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William

Wheat Ridge, CO, United States | Member Since 2011

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 312 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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  • The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Harlow Giles Unger
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (97)

    In this lively and compelling biography, Harlow Giles Unger reveals the dominant political figure of a generation. A fierce fighter in four critical Revolutionary War battles and a courageous survivor of Valley Forge and a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton, James Monroe (1751 - 1831) went on to become America's first full-time politician, dedicating his life to securing America's national and international durability.

    Robert Bartel says: "Readable, but more hero worship than history"
    "Bold to a fault"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    According to Unger, Monroe almost single handily saved America during the War of 1812 and ushered in a post-partisan era of good-feelings. Unger describes pre-cotton slavery as a 'paternalistic' institution (with no hint of sarcasm) and provides an extremely lopsided account of US, native American wars - describing the atrocities that Native Americans committed but not those of the US.

    Yet despite Unger's (very) skewed narrative, I found the book fun to listen to. He makes early America come to life in a way that more reflective biographies often fail to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The American Experiment

    • UNABRIDGED (88 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James MacGregor Burns
    • Narrated By Mark Ashby
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (33)

    James MacGregor Burns’s stunning trilogy of American history, spanning the birth of the Constitution to the final days of the Cold War. In these three volumes, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James MacGregor Burns chronicles with depth and narrative panache the most significant cultural, economic, and political events of American history.

    William says: "American leaders, politics, economics, liberalism"
    "American leaders, politics, economics, liberalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book starts with the constitutional convention, and Burns focuses on describing the framers, and their political motives and ideas. The sections about political theory are very interesting. However, he also analyzes each of the framers as 'leaders'. Unfortunately,his leadership analysis of each is so cursory as to seem superficial.

    From 1830-1900 he pretty much ignores presidents and great senators. Instead he focuses heavily on the social woes of the US as well as captains of industry, artists, and especially authors like Whitman and Emerson.

    In the 20th century, he covers great liberal leaders like Teddy, Wilson (he loves Professor Wilson), FDR, Kennedy, LBJ and MLK. His analysis of the first three is long enough for him to properly convey his leadership ideas. He also mocks late 20th century society culture - movies, sports, tv, and radio and he mourns the decline of literature, newspapers, liberalism, intellectuals...

    Burns has an unusual, interesting take on American history and presidents. I thought that some chapters were too critical of American society to be interesting. But I enjoyed most of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (6519)
    Performance
    (6041)
    Story
    (6064)

    Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

    D says: "The sequel to the book; not the movie"
    "Trash"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is just trash. Not interested in a baby who had premonitions that planes were going to crash in the world trade center on Sept 11. Or about how a girl who was sick of being raped by her father stuck a needle through his balls and then through his eyeball. Lots of child molestation. lots of incest. lots of disturbing stories mixed with lots of sappiness.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (248)

    Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history.

    Jeff says: "DROP JAW AMAZING!!"
    "You should listen to this..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The most striking biography I've listened to/read. It presents a brilliant nuanced picture of perhaps the most brillant, contradictory politician in American history. Caro has an incredible knowledge and understanding of LBJ and his time period. He also writes grandly and beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (177)

    From one of America's most talented historians and winner of a LA Times Book Prize comes a brilliant new account of Richard Nixon that reveals the riveting backstory to the red state/blue state resentments that divide our nation today. Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency.

    Frank says: "A 5-Star Book Injured by the Narrator"
    "Great account of stunning times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Perlstein covers riots, protests and violence in the 60s and 70s in great detail - because they were amazing in and of themselves, and because of his contention that civil unrest fractured America. Although his lengthy descriptions of civil unrest sometimes become tedius, the extent of civil unrest stunned me (I'm in my 20s), and convincingly prove his argument.

    I also thought that Nixon was rather liberal for his talks with China and his creation of the EPA. But Perlstein shows how Nixon's idealogy and talking points contribute greatly to modern conservatism. Perlstein also shows how cynically Nixon used the war in Vietnam for political purposes.

    You may be slightly overwhelmed by all the details in this book, but Nixonland is nevertheless extremely interesting for those interested in history and politics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress - Pax Britannica, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jan Morris
    • Narrated By Roy McMillan
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (132)

    The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven’s Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond. Totally gripping history!

    Wolfpacker says: "Great Vignettes, Good Overall Story"
    "Know what you are getting into.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not an accessible book for Americans (at least after the first couple chapters). There are too many descriptions of architecture in far flung parts of the British empire and lots of references to notable families and people (most of whom I have never heard of).

    That being said, many chapters provide compelling overviews of the British empire or exciting stories of sieges and wars. And all the chapters are very well written and the narrator is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (584)
    Performance
    (523)
    Story
    (518)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "an comprehensive yet engaging book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A World Undone is a very comprehensive history of WW1, yet accessible for non-experts.
    Interspersed throughout are sections called "Background" which give compelling accounts of everything from the origin of the weapons used to fight WW1 to the personal history of leading politicians and generals, to the history of the major warring countries. They help the reader get the necessary background to understand the war, yet fit in very nicely with the narrative flow of the rest of the chapters.

    The narrator is also excellent.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Theodore Rex

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Edmund Morris
    • Narrated By Jonathan Marosz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (307)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (202)

    The most eagerly awaited presidential biography in years, Theodore Rex tells the story of President Theodore Roosevelt in real time, reflecting the world as "TR" saw it. Full of cinematic detail, Theodore Rex moves with the exhilarating pace of a novel, yet it rides on a granite base of scholarship.

    Darwin8u says: "BULLY for Teddy the Übermensch!"
    "very different from The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, you will be repelled by the narrator's strange cadence. Then, you will note that phrases in German, French, and Latin are left untranslated. FInally, you will realize that Morris is more interested in writing prose than history.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By H. W. Brands
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    The three decades after the Civil War saw a wholesale shift in American life, and the cause was capitalism. Driven by J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and oth­ers like them, armies of men and women were harnessed to a new vision of massive industry. A society rooted in the soil became one based in cities, and legions of immigrants were drawn to American shores. Brands portrays the stunning trans­formation of the landscape and institutions of American life in these years.

    Joshua Kim says: "8 Thoughts on 'American Colossus'"
    "interesting but unfocused"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Although Brands makes the questionable claim that capitalism thrives on inequality, and although he pits democracy against capitalism, this book is certainly not biased against capitalism. I initially thought that Brands would portray all capitalists as criminals, and overlook industries' positive contributions to society, but instead he gives a very balanced account of the impact that large corporations had on society.

    Also Brands has a knack for giving interesting and funny accounts of scandals or strange incidents. Stories of conspiracies by speculators like Gould on Black Friday (Gould manipulated Gold prices) are the best part of this book.



    What was most disappointing about H. W. Brands’s story?

    Parts of this book are just hard to follow and there is too much detail . For instance, Brands account of the cattle industry left me with only a vague appreciation of its impact on the American economy or society, because there was so much detail. That being said, I listen to audiobooks while I exercise and sometimes I'm distracted.

    Also, Its not clear why Brand covers certain presidential elections and certain presidents in much greater detail than others. He basically ignores Grants - which I find puzzling.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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