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David P. McGivern

retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so

Vancouver, BC Canada | Member Since 2015

267
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 32 reviews
  • 92 ratings
  • 855 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
36

  • Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jennifer Donnelly
    • Narrated By Emily Janice Card, Emma Bering
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (208)

    Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages - until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

    David P. McGivern says: "Great for any age"
    "Great for any age"
    Overall

    I am a 55 year old father, as far away from the "youth adult / female" classification of this book as one can get. I generally listen to historical fiction and took a chance on this because of another adult review in Amazon recommnding it. It was one of the best audiobooks I have purchased ( over 400 and counting). It had everthing I ask for in historical fiction - characters to move the plot along, real history mixed with the story, and good enough writing to cause me to research the period ( the French Revolution) on my own. I have 2 quibbles. One, the character from the past is read by an adult ( Emma Bering), who sounds like an adult, and I had to continually ignore that - they should have used a teenage narrator as they did with the girl from the present (Emily Card), as that is the obvious intent - teenager to teenager. Second - SPOILER ALERT - the time travel thing at the end of the book, though entertaining, felt manufactured and unnecessary, a perplexing break the straight narrative that had been used to that point,
    Other than that - wonderful. I recommend it for any age

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Caesar and Christ: The Story of Civilization, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (105)

    The third volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Caesar and Christ chronicles the history of Roman civilization and of Christianity from their beginnings to A.D. 325.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Superb."
    "Only for the VERY interested"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Going against the grain of other reviewers, I struggled to finish this long and very, very detailed book. I had hoped, incorrectly, that Mr. Durant would discuss the relationship of Rome to christianity, the decline of one, the rise of the other. Perhaps I misunderstood the whole series. Instead he spends only the briefest of times on multiple topics, everything you would want to know [or perhaps not, as with me] on Rome's philosophers, historians, poets, builders, rulers, artwork, building supplies, or, with christianity, not only Jesus [briefly] but all of the noncanonical gospels and gnostic works that arose after his death and were ultimately declared heretical. The difficulty was that the narrative, the GREATNESS of Rome, became lost in the mind numbing recitation of this philosopher, how he influenced that philosopher, or artwork, or life and routine in the daily life of a Roman, etc. I guess if you really, really want to know the details of ancient Rome, this book is for you, but I found myself, uncharacteristically, fast forwarding just to get through it. I waited, and waited, and waited for the book to discuss Christianity, which he only does in about hour 30 of a 36 hour book..He then goes out of his way to provide an explanation of Jesus, his miracles and influence that is everything but divine, or rather, leaving no possibility that these could have occurred, and that everything Jesus did can explained away "rationally". To be clear, I do not criticize Mr. Durant for not believing in the divinity of Jesus, but he doesn't even leave open the possibility that there can be a "nonscientific" explanation for what Jesus said and did, and his ( Durant's) brief exploration of Jesus provides no basis or explanation for an influence which remains with us 2000 years later. If Jesus was that ordinary, it is highly unlikely we would still be talking about him today, but if you read only Mr. Durant, you wouldn't know that.

    Again he draws little relationship between Christianity and the Roman Empire. Others have praised it, I found it, in the end, tedious.

    Grover Gardner is the best - no criticism of him. I would otherwise have turned it off in and around hour 20.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Peter Enns
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Trained as an evangelical Bible scholar, Peter Enns loved the Scriptures and shared his devotion by teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary. But the further he studied the Bible, the more he found himself confronted by questions that could neither be answered within the rigid framework of his religious instruction nor be accepted among the conservative evangelical community.

    David P. McGivern says: "Spot On"
    "Spot On"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With apologies to all, permit me to share my own background, for it significantly affects my thoughts on this work. I am ( practicing) catholic; I have a degree in religious studies ( the academic study of Scripture, as opposed to theology, the study of God); and I am a big fan of NT Wright. For all these reasons, I think Mr Enns has this study of the Bible bang on - that the Bible did not just fall out of the sky and must be unquestionably followed, but is, rather, a library of works composed over thousands of years, and must be read and understood in that light. What I particularly enjoyed was Mr Enns' sense of humor; clear writing; and common sense approach to what - to some - is a threatening topic. Because I have read NT Wright extensively, nothing in "The Bible Tells me So" was new, but it was nevertheless engaging. If you have never approached the study of the Bible before, well, this is an excellent way to start. I found Mr Barrett, narrator, to be a bit "old sounding", but passable - he did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. Recommended

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rebels of Ireland

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Edward Rutherfurd
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (145)

    Edward Rutherfurd's stirring account of Irish history, the Dublin Saga, concludes in this magisterial work of historical fiction. Beginning where the first volume, The Princes of Ireland, left off, The Rebels of Ireland takes us into a world transformed by the English practice of "plantation", which represented the final step in the centuries-long British conquest of Ireland.

