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Ian

Oxford Mills, ON, Canada | Member Since 2005

40
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 55 ratings
  • 520 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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  • Schindler's List

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Thomas Keneally
    • Narrated By Ben Kingsley
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (53)

    In the century's darkest time, one man became the most unlikely of heroes. German-Catholic industrialist and Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler used his wealth and influence to save the lives of more than 1,300 Jews who would have otherwise died in the concentration camp at Plaszow. Here is the story on which Steven Spielberg based his powerful motion picture. If you like this, try Ursula Hegi's Stones from a River.

    Dona says: "Abridged books just don't cut it!"
    "Astounding"
    Overall

    I've not seen the movie so this was my first exposure to the story of Oscar Schindler and the Jews of Krakow. The story's slow buildup is what sticks in my mind. No one in Krakow new, of course, what was going to happen. Each new regulation (Jews can't have more than xxx marks in their bank account) was greeted with a kind of resignation -- maybe this one will be the last. The tale is told with a neutral tone that only increases the feelings in the reader of foreboding, shock, and sadness. This book, more than any other, reveals the beurocratic nature of the holocaust, and how it used the existing government and industrial system, of ordinay people, to follow an agenda of madness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ireland: A Concise History from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Ireland is inarguably a beautiful, enchanted place. But its history is more turbulent, fascinating, and terrible than any other. From the first English presence in Ireland in the 12th century, through siege, rebellion, and civil war, to Irish ascendancy, home rule, and the present-day troubles, best-selling author Paul Johnson tells, with remarkable clarity and concision, the compelling story of this most remarkable island.

    MillenniumMike says: "A British history of the "Irish problem""
    "Another great consise history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I came into this book thinking Irish historys would be the same as Scotland -- a celtic people trying to fight off the English. Wrong! Ireland, because it's an island, and because it remained Catholic had a much different, and much worse history.

    Many interesting events here. How English invaders who stayed kept going native. How the 1790 rebellion was led by Protestants. How de Tocqueville found poverty in 19th century Ireland worse than anything he had seen in Europe or N America.

    Recommend this book to anyone wanting to know where the 'troubles' came from.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A History of Britain, Volume 1: At the Edge of the World, 3000 BC - AD 1603

    • ABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Simon Schama
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney.

    Patrick says: "The Best History of Britain Ever Written"
    "Good brief history of Britain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    British history is vast and it's rare to find a book like this. It covers the main events in enough detail to see into the factors at play behind the events. Example: The author presents the idea that the plague was in part the cause of the Reformation. During the plague, priests became so rare, that the church allowed anyone (even women) to give last rites. This planted the notion that priests were perhaps optional; maybe one could even read the Bible oneself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Way with Words: Writing Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Michael D. C. Drout
    Overall
    (938)
    Performance
    (519)
    Story
    (497)

    Esteemed professor Michael D. C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world.

    Jade says: "A Very Unique Read...(J/K)"
    "More than just how to argue and persuade"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A wonderful series of lectures. Rhetoric is not about manipulating people; it's about presenting your ideas clearly and logically. Prof Drout reminds me of some of the best teachers I had. He knows his subject, he knows how to present it, and the common ways that people misunderstand the concepts. He also has great stories and anecdotes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4333)
    Performance
    (3739)
    Story
    (3718)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Introverts have their advantages"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Quiet the most enjoyable?

    Excellent history of America's culture of personality. A hundred years ago what mattered was a person's character. Traits such as trustworthiness or integrity. This gave way to measuring a person by their personality. Being "outgoing" was a valued trait.

    The book then covers brain science; the idea that introversion is a survival strategy that can be seen in birds and other animals.

    Well worth a listen.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Rob Gifford
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (157)

    National Public Radio's Beijing correspondent Rob Gifford recounts his travels along Route 312, the Chinese Mother Road, the longest route in the world's most populous nation. Based on his successful NPR radio series, China Road draws on Gifford's 20 years of observing first-hand this rapidly transforming country, as he travels east to west, from Shanghai to China's border with Kazakhstan. As he takes listeners on this journey, he also takes them through China's past and present while he tries to make sense of this complex nation's potential future.

