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Texas | Member Since 2005

  • 3 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 687 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014

  • Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

    Susan says: "If we are together nothing is impossible"
    "Good but loses focus and then gets judgemental"

    This is an informative book on many big name (and some lesser name) Americans who were in London for WWII. As the author gets into the later war years, the story understandbly meanders more. At times the book is more gossip column than history and I really did not need to know all that much about the sexual activities of some of the people (especially Churchill women) in the book. To add insult to injury, the sex lists were boring so claiming "spice" doesn't really help on that subject. The author does a very good job of displaying the emotional passions of men like Murrow.

    Olson also paints a vivid picture of the suffering of Londoners in general and how the food rationing affected the people in stark contrast to the high living of the wealthy in black market establishments or people in the United States. At times it appears that the author is outraged that the American people did not suffer as much as their British compatriots. Did Americans have it easy compared to the British? Of course, Would the outlawing of girdle production in the U.S. have put an ounce more meat, butter or cheese on the plate of a Briton? No. Having listened to tales from my family in Canada during WWII, sacrfices were made for Britain during the war. Not as much as the Britons themselves, but the deprivations of wartime also illustrate just how much many Britons were living on the shoulders of the people of the Empire and Commonwealth. The book occasionally uses the incorrect term that "England fought alone." This author doesn't fall into that trap often, but England always had Scotland and Wales plus the Commonwealth and the Empire.

    One last issue was that near the end of the book the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is called the North AMERICAN Treaty Organization. I don't know if that was in the book or an error by the narrator. The author pointed out what a huge step this was for the United States so the name should be correct. Not a huge deal, but it stood out to me.

    Olson also gives a useful re-examination of the Churchill/Roosevelt relationship. Fans of FDR will not like everything that is said but that is history.

    Overall I recommend this book for some great stories and new insights. Get ready for a long list of attempted begating however. Plus, keep in mind that this book appears at least to be biased in favor of the Anglophiles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pirate Latitudes

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate there's a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease - or by dagger. For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.

    Eva Gannon says: "Perhaps An Early Work?"
    "Characters too simplistic"
    What disappointed you about Pirate Latitudes?

    This is not a bad yarn, but the characters are so simplistic and stereotyped it gets annoying. Hunter isn't really a good pirate/privateer. It's like watching the teen agers split up in a slasher flick. The turns in the plot are great for an old Saturday serial cliffhanger. It's not a bad book, but the characters let you down.

    What could Michael Crichton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Character development. Character development. Hunter is a privateer - got it. He is feared. Got it. Why does he make beginner mistakes? Why are all the women only there to scream, bed or both? One minor exception to that does exist but it isn't enough.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hunter gathering his crew.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Sure. It had a good story, even if it was convoluted and trite. It's fun to read if you dial down your expectations.

    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the author's other books better. I got this on sale and it was okay.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Alice says: "Happy addition to a difficult genre"
    "Good listen but a bit two dimensional"

    This is a pleasant mystery with two dimensional characters. Just about every stereotype you could imagine for a peer of the realm is packed into this book. Typical romance, what passed as shocking behavior for the dilettantes of the 1930s, the ne'er do well Irishman, etc. It's worth a listen but it isn't deep stuff. Hopefully book two will get to the mystery faster than this one - but the first in a series always needs to set up the characters.

    Overall the narration is outstanding, but once or twice I thought that the voices slipped between characters but I could be wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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