This book may not be for everyone.I enjoyed it because it gives you a glimpse of another era.Jules Verne in his day was cutting edge.
His ideas and premises were true SCIENCE fiction in that the premises in his books are well researched scientific"what ifs".
Journey to the Center of the Earth's premise is basically "What if the Center of the earth does NOT have a molten core".The story basically is a narration of how a 19th century
Explorer/Scientist[Verne calls them Savants],accompanied by his nephew and a Nordic
"hunter"skilled in living off the land make their journey.
It is slower paced than more contemporary books written today and bears only a passing resemblance to the Hollywood movie versions. Geology was never my strong point
but there is plenty of it to support the story.
C.S.FORRESTER[HORATIO HORNBLOWER],PATRICK O'BRIAN],JACK AUBREY] AND ALEXANDER KENT[RICHARD BOLITHO] All deal with the Napoleonic Wars era and the Royal Navy.....C.S.Forrester was highly reccomended by Ernest Hemmingway,
Patrick O'Brian has been compared to a seagoing Jane Austen.I agree.Alexander Kent is somewhere in between .In a previous review I mistakenly mentioned that I have over 20 of these books in audible.I own more and have listened to every unabridged version available by these authors.Why have they been and continue to be so popular ??
Here's the short version.
 The books could best be described as loose historical fiction in that
 The characters and situations are based on on ACTUAL historical people and situations.
 Ships logs where required,Diary's were more common than not among ship's Captains and many officers so there are thousands upon thousands of written records,memoirs newspaper articles etc.This is a substantial resource for much of the material by these authors combined with their imagination,sailing expertise and the ability to tell a good story.
 The FACTS are that the Royal Navy was replete with Brutality,Politics,The Absolute authority of Captains,Promotion due to Family power,seaman that were kept on board for years at a time for fear they might run away[as well they might have] and Impressment of recruits right out of homes ,the streets and taverns.
The Royal Navy was also replete with Bravery,loyalty to King and country,Crews that could out perform the enemy in number of Cannon Shots,discipline etc.and officers that were true leaders beloved by their men .These officers came both from the priviledged class and the ranks..promoted for their abilities.
 Because of the system of awarding Prize money based on the value of ships captured ,the lowliest crew member could retire to comfortable circumstances with enough to own a farm or small business.Many of the officers entered the service poor[the 3rd or 4th son not likely to inherit] and left the service wealthy prosperous men with substantial fortunes.
NOW IF THAT'S NOT THE MATERIAL FOR GREAT STORIES ABOUT CONDITIONS THAT REALLY EXISTED AND SITUATIONS THAT REALLY HAPPENED I DON'T WHAT IS.!!!!
THE FLAG CAPTAIN is one such story.There are credible heroes,villains and flawed characters who seek and find redemption.Political intrigue at it's worst,the good and bad traditions of the Royal Navy,Naval Battles,Piracy,Slavers,Mutiny,Treachery,Loyalty.You name it and it's there.THE FLAG CAPTAIN is one example of the genre.It is a good story because Kent TELLS A good story and most important a CREDIBLE story because that's how things were back then and those things really happened,albeit maybe not all to one person.Michael Jayston is the perfect narrataor.His accents and inflections make you feel like there are several good narrators.Happy Listening !!
Four more British Navy novels in the tradition of Patrick O'Brian/Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower.They are in time sequence:To Glory We Steer,
The Flag Captain,Success to The Brave and Colours Aloft
Google Wik-apedia for a complete list.
My only complaint is that these books were released by Audible in December 2012 and I had to research and find out on my own when they had been released.I must have over 20 of this genre .
Alexander Kent is in what you might think of as in he Big three of British Sea novel authors [with the two aforementioned].Like the other two he tells a good story that culminates in grand finale fashion..
His novels do have more battle action but there are still plenty of ongoing characters and continuations of story threads from book to book.The Aubrey and Hornblower arn't better,All three have there own personalities with the bond of common subject matter.
