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carolyn

ratings
82
REVIEWS
22
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
45

  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Anderson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (378)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (322)

    Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabiadefinitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

    Charles Fred Smith says: "The "Real" Story"
    "A Middle East Built on Lies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this well-researched, detailed but highly interesting story, Scott Anderson travels back to World War I and the tottering Ottoman Empire to set the stage for the Middle East we know now. Lawrence of Arabia has a large role, but it's not primarily his story -- it's the story of how war, oil, greed, imperialism, chicanery, empty promises and personalities interacted to fertilize the creation of Saudi Arabia, Israel (then known as Palestine), Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and their neighbors.

    T.E. Lawrence is the flywheel of the story, and his deeds lubricate the story, but there is oh so much more, from a wide range of Zionists to the scion of the family that founded Yale, to the Turks and Arabs and military leaders who had a hand in the battles and negotiations. Lawrence isn't idealized -- in fact, no one is idealized. It's not the David Lean movie! But it *is* fascinating.

    I found Malcolm Hillgartner a terrific narrator. He uses voices, but he uses them so smoothly and carefully that it's not jarring. (I tend to like my narrators to read rather than dramatize, but Hillgartner's approach could please everyone.)

    One note: I found myself often referring to a map. You'll likely find that having one to consult occasionally is helpful.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2683)
    Performance
    (2156)
    Story
    (2140)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    james d. thomas says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "Bringing Huck Finn to Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read the book years ago, but after listening to Elijah Wood (Frodo from the "Lord of the Rings" movies) read it, I finally understand why it is considered a great work. Wood brings the tale to life. Not one of his many voices misses the mark.
    A huge cast of characters is seen through the eyes of the unschooled but thoughtful Huck, who is making his way down the Mississippi River with the escaped slave Jim in the steamboat era. The poignancy, humor, greed, kindness, adventure and horror flowing through the work all come alive as Wood reads. I can't praise it too highly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (147)

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    Batman says: "History can be entertaining."
    "Some lessons, some laughter, fun book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't a heavy-duty history-class survey but a refreshing zip tying together many of the events and actions we learned in history classes. It focuses on East as well as West, on Africa, China, Japan and South America as well as Europe and what would become the U.S. The approach covers blocks of centuries. It's neither as silly as the cover suggests, nor as dry as "world history" implies.

    I didn't know anything about "Mental Floss" works (still don't) but the sections are leavened with humor and insight, brisk detail and factoids. When I studied history decades ago, classes focused on subsections of history: Western Europe, U.S., English social history, Ancient Mesopotamia, etc. I never got a good sense of how these sections were linked in time. I could not have told you what was going on in much of the rest of the world when Jesus walked, or where the Visigoths, Vandals and Saxons came from.

    I recommend this with a smile. Now I'm going to go back to re-reading heavier history with a new perspective....!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jennet Conant
    • Narrated By Jan Maxwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (30)

    Best-selling author Jennet Conant brings us a stunning account of Julia and Paul Child's experiences as members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Far East during World War II. She also details the tumultuous years when they were caught up in the McCarthy Red spy hunt in the 1950s and behaved with bravery and honor. It is a fascinating portrait of a group of idealistic men and women who were recruited by the citizen spy service, slapped into uniform, and dispatched to wage political warfare.

    PHYLLIS ABRAMS says: "bait and switch"
    "Bait and switch!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This book has little to do with Julia and Paul Child, and I found that disappointing. The main focus is on a woman whom they knew in the OSS who was quite a character and interesting, but the title and cover had led me to believe I'd learn more about the work both of them did.

    The book is rich in detail of the OSS work, at least in how women were allowed to perform it during the war. It also paints an interesting portrait of post-war paranoia rooted in the Red scare, and offers explanations via examples of how the U.S. executed its Southeast Asian policies as the region's colonial empires collapsed.

    But when you are expecting to hear more about the Childs, it was a shock!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Undomestic Goddess

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sophie Kinsella
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She's made a mistake so huge, it'll wreck any chance of a partnership.

    Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she's mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they've hired a lawyer and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.

    Susan Solo says: "A wild ride!"
    "Chick lit at its best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have no patience with Kinsella's shopping books, but this saga reassured me that I do have a sense of humor, especially with a well-painted heroine, tight story and intriguing tale. It's a perfect vacation listen when the sun is too bright to read or you're on the couch with the flu. AND it has a happy ending -- which sometimes I yearn for!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nancy Isenberg
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Generations have been told that Aaron Burr was a betrayer: of Alexander Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. But that version has been shaped by historians and writers from the 18th century on who were blinded by tabloid reports and propaganda created by Burr's political enemies during his lifetime. It is time to discover the real Aaron Burr.

    Amazon Customer says: "Correct your history"
    "A well-rounded human portrait"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before I read this, all I knew about Burr was that he had fought duel with Alexander Hamilton. The author points out that having no children or surviving family, there was no one to give voice to Burr's thinking and his multitude of achievements during the establishment of the nation. The book is an intriguing look at how a man's reputation is shaped by "winners" in the telling of history.

    I suggest this book if you love history and quietly enjoy knowing things that most others don't know. You may not end up liking Burr or siding with him, but you will probably have a better understanding of the challenges facing the early nation from this portrait that paints him as a multi-dimensional human rather than a cardboard figure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1983)
    Performance
    (767)
    Story
    (783)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "Best for lovers of the language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave this 4 stars because I'm fascinated by the English language (my native tongue). I suspect many would find this book very dry -- I did in places, even though I cherish it overall. I think it's a book that would appeal to the curious, rather than those who want "a good read." I would love to sit next to this author at a dinner party -- for 30 minutes at a time. He really does trace the beginnings of the language and describe its development in great detail. But I would recommend it only for those who have an insatiable curiosity about the language and a deep love of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carry On, Jeeves

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (184)

    Listen to hilarious unabridged stories starring the ever-popular Jeeves and Wooster from the master of great British comedy: P. G. Wodehouse. Stories featured: "Jeeves Takes Charge", "Jeeves and The Unbidden Guest", "The Artistic Career of Corky", "The Aunt and the Sluggard", "Clustering Round Young Bingo", "Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg", and "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy".

    John says: "Very Funny!"
    "Those wacky uppercrust Brits"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed listening to this much more than reading it, perhaps because the performance encourages me to get into the spirit of the wise servant and his twit of a "master." Even so, it makes me so happy for the Declaration of Independence!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    Overall
    (830)
    Performance
    (705)
    Story
    (702)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Tad Davis says: "Delightfully silly"
    "Performances that bring out the best in the play"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wilde was devastatingly witty, and this production and the "vocal acting" bring out the best in this play. An endearing play enlivened by an engaging cast. Just the thing to listen to on a long night flight to England.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan: Emperor of All Men

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Harold Lamb
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (273)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (75)

    In the early 13th century, a simple nomad chieftain managed to cobble together a powerful kingdom in the highlands of northern Asia, which was subsequently to challenge the greatest powers of the day. He was triumphant in all directions. This leader was Timujin, whose name meant "Iron Man". He became Genghis Khan, "Universal Ruler", the greatest conqueror ever known - a warrior feared from the British Isles to the tip of the Korean peninsula.

    Curatina says: "Fabulous!"
    "Requires a stronger stomach than mine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was so graphic in its description of torture and other barbarities that I couldn't finish it. I know it reflects a barbarous time; I just couldn't deal with it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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