You no longer follow Amazon Customer

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Amazon Customer

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Amazon Customer

I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

ratings
312
REVIEWS
215
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
69
HELPFUL VOTES
596

  • Captain Blood: A Radio Dramatization

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Rafael Sabatini, Jerry Robbins
    • Narrated By Jerry Robbins, The Colonial Radio Players
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Dr. Peter Blood is arrested and sentenced to hang for treating a wounded rebel. Instead of death, he is sent to Barbados as a slave. When the Spanish attack the port city of Bridgetown, he and his fellow slaves capture the Spanish ship and set out to sea, where he becomes the notorious pirate, Captain Blood. With battles on sea and on land, daring escapes, sword duels to the death, a touch of romance, and a magnificent score by Jeffrey Gage, Captain Blood is a swashbuckling adventure on a very grand scale!

    larry says: "Wonderful"
    "Swashbuckling Radio for Modern Listeners"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm developing a healthy respect for the Colonial Radio Theatre players. Rafael Sabatini's works are already amongst my favorites just because they're swashbuckling fun, and I'm a sucker for that. I'm also a sucker for a quality full-cast radio drama, and these actors bring the melodrama up to full. It actually feels a lot like they stripped the audio track from an Errol Flynn movie. I'd love to hear this group do a version of Scaramouche.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Magna Bloody Carta

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Irene Radford
    • Narrated By Katina Kalin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Is the Magna Carta better than the US Constitution? Was it a power grab by English noblemen, or is it a rights of man declaration penned by Robin Hood? The answers may surprise you as author and historian Irene Radford picks apart the clauses and explains them in context to the history surrounding this amazing document. Magna Carta, a true turning point in the history of democracy.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Worthy Translation and Commentary"
    "A Worthy Translation and Commentary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fiction writer Irene Radford is captivated by Medieval history, and years after seeing the original Magna Carta on display, begins research for an historical fiction novel set around the events that led to the signing. Along the way, she blogged a commentary about each point in the charter, which gave way to this little book.

    Offering a point-by-point translation from the original Latin, Radford's analysis and commentary is covers the nearly 800 years since it was signed. It's a thought-provoking look at life in the Middle Ages under King John and how much (or little) has changed as a result since that time.

    The book is clearly directed at the layperson, and I think it would be interesting to contrast an historian's view. For a friendly introduction to Magna Carta, a person can walk away from this one feeling educated. It's very well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thunderball: James Bond, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Jason Isaacs
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Ernst Stavro Blofeld, leader of the terrorist organization SPECTRE, has hijacked an American plane loaded with atomic weapons. Unless his demands are met, he will destroy one of the world's major cities. With only one week to locate the missing bombs, James Bond goes to the Bahamas, where he encounters Blofeld's right-hand man, Emilio Largo, and his mistress, Domino. With time running out, Bond learns that sharks are not the only killers in the Caribbean Sea.

    Amazon Customer says: "Bond Prepares for the Big Screen"
    "Bond Prepares for the Big Screen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the book where the entertainment franchise of James Bond truly kicks into gear. No longer just a hobby for Fleming, at this point in the game Bond's creator is actively pushing for a big screen motion picture. The hype and scandal surrounding Kevin McClory's Thunderball screenplay is infamous in the history of 007, leading ultimately to a lawsuit that, in conjunction with Fleming's indulgent lifestyle, would claim the author's life and haunt the film franchise until only recently. This novel draws heavily from that screenplay, but honestly... if you didn't know that, you'd swear it was standard Fleming. All of the registered trademarks of Bond are here, as ever, up to and including Felix Leiter giving a bartender a scathing reprimand over how to properly make a martini.

    Behind the scenes, a lifetime of drink, rich food, and smoking has caught up with Fleming, and it shows up in the form of M lecturing Bond about such things as the novel opens, likely Fleming parroting back what his own doctor was telling him in real life. Ironically, Bond and Moneypenny pass this off as one of M's passing phases, and Fleming's further commentaries on healthier options are priceless. In a Bond novel, even the concept of health is deadly. This opening leads to Bond's first encounter with an enemy agent, all of it designed to let Fleming vent about his doctor's orders, and to introduce Bond to what would become his greatest nemesis.

    Boredom and health consciousness may be deadly in Bond's world, but these things don't make for a good adventure. Enter the new super secret terrorist organization known as SPECTRE. Fleming uses Bond's first encounter with the enemy to demonstrate just how infinitesimally small Bond and his methods are by comparison of what he's up against: SPECTRE's acquisition of two nuclear warheads. Arch-baddie Ernst Stavro Blofeld makes his first appearance here (sans fluffy white cat), sending his best operative, Emilio Largo, to a task against our hero. Curiously, even though Blofeld is in charge, he's listed as Number Two, and Largo is Number One. Seems backwards to me, and I'm glad they fixed it for the film.