Michael Jayston is an excellent narrator.With his character accent/dialogue voice characterizations you truly experience the difference between reading a good book and hearing a good story.Personally I like hearing about the daily life activities and experiences
of shipboard life as much as the "Battle narratives'.
While this is a series,I THINK YOU CAN ENJOY ANY BOOK BY ITSELF IN ANY ORDER.[It's something like hearing stories about your parents when they were young].
I don't see how anyone who likes a good story would not enjoy this series.
Try one,anyone in the series will do..To Glory We Steer won't disappoint.
CLANCY CAN TELL A GOOD STORY.
I THINK HIS BEST STUFF WAS WHEN HE TOLD STORIES DURING THE COLD WAR LIKE" HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER".LATER ON HE TENDED DO GET A BIT PREACHY.VECTOR IS A RETURN TO HIS ROOTS AND FAVORITE CHARACTER....JACK RYAN...AND HIS SON JACK RYAN JR.
BASICALLY IT'S A GOOD STORY,GOOD PLOT AND LOU DIAMOND DOES AN
EXCELLENT JOB AS NARRATOR.
IF YOU ARE IN THE MOOD FOR THE "OLD".....TOM CLANCY......IT'S WORTH READING.
If you think of LINCOLN as a 10 foot story line,the movie is like someone snipped off about two feet and put it on the screen.So as not to be disappointed I generally prefer to see a movie version first.Anybody who has seen and read both will not be disappointed no matter what order they do it in.Personally I think you should see the movie listen to the audible bookthen see the movie again.
WOW !! You really get an appreciation for the greatness of Lincoln,the greatness of the men [with all their very human foibles] that helped him run the country and the greatness of Lincoln's ability to get the most out of great men.
The slices of the book depicted in the movie are great actors' performances of great men doing great things for our country.The movie SHOWS you what the book TELLS you.
Both stand on their own and do not disappoint.
The book by Doris Kearns Goodwin is appropriately narrated by another woman......
While I wouldn't precisely call LINCOLN .....The Civil War from a woman's perspective....much of it's charm and fascination lies in the "story behind the story" stuff.
The movie will leave you hungry for more.The book explodes with more.
Opening with the day of the "Prairie Lawyer's"nomination Goodwin gives us a very interesting flashback biography of Lincoln and each of his main rivals for the nomination using these biographies to paint a picture of the times,passions and issues of the day.
Then the nomination...........then it REALLY gets interesting.
As and avid history buff I thought I knew a lot about the Civil War.As it turns out I do know a lot. But what I mainly know is about things like The battles of Antietam,The Wilderness,
Bull Run,Gettysburg,Vicksburg and men like Robert E. Lee,Grant,Sherman,Pickett
Stonewall Jackson, etc.
The best analogy I can make is when my wife and I meet another couple,afterwards I can probably tell what the guy does for a living and his favorite sports teams.......
My wife will know how many kids,grandkids ,their ages and names,how many times they've each been married,why they divorced and a host of family problems from drinking to
autism..........AND..... the other wife knows similar things about us.
Now as a man I admit I like hearing about this stuff,I just don't KNOW any of it.
Well in Lincoln,Goodwin gives you this stuff in spades !! Nobody is a BAD person,they are just people with both good and bad traits[Like Us].Indeed ,that's exactly the way Abraham Lincoln viewed people.What's great about this book is that you get all this while getting a masterful depiction of the what,where, who and why of what it was like during and after the rise to prominence of Abraham Lincoln.
One other observation is that..... when you hear and see all the political denunciations, wrangling,backbiting,grudging compromises,incompetence and corruption back then.... you realize................
 Things haven't changed very much.
 The importance of good leadership
...........and most important.................
everyday citizens need to be both informed and involved in their government or things can and will get worse.
Their is an old Military axiom that goes something like......No military plan survives the first few minutes of Battle.........Wow !! If you listen to The Guns Of August you just have to say.........You Got That Right.......There is no point in repeating the many positive things and reviews.It's a great meticulously researched book,compelling because it's both true and Tuchman makes you feel like it's happening right now.If there ever was a book deserving of the Pulitzer prize......This is it.
