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James

I love history and enjoy reading different books about the past. I like to joke that I have read many books about the outcome at Gettysburg, but no matter how many I read the outcome remains the same! I do find it interesting and fascinating to get different takes and outlooks on the same events.

Decatur, GA | Member Since 2006

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 477 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • Coolidge

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Amity Shlaes
    • Narrated By Terence Aselford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (195)

    Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus.

    Jean says: "Silent Cal"
    "Coolidge - As Good Now as He Was Then- Not So Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Amity Shlaes and/or Terence Aselford?

    Not by Amity Shlaes. Terence Aselford was adequate.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Amity Shlaes again?

    No.


    What didn’t you like about Terence Aselford’s performance?

    The material he had to work with was poor.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I found it a right wing look at an historical but justly ignored figure in our national canopy. It had no redeeming qualities I could discern. I even remained listening until the end. It went off a cliff and never really recovered.


    Any additional comments?

    Whose idea was it to include the reading of credits at the conclusion of the book? That was a disastrous decision on top of a sad and sorry tale. This would have been okay but she thanked everyone imaginable for this and for that. What a waste of time!

    2 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Hopkins Touch

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Roll
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    The Hopkins Touch offers the first portrait in over two decades of the most powerful man in Roosevelt's administration. David Roll shows how Harry Hopkins, an Iowa-born social worker who had been an integral part of the New Deal's implementation, became the linchpin in FDR's - and America's - relationships with Churchill and Stalin, and spoke with an authority second only to the president's.

    BB says: "Great story undermined by a shallow narrator"
    "What an Interesting Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Seldom does one come across a book so well written and performed. I knew little of Harry Hopkins and his role during the Franklin Roosevelt administrations. David Roll put together a wonderful biography of a very important man: much more so that I ever realized before.


    What other book might you compare The Hopkins Touch to and why?

    This book falls into the same genre as a Doris Kearns Goodwin book, like A Team of Rivals. She is a gifted and thoughtful writer and Mr. Roll's effort here reminds me of the high quality of her work.


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

    His narration performance here was outstanding. The quality of the work in the writing always makes a difference in the performance.


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

    There were times when I was actually fearful that Hopkins was close to death and must admit I cried a little. In the end, I'd have to agree with those who assessed him as "Mr. Root of the Matter".


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book and audio performance to anyone who enjoys a great book very well narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Rule the Seas

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Roger Crowley
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    The rise and fall of the Venetian empire stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. In City of Fortune, Roger Crowley, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea, applies his narrative skill to chronicling the astounding five-hundred-year voyage of Venice to the pinnacle of power.

    Scot says: "A Wonderful Listen"
    "An Excellent Presentation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story is beautifully crafted and the narrator did a splendid job of presenting the story of how Venice became such an important city-state.


    What other book might you compare City of Fortune to and why?

    I would compare it to stories about other great city-states, such as the ancient Greek cities of Athens and Sparta. Each of these cities had developed a personality and skill set that, while not exclusively their own, was the pinnacle of each city's success.


    What does Edoardo Ballerini bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He can speak Italian beautifully and presents the story in a brilliant fashion. Bravo!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It really was. I found it informative, fascinating, and extremely well presented.


    Any additional comments?

    If the reader has any interest in European History during the five hundred years between 1000 and 1500, this is a wonderful main avenue to take a gondola ride upon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Benn Steil
    • Narrated By Philip Rose
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (76)

    When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for "a new Bretton Woods" to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of 44 nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization.

    James says: "Fascinating!"
    "Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Battle of Bretton Woods in three words, what would they be?

    Personality, talent, and guile clearly come to mind for me. These were two extraordinary men faced with the difficult challenges of their time.


    What other book might you compare The Battle of Bretton Woods to and why?

    I find this book unique in that Ben Steil does such a wonderful job of analyzing the two men and their impacts. Then he takes it a significant step further as he measures that impact through the years. Analysis of history and personalities is one thing, but the application of that thorough and detailed analysis through the succeeding years is a remarkable and extraordinary. I have seen the technique used before, but in this case I found it rich and rewarding!


    Which character – as performed by Philip Rose – was your favorite?

