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Brandon

Denver, CO United States | Member Since 2007

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 278 ratings
  • 341 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers (Unabr.)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michael Barone
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history: the late-17th-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution.

    rollcall40 says: "Excellent Recap of a Forgotten Event"
    "Way too much preamble and a misleading title"
    Overall

    Very thorough and well written history of England from 1650 to 1700. However, the title topic - the Glorious Revolution - does not take place until at least 3/4 through the book.

    While some historic context would have been necessary and appreciated, a couple chapters could have set the stage. By the time the revolution happens, there is actually less detail about IT than is provided about many other much less significant events.

    I also had hoped for an analysis of how the American revolution or constitution might have been influenced by the preceding Glorious Revolution, but was disappointed to hear just 10 minutes or so crammed in at the end on this topic.

    If you want to know every detail of 1650s to 1690s british politics, this book will be a dream come true. If you are interested in what "Inspired America's Founding Fathers" as described in the subtitle, please save your money and look elsewhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (934)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (548)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "tedious in parts, yet revealing and worthwhile"
    Overall

    At its best, this book unearths great details about Oppenheimer which reveal insight into his unique personality, genius and life's work. It also sheds light on how he and his work impacted US foreign policy and the world long after WWII.

    Unfortunately, the potential to be a 4 or 5 star was dashed by hours of tedious and repetitve details of FBI investigations, administrative security clearance hearings and people who are completely tangential.

    Let's face it...26 hours (700+ pages) about one man is just too much. The authors did great work, but could have used a better editor.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James L. Swanson
    • Narrated By Richard Thomas
    Overall
    (999)
    Performance
    (325)
    Story
    (334)

    The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history, the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild 12-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

    Elizabeth says: "Fascinating!"
    "Riveting story, well researched, written and read"
    Overall

    Never expected that an episode of american history normally summed up in a a paragraph or two could be made into such a fascinating book.

    Brilliantly researched and written...you will feel as if you are there beside Booth & his conspirators (and sometimes even inside their heads)during every step of their plotting and attempted escape.

    I normally don't comment on narration, but this is the first I've heard that really does add to the drama of the story without being over the top.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Sudhir Venkatesh
    • Narrated By Reg Rogers, Sudhir Venkatesh, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (785)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (269)

    The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatest managed to gain entree into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

    DanO says: "Listen to this one first"
    "Fascinating - a must read"
    Overall

    A truly unbelievable story from a self-described "naive, middle class outsider" who gets honest and full access to the world of one Chicago's toughest housing projects.

    Amazing insight into the different subcultures (gang leaders, members, hustlers, single moms, police and more) living in the projects and how they co-exist and try to survive. Not only unbelievably illuminating (especially for those who have only driven by the projects on the highway) but also incredibly poignant as each of Sudhir's acquaintences comes to life as a real person trapped in a surreal world.

    Have to agree that the narrator's attemps at character voices were pretty weak. However, this did little to damage the overall experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Barbara Ehrenreich
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    The best-selling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the world of the white-collar unemployed.

    Peter says: "A terrible book - princess Barbara goes undercover"
    "Huge Disappointment"
    Overall

    After getting a very interesting, entertaining and elucidating look at the world of low-wage workers in Nickel & Dimed, I looked forward to something similar from Bait & Switch.

    Unfortunately, this book failed to live up to even it's back-cover synopsis. All I got was an uninspired look at a bumbling job search. No insight on the risks and hardships of working in corporate america.

    Failing to provide any first-hand insight (or even very much 2nd-hand insight) on the issue, the author also fails to offer any research-based insight into the issues of lack of medical care, job security, etc.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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