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Jacob Denhollander

Uncle Chicken

Member Since 2013

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 118 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (788)
    Performance
    (470)
    Story
    (469)

    Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the 20th century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time.

    Wolfpacker says: "Superb - Review of Both Volume I & Volume II"
    "Amazing reader, excellent writer!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Obviously, this is not a book for the casual listener. But if you are interested in the history of the Victorian period, WWI, the English Empire, or (obviously) Winston Churchill himself, you will not regret downloading this book. It is thorough, but not tedious, which in a book this length is quite the accomplishment. It is a far from a simple hagiography - we see Churchill with all his warts and poor decisions without any attempt at justifying or or explaining away incongruities. It does a good job portraying the wonderful complexity of the circumstances and personality that go into producing a great man like Churchill.

    The reader deserves a special mention - his Churchill voice is very good, his accents are very good (except his Russian one!), and his reading is simply perfect for this volume. I highly recommend this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Calculating God

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1948)
    Performance
    (1341)
    Story
    (1354)

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.

    Ione says: "Interesting book, very enjoyable narration"
    "Amazing performance of a somewhat mediocre tale."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    **Minor spoilers**

    First off, I did enjoy this book. The reading was very well done; Jonathan Davis is a very talented reader. The premise of the book is also tantalizing and interesting: Aliens visit our planet and lo and behold, they advocate a form of Intelligent Design instead of the commonly (on earth) accepted theory of Darwinian Evolution.

    The idea is a great one, but the execution was less so. One of the reasons I love science fiction is that it invites you to think outside the box and imagine new realities and different ways of thinking. However, beyond superficial aspects, I didn't find the primary alien race to be all that interesting or 'alien'. They might as well have been Michael Behe. There was no real indication as to how their beliefs shaped how they did science, how it influenced their society, what religious significance they attached to their scientific pursuits, nothing. It seems that Mr. Sawyer was intent on following the ID mantra of "It's all about the science, and we aren't going to discuss other implications." That's all fine and good, but honestly it didn't make for very compelling or interesting story. The Spider People didn't really seem 'alien', they were just ID advocates with access to information we don't have. The 'Reeds' were a better attempt at describing alien thought, but their appearance is so brief, and the discussion about their moral intuition so hilariously bland and boring, that they feel like an opportunity wasted.

    Honestly, the most alien creatures in the whole novel don't come from outer space, they come from the Southern USA. They appear in the form of horrifically stereotypical 'fundamentalists' bearing the names of JD and 'Cooter'. These characters and their actions have no real impact on the story or its final outcome, and seem to exist so that Mr. Sawyer can demonstrate in no uncertain terms that his book is not a subversive attempt to introduce creationism. As a creationist myself (though, I confess, I now have doubts about my sincerity now as I've never killed an abortionist or destroyed fossils with a submachine gun), I wasn't offended by the portrayal of these characters as much as I was annoyed at another missed opportunity. I'm sure rednecks like these exist, but someone who at least 'tried' to be scientific might have made for a more interesting antagonist. I would have been interested to hear the aliens rebut the creationists and correct their 'primitive' conceptions of god with a more enlightened view. But Mr. Sawyer went the boring, unimaginative route instead, unfortunately.

    I also wonder if Mike Harris ran over Mr. Sawyer's cat. There are so many negative remarks directed to provincial elected officials that it almost seemed personal. It was very odd and frankly, distracting.

    In closing, I don't really regret listening to this book. There were stimulating passages, and it did pick up toward the end. However, I have a nagging disappointment in this book that it didn't challenge me or live up to the potential suggested by the subject matter. It's a good book, but you probably won't be changed by it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Coming of the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard J. Evans
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (499)

    There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

    Tad Davis says: "Compelling and depressing"
    "It's a good book; reader has funny cadence."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to a number of WWII history books now, and am in the middle of this one. The writing is good and engaging. If you enjoy political and social history, you'll enjoy this book. However, the reader has a strange cadence and pauses and hesitates in the oddest places. Normally I can get over something like that, but I have to admit that in this case, it's really bad and distracting. Not enough to ruin the book completely, but definitely irritating at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Starship Troopers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2519)
    Performance
    (1324)
    Story
    (1350)

    Join the Army and See the Universe. That is the motto of The Third Space War, also known as The First Interstellar War, but most commonly as The Bug War. In one of Robert Heinlein's most controversial best sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe - and into battle with the Terrain Mobile Infantry against mankind's most alarming enemy.

