I came to this work aware of the critical acclaim that rated it as one of the best, if not THE best, Presidential memoirs. Perhaps that's true? But if true, what an indictment on the quality of Presidential memoirs!
On a positive note, the first chapters where Grant describes his boyhood and early military career captivated me. If the book had remained that personal, it really could've been a masterpiece. But the further one gets into the work, the less personal it becomes. Perhaps the conventions of Grant's day or his unwillingness to open up limited the potential for this work? Whatever the reasons, it's a shame.
The story of how Grant navigated the perils of political intrigue that threatened to derail his ultimate rise to lead the Union forces was a story I wanted to hear from his perspective. Yet he makes little mention of it. At times he does acknowledge enmity between himself and others, but he limits critical comments and devotes more description on those he has a positive opinion of.
Another huge disappointment for me was the absence of any description of his staff and his day to day routine in the field. Considering how large a portion of his life experience was spent in that environment it would've been interesting to hear about it.
Another unfortunate omission is that Grant gives us no sense or understanding of what it was that gave him the ability to see battle outcomes that lesser leaders could not. Time after time he describes military maneuvers at particular battles that he accurately predicts will affect a desired outcome but he does so without giving us a glimpse into his military genius.
Finally, the last half of the book was completed after Grant's terminal illness was diagnosed. The limited time before his death forces a fast pace that further reduced what personal reflection he offered earlier in the work.
In summation the work is uneven and overall it disappointed me. Too much of the book was told as though Grant was mak
I am a fan of the post apocalyptic, zombie, last man on Earth genres. It was that interest and the numerous positive Audible reviews which led me to purchase this book.
On a positive note, the story is set in a time which is not typically featured in stories in this genre, i.e., after the zombie apocalypse has run it's course and a previously collapsed human society has revived enough to be organized to support a zombie clean-up effort and restoration of organized human society with bureaucracies and institutions. This period known as "the interregnum" is a word that the author introduced me to, over and over again.
I listened to roughly 2/3 of the book before I finally gave-up,... why? Well, I really had difficulty staying focused on the story (something which is not common for me) because the stream of consciousness nature of the story. It jumps from the present to the past and back again all in a few minutes of listening while at the same time using literary illusions that constantly took me out of the story and made me suspect that the author was showing-off his vast vocabulary. After hours of listening I didn't feel like I knew the characters and worse... I didn't care to. Perhaps my experience was doomed in the telling? The reader had a way of reading that really grated on me (a lilt at the end of his sentences perhaps?). Listen to a sample before you purchase!
Wait for the "Zone One" movie featuring Brad Pitt, I suspect the movie will be more entertaining than the book.
Regardless of your political outlook or persuasion, Christopher Hitchens provides ample narrative to support his indictment of Henry Kissinger's character and his decisions which Hitchens describes as "war crimes".
This is a one-sided account that Henry Kissinger haters will LOVE and Kissinger defenders will DESPISE. So if you do not want to hear a scathing attack on Henry Kissinger, then do NOT buy this book!
Something the Kissinger haters, the Kissinger defenders, and the open-minded should all consider is the magnitude of defamation Hitchens heaps on Kissinger. Hitchens' attack is scathing throughout. Would an innocent public servant allow Hitchens' charges to go unchallenged without filing a lawsuit and make Hitchens pay for his lies? This book was published nearly a decade before Hitchens' death and no lawsuit was ever filed.
Hitchen's charges may never be proven in a court of law, but I was persuaded by Hitchen's argument and enjoyed the book.
If you are the least bit interested in politics, this book is a superb account of the 2008 Republican and Democratic campaigns and subsequent Presidential Election. The only thing disappointing about this book was that it ended too soon.
I only hung with the book because of the superb narration and I wanted the payoff. As the novel got closer and closer to the end, I realized there was not going to be any payoff!?!
The characters Shirley Jackson created kept my interest in spite of their constant obsession with shopping for groceries, preparing food, and eating food. At times the story hints at what supernatural forces are influencing the characters. Frustratingly, Jackson never makes it clear what is actually going-on between the ghostly world and the real world of living humans. There are encounters between the characters which lead the listener to conclude, that within the universe of this story, interaction between ghosts and living humans is part of the normal course of events. Or are all the living humans dead too? We don't know because it's never explained!
