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BA English MA Political Science Political Independent Intellectually curious Critical reader

Los Angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

  • 20 reviews
  • 207 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • What's So Great About America

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Dinesh D'Souza
    • Narrated By Dinesh D'Souza

    America is under attack as never before - not only from terrorists, but from people who provide a rationale for terrorism. Best-selling author Dinesh D'Souza takes on all of America's critics and proves them wrong - as perhaps only a writer with an immigrant's understanding of this country can.

    Michael says: "Truly outstanding!"
    "Step away from the cart"

    This is the first, and last, D'Souza book I have/will read. I enjoy listening to people with different ideas, but flimsy, pedantic, and erroneous critique of political and historical events is a waste of time.
    I expected this book to explain why America is a great country, from the perspective of a recent immigrant. What I did not wish to hear was a social commentary on why black people and Native Americans need to thank Western culture for the history it wrought.
    This is a tiring mantage of conservative talking points that has nothing to do with the greatness of the greatest country man has had the audacity to create.
    Give it a pass.

    1 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Neil Barofsky
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An insider of both the Bush and Obama administrations offers an irrefutable indictment of the mishandling of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailouts and the extreme degree to which our government officials—from both parties—served the interests of Wall Street at the expense of the public. From his first day on the job as the special inspector general in charge of overseeing the distribution of the bailout money, Neil Barofsky found that the officials at the Treasury Department in charge of the bailouts were in thrall to the interests of the big banks.

    Lauren says: "Barofsky's Bio of the time he was a TARP Watchdog"
    "Grass Gets Trampled When Giants Fight"
    Would you try another book from Neil Barofsky and/or Joe Barrett?

    This is probably a one off for Mr. Barofsky. I doubt he will be in a position of power like this with an interesting story to tell any time soon.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tim Geithner. You gotta love a guy that is a tool of the machine and is unyielding in that duty.

    Did the narration match the pace of the story?


    What else would you have wanted to know about Neil Barofsky’s life?


    Any additional comments?

    This book gives really interesting insight into the financial crisis with details and explanations that are completely missed by many of the other books available on the topic. Mr. Barofsky is obviously a nobody sent to D.C. to do a thankless job. His perspective of the mortgage crisis is important because he looks at what was happening on the ground floor with a lot more detail. Most other books detail the CDOs, CDS, and securitization issues, but Mr. Barofsky spends a significant amount of time on the point of contact between the public and the mortgage dealer.
    The reviews pan Mr. Barofsky as a hyperbolic bean counter attempting to go whistle blower in an attempt to minimize his profile and story. The problem is that his story and experience ring true for anyone who has been personally involved with a mortgage issue in the last five years.
    TARP was a give away to the banks. Our financial regulatory policies are being dictated to our Congress by those who are being regulated. The status quo in Washington is a hinderance to the nation's future growth.
    All of this is true...but the only way it can change is through a duly elected official who has a constituency that supports them, not a presidential appointment that can be quickly and quietly replaced via Friday afternoon press release.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ann Coulter
    • Narrated By Elizabeth White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The demon is a mob, and the mob is demonic. The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrate mobs - it is the mob. Sweeping in its scope and relentless in its argument, Demonic explains the peculiarities of liberals as standard groupthink behavior. To understand mobs is to understand liberals.

    Willis McLaughlin says: "Read your own book"
    "More Facts Fewer Attacks Please"

    Ms. Coulter's books are usually funny and silly snipes at the Liberals, but, for some reason, this one was hard to enjoy. She seems lost in the ether somewhere. She goes on a four hour tirade about demonic Liberals, that you expect, but then she spends two hours on the history of the French Revolution, defending the French Monarchy. Then she goes back to her attack on the Liberals. Perhaps a better editing job could have organized this better.
    After listening to all of her books, and enjoying them, this one falls flat. She misses too many details, uses too much hyperbole, and her arguments do not jibe with reality. Usually, she is good for some one liners or crafty reframing, but she rehashes way too many arguments from her previous books and writings.
    I would give this one a pass, but I still look forward to the next book. More details/facts and less hyperbole and personal attacks.

    13 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By Alan Greenspan
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean

    "This book is in part a detective story. After 9/11 I knew, if I needed further reinforcement, that we are living in a new world - the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-correcting, and fast-changing than it was even a quarter century earlier. It's a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is my attempt to understand the nature of this new world." (Alan Greenspan)

    Terry says: "Tripled my understanding of our economy"
    "This guy was in charge of what!!! For 18 years!!!"

    I was supremely disapointed in the knowledge...or lack there of demonstrated by Mr. Greenspan. The memoir portion of this book, about the first third, was well written and entertaining. The middle portion, basically politics, was intriguing. The final third, where the economic ideas are synthesized was frightening. Mr. Greenspan may understand the U.S. market, but he showed many signs of not understanding the psychology of huge foreign markets...Japan and China. Economists have a way of explaining things which completely ignore common sense and reality...but then they back it up with economic facts, as though everyone has the same economic goals. This is not the case in Japan. I would recommend this book because it's a great primer on American economic psychology.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blowback (Second Edition): The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Chalmers Johnson
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner

    The term "blowback", invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended consequences of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire and reveals the ways in which our misguided policies are planting the seeds of future disaster.

