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Vygramul

Annandale, VA United States | Member Since 2013

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 150 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015
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  • Thunder Below!: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Eugene B. Fluckey
    • Narrated By Corey Snow
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (187)

    Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.

    This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen.

    Jean says: "Riveting"
    "So incredible it can't be anything but true"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - the book is well-read and it's an amazing account


    What other book might you compare Thunder Below! to and why?

    The first book that came to mind was The Caine Mutiny - but TCM is about a destroyer minesweeper, is fiction, and largely hinges on poor command, while this book is nonfiction, is a sub, and is largely about good command. But in both books there's a lot of detail about the day-to-day concerns of the men aboard their respective commands.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    For me, it's often the little things. Fluckey's point about not appreciating being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor because it stipulates actions taken without regard to ones personal safety implying he took them without regard to the safety of his crew is an excellent point and really sticks in my mind.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Mostly, I was amazed. Of course, there's always some sadness when the crew has to split up and the command is over, as with any story involving people who formed friendships under intense conditions and subsequently parted ways.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best WWII books I've had the pleasure of experiencing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • It

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Steven Weber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5179)
    Performance
    (3868)
    Story
    (3899)

    They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror of their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name.

    Parola138 says: "I thought I was desensitized"
    "Excellent Horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of It to be better than the print version?

    I actually would consider it better. I think this is the first book for which I think it's true, and not because the print version is bad or other audio books aren't excellent. In this case, it is Steven Weber's performance which is so far superior to many others I've heard.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hard to say. Virtually the whole story is just awful. I guess the best thing about the story is the characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    This question always tempts one to say something that might be a spoiler. So I'll eliminate some and just go with a good scene: the dam-building.


    If you could take any character from It out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably Bev, mostly because she needs the time off.


    Any additional comments?

    Weber's performance was really quite spectacular. He had distinct voices for every character, even Ritchie's "voices" - even his inflections were agreeable. He was able to capture the emotion of every scene, whether intense or moderate or mild. I don't know whether Weber would be the right guy for every book, but he was perfect for this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On Basilisk Station: Honor Harrington, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2503)
    Performance
    (1850)
    Story
    (1846)

    Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk station and given an antique ship to police the system. The vindictive superior who sent her there wants her to fail. But he made one mistake: he's made her mad....

    gerry says: "Damn you Steve Gibson"
    "Excellent Sci Fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to On Basilisk Station again? Why?

    It's likely, though only after I've listened to the many other books in the series.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was well-constructed with a good balance between combat, intrigue, and personal interaction.


    What about Allyson Johnson’s performance did you like?

    She has a wide range of voices for the characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the exec threatens his "superior."


    Any additional comments?

    Johnson's pronunciation of "Manticoran" is a little odd - she says ManTIcoran when I expected MANticoran. And I think Honor's voice is a little higher-pitched than I envisioned (is enheard a word?) But otherwise, the book is quite good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lewis Sorley
    • Narrated By Basil Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Neglected by scholars and journalists alike, the years of conflict in Vietnam from 1968 to 1975 offer surprises not only about how the war was fought, but about what was achieved. Drawing on authoritative materials not previously available, including thousands of hours of tape-recorded allied councils of war, award-winning military historian Lewis Sorley has given us what has long been needed - an insightful, factual, and superbly documented history of these important years.

    John says: "A Better Book!"
    "A Very Optimistic View of the War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The author seems to have taken the most optimistic view of what was going on at the end of the war, and while it is not without interesting perspectives, it seems to me to be interpreting events through rose-colored glasses.


    Has A Better War turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, one book is unlikely to turn me off from any particular genre.


    Have you listened to any of Basil Sands’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I've listened to any other of his performances.


    Was A Better War worth the listening time?

    There was enough interesting trivia that yes, it was not wasted time.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not a bad book. It just takes a very positive view of events that could easily be disputed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Bernard B. Fall
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    In this classic account of the French war in Indochina, Bernard B. Fall vividly captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the savage eight-year conflict in the jungles and mountains of Southeast Asia from 1946 to 1954. The French fought well to the last, but even with the lethal advantages of airpower, they could not stave off the Communist-led Vietnamese nationalists, who countered with a hit-and-run campaign of ambushes, booby traps, and nighttime raids. Defeat came at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954, setting the stage for American involvement and opening another tragic chapter in Vietnam's history.

    Troels says: "Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochin"
    "The Neverending Debacle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was, but I think I'll have to spend more time listening to it again, as I frequently do with histories. It's hard to keep things straight, partially because it's hard to keep a timeline in one's head as the events go from disaster to disaster. What's a flash-back? What's in order? I'm not sure.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A better flow time-wise would be better. It's hard to keep all the place names straight and move from one event to another, unsure if they're directly connected, how they relate to each other... sometimes it's clear. Other times, not so much.


    Which character – as performed by Derek Perkins – was your favorite?

    His French accent is great so any time there's an actual conversation, he adds flavor to it quite well.


    Did Street Without Joy inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to read more about the French war in Vietnam.


    Any additional comments?

    Generally, this is an interesting subject and really shows how skilled, operationally, Giap was. He made mistakes, but the strategic plan was spot-on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vietnam: A History

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanley Karnow
    • Narrated By Edward Holland
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (124)

    In this comprehensive history, Stanley Karnow demystifies the tragic ordeal of America's war in Vietnam. The book's central theme is that America's leaders, prompted as much by domestic politics as by global ambitions, carried the United States into Southeast Asia with little regard for the realities of the region. Karnow elucidates the decision-making process in Washington and Asia and recounts the political and military events that occurred after the Americans arrived in Vietnam.

