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Stewart Gooderman


San Francisco, CA | Member Since 2007

  • 17 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 241 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By George Tenet
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the whirlwind of accusations and recriminations that has attended the post 9/11 world, one man's vital testimony has been conspicuously absent. Candid and compelling, At the Center of the Storm is George Tenet's memoir of his life at the CIA - a revelatory look at the inner workings of America's top intelligence agency and its dealings with national leaders at home and abroad.

    Karen says: "Brilliant!"
    "Surprisingly good"

    As Mr Tenet was a major player during 9/11 and the Iraq invasion, and yet not one of the principals you normally get to hear in the media, I was interested in hearing his side of the story.

    The book appears well written and holds interest. As an audio performance, it holds interest throughout and flows well. Some of the edits are a bit sloppy as you can hear the reader's voice change in timbre as re-reads have been inserted. But this is not objectionable.

    By far the most interesting part of the book is the afterward, spoken by Mr Tenet himself. Here, he ponders on the future, using his past experience as a guide and, at least for me, hits every nail on the head. The things he says in print are things that I have been verbalizing to acquaintances for years.

    This is not to mean that I blindly agree with Mr Tenet:
    1) No matter what he says in the book, 9/11 was missed under his tenure. He may have seen the dots, but without being able to put them together, he lost the game. And that's what it's all about: winning the game.

    2) He also (admittedly) got it wrong regarding WMAs in Iraq, which, although it was not the Bush Administration's sole reason for invading Iraq (the others being even more ridiculous), was the reason being fed to the public to justify invasion.

    In both cases, he bears responsibility, at least in part, for the deaths of many people, which he really has yet to admit to.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Rodger Streitmatter
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For more than a century before gay marriage became a hot-button political issue, same-sex unions flourished in America. Pairs of men and pairs of women joined together in committed unions, standing by each other "for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health" for periods of 30 or 40 - sometimes as many as 50 - years. In short, they loved and supported each other every bit as much as any husband and wife. In Outlaw Marriages, cultural historian Rodger Streitmatter reveals how some of these unions didn’t merely improve the quality of life for the two people involved but also enriched the American culture.

    Mercedes says: "very well documented and interesting"
    "Interesting. . . but"

    What this book actually points out is that, in the world of gaydom, homosexuals are not very much different than heterosexuals. Behind every famous (or even not so famous) individual there was one or several unnamed person or persons who, through fate, led that person to their fame. More often than not, they are never recognized, nor compensated, for their contributions that lead to that fame and fortune.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By William J. Mann
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane

    By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence; yet Hollywood's glittering ascendancy was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies - including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

    Steven says: "Everybody's a dreamer..."
    "A Story That Never Ceases to Fascinate"

    The sensational (and officially unsolved) murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor in 1922. It's coming close to celebrating its centenary and we're still talking about it. It's the centerpiece of all the excesses in early Hollywood (aka Tinseltown). William Mann spent years gathering the facts surrounding this event and presents them here with the entire cast of characters that either were implicated or affected by the event, from Hollywood Czars all the way down to the down and out denizens living off the streets either legally or illegally.

    Hollywood was a place where illusion was the Bill of Fare, and many of the people who worked there were creating their own illusions of who they were as well. Mann fleshes them out and develops the complex interactions with all the characters skillfully.

    The quality of the writing is further enhanced by Christopher Lane's magnificent reading. With the many audiobooks I have listened to, his reading is *the* best I've ever heard. Beautiful diction and phrasing, an absolute pleasure to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert Reich
    • Narrated By Robert Reich

    The author of 12 acclaimed books, Robert B. Reich is a Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and has served in three national administrations. While many blamed Wall Street for the financial meltdown, Aftershock points a finger at a national economy in which wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top - and where a grasping middle class simply does not have the resources to remain viable.

    Chris says: "Very plausible assessment of our economy"
    "Devastatingly predictive"

    This book should be required reading whatever your political leaning. It uses non-disputible facts to make predictions of where our economy will be headed given what has recently happened to our current economy.

    This book was written a year or so ago. What is scary is that some of Reich's predictions *are already coming true.*

    Some of Reich's proposed fixes sound controversial, even for a liberal like me. However, the idea of Social Security probably sounded just as foreign in 1937.

    To all our current, future, or would-like-to-be political leaders. You all have a reading assignment: this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Daniel Okrent
    • Narrated By Daniel Okrent

    Here is a brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America's most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of Americas favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

    Linda says: "Strictly an account"
    "Important topic; flawed execution"

    The years during which Prohibition was the law of the land were extremely important in our nations history. American history witnessed the age of invention, a golden age for business, increasing wealth, great contributions to the arts and sciences. The effect of Prohibition on these years was pivotal, and a detailed study of why it happened and what went wrong has never really been written until this book came along.

    I thought the book was well written, at least of the amount presented here. I generally do not like abridged editions because they put a slant on the authors intent. I mean, if the author could have written what he wanted to say in fewer words, why wouldn't 've he. As I listened, I kept on wondering what was left out. So, one star off for that.

    I agree with a previous writer here. The author was *not* the person to be reading this book. His phrasing is simply terrible. He has a habit of pausing before the last word in a sentence. Very annoying. One star off for that.