    David says: "A Wonderful Story"
    "Missed the mark"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My parents came from Ireland, their parents, and their parents. I have read or listened to some excellent Irish History ( most recently " The Graves are Walking" available on Audible). I did not care for this book. Rutherford is ok at...times, but with so RICH a history, so many tragedies to write about, he so often skirts around it, and instead of telling Ireland's history through the characters, has them off on a side stage which is often, well, boring. I persevered through to the end ( almost giving up when Parnell was mentioned in passing, but by that point I was too close to the end, too invested in a 30 hr book) but that is only because I am compulsive, not because I was engaged. Disappointed. I will return to straight factual history when I next revisit the topic(s). Richard Matthews, on the other hand, was very good - i will look for him again soon

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Fainaru-Wada, Steve Fainaru
    • Narrated By David H. Lawrence XVII
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (84)

    So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005 scientific paper on concussions in America's most popular sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that it was facing a deadly new scourge: A chronic brain disease that was driving an alarming number of players - including some of the all-time greats - to madness.

    David P. McGivern says: "Overall, well worth the credit"
    "Overall, well worth the credit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I approached this book a bit different ( more knowledgeable) than most history books I order - that of being a trial lawyer for 30 years ( personal injury) in which cause of a medical condition ( including dementia-like conditions as causally linked to head trauma) was almost always the issue. It came as no surprise, therefore, to listen that CTE as linked to NFL play was hotly debated. BUT - although I did like the book; although the narration was excellent; and the authors did a very very good job in describing the players for us, their careers and the downturn some of them faced post NFL - their bias was a bit too pronounced. Not a lot, but not insignificant either. They implied throughout that those in favor of linking CTE to football were the good doctors, those which did not were the bad doctors. Listening with " a lawyers ear" ( and I acted for people against insurance companies throughout my career) I thought it was not as clear cut as the authors would have us believe, especially as the majority of NFL players do not develop these symptoms. I also agree with the first reviewer that it was difficult to keep track of which doctor, which opinion. That is not to say, however, that I did not like the audiobook. I did. It is worth the credit.. I found it very interesting, all parts, the whole discusson, especially, to repeat myself, when the player's lives were discussed. I will follow up and research further this topic CTE and the NFL ( starting with the show that " Frontline" did on the book, available via YouTube), which for me is a good sign the book is worth reading.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Soldiers

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Finkel
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (181)

    It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers.

    Candy says: "This book is amazing, but brutal"
    "Compelling, moving, disturbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this book right after " Duty" by Robert Gates ( the latter which, without hesitation, I also recommend). Althought there have been books books and news articles and tv shows and documentaries on the two wars, Gates ( from high above) and Finkel ( down with the troops) give the listener the perspective of the danger, resolution and disillusionment of the men ( as much as any of us safe at home can begin to understand). I found the narrator excellent and fit exactly the sentiment of the book

    Excellent excellent book. I recommend

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (295)

    This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.

    David C. Daggett says: "The Best of all Biographies"
    "amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    wow.

    Some time ago I listened to the last ( so far) in this series "Passage to Power". THAT is a good book! So much so, I always had in the back in my mind to listen to the others. But- 60-120 hours or whatever it will end up being??? However, Gardner is superb as an narrator ( I've listened to him multiple times) so for my New Years resolution I thought I would undertake. The first book goes only to 1941, Johnson's term as a congressman, and I was apprehensive - 40 hours just to get that far? Well - it was fascinating. Every step of the way. Deeper and more compelling than the majority ( if not all) of biographies I have read, and I read this genre a lot.

    I cannot speak highly enough of the combination of Caro/Gardner. I have immediately downloaded Book 2 without hesitation

    It is a long haul, but thoroughly enjoyable so far.

    Highly recommend.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Freeman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Leonard Pitts
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (228)
    Story
    (225)

    Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam - a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army - decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged".

    B.J. says: "Beware of spoilers in other reviews."
    "Gritty but very compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, It's truth in conveying that neither the Emancipation nor the end of the war did very little, in the day to day reality, to end the abject dehumanizing of the black nation, the cruelty of the South. Main characters suffer, and die. The dialogue is grounded in reality. A wee bit slow to start, as it tells 3 ( eventually to intersect ) stories, it gets better and better. The quality of the writing is superb.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Freeman?