    Michael says: "Well Aged Heinlein"
    "Showing its age"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My favourite science fiction, especially vintage SF, has elements of the bizarre and alien, as well as a mystery or an unexpected twist. This novel has neither for the modern reader. Now, I realize that my familiarity with space travel and hive mind alien bug opponents is not the book's fault, but is a result of it having been so influential in the genre. That being said, the central story isn't really science fiction at its core. Its a story about becoming a soldier in a modern army, with some rather heavy-handed preachy sections. Now, I've got nothing against preaching - I'm training to be a preacher myself - but it's pretty blunt and non-nuanced, and thus pretty boring.

    This book is interesting from a historical perspective; however, the story itself is showing its age and wasn't compelling at all to me. I'm returning it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gulag Archipelago, Volume II: The Destructive-Labor Camps and The Soul and Barbed Wire

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    This second volume in Solzhenitsyn’s narrative chronicles the appalling inhumanity of the Soviets' "Destructive-Labor Camps" and the fate of prisoners in them—felling timber, building canals and railroads, and mining gold without equipment or adequate food or clothing, and subject always to the caprices of the camp authorities. Most tragic of all is the life of the women prisoners and the luckless children they bear.

    Jacob Denhollander says: "Important book, great author, wonderful narrator"
    "Important book, great author, wonderful narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Frederick Davidson is the perfect narrator for Solzhenitzyn's ironic, wry authorial style. That authorial style is what makes this otherwise unbearable book manageable. It's a hard book to read/listen because the ugliness of mankind is on full display. It's made even more difficult by the fact that Solzhenitsyn makes sure we recognize this work not only as a window to see the evil of others, but also a mirror that reflects back the evil that dwells in each of our hearts. For this reason, everyone needs to read this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22295)
    Performance
    (13696)
    Story
    (13838)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Brilliant."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everything about this is brilliant. The story, the performance, the writing - everything. It's more than the sum of all of its parts, which is why I cannot imagine the movie is going to be anything special in comparison. Do yourself a favour and listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Richard Rubin
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (33)

    They were the final survivors of the millions who made up the American Expeditionary Forces, nineteenth-century men and women living in the twenty-first century. Self-reliant, humble, and stoic, they kept their stories to themselves for a lifetime, then shared them at the last possible moment so that they, and the war they won - the trauma that created our modern world - might at last be remembered. You will never forget them.

    Jean says: "An engaging book"
    "Brilliant performance of an excellent book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot say enough about this book. I've been on a bit of a WWI kick, and this book was a nice change from the normal historical narrative. It lends a human perspective to the War, but it's as much a book about the present and how we think about the Great War as much as it is about the Great War itself. Grover Gardner is absolutely BRILLIANT - he does different voices for each person in a subtle way, and even conveys the emotion in the voices of those who are relating their stories.

    You should download this book. It is everything a non-fiction audiobook should be.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3373)
    Performance
    (2419)
    Story
    (2426)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "A classic, must read account"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book in hardcover as a teen; listening to it a second time forced me to listen to everything and I realized how thorough this book really is. It is definitely a political history rather than a military one, though of course it necessarily deals with a lot of military components. The pace is very good, though I do feel that Shirer spent too much time on certain aspects of the Third Reich - especially the conspiracies to murder Hitler. Since these were ultimately unsuccessful and incompetently handled, it felt strange that he would spend so much time talking about them.

    All in all, I really enjoyed this book - it is a classic for a reason. As long as it is, there are of course some passages that seem to drag, but not as many as you would expect. Grover Gardner was the ideal reader for this book. He has a very even tempo and his voice is excellent.

    If you're interested in WWII history and have never read this book, I give it my hearty recommendation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (583)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (517)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "Great overview of the Great War"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A World Undone the most enjoyable?

    This book gave me a greater appreciation of the impact of the Great War. Although I'd read a little on the subject, I'd read much more on WWII. This book helped me to realize how pivotal WWI was in shaping the 20th century. Listening to this book helped make sense of WWI (as much as insanity can ever be made sense of) but also helped me understand WWII. I found the author to be very objective and even handed. While he did not get bogged down in minute arguments only of interest to pedantic scholars, I appreciated that he would indicate where a point was disputed, or where there were varying opinions on a historical fact. I really enjoyed the "Background" sections, where he would give brief overviews of different facets that contributed to the nature of the war - such as the history and character of Prussia, the Cossacks, Women in the war, and so on.


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

    The reader has a very nice accent and reading tempo, as well as very good pronunciation of all the names of historical figures and the place names - names I never would have learned to pronounce otherwise.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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