First of all, I did not find this a spellbinding listen. It is a basic memoir but I'm glad GW did it. None-the-less, this should not detract from a good job done by the reader - Ron McLarty. However, I did find the book organization somewhat challenging. The story follows a chronological path to the White House then it jumps around per topic (or crisis).
You've got to admit, it is sobering to reflect back on how the story of GW's term in office was basically one crisis after another - 911, Katrina, wars, financial meltdown. Which makes it more interesting to read this today with the recent debt crisis. Yes, GW provides explanations for his decisions, but I did find some of his explanations not very satisfying (e.g. the auto bailout). So I rate this book (not unlike his term in office) - not especially great, but not especially bad either.
The whole premise of the book is weak. Driving around the middle of the country, avoiding freeways and stopping at tourist stops and eating at local diners appears to have not created any interesting insights by the author. It certainly did not make an interesting read for me. The authors focus on food quality and waitresses seemed like he should be writing reviews for DDD (diners, drive-ins and dives) on the Food Network. I have served my time living in Iowa and have lived in small towns in the 'fly-over' states, and I have visited many of the locations mentioned by the author. But I did not find his observations particularly novel or interesting. I am not offering any redneck/patriotic defensive about this part of the country but the author seemed to only reinforce out-dated stereotypes and the whole book seemed out of date (circa late 1980's early 1990's?). If you live on the coasts/large cities and have never ventured out to explore small town/middle-America - then you may find this book new and entertaining. Otherwise if you are a refugee from middle America - skip it - you already know this stuff.
The narration was very good. But even a great narrator can only do so much with a weak story.
His observations about Iowa City were dead-on. Some of his facts about locations were interesting - but too infrequent.
Some of the reviews - including some from our veterans who lived it - are truly outstanding. I will not attempt to out do them here - it would be just "piling on". Just wanted to add that this is some really great narration. Consistent voices and accents, and that is critical to an Audible book. So if you have a sensitive ear to language/accents, then you should have no problem with Matterhorn. Lastly, one or two situations seemed not quite credible (showing the enemy a few seconds of mercy at the last major battle?... I struggled some with that one ....).
Be warned, this is an intense, in-your-face, book. It will be hard to forget. And it could change your politics about war.
Anyway, a legitimate no brainer - this is a MUST read.
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