After listening to the first story in this 2 part book, I was ready to delete it. The second story was classic Hemingway. Great action, great story - An artist hunting down a german sub crew in the carribean. I am going to listen to it again. I never did that before.
These stories from Craig Johnson are the best I have heard. I like the rural setting, and believable, real life characters. The tempo of the story increases as the blizzard sets in, climaxing in a fury of a violent struggle for life at the peak of a blizzard, and a few meetings with Indian ghosts thrown in. The narration is spectacular. I reallly liked the portrayal of the native american characters, Henry and Lonnie. I listen to these stories to keep me from falling asleep when I am driving. This one had my heart pumping. I will surely listen to every one of Craig Johnson's books.
I kept thinking of the beer commercial, "he is the most interesting man in the world". I couldnt force myself to finish it.
This book tells the stories of our young people, that were sent to remote outposts in Afghanistan, so remote that not only were they undefensable, but they couldnt even get regular shipments of supplies. Sometimes they were lacking even in that most basic of necessity-dinking water. While it was said that the US would not take "half measures", this war in Afghanistan clearly became an afterthought, once the main show got underway in Iraq. It was a half measure from the beginning. These soldiers are fighting the very people who attacked the World Trade Center, yet the main interest was in Iraq. They were spread out so thinly that they could not get any momentum. A unified strategy and Intelligence are clearly lacking. Most of the time they dont even know who they are fighting. They recognize the enemy as foreigners, who come in through Pakistan. Interpreters dont understand the language the fighters speak. This is the very obvious theme of the book- young soldiers sent to fight a war that wasnt the center of attention for the military and government leaders. For me, Another theme became quite obvious. The management structure of our military is antiquated. High level officers have completely free reign to do whatever they want, with absolutely no oversight. Generals can plan missions for a purpose that seems to be to decorate the pages of their year end review, or just to show they are a hardass (at least an armchair). One mission is focused on in detail, to send a large truck to a remote outpost on roads that could barely support a humvee, in an area swarming with fighters, for the purpose as the General says, to show it could be done. Two people died after the road caves in and the truck goes off the edge. One of the dead was an officer of particular high promise, who died attempting to demonstrate a large truck could be driven on mountain roads made for horse-drawn buggys. Prior to the mission, lower level officers who actually had experiece on the ground in Afghanistan, tried to explain the risk of the mission to the general who came up with the idea. The general turned and walked away, rather than to have a serious discussion of his underling's concerns. If this happened in a Fortune 500 company, there would be serious repercussions. The military treats these soldiers as expendables, which not only is a moral outrage, but will be the downfall of our military, as soldiers realize they are expendible, and despite their obvious expertise gained from on the ground experience, their ieas count for nothing. We will lose the best and brightest, the truly heroic, as they are either killed, maimed, suffer from mental illness, or become so disheartened that they decide the military is not the place for them. Corporate management in this country has been transformed into an enlightened syle of management over the past 30 years, where people's opinions are considered based on merit, regardless of rank. The open door policy is commonplace, where management cannot simply turn away whenever underlings want to discuss the merits of a planned action. And most important, the oversight of managers comes both from the bottom up and the top down. In the military it seems the high level officers have an unspoken policy of agreeing not to critique each other's performance. With this antiquated management structure in the military, and the ability of a loose cannon president to do what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did, to engage in warS with no serious critical oversight, with forward movement fueled purely by the momentum of a heavily politicized foreign policy. It seems to me that if things dont change drastically, this country has the potential to decay just like the Roman empire. This is Vietnam all over again. There is no clear mission. Our young people are sent to remote areas of Afghanistan, to hang out, and serve as targets for the radical muslims of any number of countries. When a persons tour is up, there is no mechanism to capture his learnings. There is no review of the disasters, no attempt to install corective measures, based on the learnings from a study of our mistakes. We always end up being the policemen. We will stay there, suffering the casualites, the deaths, and the injures, the wounds that cannot be seen - mental illness. Eventually it will end just as it does time and time again. We will decide its not worth it. We will leave, and Afghanistan will once again go its own way. I am so sad to see once again, the lives of our young heroes squandered needlessly.
A disfunctional family struggling through hard times, as seen throught he eyes of each member of the family. The best story I have listened to all year.
I really got sucked into this book. The setting, the indian lore, all excellent. The twist at the end was enthralling. Great story.
You can figure out the ending early on in the story. After that, the story was predictable. The rash of almost gotya's is too much to take. The sex scenes are too detailed in certain ways. Is that really how women think about sex? Or is she writing how she thinks men thinks about sex? Whatever it is, I didnt find it exciting, but kind of nauseating. The details about flying were incorrect.
