I've read a ton of Civil War books so the "secret plot" is by no means new to me but I was interested in getting more details about it since I never studied it in any depth. In fact there is quite a bit of debate about how real the plot was so I looked forward to reading (listening) to this book.
First -- the book is written from almost 100% a northern perspective. For example when talking about John Brown, who murdered 5 innocent people in Kansas, the author states that 5 people were killed during a raid into Kansas. Killed and murder are words that have very different meanings. John Brown was certainly on the right side of the issue, but that doesn't change the fact he was murderous psychopath. There are many many many examples of the author framing peoples backgrounds to make the story flow. Don't get me wrong, this isn't like Al Franken doing a book about Reagan, it's not political and what the author is writing isn't lies, it's just incomplete. If you already have a strong knowledge of the Civil War you'll pick-up on this very quickly and you'll be able to adjust the story accordingly. However if you're new to the subject I highly suggest you do additional reading to get a more balanced view of the subject and characters involved. More information is always better than less information.
Second -- this book is more about Allan Pinkerton than it is about the plot itself. I knew this going in so I wasn't disappointed. The problem with Pinkerton is that he, in everything else I've ever read, was very much known as a self-promoter and tended to exaggerate things -- this is one of the reason that there is such debate over the "secret plot." I did find this book extremely helpful in regard to this and I'm satisfied that even if the plot was exaggerated it was indeed real.
Third -- this book is not a well researched history of the "secret plot", instead it's Allan Pinkerton's version of events. There were additional people that were involved that were outside of Pinkerton's spy ring and their sides of the story are not told in any detail and pretty much only mentioned when they came into collision with Pinkerton.
OK so with all that said you're probably wondering why I still give the book 4-stars. Well I found it interesting even with all it's faults. It is a much more detailed look at a piece of history I knew about but didn't know in depth. Also I was interested in learning more about Pinkerton as he plays a part in a lot of the different happenings during the Civil War and if nothing else this book gives me a great overview of him.
The story itself starts off slow but picks up steam as it goes along. After the first few hours, which were quite dull to me, the book picks up steam and become much more interesting,
The reader does a good job and has the appropriate tone for book.
There isn't much about Jeff Davis on Audible, which is a shame since he's such an interesting person and important person in American history.
This book is a good quick overview of Davis during the Civil War. The story moves well, never really bogs down, but obviously at 5hrs doesn't really get deep into anything. If you're looking for an easy to overview of Davis during the Civil War this will do the job well.
The reader does a good job, fits the tone of the book.
BTW 4 stars means the book is enjoyable and good, but I can't really give it 5 stars since it doesn't cover enough material. If you're interested in Davis there is another full autobiography of Davis available on Audible, I'd highly recommend checking that out even if it's not written as well and the reader isn't very good.
I gave up on this book after the first few hours, it's pure BS. Nothing can be verified, the stories are nonsense, this guy is full of it. I'm writing Audible to request a refund. Unless you want to read a piece of fiction or you're just gullible, avoid this piece of trash.
The fact this piece of trash is still alive is everything that is wrong with America's legal system - this guy should have long ago been given the death sentence.
With that said that said overall I like the book, it's a very interesting tale and I'm amazed I never really heard about it before now. The book moves at a good pace and I was never bored by anything.
On the negative side it always amazes me how groups of people never feel they're responsible for their own actions, and the author feeds into that view point at times. It's not too bad, but it is obnoxious.
The reader does a great job here putting on accents to help you know who is speaking and has excellent pacing.
Overall if you like the description then you'll like the book, but you'll want this whiney Cuban tough guy dead.
What I was looking for was something more along the lines of how your average citizen lived in the years before the revolution, like simple stuff - how did newspapers work, how did you buy groceries, all that sort of day to day stuff. Of course this is not that and it's not really covered here so I'm not deducting any points for that, I just wish someone did have a series on that since I think it would be interesting.
Anyways, this lecture covers basically all the time before 1776. It started off a bit slow for my tastes, but as it goes along it gets better. I think Professor Allison does a good job of presenting various points of views and beliefs, in this day of political correctness that is refreshing.