    Roberta says: "An Outstanding Book on China"
    "Fascinating, relevant, and well-balanced"
    Overall

    Route 312 goes from Shanghai on the coast to the Kazakhstan border, and the author's trip down this road by bus, taxi, and foot provides a fascinating slice throught 21st century China. Gifford's views balance the tremendous optimism and change in China today to its fragility, lack of political checks and balances, and social inequity. Required reading for anyone who thinks China's ascendancy is guaranteed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rainbows End

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Vernor Vinge
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (813)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (304)

    Set a few decades from now, Rainbows End is an epic adventure that encapsulates in a single extended family the challenges of the technological advances of the first quarter of the 21st century. The information revolution of the past 30 years blossoms into a web of conspiracies that could destroy Western civilization. At the center of the action is Robert Gu, a former Alzheimer's victim who has regained his mental and physical health through radical new therapies, and his family.

    Steve says: "Great Discovery"
    "Good thoughtful sci-fi"
    Overall

    Fascinating ideas of the near future. Ubiquitous web-presence, holographic technology, Gesture-based wearable computers. Self-driving cars. The manufacture of things has become as cheap as today's chip manufacturing. Even buildings are self-assembling units. Into this world lands a grumpy old poet from our time who's awoken from years of dementia by a new cure...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil Wears Prada

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lauren Weisberger
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1229)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (313)

    Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, is hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the successful editor of Runway magazine. Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether the job is worth the price of her soul.

    Howard says: "You won't be able to stop the player"
    "Good light fun"
    Overall

    Excellent narration and a humorous story make this a great audiobook for a long drive. Young Andrea ends up working for the boss from hell. Her sharp observations of co-workers in the inanity of fashion journalism are great. I still think the movie is just as good as the book, in this case. But the book has a better ending!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michael E. Gerber
    • Narrated By Michael E. Gerber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2164)
    Performance
    (938)
    Story
    (943)

    In this audio edition of the totally revised underground best seller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business, from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed.

    Christopher Burbridge says: "Life Changing, I Gotta Say"
    "First few chapters are good"
    Overall

    Some interesting ideas but author's long-winded style gets tedious. As someone who was once self-employed, I found this book's message was dead on. People start a business to get away from bosses, when what any business really needs is a boss, even if that's just being a boss of yourself.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

    • ABRIDGED (13 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By David Halberstam
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (620)
    Performance
    (174)
    Story
    (173)

    Up until now, the Korean War has been the black hole of modern American history. The Coldest Winter changes that. Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures.

    Doug says: "Almost as good as The Best and the Brightest"
    "Fascinating history"
    Overall

    Hard to believe that a war that killed 40,000 Western soldiers and 300,000 Chinese and Korean soldiers could be mostly forgotten. Halberstam covers the war using personal stories, from soldiers to MacArthur's underlings. The Democratic/Republican split on the war echoes today's situation, as do the false victories, and stalemates. An excellent read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Field of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Cornelia Read
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (25)

    Madeline Dare, a tough-talking, shotgun-toting ex-debutante, is not your average detective. Then again, not much about her life is what she expected. Born of old money into high society, she married into a Syracuse farming family and a bottom-of-the-food-chain job writing puff pieces for the local newspaper. Her emotional barometer these days ranges from dry irony to whining exasperation.

    Jovanna says: "A lot of fun"
    "Great wit, great mystery"
    Overall

    Like a new Sam Spade novel, the characters in this novel have great lines. "The money in our family is so old that it all ran out" moans Madeline Dare as she sits in Syracuse. Her family are the bitter ex-rich, and her in-laws are wonderfully crusty rurals. Something dug up in a field leads Madeline to solving a mystery involving both.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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