This expose of life in post-Soviet Russia and Siberia was insightful and very interesting to listen to. The interviews of real people who had dealt with both fortunate and unfortunate events in their lives showed a true picture of the Russian people I have gotten to know in 20 years working as a Russian translator and teacher. I, myself, hope to replicate the author's journey across Siberia via the Trans-Siberian Railroad seeing the sights and meeting the people described herein, and this book will serve as an excellent travel guide for my trip.
Unfortunately, in trying to remain true to the author's perspective, he chose to narrate the book himself. Even though Greene is an excellent NPR personality, his narration seemed hurried and in some areas, confusing. Instead of letting the words express the feelings he meant to share, he relied too much on his enunciation and speech to convey excitement or anxiety. There were a few places throughout where the author also repeated sentences that were missed in the editing process. It would have been better to hire a professional audiobook narrator to share this interesting story of a journey most of us will never have the fortune to experience.
Overall, the story is worth listening to and I will be recommending it to my fellow Russophiles so that they can share in this wonderful story.
I loved the inside look at the life of an amazing writer and literary legend in Soviet times. Along with Fifty Russian Winters, it portrays the life of the artistic elite and their struggles to create and express themselves within the boundaries--or sometimes outside of them--imposed by the Communist Party and Soviet leaders. This story is an inspirational tale of perseverance in the struggle for what the author thought was right and his struggles to survive and see his life's work emerge from behind the Iron Curtain. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in Pasternak, Soviet and Russian history, or literature in general. The reading was well done; the pronunciation of Russian names and places was accurate (I'm a Russian-speaker); and the story was engaging. Be sure to check it out and then read Dr. Zhivago with this new knowledge in mind!
Bob Gates' memoire about his life as the SecDef provides amazingly detailed insight into the behind-the-scenes inner-workings of DC politics on both sides of the aisle. His unique perspective of having worked for Presidential administrations of both parties really captures the nature of America's divided house. From the honest appraisals of American leaders and their attempts to influence how the military is used, to the heartwarming stories of a Secretary and his soldiers, this book keeps the reader engaged and wanting to hear more. As the end drew near, I felt myself hoping that Gates would have stayed the SecDef longer--for the sake of both the Commander-in-Chief and the troops under them. However, the demands of the job that he eloquently laid out without complaint, but in a matter-of-fact style, are understandably difficult for anyone and their family to endure for an extended length of time. Having served in the military under Secretary Gates (and under 4 others prior to his appointment), I can say that most troops really don't see any difference in the people who sit in that chair. However, seeing him engaged with the troops regularly demonstrated that he truly cared for the well-being of those under his charge as well as being willing to do what was necessary to fulfill the orders of our CinC.
This book was interesting, engaging, and detailed in its portrayal of the SecDef's life. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in DC politics, military leadership, or the inspiring stories of those who serve their country when asked.
Leibovich provides an interesting look into the world of politics in Washington, D.C. with the perspective of an insider who's usually an observer of those who wield the power. The story flowed well and did a very good job of explaining how everything and everyone in D.C. are (incestuously?) related and connected. For political junkies and lovers of the TV Series, The West Wing, this book will provide a thrill that shows what makes Washington tick.
Definitely worth reading if you're interested in American politics!
This book was full of Gen. Powell's advice and anecdotes for everything from family to work to leadership to life. I learned a great deal from his discussions of his 13 Rules of Leadership. There were bits of information that I can apply immediately. I thought this book was so useful that I will buy the print version just so I can have it to more easily refer to. The General does a great job reading the book and the stories he tells have much more impact coming from his own lips. I have recommended this book to my friends in the military and out, and highly recommend it as required reading for anyone in a leadership role. You'll take away a great deal of life lessons from this book - it's definitely worth the time, money, and effort!
Jake Adelstein gives an engaging and interesting look into life in the underworld of Japan's capital--something that few Japanese reporters are willing to expose and even fewer foreigners are allowed to glimpse. Having lived in Japan for over 15 years, I remember some of the things Adelstein reports on and it was great to get the real story behind the news.
The author's narration was not as gripping as a professional narrator may have produced but the large number of Japanese words might have given a non-Japanese speaker trouble. Adelstein's choice to ensure that words and names were pronounced correctly overcame any deficiencies which came up due to his amateur narration. (Personally, hearing words or names pronounced incorrectly seriously distracts from my focus on the story.)
If you're interested in Japan or in journalism, this book is a must-read. I strongly recommend this book.
An excellent overview of life as a Navy SEAL and a touching story of a true American hero. I worked alongside other SEALs and they are all as upstanding and patriotic as Chris Kyle. This book gave me more insight into the innerworkings of the SEAL Teams and provides an informative look at the real toll of war: what it does to our military members, their families, and how it affects everyone's physical and psychological wellbeing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in seeing what goes into making our nation's elite fighting forces and what their lives are really like.
An amazing story about a man's journey through the innerworkings of the NY Mafia with names most people will remember from the headlines. I thought this was an excellent account of what it really takes to become a made man. In the end, I thought Gaspipe ended up sounding a little sympathetic but then I remembered all of the people he admitted to "taking care of" and I got over it.
If you loved the Henry Hill story, mob or Mafia movies or tales of secret societies, you'll enjoy this enthralling story of life in the mob.
As a long-time Steve Berry fan, I grabbed his latest as soon as I saw it on the shelves. While I found this book interesting and the plot very captivating, I don't think it was one of his best. I liked the story and the characters very much; the references to characters in his other novels brought a smile to my face.
I did fly through this book and the story kept me guessing at how it would end. I did think that The Columbus Affair followed too closely to some of his other works where the prodigal son returns to follow the path set for him and becomes the hero in the end. Even expecting this to happen, there were plenty of twists and surprises in the plot which kept me reading. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I'd highly recommend this book.
Also, the author's explanation of what's real and what's fiction was a great addition and it led me to his related novela - The Admiral's Mark. It was worth a quick read as well. Now I have to wait for Berry's next foray into history..."
I loved this topic and the information provided was superior. I found the content to be well-researched and the flow of the information was very smooth. The historical content explained a lot of things about how different cultures affected others and interacted with others through exploration and conquests.
I did, however, feel that because this book is packed with details and facts, I had to rewind sections to relisten to them if I became distracted by something or if a stray thought popped into my mind. As much as I enjoyed this, I think it would have been better to have read the print version instead of the audiobook.
Regardless of the media you choose, this book is highly insightful and worth reading if you're interested in world history, cultural interactions or world conquests. I'm recommending it to my friends!
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