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David H

Palo Alto, CA United States | Member Since 2012

ratings
227
REVIEWS
71
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
32

  • A Bridge Too Far

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Cornelius Ryan
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (64)

    A Bridge Too Far is Cornelius Ryan’s masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshaled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-day. In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. Focusing on a vast cast of characters, Ryan brings to life one of the most ill-fated operations of the war.

    Greg says: "Great story marred by monotone performance"
    "One of the few comprehensive views"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ryan does a laudible job in covering the Allied side of the battle with due care to the multiple fronts and locations. This is a great start before moving in to more detailed histories of the various segments of Operation Market Garden. It had been many years since I last read Ryan and noted that he did a good job covering the role of the Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron and the coup d'main operation at Arnhem bridge and his discussion of the radio problems was sound.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Occupy Handbook

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Janet Byrne (editor), Paul Krugman, Michael Lewis, and others
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell, Worthen Worthen, Dikan Tulane
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Analyzing the movement's deep-seated origins in questions that the country has sought too long to ignore, some of the greatest economic minds and most incisive cultural commentators capture the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon in all its ragged glory. They give listeners an on-the-scene feel for the movement as it unfolds while exploring the heady growth of the protests, considering the lasting changes wrought, and recommending reform.

    David H says: "Interesting, but uneven."
    "Interesting, but uneven."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a collection of various essays, and so, the quality varies greatly. Some of the articles are quite good. Others can use some help. One argument which really bothered me was this: this author argued that there was a redistribution of wealth from young to old. His proof was that the average 65 year old head of household has greater wealth than a 35 year old head of household, and that this gap has grown over the last 30 years. What he failed to deal with was some simple items. Biggest wealth item in the middle class is typically a home, and at age 65 with retirement looming, it's more likely to be paid off and so have more equity than a 35 year old. Also, when you include real estate holdings, the value of a 30 year old home has gone up a great deal. Whether I see that as being the fault of the AARP is a stretch. And, the gap may have grown for 2 reasons, with the first being a huge rise in the value of homes over the last 30 years, and the switch from defined benefit pensions to define contribution plans like 401k, IRA, etc. The latter are included in wealth stats and the other not, since you can't borrow from your pension nor pass it on, other than survivor benefits. And, while I appreciated the explanation of the anarchist viewpoints for my own education, to treat these utopian dreams as legitimate forms of national organization seems to demean the serious character of the book. OWS still exists in one sense, and, in others, has passed as the police cracked down on all the encampments. It is worthy to ask what the movement has accomplished and look for it's follow ons. Various authors did speculate in their essays on what's next. It would be interesting to study OWS and look for those impacts using these prognostications as a starting point. Interesting, but do be careful, as not all viewpoints are as well grounded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Never Had It Made

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jackie Robinson
    • Narrated By Ossie Davis
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    A straightforward yet inspiring story of what it took to be the first man of color to break into the white world of professional sports. Jackie Robinson's story is more than a telling of his tremendous talent; it is also a recollection that showcases his tenacious spirit, bravery and the courage of his ideals.

    David H says: "So sorry that the audiobook is abridged."
    "So sorry that the audiobook is abridged."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a distrust of autobiography. I think the honesty about one's self is so daunting. However, autobiography gets us some view of how the man wanted the world to see him. Another biography suggested a more intemperate young man, he certainly became a man of strength and character. The audiobook is read by Ozzie Davis which is a treat in itself. I admire Jackie so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed the book. One thought that came to me is the strength of his wife, Rachel. The threats to her and her husband were so real. I don't think I can ever fully imagine the challenges she faced. This was a very easy read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Razor's Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (190)

    The Great War changed everything and the years following it were tumultuous - most of all for those who lived the war first-hand. Maugham himself is a character in this novel of self-discovery and search for meaning, but the protagonist is a character named Larry. Battered physically and spiritually by the war, Larry's physical wounds heal, but his spirit is changed almost beyond recognition.

    Verl says: "Best of the Best"
    "An interesting if very introspective book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found my reaction to this book deeply introspective. I'll admit I've seen the Bill Murray film version some time ago, so that had me interested in reading the original novel. I can't say I recall whether the film is all that faithful to the book. The book could have been quite tedious with the social lives of the well to do, but the author is careful not to dwell too much on all that. There are many delightful characters, and I found some connection to Larry and his quest. I imagine if you're not particularly curious about deeper questions this book would be an utter bore. I appreciate the author presenting ideas, while I felt him to be careful not to make his own opinions to be too obvious, letting me decide whether Larry has followed the "right" path. I greatly enjoyed reading, and am glad to have selected this work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Contraction, 1929-1933

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Milton Friedman
    • Narrated By A. C. Fellner
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 argued that the Federal Reserve could have stemmed the severity of the Depression, but failed to exercise its role of managing the monetary system and ameliorating banking panics. This edition of the original text includes a new preface by Anna Jacobson Schwartz, as well as a new introduction by the economist Peter Bernstein.

    Brian Wood says: "Very factual, but not exactly a page turner!"
    "Surprising, but dry."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was pleased to see that Milton Friedman was not as doctrinaire as some that have followed him. I particularly appreciate many of his arguments in favor of Fed intervention. The follow on piece by Ben Bernanke was good to clarify, or reinforce, arguments made in this book. I know his focus was on Monetary policy, but I missed something about the conditions which might have contributed to many of the phenomenon he wrote about. It seems to be things like bank failures were as much about overall economic conditions as they were about poor policy choices. Interesting, but dry, and filled with jargon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By D. M. Giangreco
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    U.S. planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan began two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hell to Pay brings to light the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of material projected by both sides in the climatic struggle to bring the Pacific War to a conclusion through a brutal series of battles on Japanese soil.

