight enough.

    Anyone who complains about the narration has yet to hear a Bad narrator. He also gets better as it progresses.

    Sometimes repetitive feeling. I bought another book halfway through but was happy to finish this one afterwards.

    A good survey of what being an ambitious guy in Southern Europe around 50bc was like.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Michael Bar-Zohar, Nissim Mishal
    • Narrated By Benjamin Isaac
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (101)

    In Mossad, authors MichaelBar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal take us behind the closed curtain with riveting, eye-opening, boots-on-the-ground accounts of the most dangerous, most crucial missions in the agency's 60-year history.

    Mike says: "Israeli Intelligence through Iraeli Eyes"
    "The word un-listen-to-able is thrown around a lot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    But in this case wow. It's so hard to pay attention to the seemingly intentionally bad "I'm a Narrator!" narration job. It's amazing. He can turn one syllable into two. Two into 5. Skip this one.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul Halpern
    • Narrated By Matthew Dudley
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    An accessible look at the mysteries that lurk at the edge of the known universe and beyond. The observable universe, the part we can see with telescopes, is incredibly vast. Yet recent theories suggest that there is far more to the universe than what our instruments record - in fact, it could be infinite. Colossal flows of galaxies, large empty regions called voids, and other unexplained phenomena offer clues that our own "bubble universe" could be part of a greater realm called the multiverse.

    Brett says: "Great summary of modern cosmology"
    "So dumbed down it's hard to follow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are many fascinating books on this topic on Audible, this one is not one of them. The author tends to wander into excessively long winded analogies and similes which when combined with a lack of any discernible or smooth transition between topics makes the progression of the book difficult to follow. I find myself tuning out, for example, during a 5 minute digressions into an elementary school project collecting stamps and postcards in boxes and hanging each on walls that when I come to I have no idea how the author got to some new topic. You can back up and force yourself to pay attention, but most of the time you'll find you didn't miss a segue, there just wasn't one.

    Then there is the bizarre pronunciation of things like for example NASA as Nassau (of the Bahamas) combined with his "I am reading this, not dictating it, and my tone is intended to convey reading" narration style. The 3 on narration was a hard decision and I gave that out relative to some seriously terrible narration out there, not relative to a normal sale of 1-5.

    I've been through about 10 books on this topic and this is the first I'm just not going to be able to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jim Baggott
    • Narrated By Philip Rose
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (41)

    In this stunning new volume, Jim Baggott argues that there is no observational or experimental evidence for many of the ideas of modern theoretical physics: Super-symmetric particles, super strings, the multiverse, the holographic principle, or the anthropic cosmological principle. These theories are not only untrue; they are not even science. They are fairy-tale physics: Fantastical, bizarre and often outrageous, perhaps even confidence-trickery. This book provides a much-needed antidote.

    Gary says: "Explains better than any other book"
    "Too bad about the narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I keep trying but I just can't do it. The narrator ought to be good and you'd think so from hearing a few moments of the preview. He reads clearly in a refined British accent, but he does a sort of "I'm reading a book!" style cadence with an unnatural inflection and unnatural pauses even where it is clear there must be no comma or semicolon. He seems to follow a pattern of 8-10 syllables per set and repeats the exact same intonation as he begins a sentence, does the characteristic pause, and completes the sentence.

    The result is a narration that is SO FAR from the natural way people talk and with such disregard for the flow and intentional or necessary intonation of words that my mind just tunes it out as white noise and I keep having to pull myself back to it and telling my brain 'these are words! not just the same flow of altering pitches in a repeating pattern!' as he hits the same intonation at the end of the third word (for example) in every sentence no matter what it happened to be.