    David Ewing says: "As stunning as it was engaging"
    "Good but not Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Vietnam?

    It was well researched.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    A little depressing, given the inevitable end.


    What about Edward Holland’s performance did you like?

    He was pretty good. I especially liked his Richard Nixon impersonation. His voices tend to be subtle, which helps keep it an objective reading and not an attempt at dramatization.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The plight of the civilians.


    Any additional comments?

    Karnow isn't objective, but neither is he biased one way or another. It's as if he thinks everyone involved, left, right, communist, democrat, republican... they all deserve excoriation. And he's probably right.

    The one thing about the book that can be confusing is that he tends to follow a timeline of one aspect of the war far enough that when he goes back it's kind of hard to remember where you were anchored.

    I'll probably listen to it again, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The US Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Gregg Jones
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    The vivid, fast-paced account of the siege of Khe Sanh told through the eyes of the men who lived it. For seventy-seven days in 1968, amid fears that America faced its own disastrous Dien Bien Phu, six thousand US Marines held off thirty thousand North Vietnamese Army regulars at the remote mountain stronghold called Khe Sanh. It was the biggest battle of the Vietnam War, with sharp ground engagements, devastating artillery duels, and massive US air strikes.

    ioane_77 says: "Thanks."
    "An Excellent Story of the Battle of Khe Sanh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Last Stand at Khe Sanh again? Why?

    I may listen to it again simply because it's easy to miss things when listening to a book. But it's not an easy book to listen to because so many people die. And not well.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Last Stand at Khe Sanh?

    The ambush


    Which character – as performed by William Hughes – was your favorite?

    I don't think there were characters he really had to play. The few quotes were pretty much all the same.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Dien Bien 2"


    Any additional comments?

    It's a pretty accessible history until the end, where it kind of bogs down and meanders a bit after it feels like it should have ended. But otherwise, interesting and well-researched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blade Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (986)
    Performance
    (620)
    Story
    (629)

    It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment: find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!

    D. ABIGT says: "This is the original Do Androids Dream of Electric"
    "I shall blaspheme: the movie is better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Philip K. Dick and/or Scott Brick?

    Absolutely. This is not a reflection on either. Scott Brick is a find audiobook reader and I actually picked this up after hearing him in Dune. Philip K. Dick has a lot of stories that turned into excellent movies, so I doubt this is typical.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Well, that's quite a challenge. I suppose many of the same things the scriptwriters removed were things that generally slowed down the story. I don't know if Dick intended some kind of philosophical exploration of empathy and religion, but it didn't seem to work from my perspective.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    I liked how Brick portrayed the bounty hunter at the other police department.


    Was Blade Runner worth the listening time?

    Yes, but barely. I usually re-listen to audiobooks many times, but this one I shan't revisit.


    Any additional comments?

    This just wasn't as good as the movie - which is a judgment I almost never make. If anything, it demonstrated how much vision and skill went into translating the story into the film and the expertise with which it was done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (2385)
    Performance
    (1952)
    Story
    (1973)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Way better than the movies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Solaris?

    If you had told me an author would be able to write about a truly alien intelligence, I'd have been skeptical. But Stanislaw Lem was able to capture the alien even better than Lovecraft. I was really impressed.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Lem also knows human thinking - he's able to capture how scientists would approach the alien intellect he created - and all the reasons it would have problems.


    Have you listened to any of Alessandro Juliani’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard other performances, but he does a good enough job that I will look at what else he's done.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There wasn't a particularly MOVING moment. I'd say the exposition that exists is unusually good.


    Any additional comments?

    Some of the early scifi authors are truly masters of the craft. Stanislaw Lem knew what he was doing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Michael Hirsh
    • Narrated By Corey Snow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    From award-winning journalist and combat veteran Michael Hirsh comes the thrilling inside story of the Air Force's pararescue operations in Afghanistan. The first journalist to be embedded with an Air Force combat unit in the war on terrorism, Hirsh flew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, with the 71st Rescue Squadron to their expeditionary headquarters at a secret location in Central Asia. Unparalleled access to the pararescue jumpers - or PJs - as well as to the courageous men and women who fly them where they have to go, often under enemy fire, allowed Michael Hirsh to uncover incredible stories of courage.

    mitchell says: "extraordinary from a NYC Paramedic"
    "Edge-of-Your-Seat and Sobering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to None Braver the most enjoyable?

    Hirsh humanizes the soldiers and Snow brings their humanity to life


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jason Cunningham for always thinking of others


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When a PJ trainer goes to the extreme of rappelling down a building to catch trainees talking.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The pain of a family having to bury their loved one.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys story about people whose job it is to save others, for people who are interested in real military accounts, and for people who find helicopters interesting, Nothing is over-explained, everything is relevant, and there are no "boring parts." The narrator has the right timbre for the subject matter and does a great job giving the people life - the very reason we buy audiobooks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cambodia: Report From a Stricken Land

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Henry Kamm
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Based on his observations over three decades, Henry Kamm, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Southeast Asia correspondent, unravels the complexities of Cambodia. Kamm's invaluable document - a factual and personal account of its troubled history - gives the Western listener the first clear understanding of this magic land's past and present.

    Vygramul says: "Doesn't work well as an audiobook"
    "Doesn't work well as an audiobook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. The book was written as more of a history and less as prose. The result is that it doesn't flow well when read aloud.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cambodia?

    Prince Sihanouk's ability to always switch to the winning side.


    What three words best describe Walter Dixon’s performance?

    Limited by material


    Did Cambodia inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the book was fantastic and thought it might be fun to listen to it on a trip because I'd been meaning to read it again. While the book is fantastic, as an audiobook, it is disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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