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John VandenBrook

Member Since 2004

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 551 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • The Demon Under The Microscope

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1517)
    Performance
    (829)
    Story
    (824)

    The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

    John Mertus says: "A pleasure in listening"
    "Well done ..."
    Overall

    I really enjoyed this book and the author's approach to an historical account of how the battle against disease began, and how it continues. I do have a science background, but not in medicine and am even less knowledgeable about history. I found myself recalling the names of tools or procedures used in biology, such as the Petri dish named after a German student, as the author gave an intricate account of the evolution of modern science.
    What I really enjoyed about this book is the how the author describes the exhaustive efforts of scientist and researchers in the earlier part of last century; those who pushed the creative genius of mankind to its limit to find cures for the deadliest diseases known to man. I could not imagine having the strength, courage, faith, not to mention intelligence to discover something that barely existed as an idea at that time. The author was amazing at capturing how the pain and suffering of physicians who lost so many to disease, and how their love for their fellow man were the primary motivations which made the miraculous discoveries possible. With money, prestige, and self-gratification other motivators, the less admirable qualities of men were also told. This was a very well written book read by a terrific narrator that you are sure to enjoy!

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • The Confession: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3446)
    Performance
    (1164)
    Story
    (1184)

    An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him. Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

    Suzn F says: "I confess, I loved it!"
    "Expecting too much?"
    Overall

    I can recommend this book and believe you will be touched by Grisham's accounting of death row. Very different from The Chamber, there is suspense leading up to this event, and is Grisham at his best.

    He does a terrible job, again, with the main characters. The Clergyman is weak, the law enforcement personal complete fools, government reps. mental and unbelievably arrogant, and the lawyers a mix of all these traits. Even the victims, the parents in particular, come across as so inauthentic that it makes what could have easily have been a five star book, IMHO, a mediocre story.

    This book is meant to stir your emotions, and I think it will. The moral of this story is supposed to be that there is no justification for a highly cultivated civilization as ours to administer justice by putting someone to death, or killing someone, as the text reads. What you'll find, however, is that what Grisham is really saying is that it is wrong to put an innocent person to death. The "real" perpetrator - well, kill the S.O.B.

    The inconsistencies and outright contradictions, the outrageous suit which puts a man on death row, the cast of numbskulls, and an ending which fizzles out is why I cannot give this book more than two stars. I think that us Grisham fans are longing for a spellbinding legal thriller with the unanticipated twists, and characters we learn to love or love to hate. What I believe we are not looking for is for Grisham to use his gift of writing as a means for him to convey his polical, social, or moral convictions - which is how this work and others in recent past have come across.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Janson Directive

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Robert Ludlum
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1153)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (214)

    Peter Novak, one of the world's greatest men, has been kidnapped! Running out of time and hope, Novak's people turn to Paul Janson, legendary covert operative and assassin. Janson is retired, and nothing could lure him back - nothing except Peter Novak, who once saved Janson's life. "Ludlum's best since The Bourne Identity," raves Kirkus Reviews.

    Grady says: "Captivated me from the beginning"
    "The Janson Directive - A good listen ...!"
    Overall

    Prior to listening to this audio book I knew very little of Robert Ludlum. I did enjoy The Bourne movies series but found those same audio books a bit tedious and tough to get through - strange since most of the time its the movie which does injustice to the book! This book is very well written, the characters terrific, and the overall crafty planning of this thriller makes it at once believable and unbelievable. The narrator, Paul Michael, has become one of my favorite and does an excellent job once again, IMHO. If you have listened to other Ludlum books and found them long and drawn out, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this audio book. If you are already a fan of this extremely talented author, I have no doubt you will enjoy this too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Terry Brighton
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (81)

    In the Second World War, the United States, Great Britain, and Germany each produced one land-force commander who stood out from the rest: George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, and Erwin Rommel. All were arrogant, publicity seeking, and personally flawed, yet each possessed a genius for command and an unrivaled enthusiasm for combat.

    John VandenBrook says: "Excellent ... Patton, Montgomery, Rommel"
    "Excellent ... Patton, Montgomery, Rommel"
    Overall

    I was more than pleasantly surprised with this book and Terry Brighton, who I never read before, pulled off something rather extraordinary. Far from being a gimmicky attempt to use top generals to slap together an historical narrative, this book is very well written, the content well researched, and the presentation well delivered.

