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Dr. Jonathan Newman

Guelph, Ontario Canada | Member Since 2005

43
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 25 reviews
  • 96 ratings
  • 236 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • Hunting Eichmann: Chasing Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Neal Bascomb
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (663)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (378)

    Best-selling author Neal Bascomb has garnered critical acclaim for such riveting nonfiction as Higher and Red Mutiny. Based on extensive interviews and previously classified details, Hunting Eichmann is a compelling account of the relentless hunt for the nefarious Adolf Eichmann.

    Scott says: "A Fascinating Story of Eichmann's Capture"
    "An old story for a modern generation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was familiar with the basic history of the events described in this book. Even though I new how it would end I still found it suspenseful and compelling. It's an action/spy story with no guns, no explosions, no car chases, and yet still captivating. Now 50+ years after the events recounted here, I guess most listeners would know very little about this somewhat obscure period in modern-ish history. Now is a chance to learn, in a painless, even enjoyable way, a bit of history that everyone really ought to know. The book is well written, well researched, well paced, and well performed. I definitely recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden - from 9-11 to Abbottabad

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Peter L. Bergen
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (203)

    From the author of the New York Times best-selling Holy War, Inc., this is the definitive account of the decade-long manhunt for the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda expert and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen paints a multidimensional picture of the hunt for bin Laden over the past decade, including the operation that killed him.

    Betty says: "DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!"
    "Enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is a glimpse into the past that helps us understand the present. It is neither dry nor boring. It reads more like a novel than a history book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had difficulty pushing "stop" at times. If you like politics and current affairs/news, you will like this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Man in the Middle

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Brian Haig
    • Narrated By LJ Ganser
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (81)

    Ripped from today's headlines, Brian Haig's new novel finds Army lawyer Sean Drummond caught between duty to Washington's elite and the soldiers in Iraq. Dispatched to investigate the suicide of one of D.C.'s most influential defense officials, an ardent, early supporter of the war in Iraq, Drummond and his female partner find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war between Washington's most influential power brokers and his own personal allegiance to the soldiers dying overseas.

    Sherri says: "Where is Scott Brick?"
    "A Lazy Writter, But Enjoyable Enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, contrary to what other reviewers have said, I thought Ganser was a better narrator than Scott Brick. I've heard lots of Brick's work (how can you miss it?) and generally like him, but his performance on The President's Assassin was nothing to write home about.

    This was the second book of Haig's I have listened too. I did The President's Assassin first, and then Man in the Middle. Man in the Middle seems to follow pretty much the same formula as The President's Assassin. I won't give plot details away for either book. I'll just say that Haig seemed a little lazy, like he was recycling the plot with just enough changed so it wasn't duplication. I could give a dozen or so examples to support this claim, but they would give away the plot for both books. The other similarity between the books, and here I don't think I am giving anything away, is that Haig seems to think that EVERYONE is solely motivated by the need to avoid embarrassment. I don't think this is true, and as a result I found a few of the plot details difficult to swallow. It's still a fun and pleasant story with enough intrigue and plot twists to keep you listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No One Left Behind: The Lt. Comdr. Michael Scott Speicher Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Amy Waters Yarsinske
    • Narrated By Terence Aselford
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Author and former intelligence officer Amy Waters Yarsinske breaks the incredible true story of the first American pilot shot down during the Gulf War - discovered alive 11 years after his own government left him for dead.

    Dr. Jonathan Newman says: "Needs a thorough editing"
    "Needs a thorough editing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was excited about starting this book, but I barely made it to the end. It reads like someone's history MA thesis. It's full of detail, that gets repeated many times before the end, but short on actual synthesis. It repeatedly insinuates conspiracy without ever actually accusing anyone. My father, a lifelong bureaucrat, always told me not to assume conspiracy when incompetence is a possible explanation. That pretty much summarizes my take on this episode in American history. I am fully prepared to believe that there were many incompetent bureaucrats involved, but the constant insinuation that everyone actively covered this up because they were afraid it would make them look bad doesn't ring true to me. And to make the book more disappointing, it ends before his body was discovered in 2009, the circumstances of which seem to pretty much disprove the author's thesis.

    This book would have been better as a long piece in the New Yorker or some similar outlet. There just isn't enough here to make a compelling and interesting book. Hopefully someone will make an abridged version of it. You can get the whole story in a nutshell by reading the Wikipedia entry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By David Zucchino
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (86)

    Called “the best account of combat since Black Hawk Down” by Men’s Journal, Thunder Run is a no-holds-barred look at the sweep of Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 by U.S. armed forces. One of the boldest gambles in modern military history, the surprise attack on Baghdad by three battalions of tanks and APCs and less than 1,000 men total was the single stroke that is credited for ending the Iraqi war.

    Dr. Jonathan Newman says: "Good reporting, but not a great book"
    "Good reporting, but not a great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is competently written, but the author seems to be 'making the most' out of what he had to work with. This episode in the second Gulf War in interesting, but neither is it particularly compelling, nor particularly novel. It is not compelling because, in a reporter's effort to 'cover the event,' the story jumps from one subject to another, never hovering long enough to really become invested in the people who lived through this. There is no particular insight into either 'men and war' or 'the war itself'. It's just a competent reporting job.

