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BB

Editor, www.neglectedbooks.com

APO, AE, United States | Member Since 2007

52
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 78 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
9

  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (197)
    Story
    (198)

    No Ordinary Time describes how the isolationist and divided United States of 1940 was unified under the extraordinary leadership of Franklin Roosevelt to become the preeminent economic and military power in the world.

    BB says: "A rich and entertaining history"
    "A rich and entertaining history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Doris Kearns Goodwin does a wonderful job of weaving numerous threads in this narrative history: the personal relationship between FDR and Eleanor; the political challenges FDR had to maneuver in, around, and over in his effort to fight fascism and lead the U.S. and then the whole alliance; the social and economic changes America went through during the course of the war; and all the personalities--from Harry Hopkins and Churchill to FDR's valet and his purple-haired catty cousin, Laura Delano. Roosevelt still takes plenty of criticism and was certainly no paragon of perfection, but there are times, as Goodwin clearly conveys, when, even 70 years later, you have to thank our lucky stars that FDR was President when he was--and Churchill PM when he was. And to get all this well-recounted history told with Nelson Runger's calm, wise and companionable voice makes it an all-around 5-star pleasure.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead Father

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Donald Barthelme
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (10)

    The Dead Father is a gargantuan half-dead, half-alive, part mechanical, wise, vain, powerful being who still has hopes for himself - even while he is being dragged by means of a cable toward a mysterious goal. In this extraordinary novel, marked by the imaginative use of language that influenced a generation of fiction writers, Donald Barthelme offered a glimpse into his fictional universe.

    BB says: "If prepared for post-modernist comedy, drive on!"
    "If prepared for post-modernist comedy, drive on!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If what you enjoy is a straightforward narrative told in straightforward prose, turn around now. Barthelme is unapologetically post-modernist in approach and outlook, and in the case of "The Dead Father," introduces a healthy dose of surrealism as well. The Dead Father is an enormous figure being dragged towards some little-explained destination. He's dead. But he's not. He is a symbolic figure, at times even a mythic figure--he creates a new god just by sticking one eye in a river.

    Much of the book is snatches of dialogue, sometimes in clear context, sometimes nearly incoherent. Which is actually why it lends itself to the audiobook format, at least in the hands of a reader prepared to piece out which remark belongs to which character. Dennis Holland does a superb job of interpreting a very challenging text, and the listener owes him for his work in helping us through the work. The reading reminded very much of Nick Sullivan's outstanding reading of William Gaddis' "J.R.," and if you appreciate Gaddis' humor, you are well prepared to enjoy Barthelme's. There are moments of such wonderful wordplay and verbal juxtapositions that I burst out laughing.

    While this isn't one of my top 10 audiobooks, it's one I'm very satisfied to have purchased and listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Barry Lyndon

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By William Makepeace Thackeray
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    Like Tom Jones before him, Barry Lyndon is one of the most lively and roguish characters in English literature. He may now be best known through the colorful Stanley Kubrick film released in 1975, but it is Thackeray who, in true 19th-century style, shows him best.

    Bunto Skiffler says: "Keeble really tears it up (Chapter Four ending)"
    "A masterful reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've seen Stanley Kubrick's film of "Barry Lyndon," you know the story but not the character. Ryan O'Neal played Barry Lyndon as a rather tender innocent who becomes spoiled by exposure to cheats and tricksters, but Thackeray's Barry Lyndon was quite a different person. He is boastful, conceited, loud-mouthed, a lecher, a gambler, a blackmailer, a liar, and a drunk. "I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor," he comments at one point, as if it was sufficient justification. In other words, he is one of the great anti-heroes of fiction, a man who manages to insult his mother as pretentious, long-winded and vain in the same moment as he is praising her loyalty. Thackeray was making fun of the so-called Irish nobility, who claimed to be descendants of kings while living in "castles" little better than hovels, and "Barry Lyndon" is a satire painted in broad, comic strokes. Jonathan Keeble's reading is one of the finest I've heard in the course of listen to over a hundred Audible titles. He wrings every comic drop from the text, even getting a good laugh just by his interpretation of Thackeray's blanks ("the Duke of ___"). I can't imagine anyone giving a better performance of this text. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tristram Shandy

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Laurence Sterne
    • Narrated By Peter Barker
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel by Laurence Sterne considered one of the greatest comic novels in English. It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next 10 years. Laurence Sterne (1713 - 1768) was an Irish-born English novelist and an Anglican clergyman.

