First, I saw the movie American Gangster which was entertaining and had me interested in learning more about Lucas since as pretty much everyone knows you generally can't accept what you see in theaters as being real.
Well the first red flag in this book is when in the intro it says that this 'biography' contains composite characters. What? In a book that is supposed to the real life story?
Second, the story in many places just isn't believable at all. The horrible story about his cousin being shot by the klan is extremely moving, however it's not verifiable at all. That is troubling but doesn't mean it isn't true so I can give a pass on that. Shortly there after this dad shots a cop. Once again there is nothing verifiable about this account and apparently his dad never went to jail or did any time for this. Very odd. Later in the book Lucas threatens from cops with a gun and once again nothing happens. Again later Lucas shots at more cops and shoots up a city bus in the middle of the day in NYC, the cops know who he is yet again nothing happens. We're really stretching believability here and that's just to do with the parts of the book that talk about shooting.
Next is the sex part -- apparently every women Lucas say while he was between 13 and 17, regardless of their age and race just had to get nude as quickly as they could in front of him. Again, could this be the case? I guess. Is it likely that so many women would seduce a young teenager? No.
Next is the part where one day when gangster Bumpy Johnson entered his life, betting money on the kid to beat Icepick in a game of pool. After Lucas of course won, Bumpy basically took him under his wing, bought him stuff, took him home, told everyone that Lucas was hands off. Now if Frank was a young female teenager this would be believable, but as a young thug it just doesn't make a lot of sense in the way the story is told.
Other parts of the book are believable, mainly the later parts that are somewhat verifiable. But most of it sounds pretty ridiculous, like a gangster movie that was made to make the lead look like the coolest guy on earth.
Maybe everything Frank Lucas says is true and it all actually happened that way -- and maybe that guy in those commercials is really the most interesting person on earth. However in both cases I'm highly doubting it which is a shame since I'm sure the real story is a lot more interesting than the fiction that is most of this book.
The reader does an excellent job and the audiobook is well produced. I can't believe people actually complain because he mispronounces a few words here and there, he's just using real language and using it the way Frank probably said it. It's not an Ebonics book by any means, it's just occasional language that sounds fairly authentic to my ear and is never distracting.
So right off the bat let me say this is an excellent general overview of the Civil War - but not of Reconstruction. The book is around 20 hours long and he don't even get to Reconstruction until the last hour and a half. So know that coming in and you shouldn't be disappointed.
OK now for the review.
At this point I've read and listened to probably more than a hundred of Civil War books, this would rank near the top of them. This would be a great book for someone that doesn't know much about the Civil War as it is not a military history of the war and it's not in great depth, instead it more or less is a narrative that provides atmosphere and gives you all the fundamentals you need to understand what happened and why. At the same time I still found it interesting as a refresher since it's easy to listen to and well structured. There wasn't a lot of new material in there but the other does a good job of keeping the story moving and not going back over the same material you've read in other history books 100 times. He does bring new narratives to the story, personal accounts and such that I have not heard before and that helps great for the Civil War buff.
Another review said that the book has a southern bias and that's ridiculous, I've read enough Civil War material to know what is biased and what isn't, this clearly falls into the non-biased category.
The reader does an excellent job as well.
So in closing I'd highly recommend this book to people who want to begin to have an understanding of the Civil War and want it in an interesting and easy to read (listen to) format. If you're just starting out this book should be interesting to you and hopefully will work as a bridge to get you into more in-depth reading (listening) later.
Also I very much believe anyone already interested in the Civil War that might want a refresher or just wants a good narrative of the war will enjoy this as well.
I do NOT recommend this for anyone that want's an understanding of Reconstruction as it's breezed through way to quickly to be of any use. If you can get past that this is very very much a 5-star book.
I bought this book after reading the authors other book that is available on Audible. I very much enjoyed that book as the author put together a book that was a collection of private diaries, narrated things at times but mostly was more of an editor than anything. That book was interesting in that he let the people speak and mostly kept his opinions out of it.