    One of the previous reviewers described the book as "better than Black Hawk Down" -- on the strength of which I bought the book. I don't see it myself. The Battle for Mogadishu was a far more compelling story. The battle described in Thunder Run never seemed on the verge of getting out of American control, despite the author's best attempts to inject some degree of drama. For sure it must have been terrifying for those involved, but the situation was completely different. In Baghdad the the 3rd ID had main battle tanks and Bradly fighting vehicles. They had a great deal of close air support, they had (big 120mm) mortars, they had paladin howitzers. They basically always had superior firepower and were never really in danger of loosing it. Mogadishu was completely differ (again, despite the author's attempt to draw a comparison). The rangers had only helicopter gun support, no mortars, no artillery, no CAS. They had no armor on their convoys, they were out gunned most of the time. There was a very real chance that they would lose the entire unit. Things never looked so desperate for the 3rd ID in Baghdad.

    Thunder Run is probably worth a listen if you are a gulf war history buff. A far better book, IMHO, about combat soldiers in Iraq, is House to House, by David Bellavia. It's about mechanized infantry in Fallujia. It is a very powerful first person account of a far longer and, for those involved, intense period of fighting. Far more gripping, one feels far more invested in the people, and it is better narrated.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • House to House: An Epic Memoir of War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (423)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (246)

    In one of the most compelling combat narratives ever written, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, an Army infantry platoon leader in Iraq, gives a teeth-rattling, first-hand account of 11 straight days of heavy house-to-house fighting during the climactic second battle of Fallujah. His actions in the firefight, which included killing five insurgents in hand-to-hand combat, earned Bellavia the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and New York state's highest military honor, the Conspicuous Service Cross.

    Robert says: "As raw as it gets"
    "Very powerful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Whatever your feelings about the war in Iraq, you will find this book compelling, horrible, heartbreaking, and uplifting, all at once. Bellavia is (seemingly) completely honest, utterly introspective and self aware, and, it turns out, a damn fine writer. The narrative is, for the most part, tight and taught; the book well edited. Porter does a fantastic job narrating this book. I recommend it to everyone, conservative and liberal alike.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Roberts Ridge: A True Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Malcolm MacPherson
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (94)

    For the U.S. Navy's elite team of SEALs, the mission seemed straightforward enough: to take control of a towering, 10,240-foot mountain peak called Takur Ghar, a key post in their plan to smash Taliban al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan.

    Jeffery says: "It's an Account....."
    "One bad decision after another"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These were and are brave men, and the account is harrowing at times. It is not account of mission success and glory for our troops, it's also not really an account of special operations, although everyone involved was a special operator. It is an account of about 24 hrs and a lot of pain and heart ache that follows from one bad decision after another. You won't learn much from the account except for the loyalty that soldiers have toward each other. I enjoyed it, but I won't say I recommend it wholeheartedly.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Michael Hastings
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (119)

    An explosive, behind-the-scenes look into the workings of the U.S. war in Afghanistan that lifts the curtain of the world stage to reveal the devastating greed, waste, and failure surrounding this unwinnable war.

    Professor says: "VERY INTERESTING STORY"
    "Part history, part biography, totally enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was very entertaining and enlightening. Like many Americans, I have followed the wars through the new for the last 10+ years. I was aware of many of the actual historical events that are backdrops to this story. What I really liked was getting a glimpse behind the headlines, and seeing how the 'operators' that caused the events, and why.

    The book is not, and does not try to be, comprehensive. Nevertheless, there is enough there to provide a pretty good review. It certainly made me want to read other books that provide a critical synthesis of the wars and politics.

    I enjoyed the whole book, but it did sag a little toward the end. Even that was interesting, but not as good as the first 4/5ths or so. Still, I highly recommend this book.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Ishmael Beah
    • Narrated By Dominic Hoffman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (518)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (105)

    This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than 50 conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

    Andy says: "best listen ever"
    "a testament to the resilience of children"
    Overall

    My wife and I listened to this with our 13 year old son. We all enjoyed the book tremendously. Previous reviews stressed two issues that made me hesitant to get this book: the gruesome descriptions of war, and the unsatisfying ending. We did not find the gruesome bits to be too oppressing, and we thought that the ending was clear even if some of the details were left out.

    The book is at turns heartbreaking and hopeful. The narrator was fantastic, perfectly chosen for this book. We strongly recommend this book to you.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Summerland: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By Michael Chabon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    It's summer, and the Clam Island fairies, or "ferishers," as the North American Fair Folk call themselves, are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict, a struggle against the Fell Smith and his power of Anti-life. He and his host of demon engineers, kobolds, and warriors have sought to destroy the fairies since time began. When the Clam Island band sends for a champion, they get an 11-year-old boy named Ethan Feld.

    A Reader says: "Unforgettable characters!"
    "Fantanstic book!"
    Overall

    A wonderful fantasy, this book is at once an epic adventure, a coming of age story, a battle between good and evil, and a meditation on baseball. Chabon is a fantastic writer of great fiction, and the Summerland won't disappoint. And, surprisingly, Chabon is also an excellent narrator! My 13 year old son adored this book and so did I.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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