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B. Derf

Sunset Beach, CA USA | Member Since 2009

  • 10 reviews
  • 208 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014

  • Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror, 1801-1805

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Joseph Wheelan
    • Narrated By Patrick Cullen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Two centuries ago, without congressional or public debate, a president who is thought of today as peaceable, Thomas Jefferson, launched America's first war on foreign soil, a war against terror. The enemy was Muslim; the war was waged unconventionally, with commandos, native troops, and encrypted intelligence, and launched from foreign bases.

    Donald says: "A Great Read"
    "A logical extension of "Empires of the Sea"."

    Pirates and slavery were a historical problem in the Mediterranean for centuries prior to Jefferson's birth. Roger Crowley chronicled this in his book "Empires of the Sea". This plague on the people of the Mediterranean, and the World, was ended by Jefferson's Barbary War's. The ingenuity, courage, and daring of the American troops and their leaders changed the the path of history and secured support of the major European to end this blight.

    The writing was interesting and the reading was good and at times powerful. This a book that should be read to gain a viewpoint of the attitude of many of the leaders and people Muslim world toward the "unbelievers" or infidels. A problem that we, or children and future generations will have to deal with.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    D says: "Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back."
    "Butcher and Marsters create magic, again!"

    Skin games is the 15th book in the Dresden Files series and a solid addition to the franchise. After fourteen books you might think that Harry has done just about everything a wizard in the 21st century can do. But things just keep coming at him that we or he don't see on the horizon. Sort of like running aground in the middle of the ocean on a cruise liner with all charts showing open seas. (Could Harry's ability to knock out modern equipment, bring down an ocean liner during a honeymoon cruise?)

    Once again James Marsters demonstrates his voice acting ability to bring Harry Dresden's world into living, breathing, characters that make you care about them. James Marsters is the voice of the Dresden Files - at least in 14 out of the 15 audio books. In each he adds depth to the characters - making them come to life in our earphones. Demonstrating the depth of this acting skills by playing all the parts and making us not only believe all of them, but care about them. I first took notice of him as 'Spike' in the 2nd season of the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". His screen presents took what was to be a bit part to a major character in the 7th and final seasons and then, on the the Buffy spinoff Angel.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • FREE The Human Division, Episode 1: The B-Team

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris

    Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial Union’s future. As the team works to pull off their task, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson discovers there’s more to the story of the missing diplomats than anyone expected... a secret that could spell war for humanity.

    Brett says: "Pretty Fun Space Opera"
    "A Great Twist"

    How can a manager build a team who break the rules, end up in front of a hearing board, and yet succeed in the face of impossible odds where many others have failed. In, "The B-Team" we are treated to an example of an unlikely group, thrown together, who succeed while breaking the rules. A really fun story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Free Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 58 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Susan says: "So much fun!"
    "Oscar Wilde - Wild once again"

    Oscar Wilde has a totally irreverent and completely sarcastic view of Victorian life style and morals. The play is done so earnestly and with tongue so firmly in cheek it is a wonder that the dialog is as clear and understandable as it is. Wilde's attempt to lampoon the more absurd conventions of his day are firmly spiked by James Marsters, who wears his role as comfortably as a favorite pair of loafers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

    Teddy says: "Excellent Book All Over"
    "Do not listen to this while you are driving!"
    What would have made The Better Angels of Our Nature better?

    While the topic could be interesting, the way this book is written and read is a non-drug cure for insomnia.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    "A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition", "Power, Faith, and Fantasy", Don Quixote, 1434 or The Prince

    How could the performance have been better?

    Audible carries a large number of books narrated by Arthur Morey. From the number and genres of the writings I must assume that he has done well with them. But, until this tome I had not been exposed to him. Perhaps the author, editor or publisher instructed him to read in a monotone – I don’t know. But, I do know that I kept finding myself dozing off or waking up from his rendition of this text.

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

    If sure that there were some passages or concepts that could be considered "Redeeming Values", but I must have slept through them.

    Any additional comments?

    I'd recommend a rewrite - a total rewrite

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Dan Senor, Saul Singer
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel - a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources - produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the UK?

    morton says: "A Remarkable Audio!"
    "Is it ???Chutzpah??? of ???Davka????"

    Is the success of Israel???s business startups a case of ???Chutzpah??? (audacity, brazen nerve, courage, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' mettle, presumption topped off with a little (or large) touch of arrogance) or Davka (despite everything).

    The authors of ???Startup Nation??? argue the case of chutzpah quite strongly, and they are right. The people of Israel have had to "make do" in a land with few natural resources, surrounded by hostile nations. Due, in part to this, have become the "go to" place for emerging technologies the computer, science, ecology, medicine, and a host of other fields.

