I loved this book. It's the closest thing to Mark Twain I've read in a long time. Entertaining, poignant, ironic, and a tribute to decent people being manipulated by the charlatans.Then protagonist is a young soldier whose heroism in battle was captured by a Fox news crew. The Army sends him and his buddies on a publicity tour of the US. The high point is their attendance on Thanksgiving day at a Dallas/Chicago football game at Cowboys Stadium. The author does a marvelous job of showing Billy's inner turmoil, knowing he has to go back to the war when the game is over. He meets a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and it's instant love for both of them. Meanwhile, the owner of the Cowboys, a sleazy, manipulative Jerry Jones type, exploits Billy and his buddies, putting them on display in front of the thousands in the stadium and millions watching on t.v., throwing them into a halftime show as props for Beyonce and Destiny's Child.
The author does something few contemporary writers do - skewers American culture and politics while making us care about the individuals - Billy and his fellow soldiers, their families, the girl Billy falls in love with. The Cowboys' owner schemes to screw the soldiers out of their story so he can produce a movie, and the fans start out fawning over the boys, later either ignoring them, or wanting to fight them.
The book made me realize how hollow it must sound to vets to say "thank you for your service and/or sacrifice," and to talk about courage, honor freedom and the American way of life and so on, while 99% of us never serve, and go about our lives worshipping pop culture icons like Beyonce and pro athletes. Or as George W. Bush said, after 9-11, go to Disney World or go shopping.
The narrator does a great job of pacing and portraying the different characters.
This book is destined to become a classic that withstands time, and should be required reading in English classes, like Dickens and Twain.
The Marines who held Fox Hill were as brave, stoic and heroic as those at Iwo Jima or any other terrible battle. Their story is inspiring, and it is dramatically and skillfully told.
Capt. Wm. Barber, received Medal of Honor for his leadership and bravery. Inspired his men to keep fighting when it looked like all hope was gone. There were many Marines too injured and weak to walk, and he told the men we all leave together or we all stay together. The men of Fox Company held a key pass open that allowed a surrounded, outnumbered division to live to fight another day.
The narration was a little spotty. He has a nice voice, but I think the editing made it a little choppy.
This book is entertaining and educational. It shows what the real Mafia is about - ripping off honest businessmen, who pass the costs to the consumers. A bunch of thugs and bullies who make million, maybe billions, by monopolizing the garbage and recyclying business in the NYC area.
The author was an organized crime detective who went undercover wearing a wire for three years. Lots of suspense, and many dangerous moments when he could have been exposed and killed.
I may have spelled FF's name wrong, my point is that Daniel Silva writes like some of the great old writers of espionage and thrillers. The plotting, characterization, and settings and action are gripping. The hero, Gabriel, is a tough but believable Mossad agent, tracking down the kidnappers of a young English woman. The kidnapping looks at first like a standard grab for money, but as the story unfolds it becomes much deeper and more sinister. I like the hero's sidekick, a former SAS soldier who is a contract killer for the Corsican mob when introduced, but turns out to have some integrity and honor.
I have missed having an author to read that I enjoy as much as I did the great John D. MacDonald, but I may have found one.
The book is valuable in showing how the death of a lowlife meth dealer/addict homosexual hustler was turned into a cause celebre by the gay/liberal establishment. Shepard was no hero, he was a deeply messed up semi-pro gay hustler and drug dealer, who got what criminals in that line of work often get - a nasty, sordid death. The author is to be commended for telling the truth. However, the book could have been cut by at least half and made the point. It repeats the same sordid scenes over and over (Matt and some of his buddies and an older drug dealer thug pervert getting "frisky" (author's word, not mine) in the back of a stretch limo, making runs to Denver to pick up and deliver crystal meth. Poor little Matt was not targeted by redneck cowboys who hated gays; he was beaten and killed by cowboy redneck fellow homosexuals for not paying up for the drugs he got on credit from them.
There is too much author intrusion for my taste. The author should stay in the background.
I read mostly nonfiction, history and current events. This is by far the best biography I've ever read. It brings Washington to life, warts and all. He was the greatest American to ever live, if not the greatest man in history. He had flaws, as we all do. In his youth he made some really bad decisions and blunders, e.g., the debacle at Ft. Necessity where he chose a terrible place to make a stand against the French and Indians. His loss of control of his troops may have led to a massacre of French troops that started the French and Indian War, then after being overrun at Ft. Necessity he signed surrender papers that admitted he committed war crimes. All that said, he learned from his mistakes, was charismatic, and when he had the chance to be the "man on horseback" and be a Caesar, he said no. I've always admired him, and after listening to this book (the narration is great too) I love him.
