This book is a complex story which will grab your attention and keep it. After reading or listening to it you will have a much better insight into why we are where we are today in the Middle East. You will also learn that Ronald Reagan DIDN'T defeat the Russians (much to my disappointment, since I am a Reagan supporter)despite what anyone says.
You will learn how our government REALLY works, particularly Congress. Trading favors regardless of political party or whether your representativr is a conservative or a liberal.
You will learn more about why the CIA wasn't there when 9/11 occurred than you ever will from the sanitized 9/11 Commission Report.
You will learn that Reagan bet on the wrong horse (Nicaragua amd the Contras) to beat the Russians while the long shot (the Afghans and Pakistan) won the race and toppled the Russians with the help of a Texas Democrat who was everything that Muslims hate about America, a drunken womanizer. His fight to unite Pakistanis, Afghans, Israelis, Saudis, Egyptians, Swiss and more into one of the most rag-tag coalitions in history all in the single goal of defeating and destroying the Red Giant. And succeeding better than anyone could have imagined.
When you read or listen to this book you will not believe your eyes or ears. You will not regret the time you spend with this vook but if you don't read it, you will miss one of the most straightforward honestly written books ever. Having read thousands of books in my life, this is something I have never said about any other book I have ever read. IT will really open ypur eyes, no matter what your political beliefs may be.
I know that I will be recommending it to all of my friends and relatives, which is something else I never do.
I find this a very interesting view of an alternative history, with Earth invaded right in the middle of WW II.
The switching POV's take a little getting used to.
The one irritation is the narrator. He kept pronouncing Cairo IL the same as the Egyptian Capital. All of the POW's he represented in the town pronounced it the same way even though they were all Illinois residents and at least one was a life-long Cairo resident.. The problem is that NOBODY in Illinois pronounces it that way. All Illinoisans pronounce it KAY-ROW.
Just as there was a Romeo and Juliet in the 1830's but when Juliet was renamed Joliet to honor Louis Jolliet in 1845, Romeo acknowledged the busted romance by renaming itself Romeoville instead.
Could you imagine the Blues Brothers with a "Juliet Jake" instead of "Joliet Jake"?
But beyond that so far after 10 hours into the book that is the major irritant by the narrator.
Another minor gaff by the Narrator is his representation of Enrico Fermi. He seemed to become confused since there was a Swedish scientist in their meeting at the University of Chicago and he seemed to overlap the Swedish accent into Fermi's supposed Italian accent. It sounded kind of funny having a half Swedish and half Italian accent for Fermi.
While the jumping around became a bit trying, it was still entertaining.
Some of the dialog was ridiculous, such as humans calling bombs "metal bombs". Who in 1940's called them anything but bombs? I could understand The Race (the aliens) using this dialog since their language may not have an equal word to describe a bomb but for humans to use this sort of terminology was odd. The same for the space travel portions. It made human space travel far more primitive than it should be, particularly since it recognized that America had been to the Moon by the 1960's despite the invasion. It also made The Race's space activities much more primitive than it should be for entities who seized half the Earth from another solar system and completely conquered three planets in other solar systems. They also never explain why The Race was unable to conquer Earth entirely since they invaded while Earth was fighting WW II so we had no nuclear weapons, no space vehicles at all and only primitive rockets developed by Germany and no submarine launched missiles when they invaded.
Yet it is now the late 1960's and this novel has Germany with submarine launched missiles. How could a mostly conquered planet be allowed to develop these sophisticated weapons while under the control of the Aliens? Even America had the "Grey House" in Missouri because The Race nuked Washington DC and most of Eastern America. Guess the Race doesn't like Dems.
So there are a large number of plot holes in this novel if you think about it, but it was still an enjoyable tale where neither the Earth prevails nor is totally wiped out by aliens but reaches a delicate balance with the nations who were fighting WW II still in the same relative positions with Germany being an aggressor nation, Russia wavering back and forth, France split between Germany and Free France and oddly enough, England supporting Germany while Japan is testing nuclear weapons on Bikini Atoll!
First, I love the diverse architecture of Chicago and I grew up just North of the White City site. We could smell the stockyards whenever there was a South breeze (stinky on a hot evening). This is the first book I have read that brought this back to life for me. The interweaving of the three story lines (reviewers forget the 3rd story about the assassination of Mayor Carter Henry Harrison Sr and the hints sprinkled through the book about this). There is the design and building of White City for the World Columbian Exposition, one of the first and perhaps most prolific serial killers and a political assassination.
The latter two story lines serve to keep the primary story from becoming too dry for those who are not as enthusiastic as I may be about architecture and the Exposition's mark upon history.
One of my favorite places as a child and even now as I grow old and grey is the Museum of Science and Industry. This magnificent structure was built originally as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Exposition and designed by Charles Atwood. Though the original plaster material has been replaced by limestone and marble, the building is just as it was designed in 1893. That is just one small part of the living history told in this story.
I am amazed at how my own life weaves with this story in that I worked in the Rookery Building (Burnham and Root's office) for three years, I enjoy visiting what was the Palace of Fine Arts, my doctor is about 3 blocks from H.H.Holmes' second bulding on 63rd St so I am sure I have been past its location and then the La Rabida Children's Hospital which was the Columbus Memorial Building at the Exposition. Also what is now Osaka Gardens in Jackson Park was the building from Japan's 1893 Wooded Island exhibit.
My only complaint is the narrator. He kept pronouncing the name of the city where Mudgett's In-Laws lived, Wilmette, as 'Will-meet'. It is pronounced 'Will-met'. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard every time he said it!
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