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Paul

Something about myself...happy now?

Watertown, ma, United States | Member Since 2005

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 48 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Conservatives Without Conscience

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By John W. Dean
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    John Dean's last New York Times best seller, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, offered the former White House insider's unique and telling perspective on George W. Bush's presidency. Once again, Dean employs his distinctive knowledge and understanding of Washington politics and process to examine the conservative movement's current inner circle of radical Republican leaders, from Capitol Hill to Pennsylvania Avenue to K Street and beyond.

    John says: "A Book Every American Should Read"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall

    Say what you will, but if Barry Goldwater had a problem with the current strain of Conservatism then something is terribly wrong.

    Dean found himself the target of slander campaign run by his old Watergate friends including born-again Christian, Chuck Colson. He started this book, along with Goldwater, to find out why Conservativism has taken on take-no-prisoners approach capable of blinding its adherents to, if not morality, then simple consistency of thought. How do Conservatives let Bill Bennett of the hook for a gambling problem or give Rush Limbaugh a pass on his drug abuse while dragging Max Clealand's patriotism through the mud?

    Dean's a wonderful writer and Robertson Dean reads wonderfully. I've found myself sitting in driveways and parking lots far too frequently while listening to this. It might even get me back to the gym.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jenna Miscavige Hill
    • Narrated By Sandy Rustin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (645)
    Performance
    (587)
    Story
    (586)

    Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org - the church's highest ministry - speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

    Tim says: "The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology"
    "Amazing Story - Horrible Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure why this was narrated as if it were an American Girl story. I'm glad I stuck it out but especially in the early chapters the book sounded like some kind of alt-reality Disney story which took away from a lot of the power.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By LeRoy Ashby
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    With Amusement for All is the first comprehensive history of two centuries of mass entertainment in the United States, covering everything from the penny press to Playboy, the NBA to NASCAR, big band to hip hop, and other topics including film, comics, television, sports, and music. Paying careful attention to matters of race, gender, class, economics, and politics, LeRoy Ashby emphasizes the complex ways in which popular culture simultaneously reflects and transforms American culture.

    Paul says: "So Much Fun!"
    "So Much Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An amazing overview! Well put together with great narration that kept me listening even after I was done driving. I love books like this that give you history in a context that you may not consider.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rasputin: The Untold Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Joseph T. Fuhrmann
    • Narrated By Curtis Sisco
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    A century after his death, Grigory Rasputin remains fascinating: the Russian peasant with hypnotic eyes who befriended Tsar Nicholas II and helped destroy the Russian Empire, but the truth about his strange life has never fully been told. Written by the world's leading authority on Rasputin, this new biography draws on previously closed Soviet archives to offer new information on Rasputin's relationship with Empress Alexandra, sensational revelations about his sexual conquests, a re-examination of his murder, and more.

    Steve says: "The Legend of Rasputin"
    ""GODZILLA IS DESTROYING THE CIDDY""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration is just miserable. Sisco never met a "t" that he liked, which would be fine if the subject's name wasn't "RaspuTin". So, you're treated to hearing "Raspudin". His tone varies between sounding computerized and sounding like the bad dubbing on a Japanese monster movie.

    The book itself is fine, if a little low-brow. This is not a scholarly work but will give you an overview.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mao: The Unknown Story

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    Based on a decade of research and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before, and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him, this is the most authoritative biography of Mao ever written.

    Jene says: "Fills many gaps! Very good..but!"
    "Wao!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's cliche, but I could listen to Robertson Dean read the phone book in one sitting. I love everything about his speech and mannerism. He's simply the best narrator there is.

    I ripped through this 26hr book in under a month, which may be a new record. It's that good.

    The slow rise from fey, middle class academic to brutal sociopath warrants the time it takes for make the journey. In that way, the structure of the book serves the story. Dictatorships don't happen overnight. They take thought, planning.and careful manipulation of those around you. What's stunning, though, is how this thoroughly unlikable man managed to starve and murder tens of millions of his own people and remain in power. Often, especially in the last half of the book, I found myself screaming at my iPod for the citizens to start an actual revolution against Mao.