    That may seem petty but maybe it's just me. I'm maybe 1/4 through and just can't go on which is disappointing because after all of the well narrated books Supporting string theory and others of the genre this is really a fascinating topic and the author has done a good job. I'll probably end up buying the paperback.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Deep Structure of Biology: Is Convergence Sufficiently Ubiquitous to Give a Directional Signal

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Simon Conway Morris (Editor)
    • Narrated By Philip Sondericker
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (11)

    Twelve renowned scientists and theologians offer penetrating insights into the evolution dialogue in The Deep Structure of Biology. Each considers whether the orthodox model of evolution is sufficient and offers his/her own perspective on evolution and biology. The discussion of biology and evolution in these essays broadens the scope of the traditional evolution discussion as it aims to stimulate the development of further research programs. Scholars in the science and religion field will find this book a valuable resource.

    Kurt says: "Not an introduction, otherwise well worth engaging"
    "Unlistenable. You just can't."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only possibility for how this is so impossible to listen to is that the narrator practiced his robot voice before recording. I have suffered through some awful narration but when I say robot voice I mean (this is not a joke) Stephen Hawking is slightly less robot and Siri seems downright human by comparison. It must be intentional.

    It's a shame because there were a few premises I tried to follow during the first hour or so, then skipped ahead, and again, to see if it was just the narrator's first time reading out loud (as is sometimes the case I think) and might get better, but no.

    I have seen people be way too hard on narrators and that bugs me, but please trust me and do not even try.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Trigger Men: Shadow Team, Spider-Man, the Magnificent Bastards, American Combat Sniper

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Hans Halberstadt
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (129)

    Combat veteran and author Hans Halberstadt takes listeners deeper inside the elusive world of snipers than ever before, from recruitment and training to the brutality of the killing fields. Based on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews, Halberstadt gets inside the sniper mind and shows how snipers think and interact with each other, how missions are planned and executed, how the weapons work, and even what happens when a bullet finally strikes its target.

    There are only a few hundred snipers from all the services put together in combat at any one time, making this true inside story a rare and important event.

    Leostriple says: "One Shot, One Listen"
    "Solid 3 across the board."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read several reviews about this being a book that gets really repetitive to the effect of snipers kill people and are awesome, REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. I've also read that review about other special warfare non-fiction and usually found it to be false, but it's dead on here.

    Don't get me wrong- the book isn't bad and it's not intentionally repetitive. The repetition comes from the fact that it's basically a series of personal narratives of snipers from all walks of life from Army to SEAL to zero military background civilian State Department contractor. Each has about an hour or so and you have to figure when these guys sum up their lives and opinions in an hour you're going to get a lot of really fly-over type information. There are lots of viewpoints from lots of people which makes this book more about perspective than detail.

    There are fascinating parts and there are parts that you might think were just copy/pasted from several hours earlier that for all you know could be a verbatim repetition because you've heard so many similar sets of words since then.

    Give it a chance, but if you want to listen to something else first, don't worry about it. This one will still be there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Breitbart
    • Narrated By Jeremy Guskin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (413)
    Performance
    (305)
    Story
    (307)

    Known for his network of conservative websites that draws millions of readers everyday, Andrew Breitbart has one main goal: to make sure the "liberally biased" major news outlets in this country cover all aspects of a story fairly. Breitbart is convinced that too many national stories are slanted by the news media in an unfair way. In Righteous Indignation, Breitbart talks about the key issues that Americans face, how he has aligned himself with the Tea Party, and how one needs to deal with the liberal news world head on.

    Larry says: "Very insightful!"
    "Well written & narrated recap of the late 2000s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration was very good, a rare thing here on Audible. During the time period this covers I was so heavily engrossed in the financial collapse that it was hard to keep an eye on what was going on with the semi-underground Right beyond the largest stories. This book gave the in-depth backstory that I wish I'd been able to keep up with at the time. It's really fortunate for the movement that he managed to get his life's story down on paper before his tragic death. He makes the argument that he's not special, that he just decided to do it, and he did it, and that others should too. Anyone who has even the slightest leaning toward the Tea Party's ideals will gain a lot from this book. If you didn't know Breitbart's voice and someone told you he was reading his own work here you'd believe them. His early life backstory drags on it bit but stick it out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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