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Clarissa C. Marques

Member Since 2007

  • 4 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 249 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014

  • King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Adam Hochschild
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Howard

    In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company's ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor could account for these cargoes, Morel almost singlehandedly made this slave-labor regime the premier human rights story in the world.

    Edith says: "Fascinating"
    "A History that I Should Have Known"

    This is a history that I should have known, but did not, and am glad that I had an opportunity to explore the history of the Belgian Congo and the forces that shaped many of the countries in Africa. The author focuses on the perceived need, within Europe countries, and King Leopold of Belgium, in particular, to have a foot hold on the African continent and to exploit the resources and peoples in Africa to his own personal advantage. The author makes the history more personal, more intimate, by focusing on the dynamics of King Leopold of Belgium and how his personal needs drove widespread exploitation and brutality in the area that became the Belgium Congo. The reader captures the history as if telling an engaging mystery that is unfolding with many characters with multiple over-lapping and conflicting agendas until the reader has to step back and realize the damage and destruction that is being done. The inhumanity of it all is at times overwhelming and yet it is a history that provides a more contemporary context for some of the conflicts in this region. Well-crafted historical work; well-read with clarity and engagement; a story worth knowing as one ponders developments in the region and the history of European involvement in the colonization and exploitation of Africa.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "Envisioning Intelligent Life in Space"

    I must admit that I am tempted to order any audiobook in which John Lee is the narrator. I find his dramatic readings to be among the best of the audiobook performances. And, I was searching for a science fiction novel that was not a multi-book series. Pushing Ice met my criteria and I was intrigued by the vision of the ways in which intelligent life would search out other intelligent life (and the problems of having intelligent life occupy the same time frames as each other). The major conflict in the story was a bit over-played or drawn out for my tastes, but it served as a vehicle for exploring the challenges of human life dealing with radically different environments. I appreciated the seeming scientific accuracy and working within the possibilities of time and space and potential new technology. I became quite involved in the book and appreciated the effort to keep the book in one book (rather than continuing on into a series).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Vengeance

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois

    Devastated by the discovery that his wife, Helen, was murdered, Special Agent Pendergast must have retribution. But revenge is not simple. As he stalks his wife's betrayers-a chase that takes him from the wild moors of Scotland to the bustling streets of New York City and the darkest bayous of Louisiana - he is also forced to dig further into Helen's past. And he is stunned to learn that Helen may have been a collaborator in her own murder.

    A User says: "Aloysius X. L. Pendergast"
    "Need Truth in Titling"

    I had initially enjoyed this continuation of the Pendergast saga by providing more background on the earlier life of Pendergast; however, this story disappoints the reader by failing to indicate in the title that the story will be continued in the next book(s). It is one thing for an author (or authors) to carry an important character(s) from one book in a series to another, but I expect at least a complete story within a given book. This book was like reading a "chapter" or a "part" of a book, but failing to provide the resolution to the core theme of the book. I can get lost in the some of the absurdity of the various dilemmas, but only if my "leap of faith" is rewarded, at least in part, by some form of reasonable resolution. This book is all foreplay without satisfaction.

    The reader, on the other hand, is excellent and brings the characters to life and captures some of the unusual nature of the characters through his voice and dramatic reading. I suspect that I may have gotten this book to hear these characters represented again in this reader's voice.

    I think that the authors have given too little credit to the readers and too much credit to the profits to be made by readers who will purchase the next book in the series (or books) to find out what happened. If the book is a "serial", then it should be advertised in the title as a serial novel.

    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

    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"
    "Penetrating history - WWII - Eastern Europe"

    Penetrating history of the lands and peoples caught between the powers of Germany and the U.S.S.R. beginning with the pre-WWII context through WWII and into the post-war period. A mind-numbing in terms of the magnitude of the inhumanity and the destructive policies of starvation, death by bullet, death by work and death by death camp. The author traces the policies of Hitler and Stalin as they destroy, often repeatedly, the peoples and cultures of the lands in between their two countries and their expanding needs. The author adds a new perspective to the understanding of WWII and its impact in Eastern and Baltic Europe. The reader captures the historical detail and gathers momentum around the impact without giving way to extremes. This is an important piece of the history of WWII, well-told, well-read and worth understanding in our current world context.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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