    SPOILER ALERT - the death of Bonnie


    What aspect of Sean Crisden’s performance would you have changed?

    I did not actually like his performance. Somewhat flat throughout - did not do the suffering depicted in the novel justice, nor the quality of the writing. In fact, it took away from it. The audiobook succeeds in spite of the narrator


    Any additional comments?

    Buy it, be patient for 2 hours, you will not regret

    4 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (815)
    Performance
    (740)
    Story
    (731)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "Better than Guns of August despite the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A World Undone again? Why?

    Bit of background first. In anticipation of the second volume of Ken Follett's Century trilogy, to be released next month, I reread - in print form - " Fall of Giants" -which I had as an audiobook when it was first released. " Giants" is an excellent, compelling story of characters caught in WW 1, English, German, Russian and American. I usually confine my reading to WW 2, so re reading "Giants" sparked my interest to learn about the first World War. I purchased ( audiobook) "Guns of August" but gave up on it both because of Ms. Tuchman's excessive detail without context and also because it is more about the battles than the causes of the war, [gave up notwithstanding John Lee's narration]. I switched mid-listen to "A World Undone". Much, much better. Not only is the writing clearer, giving more of an overview of the war without getting lost in the "right flank went there, left flank stormed back", but each chapter provides a short "Background" giving the context of, for example, " The Serbs"; "The Hapsburgs"; "The Romanovs" or "Paris in 1914" "Tthe British commanders" " The Jews of germany" " The Sea war;" etc. By its conclusion, I had an understanding not only of individual battles, (which didn't interest me), but an explanation of what the world was like before the war; the causes of the war; personalities of the war; and a little bit of its aftermath.If you want to get an introduction to the causes and the personalities of WW1 choose this. If you want detailed explanation of the battles, choose Guns of August


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A World Undone?

    n/a


    What didn’t you like about Robin Sachs’s performance?

    Everything!!!. His pacing, his voice, his monotone. Terrible. This is one of the rare exceptions to my rule that narration is as important as story. Seldom will I invest 27 hours to a very poor narration. I did in this case because of the content.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    ?? well, not all 27 hours...... but yes, finished it before I started others.


    Any additional comments?

    can't wait for the sequel to "Fall of Giants", due September 2012.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dan Rather, Digby Diehl (contributor)
    • Narrated By Dan Rather
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (147)

    Rather - who has won every prestigious journalism award in his distinguished career - discusses all the big stories from his decades of reporting. This very personal accounting includes (but is certainly not limited to) his dismissal from CBS, the Abu Ghraib story, the George W. Bush Air National Guard controversy, his coverage of the JFK assassination, the origin of "Hurricane Dan", as well as inside stories about all the top personalities Dan has either interviewed or worked with over his remarkable career.

    J. James-Long says: "Excellent first-hand exploration of media today"
    "Engaging!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am Canadian, and grew up with the CBC, not CBS. So I bought this on a whim. What a great surprise. Mr Rather was much more interesting than I had anticipated, and - though melodramatic in parts - presents a compelling argument ( I say as a lawyer) that he was not treated well by CBS. ( As a trial lawyer I found this - which takes up the first 50% of the overall book- interesting but can understand lots will not). The second part of the book - his experinces in the Kennedy, Nixon, years, his time in Vietnam etc - well worth the time to listen. I found his character part of the appeal, surprisingly so. Less ego than I had anticipated.

    And above all - what a treat to listen to that voice!

    High recommendation

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3983)
    Performance
    (2971)
    Story
    (2982)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "Overly detailed, but worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to Mr. Shirer's book while in a phase of reading and listening to nothing but Nazi Germany. I read two books by [the gold standard] Ian Kershaw ["The End"] which discusses the last year of the war, excellent and compelling and "10 Decisions" about decisions made in 1940 1941. I read a 1000 page autobiography of Hitler by Mr. Kershaw. (Etc) It wasn't that I was tired of this topic when I came to "Rise and Fall" it's just that the compelling parts of Mr.Shirer's story gets lost in the amount of details he gives. Every letter, every document, every telephone call. Perhaps that easier to read, but as an audio book, difficult to assimilate. Having said that, I listened to all 57 hours, Mr. Gardner providing his usual high standard and the time passed relatively quickly. In the end, however, I feel I will have retained more of Mr. Kershaw then Mr. Shirer. If you want this topic, go to Mr Kershaw. I recommend Mr Shirer only for the very dedicated.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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