Overall I enjoyed this lecture, like all of The Teaching Company's courses this is excellent.
This is an entertaining audiobook, basically the same stuff you read on their site being read to you. The reader does a good job and I enjoyed the book, even if it did leave me dumber.
There isn't much in terms of books about reconstruction on Audible and I was hoping that this might help fill that void, but this book is not that. The book mainly focuses on brief generic bios of people involved with government during and after the Civil War. If you've read a decent amount of Civil War history there is nothing to be learned here - but if you're a beginner that wants a simple overview of the war and the years after this, this will perhaps work but it will also be extremely incomplete. Also the book is written from a northern point of view. I think the author tries to be balanced, but the way he presents information isn't always done very well. Nothing outrageous or anything - just missing pieces of information here and there that could have been summed up in a sentence or two isn't there and changes the context of numerous pieces of information he provides - like General Lee applying for citizenship, the author leaves out why he did that.
The reader does a good job with the material provided.
First let me say that Peter Carlson wrote one of my 3 most favorite audiobooks ever in K Blows Top, if you liked this book you should LOVE that one.
For this book I have mixed feelings. I've legit read well over 100 books on the Civil War at this point from every perspective. This book is certaining entertaining and it brings a point of view to events, but the problem is with the source material. Both "reporters" would in no way be considered reporters by todays standards, and thats with the joke of the media we have. Instead Junius and Albert were propaganda writers that every once in a while would sneak in some facts. When you read their material the only thing I take at face value (most of the time) is that they were at the location they said they were at on the day they said they were - beyond that you must take everything with a grain of salt.
Also the book is incomplete on setting the stage for the events. I think the author does a decent job of trying to work in some facts so you can place the events in perspective, but the authors main job is to move the story along and stopping it to explain what something happen might have slowed everything down.
For example one of the reasons that the southern prisons were in such bad shape was that in some locations there were inadequate food supplies - the author notes this but I'm not sure that point really comes across. While the south actually had more than enough food as a whole, the problem was the complete destruction of the transportation system in the south which left parts of the south with an overabundance of food and materials while other parts were legitimately starving. The second point that is underplayed in this book was Lincoln's desire to end the war was quickly as possible - and part of that was taking advantage of the manpower superiority that the north had over the south. Lincoln didn't want to resume the prisoner exchanges because while the north could easily handle the loss of troops he knew the south could not. By leaving huge number of troops as POWs in the south, the south had to use resources to care for them and guard them, in addition to all the southern troops that the north held as POWs, which further weakened the south. Some say this is heartless, but the idea was that overall the loss of life would be lower if the war ended sooner.
So with all that said I still rate the book 4-stars because it's a good and interesting read. The Adventures in the Confederacy is a good title since it is an adventure and it's written in an easy to read mostly lighthearted fashion. Again you have to do your best to try to figure out what is legit and what isn't, but still it provides a different point of view to events so there is something to be taken from that.
The reader of this book does a very good and I would probably be more like a 4.5.
I've read a ton of WWII books and now I've become interested in seeing the events from the opposing point of view, not in a 'hate America' way or a 'we're all bad' way, but just to see how people, soldiers and individuals lived on a day to day basis and how they saw events unravel. So with that said I found this book and gave it a listen and I must say it's excellent. The summary tells you everything you need to know so I won't bother to add to it, but this is certainly something I'll go back and listen to again at some point in the future.
The reader does a very good job - but I could have done without the German accent he puts on. I'm not sure if it adds to it or not and eventually I got used to it, but without the accent it would have been easier to understand. Don't get me wrong, it's very well done and it might have added something to the book, but I personally would have preferred no accent (and it's a put-on accent, you can hear other examples done by the reader without it). Again this is a minor issue, but the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
Overall this is a 5 star book which is a good thing since there is a very limited selection of books like this available on Audible. Certainly if the subject matter at all sounds interesting to you, buy it.
If you're at all interested in the subject I highly recommend the book, it's really that simple.
