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Sean

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Houston, Texas, United States | Member Since 2004

ratings
104
REVIEWS
24
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HELPFUL VOTES
29

  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    Barbara says: "An interesting glimpse"
    "Fascinating, though disturbing at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Melinek has written a fascinating and compelling book, and does a good job at showing the human aspects to her job as a medical examiner. Some of the details of what happens in an autopsy will make your skin crawl, but let's be honest, that's partly why you buy this sort of book.

    The case histories are all interesting, if sometimes disturbing or heart-wrenching, but she comes across as a thoughtful professional who does a difficult job with dedication and compassion.

    The majority of this book is similar to what's found in Stiff, and the Poisoner's Handbook, and will very much appeal to fans of those books.

    But this book is more than that. Dr. Melinek was working for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York on 9/11/2001, and she offers a look into what happened out of the public's view in the weeks and months after the attacks.

    If you think you might be interested in forensic science, I cannot recommend this book any more highly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories from the Marine Heroes of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Adam Makos
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    Chronicling the United States Marine Corps’ actions in the Pacific theater of operations, Voices of the Pacific presents the true stories of heroism and honor as told by such World War II veterans as Sid Phillips, R. V. Burgin, and Chuck Tatum - whose exploits were featured in the HBO miniseries The Pacific - and their marine buddies from the legendary First Marine Division.

    Sean says: "Great material, annoyingly narrated"
    "Great material, annoyingly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a fan of the "Lost Voices" series of audiobooks, which intermixes the stories of a dozen or so people into a single narrative. Except those books use the original source material - recordings of the actual people telling their stories.

    This book uses a narrator who makes up voices for the Marines. And many of them are similar to one another. This started out as extremely annoying, but faded to only mildly so halfway through the book, as the stories of these Marines took center stage. Honestly, the narrator could have read the book as Daffy Duck and I wouldn't have cared!

    These stories were gathered recently - after the Pacific miniseries aired, but you'll see many of the same people and personalities from a different point of view. Personal stories of Lekie (Helmet for my Pillow), Sledge (With the Old Breed), Haldane, Chesty Puller, and John Basilonge. The book really adds depth to these famous personalities. Makes them more human. More complex.

    Most of these types of books have a phrase or story that sticks with me for a long time. The one from this book will be this: When Medal of Honor recipient John Basiglone was married in 1944, he had 4 other sergeants act as groomsmen at his wedding. Of the 5 guys, 3 would be killed on Iwo Jima, and the other two wounded, one losing an arm.

    Anyway, I recommend this book, especially if you've watched the Pacific, and/or read the other books mentioned above.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Company Commander: A World War II Oral History Interview with Arnold Brown

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 55 mins)
    • By Aaron Elson
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    "After the battle, we picked up a German soldier who had been wounded. He had been shot in the leg with a .50-caliber bullet, and had lain out overnight in this freezing, subzero weather. Both of his arms and both of his legs were frozen stiff as a board. He begged us to shoot him. I couldn't do it. I asked for a volunteer. But these battle hardened soldiers would not volunteer. One soldier lit a cigarette and held it to his lips. Another soldier brought him a hot cup of coffee and held it so he could get coffee until we got the litter jeep up there...."

    Sean says: "Poor sound quality doesn't mar this gem"
    "Poor sound quality doesn't mar this gem"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The stories are fantastic. The book is far too short, and sounds like it was recorded with a hand-held micro cassette recorder, placed 20' from the subject. The sound quality is bad. Really awful. Unintelligible in parts.

    That said, I strongly prefer hearing these stories from the vets themselves rather than an actor reading lines.

    I would buy dozens more books like this, poor sound quality and all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By T. J. English
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (176)

    Havana Nocturne takes listeners back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others.

    Paul Abbott says: "Not for reactionaries"
    "I want to like it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I want to like the book, but it comes across as fairly dry, despite the sometimes exciting material.

