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Allen

Plainwell, MI, United States | Member Since 2010

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • The Frontiersmen: A Narrative

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Allan W. Eckert
    • Narrated By Kevin Foley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (261)

    The frontiersmen were a remarkable breed of men. They were often rough and illiterate, sometimes brutal and vicious, often seeking an escape in the wilderness of mid-America from crimes committed back east. In the beautiful but deadly country which would one day come to be known as West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, more often than not they left their bones to bleach beside forest paths or on the banks of the Ohio River.

    Whitney says: "A Masterpiece for History Novel Enthusiasts!"
    "The beauty and excitement of unsettled America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Actually bought this book seeking some insight on Tecumseh the great Indian chief. I was pleasantly surprised to find a book I almost couldn't put down - a great story of the American Midwest before the Civil War in the era of the "frontiersmen". Vivid descriptions of parts of the Midwest before it was settled, parts of which you can find on a map today from the author's description. So well written I felt I was there looking at it. Many adventures and action, and all true stories, of what it was like to be mostly (or all) alone in the wilderness. Similar to what you might expect reading about Daniel Boone (he's in here too) and other similar characters. I am a fan of Ambrose, and bought his Lewis and Clark book, and this book outshines it greatly in it's wonderful descriptions and stories of adventure - it is what I hoped to find in "Lewis and Clark". You will not regret this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter the Great: His Life and World

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (353)
    Performance
    (272)
    Story
    (268)

    This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter's birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas.

    Susan says: "detailed history"
    "Factual account, but slow moving."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yes, the thick, nasally accent of the english narrator diminishes the listening experience and sometimes gets annoying when listening about the "t-sar", but it's not as bad as people say. The book is VERY long and somewhat slow, but as an American, it is interesting to learn about the history of a great country/dynasty we are taught nothing about. It seems Peter the Great and those after brought Russia out of the "dark ages" and was responsible for much of the great monuments and estates that still exist there. Somewhat of an Alexander the Great who created a more modern day Roman empire in a way. Overall a pretty good book about his reign with a decent amount of background history before his rule. The part about his "secret" travels to Europe while still a young man to learn "Western" practices and concepts was particularly interesting. I can only rate it 3 stars because it is just too slow moving and the narrator detracts from it. An abridged version with a different narrator might be 5-star material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sean Parnell, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (555)
    Performance
    (495)
    Story
    (497)

    At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

    Chris says: "Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!"
    "Best modern warfare narrative I have read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great book with lots of facts about real people and great story-telling. As another reviewer said, "like a modern 'Band of Brothers' narrative". First hand accounts from an officer who was in the field and in the thick of the action and characters that you will dislike and some who will endear you. Great book. I recommend it to anyone interested military history books - Ambrose and WW2 first hand narrative lovers will feel right at home. Will not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1842)
    Performance
    (813)
    Story
    (825)

    At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

    Stephen says: "River of Doubt"
    "Good book overall, but a bit disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story sounded promising, but like another reviewer, I was hoping for more narrative and story, and a little less science. This felt less like a story or documentary, and more like a scientific paper. Still a good read, but goes into overly detailed analysis of flora and fauna - some of which is obviously not specifically from the Roosevelt expedition and from our more modern general knowledge of the rain forest. It felt like: journal entry - textbook excerpt - journal entry - textbook excerpt - stop - start - etc. I would have to say the story telling felt choppy and could have woven into the rainforest background better. More detail about the actual expedition and the struggles they faced would have been nice. To the author's credit, in a day without cell phones, telephones, aircraft, vehicles of any kind, or cameras, I'm sure the material to draw on was extremely limited, having to rely solely on written accounts in a place and time where illiteracy must have been rampant. Get the book - just don't have the expectation you will be spellbound by Roosevelt's adventure.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Alex Kershaw
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (120)

    From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared - the entire time it took to liberate Europe - no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th "Eager for Duty" Infantry Regiment of the 45th "Thunderbird" Division. Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler.

