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margot

new york, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Anderson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (233)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (201)

    Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabiadefinitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

    Charles Fred Smith says: "The "Real" Story"
    "Quirky sidelights of WW1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lawrence here is a young scholar, not at all flaky, cowering, or emotionally crippled, who puts on a uniform and plays the Great Game. His story is told in parallel with those of some others, an upper-class but impoverished scion from America named William Yale, and some Zionist settler/spies in Palestine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6884)
    Performance
    (6302)
    Story
    (6308)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Wonderful fiction, too long, strains credibility"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone should have reined her in. Donna Tartt put everything she wanted to write for the past ten years into this magnum opus, and it shows. She creates a believable world, but I'm not sure it's done justice by the length. The whole story would have been improved greatly by cutting it down to half its length.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Churchill

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Roy Jenkins
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (497)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (176)

    In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

    Karen says: "Best of British Political Soap Opera"
    "Inside Baseball"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My favorite of all the Churchill bios. Jenkins admirably steers clear of the high-perspective generalizations we are usually exposed to. He has a keen knowledge of Parliamentary minutiae, and sticks to his knitting. This is the Churchill biography for the political junkie and those who have read everything else in the field.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mein Kampf: The Ford Translation

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Adolf Hitler, Michael Ford (translator)
    • Narrated By James Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (88)

    For the first time in 65 years, a modern, easy to understand, truly complete and uncensored edition of Mein Kampf has been released which reveals more than any past translation. This is also the first translation available in an English language audio format. Older translations altered passages, omitted passages, mistranslated Hitler's words, and made some parts more sensational while concealing the true meaning in other parts of the book.

    Raymond says: "Interesting insight into a modernist mind"
    "Annoying Pop-Ups"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are many things wrong with this book. It appears that Michael Ford did not do a real translation at all, he merely rewrote a new paraphrase based on the earlier, faulty, editions, and self-published it through a print-on-demand scheme. Nothing wrong with that if his intention was to create a readable, rationalized edition with the Murphy and Manheim errors corrected. Alas Ford doesn't even write or proofread English very well, and makes a bad situation worse. He has some bizarre and novel 'translations' of phrases that do not require translation, for example the newspaper 'Volkischer Beobächter', which he turns into 'The Race Watcher.' If you must translate a title like that, something like 'People's Observer' or 'Populist Observer' or even 'Folkish Observer' might be acceptable, but there's no excuse for 'Race Watcher.' (Prof. Randall Bytwerk has written extensively on this and other translation problems, and you should Google that name if you wish to know more.)

    What is annoying about the Audible edition is that the translator's footnotes and interlineations pop up frequently and annoyingly, often giving bad information. There should be some way of turning these off, as you turn off pop-ads in a web browser.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Mark North
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Here's what we now know: John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by Mafia contract killers hired by Louisiana mob boss Carlos Marcello. Kennedy was killed in that city because it was the only place in the country where a crime of that magnitude could be committed without fear of punishment. Long-time local district attorney Henry Wade, an LBJ crony who would have sole jurisdiction over the prosecution of those responsible, had been corrupted by the local Civello crime family. Lyndon B. Johnson, while a U.S. senator during the 1950s, had accepted bribes from the same mobsters so that they could avoid deportation.

    Bucketman says: "THANK YOU MARK NORTH!"
    "The Gangland Point of View"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a very enjoyable listening experience. There are a number of books that hypothesize an LBJ involvement in the Kennedy Assassination, and some of them marshall the evidence quite well. Some recent books focus mostly on LBJ's political connections. Mark North concentrates mostly on the underworld of Dallas and New Orleans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs)
    • By Tony Judt
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (302)
    Story
    (303)

    Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world’s most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through 34 nations and 60 years of political and cultural change—all in one integrated, enthralling narrative.

    History says: "Great book, but not terrific listening"
    "Workmanlike but dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Judt was such a big name in his last years, I expected this book to be a marvel of insight and sparkling narrative. It is not, especially not in the Audible version. This vast survey-history is better enjoyed and referred to in its original text format, since it is essentially a reference book and not very useful without index and biblio apparatus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood, Money, and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Barr McClellan
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Blood, Money, & Power exposes the secret, high-level conspiracy in Texas that led to President John F. Kennedy’s death and the succession of Lyndon B. Johnson as president in 1963. Attorney Barr McClellan, a former member of L.B.J.’s legal team, uses hundreds of newly released documents, including insider interviews, court papers, and the Warren Commission, to illuminate the maneuvers, payoffs, and power plays that revolved around the assassination of Kennedy and to expose L.B.J.’s involvement in the murder plot.