    Theodore says: "A classic and a hoot"
    "The world's geatest shaggy dog tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If there was ever a book where the journey, not the destination, matters, it's "Tristram Shandy."

    Once you're prepared to step back into the 18th century, where things never were said in a short, straight-forward manner, and prepared to put yourself in the hands of a wry old joker and a superb narrator, however, you'll find this one of the finest audiobook experiences ever recorded. I am in awe of Peter Barker's achievement: there are dozens of passages where nothing remotely pronounceable-readable-sayable appears, and yet he always manages to convey the right message. I dearly wish I had a sound clip of his rendition of Mr. Walter Shandy's favorite oath ("G-g-g-g-g-ood GAWD!").

    I do not for a second regret setting aside my haste and allowing Mr. Sterne and Mr. Barker to take all the time they needed not to get to the point, and wholeheartedly recommend you do the same.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hopkins Touch

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Roll
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    The Hopkins Touch offers the first portrait in over two decades of the most powerful man in Roosevelt's administration. David Roll shows how Harry Hopkins, an Iowa-born social worker who had been an integral part of the New Deal's implementation, became the linchpin in FDR's - and America's - relationships with Churchill and Stalin, and spoke with an authority second only to the president's.

    BB says: "Great story undermined by a shallow narrator"
    "Great story undermined by a shallow narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read or listened to all the major FDR biographies, including Robert Sherwood's great "Roosevelt and Hopkins" and was really looking forward to this book, the first major Hopkins biography in over a dozen years. And it is a very good book, one I will probably end up reading. I say that because Fleet Cooper's voice is completely inappropriate for this material. He sounds like a snide, spoiled, would-be wisecracker, one who wants to put a sly spin on every other line ... which is something totally unnecessary and even unwelcome in a serious work of biography. I tolerated it for the first part, but had to quit after six hours. Very disappointing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (743)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (603)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "Caro's magnificent biography continues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grover Gardner has been the perfect narrator throughout this series and this volume is no exception. This book covers Johnson's ambivalent attempt at running for the Presidency in 1960, his years of frustration as Vice President (going from the second most powerful man in Washington to being mocked by Kennedy staffers as "Rufus Cornpone"), and then his remarkable success in the months following Kennedy's assassination. For those who have followed Johnson through over two thousand pages of Caro's biography up to this point, the last two hundred pages serve as testament to the fact that this truly was a great man, if also a greatly flawed one. I listened to this immediately after finishing Caro's "The Power Broker," and one can see how Caro has matured as a writer. Both books are richly detailed portraits, but now Caro's viewpoint is far more nuanced and balanced. Even his sketches of John and Robert Kennedy demonstrate that Caro's greatest strength is his ability to reveal a man's character in depth--the good and the bad--without giving into the temptation to reduce it to a simplistic summary judgment. Yes, this is a long book that requires patience and commitment from a reader or listener, but I consider it one of those books that has profoundly enriched my life. May Caro live to finish this masterpiece!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership That Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jonathan W. Jordan
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (98)

    Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, General George S. Patton, and General Omar N. Bradley engineered the Allied conquest that shattered Hitler’s hold over Europe. But they also shared an intricate web of relationships going back decades. In the cauldron of World War II, they found their prewar friendships complicated by shifting allegiances, jealousy, insecurity, patriotism, and ambition.

