Columbus, NC, United States | Member Since 2004
The Quiet American of the title is not the simple aide worker he seems to be...he has been sent to Vietnam to open a door for American influence, to secure a place for American power to grow from a tiny beginning. The American government sees that the French are about to lose the country, and the Americans do not plan to stand by and let the country go "communist."
Greene astutely points out that to the peasants in the rice fields, who have been there for hundreds of years and will be there for hundreds more, the style of government in the capital, whether it be Hanoi or Saigon or elsewhere, matters little. The rice farmer is concerned with his work and with feeding his family...he knows nothing of the democracy of the Greeks or of the socialism of Marx.
But powerful nations are determined to play out their chess game in Vietnam, indeed in all of Indochina. And this quiet American is calm on the surface but roiling inside with his idealism of saving these little brown brothers from the evil of communism....saving them even at the cost of killing a few, or more than a few of them in the process.
Along with a morally ambiguous plot, standard in Greene novels, there is an unusual love story involving two western men who are captured by the allure of a young and beautiful Vietnamese woman. For both men she is life itself...but she may also be death, perhaps for the one who wins her and also for the one who loses her.
An earlier reviewer did not like the narrator, the reader of the audiobook. Like him, I say listen to a sample. I did not find the reader to be unsatisfactory. For me, the reader simply disappeared as I got caught up in the story. Isn't that the way it should be?
The narrator killed any joy I could have gotten from this book. He did not put emphasis in the right place while reading. He read introductory clauses and many other sentence parts as if they were complete sentences....as if they required a full stop. Then the next part of the sentence he read as if it were a new sentence unconnected to what had just been read. That was very distracting and it interfered with understanding the narrative. I have read the book several times and I love it, but this narrator lacks skill in reading to an audience.
Besides a fundamentalist approach, this book promotes a literal interpretation of the Bible. The narrator has an irritating habit of chuckling or grunting to make the listener think what has been spoken is obviously true....sort of like canned laughter to let you know when to laugh. I rate it a three, but for many people it would rate a one and for others it would be a five...depends on one's outlook.
Ian Fleming wrote some fabulous thrillers with James Bond at the center. Doctor No is one of the better stories. The plot is at least feasible, although it is somewhat dated now, given that the story is 60 years old. Still, I enjoyed the audio as much as I did the print book which I read 40 years ago. Fleming keeps the listener on edge with his sharp eye on leading the listener into suspenseful situations. Of course Bond is victorious in the end, but the voyage is very entertaining.
I love Sherlock and I admire the Foyle's War television stories Horowitz has written, but I am not happy with House of Silk. I found the story boring and disconnected at times. Jacobi performs Holmes with a voice one would expect from an overweight, hysterical old lady....wonder why? I hope there are listeners who love this audio, but for me it was not enjoyable at all.
The narrator does an excellent job interpreting this Sherlock Holmes tale...good accents, good pacing. The story itself is not quite as good as some of the Sherlock tales, so I gave it a four, not a five.
Faulkner humorously tells tales about the Snopes family members....sneaky, oily, crafty, ravening, grasping, double-dealing, nearly wolfish lower class Southerners who are determined to rise above their birth status.
This is one of the easier Faulkner titles to read. Still, Faulkner does employ his challenging prose style at times, so the reader/listener must attend carefully.
The narrator of the book did a very good job, with an excellent accent and very good pacing.
Not as difficult as some Faulkner, The Unvanquished deals with the Civil War through the eyes of a youth who matures during and after the war and who recounts his encounters with violence. From the violence eventually a pacificist viewpoint emerges in light of the Almighty's dictum: thou shall not kill. Yet there is humor throughout the book, and you may find yourself laughing out loud. And the skill of the narrator is of the highest quality I have heard on audio. Enjoy.
This book is well written. Lawrence is known to most of us through the 1962 film about him, but hearing his story told is still quite interesting. He was certainly one man in ten thousand if not a million....multi-lingual, supremely confident, repulsed by killing but an expert in warfare who personally killed many men, a true friend to those whom he cared to be friends with, but a man who could not stand to be touched, even a handshake being repulsive to him. He accomplished what was considered impossible on the field of battle, and his British superiors betrayed him after the war by refusing to honor one of the goals Lawrence sought as a motivator for his actions: Arab autonomy in the Middle East.
His style of warfare has been copied by Mao Tse-dung, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and the enemy the US faces today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The narrator does a very good job of interpreting this fine, suspenseful book.
Most of the book consists of reports of moving this unit here and that unit there.....over and over and over...there are very few human interest recollections....I wanted to like the book because of Grant's having written it and because it is so highly regarded as a military memoir, but I was bored to death. I listened to about one-third of the book, then skipped through sections of it to the end, only to find that it did not change after the first third.
Titone's thesis is that JW Booth wanted fame so badly that he murdered the president to secure a place in history. JW had failed in his efforts to be an actor, whereas his father and older brother had excelled in dramatic acting, becoming two of the best and most acclaimed actors in US history prior to the age of cinema. JW had also failed in business....and pretty much everything else, except for charming the ladies owing to his exceptional good looks and physique. But conquering women did not compensate for his failure to equal his father and brother on the stage, so JW acted the most dramatic role any actor ever played: he shot the president in view of a few hundred theater goers, jumped on the stage in front of them, and deliberately made a bold statement to the crowd (reported variously) even as the smoke was hanging in the air in the presidential box and Mary Lincoln was screaming. Then he strode off stage deliberately (not with a broken leg as has been mistakenly reported) and jumped on a horse and rode into history.
Titone does an excellent job supporting her thesis. The story she tells of JW's father and brother and other family members is detailed and quite interesting. She also documents JW's collaboration with Rebel agents in the last year of the war, and she details the escape and capture of JW, which resulted in his being fatally shot by an army sargeant who had such finely tuned religious sensibilities that he had castrated himself to defend against being tempted by loose women.
What a story!
The narrator does an excellent job interpreting this highly dramatic tale.
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