    margot says: "The Closest We'll Get to a Texas Insider's Version"
    "The Closest We'll Get to a Texas Insider's Version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suspect this is a book better read than listened to. In the Audible version the choppy, repetitive, disorganized aspects are very evident. This is partly because McClellan is more concerned with emphasizing central points than with providing a smooth-flowing narrative. The choppiness may also be due to a lawyer's cautiousness. If hazarding a guess, he tells you he's offering a possible theory; if constructing a persuasive brief, he reiterates the key events and background details to refresh our memory and keep us focused.

    McClellan ties his themes together with dressy literary elements (epigraphs that open and close each chapter) but these are designed to work on the printed page, not in audio, where they trip up the listener like bollards in the pavement.

    The latter part of the book is pure autobiographical narrative and flows smoothly. No plausible guesswork here; it's a true recollection and the best part of the book. McClellan worked for LBJ crony Edward Aubrey Clark in the Austin law firm that bought politicians, engaged hit men, and looked to profit enormously once they had Johnson in the White House.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Gore Vidal
    • Narrated By Gore Vidal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    In this extraordinary memoir, Vidal recalls his accomplishments and defeats, discusses the friends and enemies he has made, and contemplates the nature of mortality. In the Navy, Vidal was forced to use point to point navigation whenever compasses failed. It is an apt analogy for his life, which has been filled with triumphs as well as controversies. Vidal has had relationships with innumerable luminaries, including President Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, and Greta Garbo.

    Catherine says: "Point to Point Navigation"
    "Digressive, like an old man's reveries"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This memoir is not nearly as good as Vidal's 'Palimpsest,' which was a masterpiece of autobiography as well as witty social history. There were bits of exaggeration and maybe outright lies in the earlier book, but the ego is allowed poetic license.

    In this volume the memories are running thin and they threaten to get maudlin. The lingering illness and death of Vidal's life-partner Howard Auster is a poignant tale, told with excellent reserve and no soppiness, but it does leave a big black cloud over the whole book.

    On the other hand, we've got Gore Vidal himself reading the thing in his Mandarin drawl, and that blots out a multitude of sins. Gore revisits some of the favorites from the earlier memoir--Jack and Jackie, Tennessee Williams, his parents, Amelia Earhart--and brings them to life like Dickens giving a final-tour reading.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Phillip F. Nelson
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    The case against Lyndon B. Johnson and his role in Kennedy's assassination has never been sounder. LBJ aims to prove that Vice President Johnson played an active role in the assassination of President Kennedy and that he began planning his takeover of the U.S. presidency even before being named the vice presidential nominee in 1960. Nelson's careful and meticulous research has led him to uncover secrets from one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in our country's history.

    Karen says: "LBJ plotted to kill JFK? Makes you think..."
    "Credible without being over-cautious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We've had a number of books covering this territory. Their various analyses and theories intersect like a Venn Diagram, as there is usually a decided emphasis in favor of blaming the CIA, the Cubans working with the CIA, the Mafia, the Mossad, or LBJ and his Texas cronies. Philip Nelson comes very close to giving us a Grand Unifying Superset of them all. In his version, LBJ might have been a "mastermind" of the assassination, but he he didn't plan every jot and tittle. Basically an opportunist, LBJ took advantage of grudges and political debts, and used them to his advantage.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James McPherson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (174)

    James M. McPherson, professor emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton, is one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. In this informative and meticulously researched masterpiece, he clarifies the differing ways of life and philosophy that led to this shattering conflict. Abraham Lincoln wondered whether "in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government". And Jefferson Davis felt "forced to take up arms" to guarantee states' rights.

    E. Pearson says: "A Rigorous Gift"
    "Well-written, highly politcised"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The performance was annoying, read at half-speed. It put me in mind of Al Gore.

    McPherson has many hobby-horses. He is anti-Catholic, anti-Confederate, determinedly leftist. He spouts utter tripe: the Fort Pillow massacre was a slaughter of innocent negroes, for example. The "massacre" was an invention of armchair journalists who weren't there. You won't find any serious historian endorsing this "massacre" story these days. And it's not as though the facts have changed since the 1980s.

    The one saving grace of this book is that McPherson gives a good overview of the two or three decades preceding the War. It is a very biased, School of Abolition Dogma overview, but it is coherent all the same.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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