This book is the exact opposite of that. Instead of letting the story tell itself the author feels to the need to constantly lecture you to make sure you get the point. He overstates the obvious over and over, instead of approaching the story from a historical point of view he approaches it like a someone on a moral crusade. The author is so biased in the way he presents information its completely natural to wonder what he left out. We're all very well aware that blacks were treated badly, but the way to show that would have been to let each party tell their story themselves. The author notes at the beginning of the book how well documented this event was, yet rarely seems to use much of that documentation for anything.
Overall this book was very frustrating since if the author stuck to his previous format he could have made an interesting book that would have been a good read on a subject that many people know nothing about.
It's not a worthless book, but it's nowhere near a good book. Locals to Memphis might find this book to be more enjoyable as it has a good amount of location information. I know nothing of Memphis and didn't find it distracting, but someone that knew the area would probably be able to pick up some interesting tidbits.
The reader was acceptable, nothing special but not bad either.
I think I have over a hundred audio books about the Civil War but there is very little available on Audible about the time period after the Civil War. This book helps fill that gap somewhat. You can read the description to understand what the book is about - the author tells the story of several people in the south and how they lived near the end of the war and in the months afterwards. The author does a great job of telling their stories without getting in their way. Everything moves at a quick pace and the only complaint I have is that the book could have been much much longer - that is said in a good way. The book doesn't get bogged down in political correctness - nor is it a lost cause book either, it's just the stories of a few individuals and it's immensely interesting.
From the production side this time Audible actually does a great job with a book they produced themselves. They have different readers for the different people that are highlighted. The book gives you maybe 30-40 mins on someone, then moves on to someone else, and then back to the original person. It's a great way to keep the story moving and keep it interesting. A true 5-star production, the first time I think I could ever say that about something Audible produced.
If you read the summary and it sounds at all interesting to you then don't hesitate to give it a listen.
I've read a ton of WWII books so I wouldn't say there is much I learned from this book, but it is a great single volume collection and it's very readable. Another reviewer said that you needed to be a historian or something to read this, that is nonsense. While the book is long it moves at a a good pace and to me always remained interesting. I think the early years of any biography are the most difficult to keep interesting but again I think Kershaw did a good job of providing detail but not getting bogged down in detail. Everything is covered and at times I actually wish there was more detail if anything, not less. Again this is a 40-hour long book so there is a good amount of detail, but I never was bored by it.
The reader does an excellent job throughout.
Overall if you're of average intelligence and can stand the length this book will pose no challenges for you. Even though I knew almost everything that was about to happen I still found myself getting wrapped up in the story. This is a historical-biography written in an interesting manner, which is no easy feat. I highly recommend.
I purchased this series years ago from The Teaching Company, thus the reason I can write a review on the day it's released on Audible. It's great to have this on Audible, and is a tremendous value.
Professor Gallagher is a world class instructor and this series works very well in the audio format. Since this is a series of 30-min lectures it's very easy to follow and if you want a refresher it's easy to go back and find whatever you're looking for.
I've read probably a hundred Civil War books at this point, and this lecture was the first in-depth I listened to that got me started and interested in the subject. It's a great book for all levels, but certainly the less you know the more you're learn -- this is a great introduction and even if you already know most everything this is an excellent way to refresh your knowledge.
Highly recommended, 5 stars.
I've read a ton of Civil War books so I was already very familiar with Davis but wanted something that just focused on him and in particular the post-Civil War period, this book works nicely for that, although I would have liked a more in-depth look at his later life. The first half of the book gets you to the Civil War, then the Civil War takes up probably 2/3rds of the 2nd half of the book. The pacing in the book is quite good and I never found the book to get dull or bogged down on trivial matters. The author does a good job of staying neutral for the most part. Overall this is an excellent addition for Civil War buffs or people that just want to know more about the South or Davis himself. I personally think it would make an excellent counterpart to anyone reading biographies on Lincoln to give a more well balanced view of his Presidency.
As for the reader I have mixed feelings, at the beginning of the book it really seems rushed -- but either I got used to it or he slowed down since about 1/3rd of the way into the book it no longer bothered me. Overall he does a good job, it's a straight read but appropriate for the content.
I picked this book up as recently I was reading a number of Mafia books and I've already read a ton of WWII books -- so it seemed like a good match.