I bought this book half thinking that it would be a waste of money, as I thought it would be a slapstick comedy routine. Although the comedy is there, it turned out to be a very touching story with almost zen-like undertones, following the life of an obscessive-compulsive person as he tries to find happiness. I ended up listening to this twice in a row. Steve Martin is a fantastic writer, and the best narrator for hs story.
This is the story of the relationship between LBJ and the Kennedys. LBJ was Texan with a straight forward personality who was brought up from poverty, knew what he wanted, and got it. The Kennedys, born into wealth and prestige, never had to work a day in their lives, with no real focus or overarching goals. If the Kennedys had enlisted the help of LBJ rather than to exhile him from the administration, perhaps JFK's presidency could have been monumental. But the Kennedys were too arrogant to ask for help from Rufus Cornpone. JFK is probably one of the least accomplished presidents of our time, although his loyalists went forth to write book after book, to establish the Kennedy mantra, to synthesize the history of Kennedy for the poor and downtrodden. LBJ is obsessed with civil rights and helping the poor, as a consequence of his upbringing in poor rural Texas. He accomplished more in the 11 days after the assassination than the entire Kennedy presidency. The Kennedys squandered their power on petty hates such as trying to pin something on Hoffa, or assassination plots and coups. RFK says during LBJ period of success with Great Society that it is all the work of JFK. JFK just didnt have enough time. There is a lot here I never heard before. LBJ bringing foreign dignitaries to his ranch to eat spare ribs with no silverware. LBJ, who was in such a manic state after the assassination, that he has to have a cabinet member stay with him until he falls asleep, calling him back several times "I am not asleep yet". The political mechanics of the 1960 nomination explained, as well as how LBJ gets a bill through congress (1964 tax cut bill). What is left out here is Vietnam, because that is the subject of the next book. I was surprised how little was said about Vietnam, especially given that much of the history of the late 60's in Vietnam stems from JFK decisions and involvement in the coup to topple Diem. Absolutely enthralling.
This book had me thinking on many fronts, violence, mental illness, parenting, politics, marriage, racism, stereotyes. I thought this as a story about the father and his life. He is a remarkable, resourceful, creative person. War pilot, veteran of ww2 and Korea, escapee from nazi germany. He has a beautiful wife and wonderful kids. But he has a big flaw. He loses the support of his family. The wife isnt innocent either. She is constantly proclaiming them as being poor, and lower class, while they live on an island they own, he has a shrimp boat and shrimp business, and he comes up with many money making schemes, he makes different machines and inventions, but it always fails. He complains his family doesnt support him, and he is right, they dont. The wife is extremely class conscious, and this would drive any shrimper crazy. Unhappiness is a state of mind. I felt jealous of the kids, growing up on an island, being close to nature, working on the shrimp boat, a kids paradise. The father had many chances of having a successful scheme, although he did have a very successful shrimp business. They wanted more, and because they werent rich, they were unhappy. The fathers flaw-violence, catalyzes the families inward battle-wife against husband, kids against parents. I feel the inventiveness and creativity of the father is something that should be admired, not considered a joke. The father is the type of person that made the US great. But the family is the foundation, and his foundation is rotten. Everything he tries fails, and ultimately his family leaves him. Is the striving for social status at the core of this disaster story? Perhaps that is what sets off the violence from the beginning. The mother's constant badgering about how poor they are, and how she wants to be in the "womens league". She considers the father to be a failure, when if they had learned to respect each other, they could have been the most successful family in the city. Hehad the creativity and inventiveness, and she could have been the detail person. He owned the island, which that alone was worth a lot of money, and he knew it. But because of the family fued, he lost that at the end too. It is interesting that we find out at the end that the father suffers the same symptom as the mentally ill daughter.
One thing that Luke discusses I found very interesting. He says he went to Vietnam to fight the communists, because his government told him that they had to get rid of that type of govenment and economic system. He had to go kill poor farmers in Vietnam to save capitalism and keep america free. Yet we lose our schools, hospitals,and the government can take our land whenever they want, while the insiders profit. Wasnt his the very thing he was fighting against in Vietnam?
I didnt give this book 5 stars because of two parts, the white porpoise, and the bengal tiger. I felt these parts were just too unbelieveable, and distracted from the rest of the story. Luke raises a bengal tiger, and becomes an amateur lion tamer? They all jump in the truck and drive off to Florida to steal back the white porpoise, feed it a few sleeping pills, and throw it in the back of the pickup.
All in all, this is the story of the lifetime of a very interesting, but troubled family. Every aspect from childhood to adulthood.
I should have been a shrimp boat captain.
I loved this book. The native americans have been mistreated and treated unfairly, but when they had an opportunity to do so, they stepped forward without hesitation and made one of the biggest contributions to winning the war over Japan . I loved hearing the story of the life of this humble man. His story made me want to learn more about the navajo culture.
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