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S. Hawkins


  • Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Gretchen Morgenson, Joshua Rosner
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.

    Rob says: "Captivating and enlightening story"
    "Propaganda, not journalism"

    I wasn't previously familiar with the author's work, but I figured that a Pulitzer prize winner would make an effort to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity. I knew from the title that the book would have a point of view, but I wasn't expecting it to be blatant spin.

    I don't even necessarily disagree with the premise--Fannie and Freddie were indeed a big part of the problem--I just resent the fact that the book is being sold as something other than partisan hyperbole. The facts that the narrator presented are, from what I can tell, actual facts, but they're not being reported, they're being sold. It's even narrated in a sort of preachy, outraged tone. I got about three hours in, then gave up.

    If you're looking for a more balanced examination of the same general events, I recommend The End of Wall Street. If you're just killing time until Glenn Beck comes on, this will probably be to your taste.

    Can I have my credit back?

    6 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Dealer: The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Mark Bowden
    • Narrated By Christopher Kipiniak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Doctor Dealer is the story of Larry Lavin, a bright, charismatic young man who rose from his working-class upbringing to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, earn Ivy League college and dental degrees, and buy his family a house in one of Philadelphia's most exclusive suburbs. But behind the facade of his success was a dark secret - at every step of the way he was building the foundation for a cocaine empire that would grow to generate over $60 million in annual sales.

    S. Hawkins says: "almost unendurable"
    "almost unendurable"

    I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.

    I guess as a work of journalism, maybe there's something to be said for it. And there are some interesting details about the cocaine business. But, honestly, I struggle to see the value of (e.g.) the exhaustive detailing of how Dr. Lavin's wife locked her keys in her car on the day he was arrested. It's just waaaaaaaaaaaay too much detail. All the interesting stuff in this book could have fit in a long magazine article.

    If you're looking for an entertaining story, I'd say look elsewhere. If for whatever reason Dr. Lavin is someone you're just dying to know more about, I'd say get the print version. The narration was agonizing. Sorry, narrator guy, but it was. I almost never fail to finish an audiobook, but this one was a real struggle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Edward MacKenzie Jr., Phyllis Karas
    • Narrated By Matthias N Bossi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For decades the FBI let James ''Whitey'' Bulger get away with murder, allowing him continued control of his criminal enterprise in exchange for information. He went on the lam in 1995, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 2011 followed top-ranked Osama bin Laden on the FBI'''s Ten Most Wanted List, and then was captured in Santa Monica, California weeks after Bin Laden's demise.

    Cranky Greg says: "Mathias Bossi is the Boss! Wow!"
    "interesting, entertaining and very well performed"

    The narrator was phenomenal.

    I like biographies of crooks, and this was an interesting one. The book moved well. It was told as a series of anecdotes, not an exhaustive history. I got the feeling that there was a lot of stuff left unsaid, but I guess that's got to do with statutes of limitations. Even so, there were some interesting snapshots of life in the Boston underworld.

    Recommended. I'll probably give it another listen in a few months.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Julian Rubinstein
    • Narrated By Eric Bogosian, Demetri Martin, Tommy Ramone, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ballad of the Whiskey Robber tells the hilarious and improbable true story of Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.

    S. Hawkins says: "Fantastic"

    I loved this book. It was excellent on three levels, maybe more:

    1. The bare facts of the story are wild and entertaining. You gotta love Attila.

    2. The writing was superb. Julian Rubenstein has an understated writing style that allows the events and characters to speak for themselves. I'm tempted to track down some of his sports writing just to enjoy the prose.

    3. The reading and production actually enhanced the already great writing. I think it was the author himself who was the main narrator--if so, he might want to consider switching careers. He's a lot more enjoyable to listen to than some voice actors I've heard. The occasional interjections of dialogue by other voices took a bit of getting used to, but I ended up loving that as well.

    Highly recommended.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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