    Scott says: "Dull, dry, and utterly boring..."
    "This is a good piece of history."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Probably one of the least likely, or perhaps, least interesting subjects to delve in to concerning the Second World War. This books discusses contemporary perceptions, and the reality of the projected Invasion of Japan. That is important as it can frame the discussion of the US decision to use Atomic weapons against Japan. This has been dealt with in other sources, and from many perspectives. I find this a very well researched volume, using both American and Japanese sources. He may not have spent enough time discussing one of the more bizarre acts of the war, which was a partial demobilization following the defeat of Germany. He does cover the impact of that decision on the War against the Japanese quite well. This book is not speculative in nature, he looks at contemporary estimates, including how they were produced. He uses evidence from other battles against Japan (the Philippines, Saipan, Peleliu, Okinawa, etc.) to give perspective to the estimates, and context for the larger American and Japanese battle plans. Certainly, I walk away with even more respect for the Japanese, and I have a better idea of the size of the Japanese Armed Forces, at the time of the Invasion. This didn't change my mind on the use of Atomic weapons. It did remind me further of the naivete of the Americans regarding radiation given the tactical planning for the employment of further atomic weapons. I am glad that didn't happen, both for the Japanese, and for those American soldiers as well. A very interesting book. The appendix is quite dry, but still worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2658)
    Performance
    (1651)
    Story
    (1650)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "This was at times challenging."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I saw parts of myself, and was relieved to know that I'm not a sociopath. Not that I was thinking anything of the kind, when I picked this book. It was just I saw behaviors, particularly from my teenage years, which seemed all the more disturbing in this light. Learning more was both shocking and relieving. Besides that, the Thirteen rules were one of the most useful parts of the book. The author, I think rightly, describes that those with a conscious just can't really imagine what it's like not to have one. Therefore, if you run in to a sociopath, run! The book quickly grew on me. I had to think whether the definition was really psychological or criminal or what? And she asks, and answers, the question of whether those lacking a conscious suffer. You do see those who might be quite successful, but it does seem that they can't actually be happy. It was interesting to hear from those who suffer, as well as their victims. It was also good to engage in a larger discussion of whether it is better or not to lack conscious, particularly from an evolutionary viewpoint. I was quite satisfied with my choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgotten 500

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Gregory A. Freeman
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (515)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (213)

    Here is the astonishing, never-before-told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II: when the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines. During a bombing campaign, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian villagers risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers, and for months the airmen lived in hiding, waiting for rescue.

    Ron says: "an amazing tale"
    "An interesting tale."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interesting story. The authors anger at the treatment of Dragoljub "Draža" Mihailović is unmistakable. I do feel that gets in the way of the narrative at times. Overall quite good. Reads quite well. In some ways a lot happens and in others very little. He does a good job on focusing a limited number of participants so the narrative stays coherent. I'm sure there is much more that could be said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 30 mins)
    • By Epictetus (translated by Sharon Lebell)
    • Narrated By Richard Bolles
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (36)

    Joseph Marcus says: "Atrocious reading of a vapid mistranslation"
    "What a delightful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Certainly this was surprising and quite short. The content certainly reminded me of Buddhism, or at least how Americans have imported Buddhism. The advice seemed very relevant to the modern world. There was a line that was something like "don't listen to the latest 5 best ways to...." or something quite similar and I chuckled. I read this because of Paul Ekman, who spoke so highly of Epictetus at a recent lecture, and he was right.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Feminine Mystique

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Betty Friedan
    • Narrated By Parker Posey
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (113)

    The book that changed the consciousness of a country - and the world. Landmark, groundbreaking, classic - these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined "the problem that has no name," that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since.

    Crystal says: "Just download it already!"
    "An Important Book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a book in it's time. The amount of time spent discussing Freud isn't as relevant, although I do wonder how much has stuck around, even if no longer attributed to Freud. I'm not sure the prescriptive parts would have worked out. I don't know if Ms. Friedan was still very locked in to roles as she wrote much of the book, and couldn't see all the possibilities or, perhaps, those possibilities didn't seem all the appealing. I would also say that a lot of what is here is a reflection of middle class life. Poor women didn't stop working because they couldn't. Poor women and women of color were the housekeepers who kept popping up in the narrative. However, I must say the world she described was dreary. What I took away was that defining the role of woman so narrowly, and not allowing her the freedom to be was a form of death. I can certainly understand the alcoholism and suicides she describes. I do see the progress we've made over all these years, and I don't think those trying to turn back the clock will be able to do it. I also wonder where we still come up short and why. What is the modern equivalent for girls? Given that women are still under represented in many fields, what's stopping them now?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Meditations

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Marcus Aurelius
    • Narrated By Duncan Steen
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (246)

    One of the most significant books ever written by a head of State, the Meditations are a collection of philosophical thoughts by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 ce). Covering issues such as duty, forgiveness, brotherhood, strength in adversity and the best way to approach life and death, the Meditations have inspired thinkers, poets and politicians since their first publication more than 500 years ago. Today, the book stands as one of the great guides and companions - a cornerstone of Western thought.

    Guilherme says: "Stoic Wisdom at it's best"
    "How did he become an Emperor?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Reminds me of Buddhism in the development of equanimity. I see it as a flaw that the author bases so much on the idea of a created Universe which then leads to the natural being good. It is not possible to prove that so it weakens his argument. However, given the age of the author, my complaint is not fully justified. Overall, the advice seemed quite sound and useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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