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Willis

Manchester, NH, United States | Member Since 2004

38
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Vessel of Sadness

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By William Woodruff
    • Narrated By Sam Kelly
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Italy 1944 is the setting of one of the most convincing and quietly magnificent stories about man and war that has ever been written. They were young when they left and sang as they sailed down the Clyde. They didn't know where they were going and they didn't really care. They didn't want to fight and they hardly knew what the war was about. Here, distilled from the experiences and observations of the author, who served in Italy in the British infantry, is the story of those who fought and died at Anzio.

    Tim Byers says: "You'll love the SOUND of this"
    "Superb Story Teller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was a very skillfully written book on the battle to take Rome. I was glued to it the whole time and listened to it in one day. I was fascinated with the narrator's ability to mimic various English accents or dialects, which really brought the story to life. This was the glue that held it together for me. Vessel of Sadness is not a Ernie Pyle book on the Anzio Beach experience. It seems to be more of a rendering from a British infantry perspective with an unusual skill for weaving a story that paints a picture in your mind. I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of General Mark Clark, the hero of Anzio, the massacre of over 700 US Army Rangers by German infantry or the terror tactic of the Germans to walk long-range artillery in just to take out a single soldier they spotted. My father who is deceased was at Anzio. His unit, the 102nd Barrage Balloons, were brought in from Naples to land on the Anzio Beachhead four days after the initial invasion. He said they were in fox holes and trenches filled with water up to their chests while living in their own excrement & urine. He said they were brought up out of the trenches every three days.He said there was a British Army unit next to there's. He said the Germans hit the Allies with artillery every day. During one barrage, a British soldier came up out of the water in the trench and started walking for the open; he dropped his rifle and kept walking. British & American soldiers started yelling and hollering for him to come back, but he kept walking. Suddenly the sound of German artillery was heard coming in. My father said the German's walked the shells until they took him out. One moment there was a soldier, and the next there was no one there. The most traumatic experience for my father was when German "commandos" hit the fuel supply that the British unit had. He said they heard screaming and yelling and crying. They went running to the British area to see many British soldiers totally engulfed in flames and running. He said they tackled them and threw them down and rolled them on the ground. When I asked if they had saved any, he only shook his head indicating "no" and held his head down for the longest time. My father told me before he died at age 80 that he had nightmares & night sweats his entire life; it was the same reoccurring nightmares about trying to save the burning British soldiers. He said he could still hear them crying: "My feet are burning!" He said their boots burned right off from them. My father said they had artillery attacks every day for four months until reinforcements came in and got them off the beachhead. He said after every artillery barrage, they would go out looking for survivors. One day he saw a GI standing alone holding his intestines in his hands. My father asked if he could help. The GI told him he had a brother and what unit he was in and to get him. My father brought the brother and the two brothers embraced, and the wounded brother died in the arms of the other brother. I said to my father: Daddy, did that happen often at Anzio. He said quietly: "That was Anzio everyday." And he hung his head and was silent for a while. When I asked my father who suffered the most at Anzio, he said the infantry took the brunt of it. After Rome my father's unit was disbanded because they took down more Allied planes than enemy planes. If you asked my father what Anzio was like, he would whisper in a very low voice: "Anzio was hell." If you tried to push him further for information, he would tell you:" If you were at Anzio, you'd wish you were never born." He would only talk with combat war veterans about the war. I had great difficulty gleaning what I got. He said he went to a replacement detachment and was in the invasion of Southern France, the Rhineland & Central Germany and never again saw anything that compared to Anzio. The book Vessel of Sadness is an important read on the battle of Rome-Arno.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The 7th Month: A Detective D. D. Warren Story

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 47 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    Overall
    (2379)
    Performance
    (2005)
    Story
    (2010)

    In Lisa Gardner’s first-ever short story following thirteen bestselling novels, The 7th Month takes listeners between the books and into a day in the life of Boston Detective D. D. Warren. In her seventh month of pregnancy, D.D. should be taking it easy. Instead, she accepts a small consulting role on the set of a serial killer film shooting in Boston.

