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Dan

Bellevue, WA, United States

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 426 ratings
  • 940 titles in library
  • 106 purchased in 2014
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  • Rules of Deception: Dr. Jonathan Ransom, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Christopher Reich
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (94)

    Dr. Jonathan Ransom, world-class mountaineer and surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, is climbing in the Swiss Alps with his beautiful wife, Emma, when a blizzard sets in. In their bid to escape the storm, Emma is killed when she falls into a hidden crevasse.

    Dan says: "Too fantastic"
    "Too fantastic"
    Overall

    A fast paced spy novel set in the post 9/11 world of terrorists and fanatics. The story becomes more and more unbelievable as it unfolds while at the same time becoming more predictable near the end. No real suspense in the conclusion. The narrator did the Da Vinci Code but stumbles occassionally with regional American accents. Overall, OK if you can suspend your disbelief.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2101)
    Performance
    (1830)
    Story
    (1831)

    James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

    Melinda says: "Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard"
    "Be surprised"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A US president at the end of the 19th century who was only briefly in office, in a world almost unrecognizable by today's standards, wounded by a madman, and eventually dying because of crude medical care and despite the efforts of brilliant men. Sound dry, dull, and tedious? Hardly. It's a mesmerizing story that is engaging on many levels. Interested in American history? You are rewarded by new insights and rarely told, fascinating stories. Do you have any knowledge of medicine? The narrative is a chilling reminder of how recent most medicine is. Unforgettable characters. True heroism. This is a great book that works well in audo form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ben MacIntyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (236)

    Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.

    Scott says: "Intrigue and True"
    "WWII spy story that is stranger than fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An amazing story that is full of memorable and admirable characters. It's not an action-packed thriller but is compelling in its own way. Anyone who knows the history of WWII and enjoys the stories of real-life conmen should enjoy the book. John Lee is a wonderful narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (2049)
    Performance
    (642)
    Story
    (639)

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
    "No good, just the bad and the ugly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not a complete history of the CIA but an exhausting catalog of its many missteps, failures, and errors in judgment and execution. The author uses recently declassified material and extensive interviews with former CIA and government officials as source material for the review. The sometimes comic and often tragic mistakes aren't placed in historical context or examined in great detail (each episode could be its own book) but there is enough to keep you interested and to show the patterns of individual and institutional behavior. It is a sad story and a cautionary tale of the limits of our ability to have good "intelligence". Those interested in a cure will be disappointed; this is a book documenting failures not proposing solutions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joseph Anton: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor, Salman Rushdie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (190)

    On February 14, 1989, Valentine's Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been "sentenced to death" by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being "against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran". So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of a police protection team.

    Lynn says: "Informative, Timely"
    "State terror vs one man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The power of an Islamic fundamentalist state to change the life of one man is well illustrated in this autobiographical account of the Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Rushdie is well educated, erudite, Muslim by upbringing and family tradition but more an expat Indian and Englishman when his life is turned upside down by the fatwa. This is Rushdie's personal story - more about his family, loves, friendships, and writing than an action/adventure movie. Like most of the educated West I knew that he was threatened but nothing about what that would mean for one man. His relationships with his personal protection team are particulary telling. Parts are rushed, parts are very self indulgent but it is his story and very revealing of the man and his times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blossoms and Shadows

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Lian Hearn
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (102)

    Japan, 1857. For centuries, Japan has been on its own; isolated by choice from the rest of the world. But the Western powers are now at its shores, demanding to be let in; the government is crumbling, and revolution is building. The age of the samurai is ending and in its place a new Japan will be born. And a young woman is readying herself for marriage in this, the most tumultuous period of her nation's history.