    J. Jason says: "IF HE IS RIGHT..."
    "This Book Has Not Been Updated Since 2000"

    It's important to warn you that there is nothing in this book written after 2000 other than one of the introductions. In other words it claims that North Korea hasn't detonated a nuclear weapon, the U.S. GNP is pushing $7 trillion dollars, heck the trade deficit with China is actually a surplus in favor of the U.S.
    Other than that I found this to be a poor excuse for an informed debate. Anytime you have a theory that leads you to believe that the U.S. caused the Asian Financial Collapse of 1997 just so that 10,000 sailors can get half priced prostitutes in Thailand your critical thinking skills have gone astray.
    Johnson pulls a couple of niftty little tricks in this one that are jaw dropping. His three main foci are China, Japan and the U.S. At least China and Japan get the briefest benefit of sympthy for being under the control of imperialism. The U.S. gets no such reprieve. The U.S. is evil from start to finish...even when it provides the support to strengthen other nations.
    It's really hard to grasp the fundamental idea Johnson is trying to push because if he pays attention to what he's saying, no matter what a country does, there's going to be some type of resoponse. This is why you build military strength, make friends...even if that means lots of economic support...and you intimidate your enemies into not messing with you.
    Johnson, while drawing on a great wealth of knowledge about Asia, seems to have a very selective memory. That's how China only meaningfully engaged Vietnam over the Spratly's in 1992. If you don't know the political situation around Japan, you would think the Japanese didn't like the U.S. Yes the US military personnel need to be better behaved, but neither Korea nor Japan are willing to take a chance with their national security and expel the US military. Korea already knows happens once the US sphere of influence runs to the east of the pennisula. See The Acheson Line.
    Avoid this book at all costs. It's cheap Chomsky.

    18 of 48 people found this review helpful
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: You thought he was a stodgy scientist with funny hair, but Isaacson and Hermann reveal an eloquent, intense, and selfless human being who not only shaped science with his theories, but politics and world events in the 20th century as well. Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos.

    Henrik says: "Surprise: Two books in one!"
    "Interesting Guy"

    I thought this was an interesting book. I didn't find the scientific explanations eye-poppingly clear or any different than the previous fifty thousand times I have heard them explained, but the writing was very effective. I didn't know that Einstein was a Player though. That surprised me...that a man of such intelligence and stature couldn't control the primative urge to propogate was eye popping. I recomend this book to people who are interested in great really humanizes motal gods.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By George Crile
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story behind the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. George Crile tells how Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the agency's history.

    Chuck says: "Best Non-Fiction Book - Extremely Compelling!!!"
    "Fair and Balanced"

    This is one of the few books with hints of politics that I have found to be fairly balanced...from the American side...I think Russians would find it very unbalanced.
    There was a lot of information and the author did a good job in reasoning out the sequence o events. Some things were outside the scope of the story, such as some of the C.I.A. history, but it was quickly summarized to give a better perspective.
    I think this has to be one of the most reviewed books on this sight though. I think that speaks to its power as a book. It's a definite buy.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By David Chandler

    Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.

    Kenneth says: "Brilliant, Obnoxious, Narcissistic, Brilliant"
    "Life is Unpredictable"

    Herman Edwards said it perfectly..."That's why we play the game." I don't think we need a full length book to tell us that we cannot predict major catasrophic events. September 11, 2001 was a surprise, Hitler rolling into France wasn't...the world was ill prepared for both events.
    The book really misses the most important point of catastrophic events...It's not how you prevent them, that is impossible, it's how you react to them.
    This book is somewhat interesting, and if you have nothing else you are really burning to get with that soon to expire credit I would put this on the top five list of books to think about.

    18 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Drew Westen
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In politics, when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. In this landmark book, scientist and psychologist Drew Westen shows how electorates vote not with their heads but with their hearts, and how the marketplace that matters most is the marketplace of emotion - filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory.

    Gang of Four says: "Good information, if a little too much of it"
    "It's What You're Saying, Not How You Say It"

    This was an interesting extension of "Don't Think of an Elephant". The analysis goes a little further, beyond the power of words and into the power of images and psychological manipulation, but when rubber meets the road there is still no road-map to the future for the Democrat Party. Yes, the methods of subliminal messaging used by the right leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, but those methods would not be so effective if there were a more coherent opposition out there.
    This is a good book to listen to to be a more informed citizen, but it does very little convince you to vote for the Democrat, unless you are already inclined to.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
    "Tell the Whole Truth"

    When criticizing a bureaucratic organization it's important to realize that there are multiple forces playing tug-o-war politically, financially and psychologically. This political diatribe is wholly vested in the fact that the C.I.A. is a collection of malicious characters without a clue. A complete lack of historical or cultural reflection nearly invalidates this polemic. If you get this book I highly advise getting "Black Swans". It will give you some sense of balance and understanding for what the world's intelligence agencies around the world are up against. In the rush to blame the U.S. it is forgotten that the Saudis, home to an overwheleming majority of the 9/11 terrorist, were caught unaware of the events themselves...but their own survival as a theocracy is vested in the continued economic robustness of the U.S. economy.
    As a half decent history, this book has a good deal of information. As a barometer of the agency's effectiveness its tunnel vision prohibits it from being effective.

    12 of 19 people found this review helpful

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