    aaron says: "The best tri-hero book in years!!"
    "Atrociously written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually enjoy books about World War Two, and having read biographies of Eisenhower and Patton, was looking forward to listening to this. But Jordan's writing displays all the worst characteristics of an amateur attempting to apply cliched rules about colorful writing. Which means that a grin has to be sheepish, eyes to twinkle, etc. I finally gave up at minute 26, shortly after hearing Eisenhower described as "instinctively likable." Whose instinct? Eisenhower's? Other peoples'? Think about it a minute and you'll realize that this is an example of a writer grabbing a readily available adjective without considering its meaning. Jordan tells us that "The Army wanted Eisenhower to stay in the States and train men." The Army did, eh? Was this before or after the Army wanted a BLT for lunch? Coming after books by Max Hastings and Andrew Roberts--who actually know how to write vivid and correct prose--this book seemed like Wonder Bread after crusty and flavorful sourdough. Yuck.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Max Hastings
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (190)

    From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A different kind of history"
    "A masterful and moving human panorama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Max Hastings' ability to find first-person accounts and integrate them into his narrative has always been one of his outstanding talents, and in "Inferno," he has the chance to do this on a global scale. I listened to this immediately after Andrew Robert's "The Storm of War," and the two books are remarkably complementary: Roberts provides a better-organized narrative, while Hastings provides countless memorable snapshots of the human cost of the war. Hastings does not skimp on covering the full range of events and theatres, and manages to include dozens of lesser-known aspects, such as the siege of Budapest in 1944 and the magnitude of Japanese war crimes in China. Ralph Cosham's narration has a certain hesitant quality that took a little getting used to, but in the end, it seemed perfect for the text. I certainly hope that Audible will acquire Hastings' other works, such as "Overlord," "Armageddon," and "Retribution."

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Seize the Day

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In his forties, he still retains a boyish impetuousness that has brought him to the brink of chaos: he is separated from his wife and children; at odds with his vain, successful father; failed in his acting career (a Hollywood agent once placed him as “the type that loses the girl”); and in a financial mess.

    BB says: "A good character sketch -- a disappointing story"
    "A good character sketch -- a disappointing story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I've always liked the way Bellow captures characters by their dress, their expressions, their manners, and this short novel has some good ones, starting with Tommy Wilhelm. But he places Wilhelm in a predicament and then leaves us hanging. When I read this decades ago, I thought it was moving. Listening to it now, I found it frustrating.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Excellent as usual.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ian W. Toll
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (263)

    On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss. Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative.

    BB says: "Superb narrative history"
    "Superb narrative history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought Tull's "Six Frigates" was just of average interest, but "Pacific Crucible" is leaps and bounds beyond that. It's just the kind of narrative history I love: the writer is willing to take time to explore the background and side stories at length without losing the momentum of the story. Tull takes the time to show how the American and Japanese navies came to be shaped and then demonstrates throughout his account of the clashes, beginning with Pearl Harbor and ending with Midway, between them. Like Max Hastings, Tull is adept at interweaving personal accounts with the larger historical view. To me, the ultimate test of an audiobook is whether I'm tempted away to listen to other things: in this case, I was held for over twenty hours without ever once experiencing that temptation. A terrific listen!

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rudy Karsan, Kevin Kruse
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    We live in a new world where work and life are blended as opposed to balanced, and feelings of financial security and entitlement are a thing of the past. Job satisfaction is at a record low, a crisis with far-reaching impact. For businesses, a disengaged workforce means lower levels of productivity and service, and ultimately lower growth and profits. For individuals, our emotions at work spill over to the other areas of our lives and take a toll on our health and relationships.

    BB says: "Forgettable"
    "Forgettable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave this audiobook two stars. One star I reserve for truly annoying works. This one was merely forgettable. The points the authors make are neither original nor effectively made. The reader is unobtrusive but also unengaging. Overall, not worth the time or money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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