    I would have to focus on John Maynard Keynes as my favorite. I have always viewed him as a significant but somewhat obscure economic genius. To see this extraordinary talent presented and explained in such rich detail raises the man much higher on my pedestal, and I now can clearly see why his name remains a focus, even today. While I was very impressed with Harry White and his own remarkable talents as an economist, I got the feeling that he lapsed into the role of the government technocrat which reduced the shine of his own brilliance.


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

    At times I laughed at the comments and actions of the two central characters. Harry White's involvement with subversive Communists did leave me blue, and Keynes death at 62 was a major and sad tragedy in my eyes. Even White's death at an early age due to heart attack was a tragedy as I feel it was at least in part brought on by the huge pressure of his mistakes and associations.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful, insightful, and well presented documentary of an event and the people involved which finally recognizes the major impact of that event. Bretton Woods was a historic watershed event of its time. The prime characters were at times giants among other men. This is a must read book!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Being There

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jerzy Kosinski
    • Narrated By Dustin Hoffman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (210)

    Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman gives an understated and exemplary performance of this satiric look at the unreality of American media culture. Chance, the enigmatic gardener, becomes Chauncey Gardiner after getting hit by a limo belonging to a Wall Street tycoon. The whirlwind that follows brings Chance to his new status of political policy advisor and possible vice presidential candidate. His garden-variety political responses, inspired by television, become heralded as visionary, and he is soon a media icon.

    Ilana says: "Darkly Funny"
    "Thanks, David!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Being There?

    I loved the remarkable way that the late Jerzy Kosinski tackled compiling a book that could have been much longer into such a short and brief package. He apparently got some advice that I recall from an old English teacher in my past: Write more like Hemmingway and less like Faulkner.


    What other book might you compare Being There to and why?

    A good comparison that comes to mind for me is the late Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five". Both writers in both books had a knack for tackling difficult subjects within a framework that each created which allowed them to be simple, brief, and direct. Their product emerges strongly and requires deep and thoughtful consideration from the reader/listener.


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

    Hoffman's performance of this narration is excellent and he is deserving of praise. I have not heard other narrations from Dustin Hoffman and therefore cannot compare this with other performances.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes it was, and I did! Gratefully!


    Any additional comments?

    I want to thank my friend David from college. He introduced me to this writer then, and I remain appreciative.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2591)
    Performance
    (1895)
    Story
    (1903)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Jennie says: "Unbelievably riveting!"
    "An Excellent Package!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Endurance in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, Adventurous, and Awesome!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Endurance?

    In danger of freezing to death after a treacherous thousand mile sea journey from Elephant Island to a dangerous South Georgia Island, Captain Shackleton convinces his two companions to join him in another deadly risk: sliding down an icy arête at break-neck speed to survive yet another life challenge and get one significant step closer to rescue of his expedition. This book is filled with memorable moments like this.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    Mr. Prebble did an outstanding job of presenting this remarkable story. His enthusiastic and theatrical performance was outstanding and lyrical. I normally find male British narration to be weary and feminine. His performance, on the other hand, was manly, thought-provoking, and proud. I am so impressed!


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

    The courage with which the young castaway on The Endurance handled his gangrene infection and the eventual inevitable amputation of his foot. This was a remarkable, tragic, yet interesting event that touched al his mates.


    Any additional comments?

    I am seldom so impressed by a book and it's presentation. This is a book you must buy and enjoy! It is a remarkable and extraordinary tale of adventure and courage in the face of deadly adversity. I strongly recommend it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1289)
    Performance
    (636)
    Story
    (645)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "An Excellent Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Great Influenza the most enjoyable?

    The writer did not simply confine his story to the influenza outbreak alone. Instead he made an effort to capture the time, and an outstanding effort it was.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That the writer went to exceptional detail in describing the impact of the outbreak on the members of the Woodrow Wilson administration during the Versailles Peace Talks. This was very interesting to me.


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

    It was outstanding.


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

    The description of the impact of the outbreak on local and city governments. How the outbreak was dealt with at the local level was an extraordinary tale.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to his book. Well performed and extremely well researched and written.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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