    If there's a moral to the book, it's that education is the key. Keep the people ignorant and illiterate and dictatorship is easy. Mao continued to read voraciously as he destroyed the books and culture of those he was supposed to protect. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is powerlessness. Get the book and get some knowledge.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jeff Sharlet
    • Narrated By Jeremy Guskin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (29)

    Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside the C Street House, the Fellowship residence known simply by its Washington, D.C., address. The house has lately been the scene of notorious political scandal, but more crucially, it is home to efforts to transform the very fabric of American democracy. And now, after laying bare its tenants' past in The Family, Sharlet reports from deep within fundamentalism in today's world.

    Paul says: "Not Much Of A Sequel"
    "Not Much Of A Sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you read The Family, save your time and money. If you haven't read The Family, get that book first. And I *highly* suggest you get The Family.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Huey Long

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By T. Harry Williams
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    He was one of the most extraordinary figures in American political history, a great natural politician who looked, and often seemed to behave, like a caricature of the red-neck Southern politico - and yet he had become, at the time of his assassination, a serious rival to Franklin D. Roosevelt for the presidency. In this "masterpiece of American biography" (New York Times), Huey Long stands wholly revealed, analyzed, and understood.

    Paul says: "Stunning, Compelling and Relevent"
    "Stunning, Compelling and Relevent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Long can be easily called the father of the OWS movement. It's somewhat surprising that his name doesn't come up more often. His methods, though, raise thorny questions about how far one can push ethical boundaries to achieve fairness for all. Say what you will about the man, he had the courage of his convictions lacking in politics today. To stand up to Roosevelt because his agenda wasn't radical enough, that took, let's say, testicular fortitude.

    The greatest praise I can give this book is that I finished at 32hr book in 10 days which is pretty much a record for me.

    The only carp I have - Wiener's accents border on offensively clownish at times. I got used to the Cajun drawls but the Black and Hispanic made me wince.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Scott McClellan
    • Narrated By Scott McClellan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (370)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    Scott McClellan belonged to President Bush's select inner circle of trusted advisers during one of the most challenging, contentious periods of recent history. Over a period of more than seven years, he witnessed, day-to-day, exactly how the presidency veered off course, not only by its decision to topple Saddam Hussein, but by an embrace of confrontational politics in the face of an increasingly partisan Washington and a hostile media.

    Frank says: "Something is Missing"
    "The Importance of a Narrator"
    Overall

    I was a little shocked to find that McClellan chose to narrate this himself and even more shocked when I heard him speak. He's in my all-time bottom 10 of narrators. The biggest problem was the decision to pronounce "a" as "ay" rather than "uh" as in "The president had AY problem" and, worse, "We talked AYbout how we would deal..." Combined with his flat, monotone style he frequently sounds like he's reading a junior high essay at ay national competition. Odd words, too, come flying out at you, most notably "peccadillo" which given the somewhat hayseed reading sound outstandingly clunky.

    The book itself is frustrating. Despite preaching aybout bi-partisanship he rarely misses the chance to dig at the "preceding administration" (aka the Cintons). That's not to say that he spares the Republicans but it feels as if the Democrats started it all and, well, what can you do?

    I find the writing atrocious. "The curtains in the president's office could stop ay bullet but they couldn't keep out the sunshine..." Please. That's just hacky and polyana-ish. Which is kind of the message of the book. He was there to work for the president and not think too hard. With Plamegate, he asked Rove if he was involved, Rove said no and that was good enough for him. It's not his fault that he was lied to. And in hindsight, maybe he *should* have asked a few more questions but instead he'll write a book.

    The other weird thread comes out in the constant references to Texas as if being a Texan gave you instant street cred with McClellan. Maybe that was part of the problem, too.

    McClellan insists that it's not a poison pen letter to Bush. And if you think that this portrait of Bush as a "good man" who really didn't know what was going on is flattering, then I guess it's not.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, & High-Finance Fraudsters

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Greg Palast
    • Narrated By Greg Palast, Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin, and others
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Award-winning investigative journalist Greg Palast digs deep to unearth the ugly facts that few reporters working anywhere in the world today have the courage or ability to cover. From East Timor to Waco, he has exposed some of the most egregious cases of political corruption, corporate fraud, and financial manipulation in the US and abroad.