    My download has a production problem in that 2 hours in part 1 are repeated. I'm not sure if that's a Blackstone problem or an Audible problem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
    • Narrated By Jeremy Davidson
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (578)
    Story
    (587)

    In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.

    Paul Bennett says: "Fine book, adequate narration"
    "Interesting, but a bit full of itself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A tremendously interesting story about how museum curators went on the front lines to save, salvage and rescue much of Europe's cultural heritage as the Allied war machine marched towards Berlin. Some wonderful characters, working secretly to document what the Nazis had taken, from whom, and to where.

    I'm glad the Army spent time and effort preserving these treasures. I've seen many of the rescued works in churches and museums across Europe. But this story is a footnote to WW2; the author seems like he's trying to make heroes out of his main characters. Undoubtedly some of them were brave and physically courageous. But heroes?

    Meh.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1092)
    Performance
    (1012)
    Story
    (1004)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Darwin8u says: "Grief, terror, love, longing"
    "Worm's eye view"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A worm's eye view of a selected few vignettes of the author's life before and during his service in VietNam.

    The author is long-winded, repeats himself, tells stories out-of-order, says the same things over and over again, and weaves several threads of narrative in and around one another in a manner reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut. Some people may like that.

    But not me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Antony Beevor
    • Narrated By Cameron Stewart
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (78)

    From critically acclaimed world historian Antony Beevor, this is the first major account in more than 20 years to cover the whole invasion, from June 6, 1944, right up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians were by the Luftwaffe.

    Michael says: "A commendable book"
    "Much more than June 6th"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was expecting another D-day-only narrative when I bought this book. Something to compliment Ryan and Ambrose. I was pleasantly surprised to get much more, since the book covers the European campaign in some detail from D-day until the liberation of Paris, with much time being spent on the siege of Caen, the battle for the Falaise Pocket, and the capture of Paris.

    The narrator did a decent enough job, except he imitated accents when speaking in the voice of American, French, or German people. He even had voices he did for Monty and Churchill.

    The practice hit a very discordant note, and distracted from the narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Sinclair McKay
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Bletchley Park looked like any other sprawling country estate. In reality, however, it was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School - and the site where Germany’s legendary Enigma code was finally cracked. There, the nation’s most brilliant mathematical minds - including Alan Turing, whose discoveries at Bletchley would fuel the birth of modern computing - toiled alongside debutantes, factory workers, and students on projects of international importance. Until now, little has been revealed about ordinary life at this extraordinary facility.

    Drew says: "Dull treatment of an exciting subject"
    "One of the more approachable histories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read or listened to several histories of Bletchley Park. This one does a great job of letting you know what it was like for the people who were there. How the food was. What the conditions were at their billets. How so many people could work in such close proximity and rarely see one another. How the secret of Ultra could have been kept by so many, for so long.

    And, yes, what sorts of contributions to the war they were making, whether they knew it at the time or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By James F. Calvert
    • Narrated By Kevin Patrick
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (115)

    In this riveting personal account, an authentic American hero relives the perils and triumphs of eight harrowing patrols aboard one of America's most successful World War II submarines. Courageous deeds and terror-filled moments - as well as the endless hard work of maintaining and operating a combat sub - are vividly recalled in Calvert's candid portrait.

    julie says: "A fascinating view of WW2 Sub Warfare"
    "A classic tale of life in WW2 submarines"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jim Calvert went on an astonishing 9 war patrols in WW2 submarines, and later went on to be one of the highest ranking officers in the Navy.

    This is an astonishing book, marred by some unevenness in the production quality. Still a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Scott Selby, Greg Campbell
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    Overall
    (348)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (189)

    On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.

    morton says: "An Exciting, Terrific, Nail Biting Ride!"
    "Interesting, but drags at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stopped listening once arrests were made; the last third of the book held no mystery, and so I lost interest.

    The planning and execution of the heist was enthralling, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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