    In this day and age, there is simply no excuse to abridge an audiobook, especially since an unabridged version has not been offered as well. The author and his writing were not well served here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jeff Shesol
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court's conservative majority left much of Franklin Roosevelt's agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal but democracy itself that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices - and to "pack" the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a "living" Constitution.

    IRP says: "Excellent Book and Naration"
    "Powerful and relevent"

    There are many similarities between our great depression and or current great recession. Understanding the former goes a long way to understanding the latter. This book brings up Roosevelts New Deal agenda, the conservative Supreme Court's opposition and the resulting battle that was waged. Of paramount significance is the realization that today's conservative movement got its start with Roosevelt's defeat to pack the Supreme Court.

    The book's presentation is first rate. Mel Foster was an inspired choice to be narrator. His imitation of Roosevelt is right on the mark. A must listen!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The New York Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Paul Auster
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett

    Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller.

    James says: "Great Book of Pretentiousness"
    "Strange and Bizarre"

    Being a native New Yorker, I love reading stories about New York, its people, its energy, its quirkiness. That's what attracted me to this trilogy. But these three novellas are just too, too bizarre. They read like a cross between The Twilight Zone and The Naked City. In fact, each would probably work better as a teleplay than as a novella. I finished the three being totally befuddled and disappointed.

    Although the material left me cold, the production values were first rate. Very well read and produced with great sound listening at the enhanced level. Audible did a great job producing this version of the work.

    12 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By William Cohan
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In March 2008, Bear Stearns, a swashbuckling 84-year-old financial institution, was forced to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for an outrageously low price in a deal brokered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was desperately trying to prevent the impending catastrophic market crash. But mere months before, an industry-wide boom had "the Bear" clocking a record high stock price. How did a giant investment bank with $18 billion in cash on hand disappear in a mere 10 days?

    roberta Kane says: "Riveting, interesting, learned alot"
    "Well read, but overproduced"

    The story of the rise and fall of Bear Sterns, the investment banking group as told through its three day free fall and collapse and then in flash back to its beginnings, rise, nadir then end, finally moving forward to related matters: the collapse of Lehman Bros, and the sale of Merrill Lynch. Regarding content, the book is interesting but as others have noted here, poorly edited. Regarding the audiobook, the reader is excellent, but the audiobook seems to have been assembled rather than simply read. You can hear edit after edit as if alternate takes of paragraphs, sentences, even words were dropped in. This may not be audible if listening in a living room, but it certainly is audible with ear devices.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Conscience of a Liberal

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Paul Krugman
    • Narrated By Jason Culp

    America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal with strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But for the past 30 years, American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal's achievements. Now, the tide may be turning, and in The Conscience of a Liberal Paul Krugman, the world's most widely read economist and one of its most influential political commentators, charts the way to reform.

    carl801 says: "Great Book!!!"
    "required reading!"

    If you want to become an informed citizen and not throw away your ballot in what is looking more and more like the most important election in fifty years, this book, along with former Vice President Al Gore’s recent book, are required reading. Presented in a manor easy to understand, even with statistical research thrown in, Mr Krugman's attack on Movement Conservatism and its threat to all things we hold sacred hits like an approaching storm. His antidotes to get us back on track are well thought out and seem amazingly reachable, like the calm after the storm is over.

    Five stars also go to the reader. It's read like it was actually written by him.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jeremy Scahill
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner

    A largely untold facet of the war on terror is the widespread outsourcing of military tasks to private mercenary companies. Accountable neither to the citizenry nor to standard military legal codes, these largely unregulated corporate armies are being entrusted with ever-greater responsibilities on behalf of the nation.

    Stanley says: "Truly frightening"

    Only an informed citizenry is capable of make sound decisions about the future of our country. With the approaching presidential election, this is another of those works that should be read by all of us so that we can better judge who will lead us for the next four years. What is so wonderful about this book is that it gives the reader the background to understand what is happening in the news even as I write this review. Listen and learn. You won't regret it!

    17 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Bill Clinton
    • Narrated By Bill Clinton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Here, from Bill Clinton, is a call to action. Giving is an inspiring look at how each of us can change the world. First, it reveals the extraordinary and innovative efforts now being made by companies and organizations and by individuals to solve problems and save lives both "down the street and around the world". Then it urges us to seek out what each of us, "regardless of income, available time, age, and skills", can do to help.

    Edmund W. Cheung says: "Buy the hard copy book - the listen lacks"

    Let me say first that I am a great admirer of President Clinton. I voted for him (twice) and was saddened when he left office. As a narrator he is simply superb.

    But there are two problems with the audiobook: First, the book's nature is more of a reference text than an inspiration. It's ultimate goal is to provide you ways to be philanthropic. Having the physical information in front of you is ultimately more useful than just an audio narration. Inspiration from this book may goad you to go out and buy the physical book itself as a reference text.

    The second problem with the book is that some of the examples cited show a naivete surprising for a man such as Mr Clinton. For example: he continually cites the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. Mr Gates built his wealth via predatory business practices that even today are being attacked in courts around the world. This is, essentially, blood money, and much akin to what Carnegie and Frick did 100 years ago when they built their empires and then relinquished them later in life. Reading about this was a true turn-off and it happened so early in the book that, to me, called into question a lot of what was written later.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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