    Jason Isaacs is easily one of the best narrators in this series. He's as subtle as Bond for the most part, which makes the dynamic of his other character portrayals stand out. As a bonus, his voice for Largo sounds at times like the late, great Ricardo Montalban. In keeping with my running gag of how 007 is pronounced, I'm pleased to report that Isaacs gives us a proper "double-oh" instead of the offending "oh-oh."

    All in all, perhaps not the best of Fleming's stories, but the character moments are most definitely there, and the novel's weight behind the history of the franchise make this a most important addition to the original 007 canon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Brief History of the Knights Templar: Brief Histories

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Helen Nicholson
    • Narrated By John Telfer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Much has been written about the Knights Templar in recent years. A leading specialist in the history of this legendary medieval order now writes a full account of the Knights of the Order of the Temple of Solomon, to give them their full title, bringing the latest findings to a general audience. Putting many of the myths finally to rest, Nicholson recounts a new history of these storm troopers of the papacy, founded during the crusades but who got so rich and influential

    Amazon Customer says: "Digs Deep for a Brief History"
    "Digs Deep for a Brief History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I got my paws on this book, I was hoping--but not expecting--that it would dig a little deeper than some of the bigger books on the Crusades by virtue of being focused on just the Templars. Turns out, I got what I hoped for and then some. While this book is a good one for beginners that want to hit the ground running, I think it does help to have some background knowledge on the Crusades and a general idea of who the Templars were before diving in. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be for the more detailed parts of this book. It makes for a richer experience.

    There are few books on the Templars that have made it to audiobook format that really dig in and give you some of the details. When it comes to tracking something like this down in paper format, most of the books out there seem to be either really basic and sometimes insulting, or they are written for the academic sect. That's what I love about this book, specifically. Nicholson tells you up front this isn't written for her colleagues in academia, but for the layperson with an interest. I am exactly her target audience as I have the scholarly enthusiasm for the subject matter, but my dedication is generally interrupted by other shiny objects. Still, I keep coming back.

    There are a lot of names and dates, and at times you'll need to break out the scorecard, especially if you're preparing for deeper research. But for the most part, this book covers things such as the culture of the Templars, how outsiders reacted to them, and other bits of interest that it seems like most other books tend to avoid. Where other books lean on the "there's little actual information surviving" crutch, Nicholson comes right out and says there's actually quite a bit, and breaks it down in a way that's easy to understand.

    Not being familiar with Nicholson's work before now, I can tell you her name is definitely on my radar where this subject is concerned. I am truly impressed with this book. I'm hoping to find companion books on the Hospitalers or the Teutonic order that aren't here on Audible, and also an even more expanded writings on the Templars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Utopia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Thomas More, Gilbert Burnet (translator)
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    Sir Thomas More's Utopia has spurred debate, reflection, and critical thinking since its original publication in the 16th century. More's fictional island of Utopia provides an exploration of issues that shook him and his contemporaries and that continue to be problematic in the modern day.

    oscar says: "Good re-enacment of a Classic!"
    "An Historical Curiosity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an incredibly difficult book to review.

    On it's own merits, it's not great, but it does make you think, given the comparison and contrast between the ills of society as presented in book 1 and the society of the Utopians as presented in book 2. It's a classic discourse of Humanist argument, contrasting the points of view that would have been prominent at the time. As a comparison with our modern society, it's interesting in and of itself, made somewhat ironic in that the Utopians live in the "New World" that had only recently been discovered.

    Taking into account the historical time and place, the new and potentially bright reign of Henry VIII (years before Anne Boleyn entered the picture), and the fact that England was just entering the Renaissance after the rest of the Europe had developed it for 100 years (give or take a decade or two), this book becomes an historical curiosity. This is compounded by the personality, service, and devotion of Thomas More, both to his king and to the Church. History does not record why More wrote the book, and many of the ideas in it are not only alien to Medieval/Renaissance Europe and England, they are in complete contrast with everything we know of More himself. In my eyes, this kicks the book's interest level up a notch. The more you know of the history and the personalities of the age, the more of an anomaly this book becomes, made even more ironic by the infamous events leading to More's execution and the Reformation that swept Europe. The level of how much seriousness vs. how much satire is involved is a topic of debate that continues to this day amongst scholars, and it's easy to see why. The more of an enthusiast or scholar you are for this sort of thing will certainly determine how much you get out of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angelology: An Overview

