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Craig Hansen


  • Under the Banner of Heaven

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Jon Krakauer

    At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.

    Craig Hansen says: "Not bad, but a bit biased"
    "Not bad, but a bit biased"

    Krakauer's UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN is interesting and well researched. His examination of the origins of the Mormon church were eye-opening as was his breakdown on the origin of the fundamentalist sect of the LDS church.

    I am not a Mormon but one flaw I found here was a disturbingly anti-religious bias on the part of the author. Although he claims toward the end to be fascinated by the "culture" and "faith" of Mormons and other religious folks, it comes off as a bit disingenuous after many statements throughout the book which belittle people of faith or cast all people of faith in the same light.

    Again, I'm not a Mormon and my personal opinion of Mormonism is not entirely favorable from a theological point of view; however, I am a person of faith myself and hate to see any group of people painted with the same broad brush.

    Yes, the murders detailed in this book are deeply disturbing and some of the history of the LDS church past and present gives one the impression that it's a bit cultic in nature. But to say all Mormons are exactly alike, that they're all just like the two murderers in this book, is patently unfair to mainstream Mormons. To go further and suggest that ALL people of ANY faith are equally corrupt, as he does suggest in more than one spot, is even less fair-minded and betrays the author's admitted agnostic bias; that bias makes the book as a whole a bit suspect.

    That said, there's a lot of good information and a fascinating "read/listen" to be had. Just go in knowing the author's bias and you'll be fine.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37)

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Bernard Goldberg
    • Narrated By Bernard Goldberg

    Bernard Goldberg takes dead aim at the America Bashers (the cultural elites who look down their snobby noses at "ordinary" Americans and detest so much of what this country is about); the Hollywood Blowhards (incredibly ditzy celebrities who think they're smart just because they're famous); the TV Schlockmeisters (including the one whose show has been compared to a churning mass of maggots devouring rotten meat); the Intellectual Thugs, and many more.

    Marc says: "Some good points (really), kinda partisan."
    "Goldberg nails it again"

    I've been a fan of Bernie Goldberg from his news days, but especially since he broke the code of silence about bias in network news. Liberal or conservative, there isn't a person on this list that didn't need the scolding he dished out.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Black: Book One, The Birth of Evil

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ted Dekker
    • Narrated By Rob Lamont

    Fleeing assailants through alleyways in Denver late one night, Thomas Hunter narrowly escapes to the roof of an industrial building. Then a silent bullet from the night clips his head and his world goes black. When he awakes, he finds himself in an entirely different reality, a green forest that seems more real than where he was. Every time he tries to sleep, he wakes up in the other world, and soon he truly no longer knows which reality is real.

    Andrew says: "Narrator speaks at double speed without pauses…"
    "Only recently discovered Dekker..."

    I only recently discovered Dekker. Was looking for a new source of Christian thrillers, now that LEFT BEHIND has wrapped up, and a friend insisted Dekker's THR3E was great. I liked that so when BLACK became available, I jumped on it. While quite different from THR3E, BLACK is satisfying and Dekker's becoming my new favorite author of Christian thrillers. It's nice that the spritual aspects, so far, are allegorical and not blatent sermons. LEFT BEHIND started out good in that respect, but the last few volumes were fairly sermon-filled. I find myself, like Thomas Hunter, getting enthralled by both his worlds, a neat narrative trick to pull off. I just got the second book, RED, and I hope Audible adds WHITE in by November, when I'll be done listening through RED...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jennifer Government

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Max Barry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The irreverent author of the cult classic Syrup hits his target in this satire on the wages of big capital. In Max Barry's hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations, and employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly traded security firms, and the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly.

    EJ SHUMAK says: "Well done but just a bit preachy--"
    "Not bad..."

    Jennifer Government was an entertaining listen, though a bit predictable at times. The slant contributed to the predictibility; corporations bad, NRA bad, etc... Not that there's anything terrible about that, but it'd be more interesting to see an unexpected target as "the villain" in a satire like this for a change. But within the scope of what it tries to be, Jennifer Government is fun... but not as funny as I had hoped.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Bryan Burrough
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott

    In Public Enemies, Bryan Burrough strips away a thick layer of myths put out by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI to tell the full story of the most spectacular crime wave in American history, the two-year battle between the young Hoover and an assortment of criminals who became national icons: John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barkers.

    Craig Hansen says: "Need the unabridged version"
    "Need the unabridged version"

    A book like this is fascinating, but I learned my lesson with previous purchases: wait for the unabridged edition!

    32 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Hey Nostradamus!

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Douglas Coupland
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, David LeDoux, Jillian Crane, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pregnant and secretly married, Cheryl Anway scribbles what becomes her last will and testament on a school binder shortly before a rampaging trio of misfit classmates gun her down in a high school cafeteria. For a handful of people still reeling from that horrific day, life remains derailed.

    Cynthia says: "Superb"
    "A lot of fun, a bit uneven"

    The topic -- playing off the concept of school shootings, the most disturbing of which was, naturally, Columbine -- was what caught me, but kind of in the way one gets their attention grabbed by a car wreck; you know maybe you shouldn't be looking, but you can't help but look.

    This book's topic is a bit like that, but fortunately the novel inside is pretty darn good. For me, the most likeable character was Cheryl Anway, the easiest to like, naturally. From there, the novel is a bit uneven; the sections dedicated to each of the four leads are unequal in length, which is troublesome in that some characters feel more two-dimensional as a result, most notably in the last part.

    I did appreciate the way the whole truth of circumstances involved only become clear after reading the whole book; it's a time-honored trick but nicely pulled off here. Well done, overall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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