SARASOTA, FL, United States | Member Since 2011
I purchased this book to hear a firsthand report of the Bin Laden mission and the rescue of Captain Phillips from the Somalian pirates, but it offered so much more than that. Its content described the driven personality of a SEAL ("the person who comes in second is the first loser"), the personal sacrifices, the beyond-rigorous training, and the cooperation, professionalism, and camaraderie among these brothers in arms.
The preface explains that many authorities examined the content to make certain it did not divulge anything that could prove useful to enemies of the US. Being at the compound in Pakistan as the raid took place delivered exactly what I was looking for. As for the Somalian pirates, one had to come aboard the US ship for medical treatment, and our soldiers put him on deck, in view of the other pirates who were still on the lifeboat with their American captive, and fed this pirate ice cream and Cokes, in full view of the others, to weaken their morale. I thought that was hilarious. Then, of course, the SWAT team killed the pirates as soon as they could do so without jeopardizing Captain Phillips--every exciting . . . and similar missions go on all the time.
The narrator did a wonderful job. His voice was well suited to the book.
I highly recommend No Easy Day.
I purchased this book to prepare for a vacation in Ireland. Knowing little about Irish history except the relatively recent tragic events in Northern Ireland, I was stunned to read how much the Irish endured mainly at the hands of the English. For centuries, into modern times, the Irish suffered prejudice, religious persecution, exploitation, injustice, poverty, illness, and cruelty as a result of England's superior military strength, unstoppable aggression, and insatiable greed.
Now I can't wait to take my trip and meet my hosts, whom other travelers have described as hospitable, warm, and generous. This is a great tribute to their strength and faith.
The narrator did a wonderful job. He read beautifully. He had an Irish accent (that would seem obvious, but Johnny Depp, with an American accent, read Keith Richards's autobiography--a choice I'll never understand). Although the facts of the country's history are grim, for some reason the book came across as very interesting rather than depressing and painful. The content struck me as thorough and complete.
I highly recommend this book.
This wonderful book discusses WWII from a much more personal perspective than any I've read. While FDR was the politician and brain of the country at this time, Eleanor was the heart and conscience. She discovered her husband's affair when she was in her mid-thirties and thereafter pretty much went her own way, to the great advantage of social causes in the United States. She was a Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and Labor Rights activist throughout these years and prompted profound advances by pressuring her husband about these causes in the White House. I had no idea.
Nelson Runger's narration was excellent. He does a credible imitation of FDR and Churchill, and his delivery for Eleanor was subtly singsong and high pitched.
Dr. Carl Hart grew up in South Florida, maintained a 2.0 academic average in high school so he could play sports, and managed to avoid brushes with the law, unlike many of his peers. He took an armed-forces aptitude test just to get out of class that day, and he did well enough for the army and air force to try to enlist him. Going into the air force changed his life by expanding his horizons, and he went on to become a tenured professor at Columbia. How could this not be an interesting book?!
Hart believes that the War on Drugs is a policy based in racism and pharmacological ignorance. The laws and enforcement thereof are so heavily weighted against the black community, they are destroying the chance of success in life for generations of young men. The social ills and crime blamed on drugs, he says, existed well before drugs became ubiquitous. His scientific research on addiction and the statistics he relates also show the public's lack of knowledge.
This was a fascinating, thought-provoking book on many levels. I learned a lot.
As for the narrator, I'm glad the decision-makers chose a black man to read the book. My only objection was that he read too slowly and without enough emotion. No matter what he was saying, it was all delivered at the same measured pace.
First, Audible offers this novel as two books, which I did not realize when I purchased Volume 1. When I came to the end and realized the story was unfinished and I was out of credits, the representative was good enough to advance me a credit for Volume 2 so I could keep going. Don't make my mistake; purchase both at the same time.
Tolstoy opens a whole world to the readers, and once you enter, you find yourself inhabiting the country and the times, becoming a part of every social strata, and feeling affected by all aspects of Russian life. Living this masterpiece was a wondrous experience for me. The characters are so vivid, you care about what happens to them after you've read the last page.
I tell my clients that authors have three primary responsibilities: to inform, entertain, and evoke emotions from the readers. No one could do a better job of all three than Tolstoy in this amazing novel.
As a book editor, I ask my clients not to use their characters to speak for them but to allow the characters to speak for themselves. I don't believe this is the case in Resurrection. Tolstoy wants to address the Russian "justice" and penal systems, and although he dramatizes the unfolding action, at its core, the dialogue and narrative are more obviously coming straight from the author than I prefer. The setup is interesting: a wealthy juror finds that the accused murderer is a young woman who lived in his aunts' house and whom he loved and betrayed many years before. Believing his betrayal resulted in her ruination and ultimately brought her to this sorry fate, he takes responsibility and follows her to Siberia, where she is imprisoned. This nobleman's thoughts and dialogue were, in my opinion, not distanced enough from what Tolstoy believed, and I was always aware of the author's presence. I think the author should be invisible to the readers rather than the characters' puppeteer.
