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Sean

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Houston, Texas, United States | Member Since 2009

54
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 694 titles in library
  • 41 purchased in 2015
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  • Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By David King
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (303)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (253)

    Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld. The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma.

    Caitanya says: "Too many facts too little story"
    "I should have loved this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The true story of a serial murderer set against the backdrop of occupied Paris? Sign me up!

    That's how I guessed I would react to this book; I was wrong. The most compelling parts of this book are contained in the first hour or so, with the discovery of the bodies in 1944. The author then jumps around back and forth in time, from detective, to murderer to victims, and manages to tell us that the murderer did it when he should have been building suspense about his guilt. Later, he tells us who the killer is hiding with while trying to build suspense as to his whereabouts.

    Compelling story, disappointingly told. I found myself slogging through the latter 2/3 of the book rather than being on the edge of my seat.

    The narrator was fine, though I didn't care for quotes being read in a French accent. That's probably my thing, but I still count off for it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Winston Groom
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (204)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (185)

    Gifted storyteller Winston Groom, the best-selling author of Forrest Gump, has written the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight: Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival at sea, and will appeal to fans of Unbroken, The Greatest Generation, and Flyboys.

    tjcrewsbooks says: "Great listening experience!"
    "A great overview of these early pioneers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are certainly more detailed books about these three giants of aviation, but this one does a great job in pulling everything together and weaving it into a relatively coherent narrative that culminates in these men's contributions to aviation as well as to World War 2.

    Well-paced and entertaining, I enjoyed this book very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Nick Offerman
    • Narrated By Nick Offerman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1656)
    Performance
    (1509)
    Story
    (1501)

    Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman - who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking - he runs his own woodshop - Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois, to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally.

    Kyle says: "Like bacon for your ears"
    "He keeps referring to it as a humorous book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a fan of Parks & Rec. Loved Amy Poehler's book "Yes, Please". Am generally a fan of the Ron Swanson caricature Offerman has played.

    But in the first hour, this book is nothing but is Offerman lecturing the listener about organic foods (he's in favor of them), the joy of meat, and religion (keep your fictional stories to yourself) in a fairly condescending why-isn't-this-obvious-to-you manner.

    All of which would be forgivable if the book were funny. It's not. Not so far, anyway, and my patience is running out.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (698)
    Performance
    (626)
    Story
    (620)

    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.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "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.

    18 of 19 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
    (50)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    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.

    Johnny says: "Narrator of a Thousand Voices!"
    "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
    (646)
    Performance
    (333)
    Story
    (337)

    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.

    Rob Mack says: "History with Spice!"
    "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.

    1 of 1 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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (843)
    Performance
    (701)
    Story
    (715)

    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
    (1820)
    Performance
    (1675)
    Story
    (1662)

    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.

    Mel says: "Heavy Load"
    "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.

    4 of 5 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
    (213)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (92)

    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
    (41)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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