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Kerrville, United States Minor Outlying Islands | Member Since 2010

  • 18 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 215 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014

  • The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jake Tapper
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro

    At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war's deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. abandoned and bombed the camp.

    Ryan says: "Good, could have been great."
    "Should be required reading for all Americans"

    I listened to the 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jason Redman, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Erik Bergmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Decorated Navy SEAL Lieutenant Jason Redman served his country courageously and with distinction in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where he commanded mobility and assault forces. But his journey was not without its supreme challenges. He was critically wounded in 2007 when he was struck by machine-gun fire at point blank range. During his intense recovery period, Redman posted a sign on his door, warning all who entered not to "feel sorry for [his] wounds."

    Richard says: "Not Superman - Real Man With Incredible Courage"
    "Not Superman - Real Man With Incredible Courage"
    What made the experience of listening to Trident the most enjoyable?

    I read a lot of memoirs and other nonfiction books about American men at war. The Trident is not just another book about the hell of BUDS or Seals doing heroic things. It has those elements, but it is different in showing that Seals are real flesh and blood men, not supermen and cartoon type superheroes. The author is brutally honest about his own mistakes and flaws, a big one being buying into the superman myth to the point of arrogance and thinking he was invincible and didn't have to live by the rules. You could call this a rise and fall then rise again story. And all of that is before he is deployed to Iraq where he is catastrophically wounded.
    Mr. Redman also shows how much politics harms our troops. His Seal unit was punished after it succeeded in a night raid where they captured the "rocket man," an Afghan who was making bombs to kill and maim Americans. Unfortunately, rocket man was one of Karzai's good friends, and Karzai threw a fit. So, the killer was turned loosed, and the commanding US general wouldn't let Redman's unit go outside the wire any more.
    I never thought I'd read a book where a Navy Seal admits that Army Ranger school is as tough as BUDS but he does. The story of how he was forced to go to Ranger school after already serving in the Seals for over a decade is worth reading the book.
    And after he was wounded, his will to recover and help other wounded vets shows how courageous and noble a man he is.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Shows that the Seals are not mythical supermen or cartoon characters, but real men with incredible courage and determination, and they and their families are not invincible - they suffer and bleed.

    Which character – as performed by Erik Bergmann – was your favorite?

    Jason Redman

    Any additional comments?

    It also shows that these extraordinary men are often sent on fool's errands and misused by their superiors and the politicians.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Last Stand of Fox Company is a fast-paced and gripping account of heroism and self-sacrifice in the face of impossible odds. The authors have conducted dozens of firsthand interviews with the battle's survivors, and they narrate the story with the immediacy of such classic accounts of single battles as Guadalcanal Diary, Pork Chop Hill, and Black Hawk Down.

    Stephen says: "Outstanding story, poor narration"
    "Inspiring Dramatic Story of American Marines"
    What made the experience of listening to The Last Stand of Fox Company the most enjoyable?

    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.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.

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

    The narration was a little spotty. He has a nice voice, but I think the editing made it a little choppy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Takedown: The Fall of the Mafia Empire

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Rick Cowan, Douglas Century
    • Narrated By Christopher Meloni

    Seldom has the netherworld of the Mafia been revealed with such fascinating detail and sheer suspense. Featuring eccentric, larger-than-life New York characters and an undercover cop on the brink of being discovered - and murdered - at every step, Takedown is a riveting real-life procedural and one of the most important investigative books of its time.

    Robert says: "Gripping"
    "The Anti-Godfather - The Real Mafia"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The English Girl: Gabriel Allon, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

    Janels says: "Gabriel's story takes huge strides"
    "Heir of Frederick Forsythe??"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen Jimenez
    • Narrated By Paul Fleschner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Late on the night of October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a twenty-one-year-old gay college student, left a bar in Laramie, Wyoming with two alleged "strangers" Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate.

    G says: "Finding The Truth When Media Distorts Reality"
    "How to Maker Hero of Lowlife Meth Dealer"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Best Biography I've Ever Read"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Eric Blehm
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan - but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, "I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me."

    M. Kuhnert says: "Moving"
    "Should be titled "Reckless""

    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

    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgotten

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case - but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.

    Cris says: "Better than Other Recent Releases"
    "Plodding Police Procedural"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    "Moving, Poignant, Ironic Tale of Young Vet"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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