I did, however, respect Tolstoy's stance and his taking on his huge and terrible issue that was so unfair and prevalent in his country.
The idea of seeing a psychoanalyst five days a week for years struck me as self-indulgent, but this book showed how some individuals' destructive behavior needs that ongoing, intense attention to unravel the subconscious reasons. Grosz presents a wide variety of issues and includes how his patients' issues and his response to them prompted him to analyze himself. Two stories affected me deeply: his father's return to the locations where he spent his pre-WWII youth, and a violent child who spat in Grosz's face every day for a year and a half.
The narrator did a wonderful job. He communicated Grosz's obvious intelligence and thought-based approach.
Ah, these were the days of meandering, philosophical ruminations, when not every paragraph had to advance the plot. . . . Tolstoy's novel is sheer brilliance, with complex, neurotic protagonists who drive themselves and each other crazy. The sanest characters are the peasants and the women, except for Anna, of course.
Tolstoy does a beautiful job of portraying life in Russia at that time--the politics, religion, society, families . . . what doesn't he talk about?!
The British narrator is wonderfully talented except for one odd kick in his gallop. When he reads the dialogue for peasants, he gives them a Cockney accent, and the kindly Russian Orthodox priest sounds Irish. I'm not kidding.
How many times has someone asked, "If you could meet any historical figure . . ." and you had so many names flash before your eyes, you couldn't make a decision? Well, Peter the Great is Numero Uno for me after having listened to this book. He not only dragged Russia into the modern world, he was a wild man, with boundless curiosity, intelligence, and energy. He didn't care about society's dictates. He didn't care about ceremony, tradition, or rituals.He mocked courtly behavior and the Church. In many ways he was like an out-of-control fraternity boy. He drank too much and partied to the point where no one could keep up with him. At 6'7", he traveled throughout Europe "incognito," not wanting royalty to acknowledge him as he visited their country to learn all he could to improve the life of his countrymen.
This book does not limit itself to Peter the Great. It's about his era, and it was fascinating. I can't recommend it enough.
As for the narrator, is it possible this man lisps, and no one ever noticed?!
I am a book editor, and I'm forever reminding my clients to show and not tell their story. I tell them to inhabit a point-of-view character rather than be an omniscient observer, a literary technique that is out of vogue. I instruct them that all narrative must come from within the story rather than outside it, from the storyteller.
Paul Scott's novel tells the story a majority of the time, the point of view is not consistent, and the narrator is often the voice. Listening to this book should have irritated the heck out of me, but it didn't. I loved it.
Scott writes beautifully, and he includes unusual, telling details. Sometimes he breaks a moment down into tiny increments, which allowed me to draw a distinct picture in my mind of what was transpiring.
Richard Brown delivers an outstanding performance. His voice is that of a highly educated Brit, but he nailed the characters from India. Their dialogue never sounded singsong. He was adept at not spilling over the accents into the narrative or, when two characters, a Brit and and Indian, were talking to each other, he always delineated them. The accents didn't bleed into each other (as they are doing now, in Volume II, with a different narrator).
My attention never lagged. I really enjoyed this listening experience, and I am committed to listening to all the volumes in the Raj Quartet.
I am a sensitive person, and I thought I'd find this book so upsetting, I would bail out. I surprised myself; I was riveted. I didn't know much about Hitler's years-long rise to power, except that the German people were destitute and humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles, and he rebuilt their national pride. The details of his climb were fascinating.
He was a master bluffer. He invented self-righteous reasons for invading neighboring countries and bullied France, England, and the United States into believing him and not intervening until it was too late in many situations.
Hitler was so insane, it's almost impossible to believe he got away with his machinations and atrocities, but Shirer's staggering research and documentation back it up. Shirer was a journalist-broadcaster in Germany when a lot of the events transpired, and his firsthand observations inform his perspective. I am in awe of how he managed to gather the material from so many sources, organize it, and write it so clearly and beautifully. His work is mostly objective, but at times his incredulity and revulsion escape. He wouldn't be human had it not.
The narrator did an outstanding job. He must be fluent in French and German. Officers' and politicians' names flowed from his lips, no matter how, well, awkwardly, cacophonously Germanic they were.
I made it through the whole book, mesmerized. I enthusiastically recommend it.
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