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Marilynn Hughes
    • Narrated By Ray Cole
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Angelology presents information from ancient sacred texts about the most significant angels and their function and nature in the cosmological spheres of God. If you want to better know the angelic hierarchies who protect you and your loved ones, angelology will give you a framework from which to begin.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Compilation of Excerpts"
    "A Compilation of Excerpts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you listen to enough of the truly classic and classical works found on Audible, it's easy to take for granted the narrators that understand how to deliver a performance that Medieval mysticism demands... until you listen to this guy. Then you wish you had one of those professionals. Any one of them would do. My very first thought on hearing Ray Cole's delivery was, "Jeez, I can podcast better than this." It's a clumsy reading, devoid of any understanding, depth, or flow, sort of like if you hand a copy of Shakespeare to an overly enthusiastic teenager trying to cover his lamentable performance skills. It was so distracting, I had to start the book over once I got a handle on how the book was presented. Thank heaven (no pun intended) that I'm already immersed in Medieval thought and angelology, otherwise I'd have stayed lost right at the outset.

    And that brings me to the book itself. If you're looking for the eye-rolling comedy provided ad nauseum by self-proclaimed mediums and new age woo-woo about fluffy winged supermodels (like the one on the book's cover), this is not your book. I was surprised too, given a list of the author's other publications, but sometimes you never can tell from a publishing blurb. If, however, you're a serious student of angelology and all that implies, this one's actually worth looking into, but with caveats. Let me explain.

    This is likely not a book for the novice or the casual enthusiast, unless that person is ready to hit the ground running. The author assumes that the reader either has a considerable amount of religious scholarship, a private esoteric reference library, and/or no problem catching up. This book is a deceptively small, eye-opening tome of just how seriously deep the subject of angelology can be. In a nutshell, this is a collection of excerpts taken from first, second, and even third-hand sources about mysticism, be it Christian, Rabbinic, Hermetic, or other. Ordinarily that would be a good thing, however there is little structure for it. It's like reading a researcher's notes, and I suspect that's exactly what it is. The author may only be a compiler. The information is largely just launched at you, the scholarly equivalent of a food fight or castle siege. It's on you to make sense of the chaos. It dives right in, with few points of grounding, explanation, or perspective. It does say in the description of the book that it "presents information from sacred texts about the most significant angels," but it doesn't go much further than that. If you don't know what those texts are, the references are meaningless up front. These texts are difficult enough for the novice to read, let alone to put together into some kind of comprehensible format. If only somebody would do that, perhaps in a friendly overview format? Oh, right...

    The problem of comprehension is compounded by the very nature of what makes this book interesting, as I can I can almost guarantee the casual enthusiast has never even heard of many of these sources. For Western audiences, the Biblical portions or excerpts from Milton, Dante, or the Book of Enoch will likely be recognized most (and are leaned upon heavily), but the more arcane texts and commentaries are taken so far out of context that having any of it quoted back through secondary sources makes it daunting to fight through once you realize what you're up against. Those sources are cited often (but not always) after they're quoted at length, adding to the dysfunctional quality of this compilation. It takes some doing, but in the end, it actually IS possible to put this together if you engage with the material. This makes it an overview for deeper scholarship, but if you're looking for the on ramps to explain it all, you'll probably be better off pulling the contextual source material, because this book exemplifies the kind of researcher's rabbit hole that is angelology. It's a mess, but in that regard, this book does give you a starting point for further research. Admittedly, the challenge of the rabbit hole is half the fun for me, but I'm guessing that's not what most people are looking for. If you happen to have access to an arcane library with a slant towards angelology, you'll be better prepared to appreciate what's offered here.

    Having said all of that, it may just be that the layout of the book is the biggest problem and just needs some restructuring. Either way, if you are already somewhat-versed in this subject and looking for something that will either challenge your studies to the next level or beat you down mercilessly, it's ultimately worth it if you can navigate it. It does get easier the deeper you go into the book, and there are some truly eyebrow-raising insights to be had if the narrator doesn't kill it for you. Having a collection of excerpts of this nature together in one place can be useful, especially if you get a print copy. And to think, this is just the angels. There's a companion volume by the same author dealing with demonology. I'll try that one at some point too, just because I can, but I'll have to really be in the zone for that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crystal Clear Communication: How to Explain Anything Clearly in Speech or Writing

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Gary S Goodman
    • Narrated By Gary S Goodman
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    With this program, you'll have the tools, the techniques, and, just as importantly, the unflinching confidence to influence your readers and listeners decisively - both at work and at home.