I don't know if I can finish it. Too much of Adam and his wife Kelly teaching Sunday School, holding hands in church, reading the Bible and so on. Then there's the bizarre recklessness of the hero - jumping from a moving truck over a bridge rail into a river 50 feet below, and the worst of all - sitting his naked behind and testicles on a stirred up fire ant bed on a $20 bet - not as a dumb teenager, but a grown man in the Seals. And his buddies and even some officers were egging him on, if this is to be believed. This was, so far, the hardest part of this book to listen to.
People who are "fearless" are dangerous, to themselves and others. Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. And it really, really astounds me that he even got into the military as a hard core drug addict, and kept relapsing - as a Seal, and some of his comrades knew it and covered for him. This is the sort of "I was a miserable sinner but when I gave my life to Jesus he lifted my affliction" you hear in Southern Baptist churches (I know, because I grew up in them).
There's another passage that is hard to get through, because of the amateurish writing. The author cuts between Adam in training risking his life and his wife's travails with their infant son, and seems to give them equal weight. In Outpost, about the hellish experience of a company of US soldiers in Afghanistan, the author also describes the wives and families back home, and it is poignant to see how they suffer, wondering if the ringing phone is awful news of their loved one's death.
The accents the narrator gives Adam, his wife and parents are laughable, like a bad actor trying to sound like what he imagines Scarlett O'hara sounded like. Arkansans, particularly from Hot Springs, don't sound like Mississipians.
I did enjoy some of the descriptions of life in the Seals after BUDS and before they get their trident. The next stage when they first go to the teams sound as brutal as BUDS.
Why no vo
I listened to the Audible.com version of this book. It is an eye-opener. You have to wonder how the U.S. Army promotes officers to general, when they decide to build a small base with less than 200 soldiers at the base of three mountains, near the Pakistan border, so remote that it takes close to an hour for air support to arrive (when the aircraft are available, since the geniuses Bush and Cheney started a second war and sent most of the resources to Iraq). Add a misconceived "hearts and mind" doctrine and rules of engagement that prohibit our troops from shooting unless the target has a rifle in hand. Even if they've just taken fire from that Hahji.
The book is realistic in its depiction of the troops on the ground. He doesn't describe them in the usual stereotypes - heroes, patriots, etc. Some of them did join for patriotic reasons, some because the alternative was a dead end job at Taco Bell, or going to jail. The author shows the pain and sacrifice of the soldiers' families, dreading a phone call in the middle of the night, or the worst, when two officers knock on the door to tell them their husband or son have been killed.
After months of attrition, losing men to snipers and IED's, the higher-ups decide to close the outpost. The Taliban and the local Afghans our soldiers have been trying to help surround the outpost from three sides, well concealed in the mountains, and attack. The Afghan Army soldiers, our "allies," bug out, some of them giving their weapons to the enemy.
So many good Americans died, or were horribly maimed, all for nothing.
The author has done a real service to our troops. The men on the ground served with courage and integrity. The generals who conceived this disaster should all be cashiered.
I like this book so much, and it is so well written and full of vital information and human drama, I am listening to it a second time, and going to buy the print version.
I quit listening to this book less than half way through. It's unrealistic. The hero's elderly aunt in Florida dies. Pretty common occurrence, but the hero decides it must be foul play (okay, the aunt did write a letter to her brother - hero's father - and say there were suspicious goings-on in her town).
The dialogue is almost painful. The book start's when Hero is summoned to visit his father in the nursing home. Father is a retired 3 star war hero general. Hero is also a war hero (what is it with current suspense novels - every other protagonist is a retired SEAL, Ranger, Green Beret or Marine Recon Iraq/Afghan war hero). Hero reports to duty - stands ramrod straight, salutes, yes-sir, roger that, sir - no-sir to his dear old dad, lying in his nursing home bed, who apparently thinks he is still the commanding general of two or three divisions. But the old man still has enough snap to know his sister in Florida is about to be the victim of foul play.
It gets worse. Hero rents a car -not just any car - the Hertz agent is a nice lady whose son is a Ranger, they chit-chat, so she rents him a Corvette for the price of a Corolla.
Finally, he arrives at the town with a secret. The dialogue with the local cops is supposed to be snappy but is so bad it is almost comical. Of course, dear old auntie is dead. The neighbor who found her body by a fountain is able to describe in detail how the body lay, the color of her neck, the state of stiffness in her limbs, and so on, from which the hero deduces that the old lady didn't just fall and hit her head or croak from a heart attack, but was murdered. That's where I quit listening, and downloaded Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which, by the way, is a scathing indictment of this culture's exploitation of our vets.
suspenseful, clever, page-turner
Nick's reaction opens the door to the storage shed where he's been led by his missing wife Amy's clues for her treasure hunt.
They are both great. The story is told from two viewpoints - Nick's and Amy's. Both narrators do superb job of creating a "voice" for their characters, and then pull off bringing to life all the other characters as seen through the two narrators. There are parts of Amy's story where I laughed out loud, and others where I was so mad at her husband for mistreating her.
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