Two observations from among 100's
The casual but efficient systematic German brutality is chilling not because they are evil people but because they are not.They fought the old way.The way Napolean,El Cid,Alfred the Great,Alexander might have fought.
Unfortunately Kaiser Wilhelm was an insecure arrogant King who inherited rather than earned the respect of his people and Generals.Tuchman points out that he is a dinosaur who helped bring about the demise of his way of life.
Great books like this are priceless because in order to find out where you are going you need to know where you've been.
This is a LONG listen but in typical Follett style you go from cliffhanger to cliffhanger.I just had to hear it all at once and it was worth it.You learn a lot about the period and what shaped it.For example who would think that the Black Death was a force for freedom and liberation.I mean,what the heck,Hooray for the Bubonic Plague !! Whether intended or not the book illustrates what we all sense intuitively.That is what people know,believe and find socially acceptable may change,but people don't change.
Power,money,love,hate,goodness,evil.jealousy,envy and respect are all part of the human condition and part of us.Watching such traits develop in Follett's characters are what make him such a good story teller.
Not only is it a great story but you learn something about the period.
For those that are looking for value,this is like getting two good books for only one credit.
The only thing I'm uncertain about is whether I should have listened to half the book,taken a break to listen to something else and then finished it.
You can't go wrong either way.
This is an astoundingly good read.I have listened to several of the later Sharp novels in no particular order and they are all good.This is the 1st in the Sharp series and it TOWERS OVER THE OTHERS I have listened to.Part of it must be the brilliant narration of Fredrick Davidson.
If they gave out Oscar's for Audio book narration this would be a lock.
[Hey!maybe some kind of listener voter awards might be a good idea].
The gritty dialogue of the soldiers ,officers,characters and especially the villainous sergeant[who refers to Sharp in his brutally sarcastic tone as Sharpeee] doesn't get any better.
It's like you are right there experiencing the good,the bad and the ugly of the British army in India.The explosive opening chapter paints a vivid portrait of the army on the move and plunges you right into a battle with plundering aplenty to follow.
Then it gets better.
It's easy to see how the 1st Sharp novel launched this successful series and created such a demand from the reading public for more.
I typically purchase 2-3 audible books a month.
Having just finished"Heir to the Empire" I immediately signed up,for the 2nd in the series.
STUPID on my part.I didn't read the reviews 1st.This is an ABRIDGED SEQUEL TO AN UNABRIDGED "ANNIVERSARY EDITION"1st volume.
This is not right.
Would somebody at Audible answer me :
Why do you even offer unabridged versions of anything ??
 Why do you charge a full credit for less than half the content ??
[a half of credit would be more in line].
 Is it fair to mingle abridged versions in a series that also contains un-abridged versions??
Offering only unabridged books would seem to be the best policy.If audible can't offer the unabridged version then don't offer anything at all.If there is some reason you just have to offer abridged you should offer a pop up in red that says at point of purchase:
THIS IS AN............ABRIDGED VERSION...........,DO YOU WANT TO PROCEED ??
"Why we fight" was a WW II slogan used when illustrating points to the people in News Reels etc.Both my dad and father in law were Veterans of the War in the Pacifc.Dad in the Navy and my father in law ,a machine gunner in the Army.
Both were very warm,caring,compassionate human beings and patriotic Americans.
Neither would ever own a Japanese car or wanted much to do with Japanese.
Imagine the perspective of a POW.
I of course knew about things like the Bataan death march and the mistreatment of Chinese,Koreans,Phillipinos etc.This book brings it home in spades.You find yourself asking "How can people be like this ??"
Hillendbrand explains the why and how of it and you do realize that not all Japanese, civilians or military ,were like this.Still enough were to make things like this happen.
Unbroken is about not only what happens to Louie and his buddies[ a great story in itself] but how he succeeds and prevails.Sound corny ? ?Well it's not.It's pretty amazing actually.
Louie forgave everyone and became a better person and a great American because of it.
And this was not his goal.
What really happened is worth reading about.The irony was I listened to most of it driving around in my Acura.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.