    Kenzibit says: "All for the PEACE & FREEDOM we enjoy today."
    "Best account of Italian campaign and others"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read a number of WW2 books - almost all the good ones that exist I think. This was probably one of 4 that at least starts with the ITalian campaign, but does a better job detailing some things. I disagree with the other reviewer who said this book is the same material as others - I found details here that were not in other works - both about the journey through Italy, and the landing on the beaches. Good book if you are looking to learn more about some of the lesser known European theater, but not what I would call broad overview of the European campaign. Won't disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bob Lutz
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (67)

    In 2001, General Motors hired Bob Lutz out of retirement with a mandate to save the company by making great cars again. He launched a war against penny pinching, office politics, turf wars, and risk avoidance. After declaring bankruptcy during the recession of 2008, GM is back on track thanks to its embrace of Lutz's philosophy. When Lutz got into the auto business in the early sixties, CEOs knew that if you captured the public's imagination with great cars, the money would follow.

    Reader says: "Boring and self-involved."
    "Somewhat disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think Bob Lutz is the absolute best car gar guy on the planet with product development and making car companies great through the product they produce. He is in many ways a hero, and I remember being thrilled when I heard GM had him on board - I still hold a high opinion of the man - just not as a writer.

    This is a decent account of Bob Lutz's GM experience leading up to the Gov't bailout/takeover, but it seemed more like the focus was on Bob Lutz padding his resume more than story telling. A guy at his level has a right to be arrogant, but it ruins the story and gets in the way. It also does not get into the level of detail or talk much about other key players in the company like I had hoped.

    If you are interested in this story, a much better book around similar subject matter is "American Icon". The two stories are incredibly similar with two different outcomes. the Ford book is a third person story telling and much more thorough than Bob Lutz's first person account here. Although I am a "GM guy" the book about about Ford is a much better read. I was disappointed that a book about and from one of my heroes did not measure up to my expectations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (207)

    Americans think of World War II as “The Good War”, a moment when the forces of good resoundingly triumphed over evil. Yet the war was not decided by D-day. It was decided in the East, by the Red Army and Joseph Stalin. While conventional wisdom locates the horrors of World War II in the six million Jews killed in German concentration camps, the reality is even grimmer. In 13 years, the Nazi and Soviet regimes killed 13 million people in the lands between Germany and Russia.

    Joseph says: "Stuck between mad men"
    "Really does present new information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Bloodlands the most enjoyable?

    It is amazing that the generally accepted "Holocaust" while terrible beyond words, was but a very small portion of the mass killings, (forced) starvation, and ethnic cleansing that took place in the Eastern European Nations before and after WWII.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bloodlands?

    Unfortunately, the endless examples of starving Ukranians who suffered most from Stalin's rule, and the author's oft missed point that while the concentraion camps were terrible, they were not nearly as bad as the (eastern) death camps and sites of mass killings, where few - if any - survived to tell the tale to would-be historians.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    While interesting in detail and it's presentation of new information to the western world, I feel "favorite" would imply a positive, but so much of the text was grim and tragic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Guns of August

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1110)
    Performance
    (550)
    Story
    (537)

    In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Wonderful"
    "This was about a war?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Boring. Another foolish attempt (by me) to learn the story behind and of WWI - only to waste several hours listening to details of early 20th century families, travels, love affairs, and the like. I could not finish it but suffered through almost half of it. If you are looking to learn about WWI rather than the obscure life of European aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century look elsewhere.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Robert Kurson
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2059)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (540)

    In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew.

    Douglas says: "GRIPPING!"
    "Best audio book to date!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Shadow Divers in three words, what would they be?

    Drama, intensity, adventure!


    Any additional comments?

    Great book always kept me on the edge wondering what would happen next. The perfect mix of giving the background of the characters mixed in with the story, presumably accurate factual information, well researched and expertly told. Fantastic book. I found myself working longer hours sometimes just so I could listen to another chapter. You won't regret this one. Buy it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Adam Hochschild
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (149)

    World War I stands as one of history's most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war's critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain's leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper.

    Tad Davis says: "A story of personalities"
    "Another fruitless piece on WWI"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Adam Hochschild and/or Arthur Morey?

    Probably not


    What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?

    The performance was good enough to keep me listening for 6 chapters that seemed to have little to do with the actual war.


    Any additional comments?

    I continue to fail at finding a good historical piece that tells the story of WWI without boring me to tears. I have tried several, and the reviews of this one led me to believe this might be the one, but alas, 6 chapters in I just couldn't take it anymore. Lots about European players, family histories, and love affairs, but nothing I detected that had much to do with the war. If anyone can find me a book that reads like Ambrose or the many great first hand acccounts of WWII in Europe about the earlier war please tell me. I will keep searching for something that tells the war stories, rather than about politics and romances of the early 20th century. Ugh.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful

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