    Kristi says: "A great short detective mystery!"
    "An Interesting Idea for a Detective Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this audio book for free. I did not like it. I assume there must be people out there who eat this stuff up. I thought it had a trashy edge with the foul, profane, vulgar language. This story was not on the level of a PBS murder mystery. It doesn't compare to the top British, French, or German crime writers. I found it an interesting concept that a pregnant detective would be on the job up until the last moment and then give birth to a baby. I am sure there are many criminal-types who would love to get the best of a pregnant cop on their trail; you know, kind of like getting two for one. I thought the author had skill in writing and is very imaginative. But still I considered this audio book to be low on the totem pole for ability to really drag a listener in and captivate them and keep them guessing to the end. The narrator was definitely top shelf, but I think she was a poor choice for this book; she would be better on other types of books. I think if they could have got either a male or female narrator with an authentic Boston or big city east coast dialect, it would have helped this book much more. But as accents are very quickly being washout in the US, only a nursing home might have such a candidate.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • FSI Language Courses: Hebrew

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Foreign Service Institute
    • Narrated By Foreign Service Institute
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Despite the fact that are only approximately six million speakers of Modern Hebrew, a disproportionate amount of interest relative to its size exists in learning Hebrew. This is largely tied to Jewish communities around the world, but is also generated by interest among many Christian communities. An enduring resource for those looking to learn Hebrew has been the program originally developed by the Foreign Service Institute, a department within the U.S. State Department. While originally aimed at providing overseas diplomatic personnel with practical Hebrew language skills, these courses are now available for the general public.

    Willis says: "A Beneficial Tool in Assisting Hebrew Study"
    "A Beneficial Tool in Assisting Hebrew Study"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It may seem that I rated this Hebrew course a little higher than others. Yes, the tape-recording sound quality dates this course from a time gone by. Almost all of my audio books come as a Level 4, but because of the poor sound quality, it is more difficult to listen to. I found that by listening to the lessons for a while, I was able to finally understand the pronunciation; that is, my ears adjusted to the sound, and I could understand it. At first, I was discouraged, but once I found I could assimilate the sounds and understand the communication, I found it was useable for me and beneficial in my language learning in Hebrew. One of the down sides of this course is, there is no booklet to follow along and learn the meaning of newer words. The thing that made this course workable for me was the fact that I completed the entire Audio Pimsleur Hebrew Levels 1 to 3. I was able to understand many of the sentences, numbers, clock times and everyday happenings in Hebrew despite the poor sound quality. Also, some of the sentences I had never heard before, but I knew everyone of the words from having completed the Pimsleur Hebrew. And therefore I was able to assimilate the meaning of these newer sentences and expand my base of Hebrew comprehension. I will admit I was a US military linguist using German behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, and I and other linguists had to deal with much poorer sound quality than this but yet understand it and process it; so maybe I have an edge. I would not recommend this to the Hebrew student starting out for the first time. I would recommend doing the Audio Pimsleur Hebrew first then go for this one for reinforcement and language maintenance. The more different Hebrew speakers you listen to will help you to understand more Hebrew speakers with different accents and patterns of speech.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael B. Oren
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (793)
    Performance
    (402)
    Story
    (404)

    In Israel and the West, it is called the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is known as the June War or, simply, as "the Setback". Never has a conflict so short, unforeseen, and largely unwanted by both sides so transformed the world. The Yom Kippur War, the war in Lebanon, the Camp David accords, the controversy over Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the intifada, and the rise of Palestinian terror are all part of the outcome of those six days.

    Patrick says: "Great overview of Middle East troubles"
    "This Is A Story That Defies All Odds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story about Israel's existence that can only be explained by divine intervention. The military screw ups and scenes by the Arab opposing forces are similar to scenes in the Bible where God fought the battles for ancient Israel, i.e., large enemy forces fleeing out of unexplained fear, confusion among Arab forces, the leaving behind of large amounts of weapons & war supplies, hot food left on the tables of Arab homes in a suddenly-vacated city, etc. Although author Michael Oren does not credit God with any of these incredible happenings, a student of the Bible will begin to see the Hand of God. One thing, however, is for certain: The Arab order of battle, initial Arab air superiority, the vast numbers of Arab armies and war supplies against the world's 100th smallest nation, Israel, can only leave the secular reader with one conclusion: Israel shouldn't have been able to win this war. But they did, and it was against all odds!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pimsleur Quick and Simple Hebrew for English Speakers

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Dr. Paul Pimsleur
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (6)

    Understand and speak Hebrew starting with these eight quick and simple audio lessons. You're not just learning "phrases" with the Pimsleur Method, you're acquiring essential, conversational Hebrew.