    Mary Catherine says: "Not for anyone that liked the Tales of the Otori"
    "Makes history dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series but am very disappointed in this new book. The Mieji reformation was the birth of modern Japan and must have been a time full of larger than life characters and exciting stories, but you would never know it from this book. This book has several flaws - 1) the characters develop very slowly or not at all, 2) most of the multiple threads of narrative are very superficial and 3) there is a huge cast of named Japanese characters, historical and geographical references that would be difficult to follow even with a glossary of Japanese terms and maps . But the fatal flaw is the lack of a compelling story. The performance was probably good but hard to judge because of my negative feelings for the book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • City of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David Benioff
    • Narrated By Ron Perlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1530)
    Performance
    (789)
    Story
    (785)

    A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself "built for deprivation." He's small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building.

    Paul says: "Stunning Tale. Great Narration."
    "Great story"
    Overall

    A war story, a coming of age story, a buddy story and a romance - City of Thieves is all those things and more. The setting during the first winter of the siege of Leningrad with the horrors of war and the totalitarian Communist state is surreal, but completely convincing. There is certainly profanity but it's part of the world and not gratuitous. The narration is superb - although sometimes it is difficult to catch the switch in characters during a conversation. Overall, a great story, that I am listening to for the second time now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paths of Glory: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Roger Allam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (105)

    Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. People like Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Edison, Nancy Astor, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hilary and Neil Armstrong - their unparalleled success has made their stories into legend.But what if one man had such a dream, and once he'd achieved it, there was no proof that he had fulfilled his ambition?

    Joel says: "Archer Does it Again!"
    "Fascinating story"
    Overall

    Jeffrey Archer's fictional interpretation of George Mallory's life and his heroic assault of Mt. Everest is a fascinating story and the narrator does a great job. The novel's strength is in the historical tale and in its description of the times. It is less successful at bringing Mallory to life but it the plot and history make it a compelling tale.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lost on Planet China

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By J. Maarten Troost
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (453)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (227)

    When the travel bug bit, J. Maarten Troost took on the world's most populous and intriguing nation. As Troost relates his gonzo adventure - dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai, eating yak in Tibet, deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as cattle penis with garlic), and visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead) - he reveals a vast, complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

    Dan says: "Funny but harsh with some underlying truth."
    "Funny but harsh with some underlying truth."
    Overall

    This book is different in scope than Troost's previous books but is similarly sharp and witty. It is at times harsh and unflattering to China but reveals at least as many shortcomings about the author. I would not depend upon Troost for accurate historical or demographic details but he does provide an entertaining perspective on the chaos of modern China as seen by a (far) outsider. For a more balanced view from a China insider I would recommend "China Road". It also is not very flattering to China at times but is not as "over the top" as Troost.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Attack of the Theater People

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Marc Acito
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Edward Zanni has been kicked out of drama school because he's just too "jazz hands" for Juilliard. He moves to New York City and lands a job working as a stealth guest at corporate parties. When he gets caught up in an insider trading scandal, his crew of theater friends comes to his rescue.

    Dan says: "Revenge of the sequel."
    "Revenge of the sequel."
    Overall

    This book is a sequel to "How I paid for college..." and is very similar in style and substance. And that is its strength and weakness. On the plus side it is light and very funny. But the downside is significant with almost no character development from the first book and the plot, narrative and characters are very predictable. I loved the first book, but once was enough.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Theocracy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Kevin Phillips
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (413)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (73)

    From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, Phillips demonstrates that every world-dominating power has been brought down by a related set of causes: a lethal combination of global over-reach, militant religion, resource problems, and ballooning debt. It is this same axis of ills that has come to define America's political and economic identity in the past decade.

    Miles C. says: "Excellent Work!"
    "Provocative but polarizing and dry"
    Overall

    The title, premise and arguements are intentionally provocative and predictably offend many listeners. However, he does make some good points, although they are sometimes buried in historical detail and statistics that not even Scott Brick can make interesting. I listened to the book in June 2009 by which time the political landscaped of America has had so many changes that it makes many of the book's contentions obsolete. However, the book does predict that previous policies would risk the financial and economic difficulties that have come to pass. It's a sobering analysis.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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