The novel ends abruptly with no substantive explanations to the back story or why the principle characters are in the situation they're in. To add insult to injury, there is NOTHING SCARY about this book... NOTHING!
I REALLY wanted to like this work. But sadly, I did not.
I LOVE the zombie apocalypse & last man on Earth genres. So. I had high expectations that I would enjoy this as much as "Walking Dead" or "I am Legend".
However, the story lacks any tension or suspense due to the manner in which it is told. Less than 5 minutes into the listen you're aware that the Zombie War is over and that humanity, though battered, has survived. The story unfolds through a seemingly endless stream of interviews with survivors (scattered across all corners of the globe) of the Zombie War. The interviews are unrealistic virtual monologues that are too focused and all inclusive streams of consciousness to be believable. Occasional interruptions by the interviewer, seeking minor points of clarification, reinforce the clumsiness of the interview formula as a means of telling the story.
Worse still is that the interview style of story telling negated developing any emotional connection with the characters. Because they are all survivors, there is no drama or tension or sense of peril conveyed. It had all the thrill of a text book.
Some characters wade into foreign policy discussions that I suppose were intended to give the work a sense of realism, but in reality side-tracked too far away from the zombie apocalypse story for my liking. Too many of the interviews sounded like the characters were making appearances on C-SPAN with zombies as merely a mechanism to discuss global foreign policy.
I bought this book based upon all the positive hype I read in reviews and was hearing from friends. I'm really disappointed that an exciting theme, that I was predisposed to like, could be so dull.
I know you're not turning pages with Audible.com, but what I mean is... After I downloaded this book I spent almost every free moment of the next week listening to the four (8 hour) segments that comprise this work. I was not disappointed in the least and did not want it to end.
Using the Kennedy assassination (a watershed moment in American history) as the backdrop for a story of time travel, Stephen King takes us down the rabbit hole where his fertile imagination convinces us that it was a moment in time worthy of traveling to.
I got joyously lost in this story and will likely be listening to it again soon.
My LOVE of the film brought me to this story. Had I never seen the movie I still would've enjoyed this story. But the movie is one of those very rare cases where the conversion to film exceeds the richness of the written word. This a great story and I encourage you to buy this work and see the film, I'm happy I have!
I came to this book based upon praise of Philip Dick by other authors and the positive Audible reviews I read. What I experienced fell far from meeting my expectations. The author's conceptions did not adequately materialize in execution. The characters were all wooden, one dimensional, and poorly developed in the story. I didn't care about any of them. The story wasn't very coherent and could only serve to support accusations of the author's drug use while composing his work. Perhaps, in it's day this was way ahead of everything else? But it does not stand the test of time. Finally, whenever the reader read for a female character, his delivery sounded satirical (I had visions of Steve Martin portraying a women in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"). No suspense, no thrill, no drama. Truly horrible, don't waste your money! YUCK!
I had high expectations and was REALLY disappointed by this story.
Fresh from a viewing of "Valkyrie" (which I LOVED) I jumped into the era by purchasing this book.
The work does provide some interesting descriptions of daily life in Hitler's Germany, but for the most part it is detailed account of Bonhoeffer, his family, friends & his career as a theologian.
Considering his profession, I should have expected the book would feature long passages concerning God and the struggle between good and evil in the context of Bonhoeffer's role as a prominent protestant theologian.
If you're a believer, then you might find the work to be very interesting. For me, as a non-believer, I found it to be very tedious listening to the intellectual dissection of God and the struggle between good and evil and the role man should play in all of this. From my perspective these dilemmas were pointless and made listening a rough go.
The story is an account of Bonhoeffer's internal turmoil and for me that is not satisfying enough to recommend this book to others.
If audible downloads had pages, I would rate this as "Grade A" page turner! I really enjoyed listening and even months after finishing it I find myself often thinking of the story. After completing the work I became aware of the controversy over what may have been the reason Christopher McCandless died. As these controversies emerged after the book was published, they do not get addressed in the book. I would love to see a re-release of the book at some point where these elements do get addressed by Jon Krakauer. Regardless, a great work that I enjoyed a lot!
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