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Charles M. Wyzanski

CAMBRIDGE, MA USA | Member Since 2005

ratings
11
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (561)
    Performance
    (303)
    Story
    (319)

    Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

    Susan says: "If we are together nothing is impossible"
    "Not the last word but a great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not the most tightly conceived, scholarly, or even original treatment of the period but it's a great listen and wonderfully read (except for the mispronounciation of KEYNES, as in John Maynard). For anyone interested looking as much for entertainment as enlightenment, I say you can't go wrong.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers - both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

    Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief - until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library.

    Charles M. Wyzanski says: "The value of maps--monetarily and otherwise"
    "The value of maps--monetarily and otherwise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Map Thief again? Why?

    I won't want to hear the book again but I would like to skim the hard copy, particularly if there are any photographs of the various characters depicted.


    What other book might you compare The Map Thief to and why?

    Like the excellent "Hanns and Rudolph" book, this is an exploration of evil. Contrary to Hannah Arendt, I would say it is not so much banal as multifaceted.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    The narrator has a very pleasant and precise delivery that serves to greatly enhance the pleasure of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The book could be somewhat condensed but its pace and the narrator make the book a pleasure nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Feinstein
    • Narrated By David de Vries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    After numerous beloved and best-selling sports books, John Feinstein returns to the subjects of his first 10 books, crafting a narrative of the most revealing encounters he's had. These are the coaches and athletes who know their games the best, and the legends and legendary moments that gave inherent shape to our favorite pastimes.

    fred says: "Big Time Sports Stories and Bigger Egos"
    "Not for the general reader (listener)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I very much enjoy and find perceptive John Feinstein when talking sports in a 5-minute segment on NPR. However, a book full of his interactions--often as not with obscure sports figures I've never heard of--does not make for compelling reading or listening. Also, given that much of the book is about John, himself, I think the book would have more of a positive impact if John had read it himself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1833)
    Performance
    (1514)
    Story
    (1528)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "A bridge too far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I say a bridge too far, both in terms of the subject matter and the author. As for the subject matter, it's too much of a stretch to think that the depths or the character of the present economic crisis can be conveyed by a limited number of individuals, no matter how engaging or overdrawn. As for the author, Lewis has let the deserved success of Liar's Poker and The Big Short go to his head. What he has written this time is worthy of Vanity Fair, where the material first appeared, and not in our ears from Audible.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cutting for Stone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Abraham Verghese
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4824)
    Performance
    (2231)
    Story
    (2240)

    Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart.

    Mary Lynn says: "Brilliant story, pitch perfect narration"
    "Riveting, authentic, ideal listening"
    Overall

    This is a terrific book by any measure. The characters, the history, the medicine and the richness of the Ethiopian, Indian, and Bronx settings are riveting and authentic. Most important for the listener, the reader plays every accent perfectly and gives each character his or her own personality. I almost would say it was better to listen to than to read, the ultimate compliment!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Noah Feldman
    • Narrated By Noah Feldman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. Scorpions tells the story of four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.

    Charles M. Wyzanski says: "Narrated as admirably as it is written!"
    "Narrated as admirably as it is written!"
    Overall

    I won't attempt to review the substance of this absolutely outstanding book--for that you can find many worthy examplars at amazon.com. What I will say is that, contrary to what is stated by audible, the book is not narrated by the author (whom I have heard speak) but by someone sounding entirely different. That person, it must be said, does a fabulous job. He has a deep, authoritative, and very pleasing voice. That and the cadence and diction are just right, notwithstanding the very occasional and probably inevitable mispronounciations (as, for example, calling the Massachusetts town "STOUT-AN" and not "STOW-TON.") I simply can't recommend this audible book too highly!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (1796)
    Performance
    (197)
    Story
    (196)

    Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?

    Zentaro says: "An interesting listen"
    "Freakanomics has my vote."
    Overall

    I have the highest regard for Malcolm Gladwell from what I have read of him in the New Yorker. However, I found this audiobook nowhere near as interesting or wide-ranging as Freakanomics, which also tries to explain observed sociological phenomena. Both, for example, consider the marked drop in the homicide rate in the early 1990's in New York. Freakanomics uses extensive data to persuade the listener that it was part of a national trend precipitated by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legaled abortion. This is far more persuasive than Gladwell's view that it was just consequence of a decision by a few New York gangleaders which then spread among the rest. Freakanomics is also superior because of the authors' humor and the more expressive way in which the book is read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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