    Josh says: "Great information, poor presentation"
    "Good Content But A Mess"
    Overall

    Palast is a classic muckraker pathologically driven to bring down Republicans and Big Business. That's a good thing, but after writing a review of Janet Folger's shrill book, I realize that it's the other side of coin with the caveat that Palast actually does serious research. Still, it's tough to listen to his hysteria sometimes.

    What's even harder to listen to is the rotating cast that reads the book. To move from a male to a female narrator for no real reason makes me wonder if Palast just got bored that day and Garafolo was available. Plus - accents are great...if you can do them, otherwise they just sound stupid and blunt the message of the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Criminalization of Christianity: Listen to This Before It Becomes Illegal!

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Janet L. Folger
    • Narrated By Janet L. Folger
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    There is a war going on for the future of our country. Most people know that. What they may not know is that if Christians lose, the result won't merely be enduring public policy we disagree with, it will be a prison sentence for those who oppose it. We've all seen the attack coming. First the Supreme Court said kids can't pray in school. Then the Ten Commandments were ripped from the classrooms.

    Matt says: "She truthfully draws the line"
    "Classic Wingnuttery"
    Overall

    If you like your Christianity presented in a sneering, sarcastic and mean spirited way, then you'll love this book.

    Folger, who is a driving force in Christian Conservatism pulls out the logical stops as she fails to make a case that America is turning into a Nazi state. And, yes, she loves using the Nazi comparison. The vast majority of examples she cites happened in other countries which leads her to end far to many chapters with an ominous - "Could it happen HERE?

    Another frequently used phrase is "so much for tolerance, huh?". This is applied to any group attacked by the religious right that fights back. It's the driving paradigm of this book that in a land of religious freedom, Christians demand that Christianity dominate. Thus a Muslim or atheist who protests Christian prayer in school is "persecuting" Christians. Should a Muslim request a Muslim prayer in school, Folger would mostlikely call this "fostering terrorism".

    The whole book is filled with bait and switch. The most striking example is a federal judge who was not confirmed because of radical views on race and religion. Instead of acknowledging the actual reasons she sums it up disingenuously by saying the judge wasn't confirmed "...simply because he taught Sunday School".

    With her own radio show, Folger is an engaging reader, amply heaping well-textured scorn on those she tacitly condemns to Hell.

    I've given it one-star but this book is essential in understanding the methods and tactics used by Christian Conservatives.

    3 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jeremy Scahill
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (445)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (123)

    A largely untold facet of the war on terror is the widespread outsourcing of military tasks to private mercenary companies. Accountable neither to the citizenry nor to standard military legal codes, these largely unregulated corporate armies are being entrusted with ever-greater responsibilities on behalf of the nation.

    Stanley says: "Truly frightening"
    "Stunning"
    Overall

    It's not often that I'm dying to get to the end of an audiobook. This one, however, has everything going for it. Great writing, a compelling story and, for the most part, flawless narration. My small complaint with the narration is the occasional accents he uses. His Arabic accent is downright embarassing. However, I've never heard better "voice-quoting"

    The book itself is a straight-forward history of Blackwater. If you don't have a problem with a private army funded by your tax dollars that operates with no oversight and bleeds jobs away from the US Military, the book will infuriate you. If you do have a problem with it, you'll be even more infuriated. Rather than giving American troops money for armor, training and benefits, the Bush adminisistration prefers to throw money at private contractors which inflates the cost of the "War on Terror" and makes its buddies rich.

    The Fallujah section boggles the mind - an understaffed group of four Blackwater mercenaries are sent to guard a shipment of utensils get killed and hung from a bridge. The media not only treats them as if they were soldiers but refers to them as if they worked for the Red Cross. And the military needs to revenge the deaths of *contractors*?

    If you ever wondered why the US Military isn't good enough to guard the likes of Paul Bremer, this book will tell you why - Blackwater has better guns because the US taxpayer is getting bilked.

    12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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