    Jean says: "Only buy if your goal is to get drunk, etc.."
    "Pimsleur Hebrew Quick & Simple"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave the Pimsleur Quick & Simple a Five because I believe it really works. I was skeptical at first but now am a believer in the method. My experience has been in formal education learning German over a long time. I was once a German "linguist" for the US Army and had lived inside the former East Germany; so the Pimsleur method was totally alien to how I was taught German.I have not been to Israel yet, but I have met a number of Israelis while traveling in the US, and I have blown their socks off. They were totally surprised that a non-Israeli could learn their language. One Israeli asked me if I was an Israeli who left Israel as a child for the US. When I said no, he asked if I were an American-Jew. And I said no. He found it hard to believe. He said I was the first non-Jew he had ever met that could speak his language. Another Israeli, an older man, who claimed to have fought in most of Israel's wars thought I was an Israeli at first. He questioned me quite a bit and finally said:"Today you have earned my respect." He too said he had never met a non-Israeli that could speak Hebrew. I have gone through all Three Phases of the Pimsleur Hebrew. I took two years to do it and did it slowly and faithfully. If I were to give any advice, I would say study it exactly the way they say and do not try to write down sounds. That is why I think these Israelis thought I was a former Israeli because I got the pronunciation and pattern of speech down like the Pimsleur Israeli speakers had spoken. I listened to the Pimsleur instructions (30-minutes long) maybe 8 times over a period of 6 months to be sure I was doing it right because I have a tendency to go back to old ways I was taught. I might add, my wife who is a native speaker of Latin-American Spanish and who is now fluent in English used the entire Pimsleur ESL course and did Hebrew Phase I (all 30 lessons). During our respective lunch breaks at our places of employment we would do small, short conversations in Hebrew over our cell phones five days a week. She travels to Panama and meets Israelis on the planes and has astounded them as well with her basic skill in Hebrew. It is even more astounding for a native of a Latin country to address and begin a conversation in Hebrew.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Spanish Word Booster: 500+ Most Needed Words & Phrases

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 4 mins)
    • By Vocabulearn
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Learn with rhythm, learn with tunes, Spanish, English words you'll use! Bilingual vocabulary builder for Spanish or English. Five hundred words and expressions, plus conversation. Original music score energizes the listener. Engages both left and right brain for optimal learning.

    Willis says: "Spanish Word Booster"
    "Spanish Word Booster"
    Overall

    I rated this audio book a 5 because there were a lot of common phrases to help a beginning conversational speaker in everyday Spanish. It was also a very good review. My wife's family is up visiting from Panama, and I got to use a lot of the phrases on my eight-year-old niece. The teaching style in the audio book was very beneficial to me. I feel I have more confidence & ability in my conversational Spanish. It would be nice if Spanish Word Booster expanded to more advanced converstational useage in the future so as to give the growing conversational speaker something as a stronger foundation, being not everyone gets to live in a foreign country for extended periods.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Pimsleur Quick & Simple Spanish 2nd Revised Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Dr. Paul Pimsleur
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Understand and speak Spanish starting with these eight quick and simple audio lessons. You're not just learning "phrases" with the Pimsleur Method, you're acquiring essential, conversational Spanish! You'll be thrilled to discover you can hold a real conversation in Spanish when you have finished these eight 30-minute lessons!

    LAURIE says: "for the simple mind"
    "Pimsleur Quick & Simple Spanish"
    Overall

    Excellent learning tool for the beginner. I used the expressions on my wife, a Panamanian ex-Patriot, and she gave me high kudos for improved pronounciation and more realistic expression of the short sentences and expressions. I only wished there were follow up lessions that would take me further; otherwise, I would have given it a 5.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Cinderella (Dramatized)

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 38 mins)
    • By Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By The St. Charles Players
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The St. Charles Players present a new and unique telling of this children's classic performed in exciting Radio Theatre style.

    CICADA says: "My little girl loves listening to this."
    "Cinderella"
    Overall

    It was a very good narration; it seemed the speakers carried a modern twist in their selfish, egotistic manners. It did portray good over evil. It gives people who do not meet the world's standards of being perfect the chance and the hope they can find beauty and love from handsome, unselfish stars who see their true beauty and worth and see beyond the glitter and deception of a really not so perfect world to find a heart of gold.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alice in Wonderland

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By Linda Hamilton
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Alice in Wonderland is a literary classic that has beguiled and enthralled children and adults for generations. Experience the greatest adventure ever written.

    Colin says: "truly essential"
    "Alice in Wonderland"
    Overall

    Excellent narration. Very interesting. I took a negative view of it and would not allow a child to listen to it. I didn't like the child abuse scenes, especially where the woman's voice says repeatedly, "I beat my baby." The scenes where the queen constantly says, "off with their heads" didn't take me too well either. I am sure the familiar violence mirrors another time period and would make those of us from the 21st Century squirm.

    1 of 33 people found this review helpful

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