Overall the book is well presented, moves along at a good pace and covers the subject matter as promised. I was familiar with how the US government worked with the Mafia during the war so that wasn't shocking at all -- but this book covers in greater detail the question of if the government also used the Mafia to its advantage in Sicily. I won't give away the conclusion but I will say I wasn't surprised at all by the conclusions the author drew based on my previous knowledge of the war in Europe.
As for the book itself I felt for the most part it was good, there were spells however where I lost interest for a few minutes here and there but that wasn't a big issue and those spells generally only lasted a few minutes before the author was on to something new.
The factual side of the book seems to be in order and it seems to be well researched, additionally the author doesn't seem to be pushing an agenda or making shocking claims -- something most mob books are guilty of doing. The author probably could have sold a lot more books by passing along rumors or legends as facts but thankfully, for those that respect history, he doesn't ever do so.
The reader does a good job and is appropriate for the book.
Overall if you have an interest in the subject at hand -- and you're not looking for shocking claims that have no basis in truth -- you should pick-up this book.
I've read a ton of Civil War books and was familiar with John Brown's raid and the importance of it but I didn't know the subject in great detail, which is why I picked up this book.
Simply said it's an excellent book and I think it strikes the right tone. I'm always afraid that whenever the issue of slavery is brought up in a modern book it's going to fall into the PC camp of needing to constantly apologize or into the demonizing / hero worship trap. I never really found any hints of an agenda, which only makes me appreciate the book that much more.
The author does a great job of setting the scene, gives enough of a background on Brown that you know him but keeps the story moving along at a good pace. I felt he covered everything in good detail so even if you didn't know anything about Brown or the aftermath of this raid you'd fully understand what happened, why and why it was later important.
The reader does an equally impressive job -- it's a straight read for the most part but it's very clear, moves at a good pace and I didn't really notice any mistakes or errors.
Overall I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about Brown, or more importantly anyone interested in Civil War books since this is really part of the build up as much as anything else that occurred.
Like another reviewer stated I had first read Iceman which is by the same author and it was a great and entertaining book -- in retrospect I'm not sure how true it was but it was still interesting.
This book is not up to those standards -- it's not even close. The book is written like the author is afraid that a contract will be put on him if he is even remotely objective on any point. Additionally the author uses every cliche you can recall.
The story starts off extremely slow, the first quarter or more of this book is very boring. The reason I'll give this book 3-stars is the middle part of the book. During this part the story flows at a good pace, its interesting and it even for the most part seems well written. But then the author returns to the dull, non-objective filler for the final 3-4 hours. In this part you can hear about how unfair the government is not to give him a 6 1/2 sentence, I mean he plead guilty to killing many people, dealing drugs, corruption, etc -- but 6 1/2 years seems fair to me. You'll hear about how the government tricked him into a confession, how they gave him his lawyer, how they took advantage of poor Anthony. It's one of the most dull, boring diatribes I've ever heard and why the author didn't make this part of the book about 12 long is beyond me.
As for the read I'm convinced he's only reading the book in an effort to test the bass of your speakers. His reading style is annoying at best, dangerous to your health at worst. He's not the worst reader I've heard but he is not very good. He could become an acceptable reader if he stopped purposefully trying to make his voice so bassy, it's very annoying.
Overall this book is quite disappointing and worst it makes me think the entire Iceman book, which I did enjoy, is complete fiction.
I'm half way through this book and I honestly have no idea why I'm supposed to care or be interested in anything that is happening. It's just not a well put together book, it doesn't ever flow or hit a stride and it's boring. I knew nothing about this book going in, just picked it up onsale and figured I'd give it a try - my opinion of which is in my review title. Maybe if you already knew the history of what happened and knew the people involved and actually cared about any of this you might find it interesting as it's not a horrible book, it's just not an interesting book in any way.
Anyways as I said I'm half way through the book and giving up and moving on to something else. Maybe one day I'll come back to this -- but I doubt it.
As for the reader he does an acceptable job. The people saying this isn't english or they can't understand are being dishonest and horribly exaggerating. I've listened to hundreds of books and I've heard bad readers, normally the ones actually hired by Audible are by far the worst amateurs I've ever heard, but this guy is fine, he's not great but he's not bad and he's appropriate for the subject matter.
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