    But these successes are as much due to ???Davka??? (often defined as ???despite everything??? or ???just because you want me to disappear from the face of the earth - I will not??? emphasis on the last three words) - the insistence on surviving whatever is thrown at them and turning lemons (or the fruit of trees growing in salt water) into lemonade.

    While the general media from around the world is not report the successes of Israeli technology to impact their nations, in many ways people the world daily touch products of the Israeli minds.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cast in Moonlight: Free Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Michelle Sagara
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam

    Barely a teenager, Kaylin Neya is a thief, a fugitive and an attempted assassin. She also has a smart mouth, sharp wits and mysterious markings on her skin. All of which make her perfect bait for a child prostitution sting in the city of Elantra - if she survives her first meeting with the Hawks!

    Jason says: "Great STUFF!!!"
    "Great Introduction to Michelle Sagara"

    I had not stumbled across Michelle Sagara before this - much to my sorrow. This was a was written novella read to perfection by Khristine Hvam.

    This is a story about a young girl (lady) crossing the bridge from both her adolescent's in a dangerous area of her city, to the painful time of personal and physical growth on the 'right-side-of-the-tracks(bridge) in the 'good' part of town.

    Khristine Hvam did a great job with the reading of this book, further enhancing my respect for her vocal talents.

    And the best part was that it was free - but I did purchase "Cast in Shadow: Chronicles of Elantra, Book 1" due to this novella.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
    • Narrated By Simon Vance

    At the urging of his wife, Elizabeth, the Duke of York (known to the royal family as "Bertie") began to see speech therapist Lionel Logue in a desperate bid to cure his lifelong stammer. Little did the two men know that this unlikely friendship - between a future monarch and a commoner born in Australia - would ultimately save the House of Windsor from collapse.

    Howard says: "As enjoyable as the film, and then some."
    "Not what I thought"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I thought that this was a audio version of the movie, but it was not. Rather it was a biography of Lyle Logue the Kings speech pathologist - not bad - but not what I was looking for.

    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Simon Vance was able to bring some life into the story.

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

    For the most part this was a time filler - don't think I will bother with it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Decision Points

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By George W. Bush
    • Narrated By George W. Bush

    In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings listeners inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America's most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for numerous historic and controversial decisions.

    Shirley says: "straight forward"
    "Intersting to hear his view, very poor editing"

    This was a necessary book. It gives insight to the feelings and processes that shaped the American response over the eight years of the GW Bush Presidency and that have carried on though to the Obama administration. Like the results or not, at least we now have more information, from his viewpoint, on the why, what, and how he functioned.

    My feelings toward George W Bush as a President run the gambit of respect and support to frustration, disappointment, and dismay. Perhaps most of the missteps were due to bad advice - but in the end history will only remember that it was his Presidency. Chaney, Rowe, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell or so many others that cycled through his administration will only be footnotes, at best.

    Those who are elected to the Presidency are not suddenly granted infinite wisdom (Carter is a good example of this - but I did like his energy policies). Errors in judgments, policies, decisions or actions have a way of taking on a life of their own.and most often can not be returned to the paper that authorized them.

    I think that both Presidents Bush did their best, but in the end - while I respect them both - I was disappointed in both. However, I think that they are strong enough to get past that with only a little loss of sleep..

    My biggest complaint about this recording is the poor edition. the gaps between chapters are unconscionably long and detract from (and maybe even devalue) the message. I do not have a single audio book in my collect that has gaps like this. I can only wonder if was not an intentional slight - sort of a parting shot at his legacy.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Misquoting Jesus

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today.

    R. J. Monts says: "a (mostly) balanced discussion"
    "A Detailed and Scholarly Review"

    Those who believe that the current version King James Bible is the final and unchallengeable word of G_d will not be happy with this book. A statement early in the book of, ???There are more errors in the New Testament than there are words??? sets the stage for a Fundamentalist to have a coronary.

    Professor Ehrman gives the reader a rare insight into how the New Testament came into the form we know today. He talks about the human equation in the development, distribution, of the scriptures which were written decades (even centuries) after the events took place. He explains the reason for errors in copying, intentional and unintentional modifications, losses, additions (often centuries later) and out right fabrications of the various texts and how, they finally ended up as one document. He documents his arguments in great detail and proves that this is not a hatchet job. It is obvious that he cares deeply about the topic and repeatedly shows the reader where and why the issues exist.

    It would benefit the reader to acquire a printed version of the text to be able to annotate the information for yourself. Trying to bookmark the recoding while you are driving might be a little difficult and hazardous. You will want to keep notes, there will be a test later.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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