    Amazon Customer says: "Largely Sales-Oriented, and Instantly Usable"
    "Largely Sales-Oriented, and Instantly Usable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It doesn't tell you up front, but as the tips and tricks are offered and situations are examined, the usable information here becomes oriented towards sales. The idea is that everyone likes to buy, and nobody likes to be sold. Everything in this book is simple, effective, and easily usable, and you get better with practice, but the direct applications in the sales world for me was an unexpected bonus. The means to provide customer service, defuse hostility, and secure future sales most definitely offers a broader application outside of the sales world. Goodman's approaches to communication are timeless and can help you come across as effortless in using them if you're willing to commit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Modern Scholar: How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Professor Michael D. C. Drout
    • Narrated By Professor Michael D. C. Drout
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    In How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value, Professor Michael D. C. Drout gives an impassioned defense and celebration of the value of the liberal arts. Charting the evolution of the liberal arts from their roots in the educational system of Ancient Rome through the Middle Ages and to the present day, Drout shows how the liberal arts have consistently been "the tools to rule", essential to the education of the leaders of society. Offering a reasoned defense of their continuing value, Drout also provides suggestions for improving the state of the liberal arts in contemporary society.

    Steve Stowers says: "A defense of the Liberal Arts"
    "A Passionate Defense of the Liberal Arts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Prof. Drout is an enthusiastic speaker, and his passion for the liberal arts comes through in this lecture series. His insights on how to connect the past to the modern world are thought-provoking, to say the least. Admittedly, he's already preaching to the converted on this one, but I always welcome a solid, concrete argument for preserving and studying the liberal arts vs. the somewhat ethereal and half-baked ideas I sometimes hear. If this is a topic you're inclined to look into, this series is most definitely worth your time and attention.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Romm
    • Narrated By Drew Birdseye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    Joseph Romm, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top "100 Agents of Change", has focused his talents on helping us all to increase our language intelligence and to better understand the art of persuasion. Romm demonstrates that you don't have to be an expert to vastly improve your ability to communicate. He has pulled together the secrets of the greatest communicators in history to show how you can apply these tools to your writing, speaking, blogging - even your Tweeting.

    Amy Crawford says: "Superb, Awesome, Incredible! yes, all those Words"
    "Politically Biased, But Good Information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's pretty clear that Romm has an axe to grind against the political right and especially against those who don't believe in climate change. It's his stock in trade, which he points out.

    Looking beyond that, however, it's clear he's studied both the messages and the messengers to the point where he has weaponized the methods of rhetoric. The information comes at the reader hard and fast, but it's solid and instantly usable by anyone looking to improve their oratory capabilities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • For Your Eyes Only, and Other Stories: James Bond, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Samuel West
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When sudden emergencies arise, James Bond is there to meet them. Whether dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring, or a mysterious death in the Seychelles, 007 gets the job done in his own unmistakable style.

    Amazon Customer says: "Short Stories, Big Character Pieces"
    "Short Stories, Big Character Pieces"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As any reader knows, short stories are completely different animals from novels. The questions are: does James Bond work in the short story format, and can Ian Fleming write them?

    The answer is a resounding "yes" to both questions. Turns out, I actually prefer Bond in the short story format so far. Who knew? There are 5 stories in this collection, and each one offers not only an intriguing story, but also offers some serious character development that extends past Bond himself. Fleming's standard fascinations with women, drink, food, cars, and guns are all on display, but there's also a more personal and reflective side offered here that might take readers by surprise. Each of the stories are deliver something different, and even the ones that start a little slow ramp up quickly and draw the reader in.

    As always, Fleming's abrasive manner of reference in regards to women or minorities also comes through. It's a sign of the times that such things are noticed and improved upon, but new readers should always be aware of it.

    The running gag in my reviews of these Bond audios is how the narrator says "007." Some say "double-oh seven," and others say "oh-oh seven." Thankfully, Samuel West says "double-oh seven." Beyond that, West is an excellent narrator and delivers a full performance for all the characters, and the subtle sides of Bond come across as natural.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Early Music: A Very Short Introduction 

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Thomas Forrest Kelly
    • Narrated By Alex Hyde-White
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (3)

    From Gregorian chant to Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not Bad At All, Probably Better in Print"
    "Not Bad At All, Probably Better in Print"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On the whole, this is a good introduction to early music. It's not quite what I expected, however. I went into this with the definition of early music being limited to the Medieval and Renaissance eras, and while this book did encompass that, it also included Baroque. And that would be even better, save for the fact that most of the material herein was about the Baroque, and thus not the reason for me picking it up in the first place. Still, nothing wasted in that regard. The lessons can be applied all around. The ideas presented here regarding the recreation of early music are fascinating and complex. Once you wrap your head around it, it'll change the way you listen to and appreciate music of any kind. That alone makes this title worth it in my mind.

    Anyone coming to this topic with no background and truly looking for an introduction should probably be aware that the information herein comes rapid fire. Vocabulary is defined, but once an idea is introduced, it's assumed you know it, and information is built from there. Newcomers will probably want a print version of this for that reason, and for the reason that the end of the book comes with a rather hefty list of bands, ensembles, and recording labels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.