    From an historical perspective this is a surprisingly good book on WWII. I liked how the author offers several view points on a subject, or the motivation of why a General did "x", and when he gave his own insights I found them to be well reasoned and thoughtful. I also found myself both liking and disliking all three of these great "Masters of War", and the excellent back drop of the important events in WWII made this an enjoyable read.

    I came away with a better understanding of all three men, and surprising insight on the course of the war in the Western theatre and how significant each of these men were in the overall outcome of the major battles and the war itself. Whether you are a war buff; or are new to the world wars in Europe, I think you will find this book informative an enjoyable as I did.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Churchill, Hitler, and 'The Unnecessary War'

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Patrick J. Buchanan
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen - Winston Churchill first among them - the horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins.

    Benedict says: "A classic of history books"
    "An incoherent narrative of Churchill's role"
    Overall

    In this account of the tragedies of the first and second world wars, Buchanan tries to point blame at Churchill and ends up confusing the reader. Below I list some examples of this:
    1) The title of the book, in part, 'The Unnecessary War' is a reference of Churchill's assessment given to WWII. In covering Churchill, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI, the back drop of this book is both wars.
    2) Churchill is implicitly found culpable for WWI because he is in a happy state of affairs during this time. This is an annoying point especially when you think of George Patton or Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War, to only name a couple.
    3) Whenever Buchanan is on the verge of making a so-called courageous point of the guilt of Churchill, he backs down and quotes notables such as Barbara Tuchman or John Keegan, often siting the evils of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany, or Hitler - in other words, coming to no conclusion at all.
    4) Buchanan is unable to keep Churchill at the center of his narrative and pulls in Gray, the members of the house of commons, and England herself so that he confuses the reader on the point he is attempting to make, rendering sections of his book incoherent.
    5) In the context of this narrative, Hitler's name in the title is irrelevant and may as well have been the Kaiser, or the Nazi, etc.

    I enjoy fresh perspectives on 20th century events, the characters, and the tragic consequences but believe that in terms of an historical account this book is not salvageable. There are simply too many events, too many factors, too many people involved in the first and second world wars to point the finger at anyone person (although I would admit you could get away with this in blaming Hitler for WW2 and Germany's bizaare desire for a pure race). This account was too trivial and unfair, and it did not add anything to my understanding of the tragedies which befell mankind during this hellish period in our history.

    14 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (82)

    Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and veteran author William R. Forstchen combine their talents in this powerful and rousing alternate history of the most legendary Civil War clash.

    A User says: "Good book, but..."
    ""Active History" = Fiction"
    Overall

    Well it took me the loss of a credit and time to understand that this was not meant to be a historically accurate account of the battle of Gettysburg. Although the story is well written and the narrator just fine, I am not one who is "bored" by factual accounts of history. This seemed to be one of Gingrich's motivations to change the battle fields and ending, by injecting a "what if" scenario in its place. The irony is that he did not need to do any of this, as Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels" proves. A disappointment for me as I was looking, and thought I had found, another excellent Civil War book by a reputable historian.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Timeline

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    Overall
    (2409)
    Performance
    (693)
    Story
    (706)

    Modern science meets feudal France...dinosaurs still walk the Earth...a secret world of killer gorillas...only in a Michael Crichton thriller! Check out our full selection in our Crichton store!

    Charles Stembridge says: "Narrator"
    "Pleasantly Surprised"
    Overall

    I first need to admit I have not finished the book, but am more than half-way thru, am thoroughly enjoying it, and don't run the risk of giving away the ending! The beginning is a bit slow, but you'll understand why as the characters develop and as the book picks up in pace. The book is very cleverly written, a bit tedious with details, but twists in this book are anything but "predictable". If you are in the science field, as I am, you may find yourself critical of some of the material but remember "its simply non-fiction". One quick example is how virtual universes are explained as infinite, perhaps to account for all possible combinations of outcomes throughout history, but when questioned about the dangers of going to a different point in time and how this could change the present, the main character explains how this is not possible with such few people (the better explanation I would think would be that it would not be possible since you are in a different "universe" so returning to the current universe, nothing in its past actually changed). Types of exchanges such as these occur only at the beginning of the book, but if you hang in there it is really worth it, and is a book I believe many will enjoy in audible or written format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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