This book is a great look into what was happening at Sega during the time that Genesis became the #1 console in the US - but that didn't happen right away, it took a few years. When I was a kid I read all the video game magazines and have a very clear memeber of what happened and when, but I still learned a ton from reading this book. For example I had no idea that Sega of America was so close to collapse in those early days. For me and my friends we all thought Sega was a mainstay, equal with Nintendo. However this book presents the story in a very different perspective.
The book is a great listen, although it's long it moves at a good pace. Also the reader does a great job.
Positives: Presents mostly the Sega side of the console war, shows how they came into power and the mistakes that cost it when they moved to the 32bit generation. Very entertaining and (mostly) a great history lesson. The writer is very talented in terms of being able to tell an interesting story, even if you didn't care about the subject you'd still probably enjoy the book due to the authors efforts.
Negatives: The timelines near the beginning of the book seem to not always align with how I remember things - lots of stuff happened in a short time and sometimes the author presents minor things out of order, but then revisits it later to clear it up. If you don't know any better this probably works well and keeps the story moving. There are also some minor issues with the games, for example at one point the author states at the time of sponsoring an LPGA event that Sega didn't have any golf games, but they did as Arnold Palmer Golf was a launch title on the unit. Also when talking about Mode 7 on the SNES the author says it was the first game to use that ability, again that is not correct, F-Zero, a launch title for the SNES was the first to use Mode 7. Minor issues, but I'm surprised in such a well researched book those got past the editors. Also while the reader does a great job overall sometimes his male voices sound quite feminine. I understand the idea of using different voices as it helps you know when the book is quoting someone and helps you keep track of who speaking and it's a minor issue, but there were times that I thought it was a woman speaking only to find out it was a man. Again, a minor issue.
One last negative. The author extensively "quotes" people in the book - however I have a very hard time believing most of these quotes are actual quotes and not just lines made-up to advance the story. While I'm sure the "quotes" are educated guesses based on interviews of the subjects there's just no way people would be able to clearly remember exactly what they said 20+ years ago on some many minor issues. Normally for history books I'd really ding any book that I felt was making up quotes, but here I think it's for the best since this isn't an in depth history book of a subject like a world war. Also since most, if not all, of the people in this book are very much alive, I'd assume the author did his due diligence and while the quotes may not be exact, I'd assume they're close enough.
Anyways note that I gave the book 5 stars overall so don't dwell on the negatives. This is a great, entertaining book and I highly recommend it.
Going into this book I had read some the reviews that had questioned the authenticity of the story, along with the rebuttals provided by Lt Col Boyd and his son. In my opinion the questions were stronger than the rebuttal but as my grand-father served in Korea and there isn't a ton out there on Audible about it and I've read just about everything else I decided I'd give it a try and see what I thought.
In the beginning of the book the author explains that it's been a very long time since this event occurred and as such he can't recall the exact dialog that took place all the time. This is very reasonable, however I personally don't like the way they addressed this issue providing the various characters with basically movie lines. The entire book in fact reads like a movie - in some cases that is good, in this case it is not since it reads like a 60s WWII flick you've seen 100 times with predictable characters saying lines you would have sworn you've heard before. I would have left out the dialog all together if it was in doubt and just stuck as much as possible on what was going on from a factual standpoint. The dialog really really took me out of it and made it feel like I was reading a novel - and again not in a good way, in a this is completely fake way.
So if you give a pass on the dialog is the story believable? I just don't know. I certainly do not want to call a retired Lt Col a lair but there are so many things in the story that don't make sense and nothing is verifiable. I don't know what can be done to prove anything but without a shred of evidence and movie script characters it's so very difficult to just assume everything is on the up and up. It very well may be, and I truly hope it is - however my gut feeling from reading everything I can get my hands on about Korea and WWII this story just doesn't jive with what I know.
If you have an interest in the subject my only advise would be to listen to it and make up your own mind.
As for the reader he did a very good job, everything was well paced, he used different voices to help you keep track of who was talking and as far as I know I didn't hear any obvious mistakes. Well done. If I could give 4 1/2 stars I would, but it's a bit closer to 4 stars than 5 so I'll leave it at 4.
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