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Charlotte

Member Since 2008

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 159 ratings
  • 516 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Pam Ward
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    In this Pulitzer Prize - winning biography, Barbara Tuchman explores American relations with China through the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe", Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of the National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story."

    Charlotte says: "A period that directly affected our world today"
    "A period that directly affected our world today"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have always been interested in China and find Barbara Tuchman's books on historic moments excellent. This one did not disappoint. She painted a fair portrait of Stilwell. Clearly she liked him, but she did not cover up his flaws - particularly those that impacted his work in China. The most fascinating part of the story covers the WWII period, but the earlier time periods cast useful illumination on the events. Chiang Kai Shek does not come off very well, but the Americans, including Stilwell, did not truly understand him or the Chinese viewpoint with regard to many things. Mme. Chiang, whose Western outlook was better understood, was mostly responsible for the level of backing the Americans gave to the Kuomintang.

    I found this book well worth the time. For those who are interested in how fairly recent history has shaped our modern world, this book is strongly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1737)
    Performance
    (1285)
    Story
    (1276)

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "WWII from the Australian perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story of a young Australian man and a young Dutch-Javanese woman who fall in love just before WWI and become separated soon thereafter was interesting and brought me new information on the war in the Pacific. It was told from two perspectives - his and hers - who had quite different experiences during the war. While some aspects of the storyline stretched credibility almost to the breaking point, I found myself still wanting to know what happened next. After resolving many crises in almost unbelievable ways the author leaves the final question unanswered. When I realized the book had ended, I cried "What?!"

    The narrator was excellent. He managed to make the characters live through his use of accents and tone. I always knew who was speaking. I would select this narrator again without hesitation.

    This is a decent listen, but I am not sure I would buy another book by this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Servant

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (836)
    Performance
    (427)
    Story
    (424)

    Gabriel is summoned once more by his masters to undertake what appears to be a routine assignment: travel to Amsterdam to purge the archives of a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst who also happened to be an asset of Israeli intelligence. But once in Amsterdam, Gabriel soon discovers a conspiracy of terror festering in the city's Islamic underground.

    Dan says: "One of the very best"
    "One long propaganda piece"
    Overall

    The action part of this spy thriller is fast-paced while relying on unbelievable feats of physical prowess. The protagonists are cold-hearted egoists who cavalierly break all laws of humanity and decency while justifying their actions on the basis of expediency and threats not understood by the simple-minded rest of us. The book is weighed down by pompous pronouncements illustrating these beliefs. This was my first and will be my last book by this author.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Free Food for Millionaires: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Min Jin Lee
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    Casey Han's four years at Princeton gave her many things, "But no job and a number of bad habits." After graduation, she discovers the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As she attempts to navigate Manhattan, we explore her life and New York City's milieu of haves and have-nots.

    Michael Jablow says: "free food for thought - beautifully satisfying"
    "Interesting look at the Korean-American experience"
    Overall

    While this book provided an interesting look at the Korea-American experience, it felt like a series of linked stories rather than a novel. The beginning was the most intriguing - some later chapters were almost unbelievable and it went on too long. Much of the character development seems unmotivated. The narrator made numerous mistakes in pronunciation. Doesn't anyone listen to or edit the resulting audio? It can be really distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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