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James

Retired Clergy. PhD in Comparative Religion. Enjoying retirement of golf, motorcycling, model railroading, gardening, and reading.

Hot Springs Village, AR, United States | Member Since 2009

53
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 69 ratings
  • 272 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
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11

  • The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jeff Sharlet
    • Narrated By Jeremy Guskin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel millions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply believers. Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful.

    James says: "This will tell you what's ailing America!"
    "This will tell you what's ailing America!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Whew! As a result of this definitive study of fundamentalism I now have a new insight into why there have always been religious wars. Sharlet asserts that American Christian Fundamentalism is the singular most influential religious and political movement in the history of this country. It explains the rise of right wing conservatism in response to the era of the New Deal and the Fair Deal. In an all out war since the conclusion of the FDR/Truman years, Christian fundamentalism has sought to undo the Labor movement, social service networks, intellectualism and what they disdainfully name secular humanism to bring about the Kingdom of God, as defined by the movement. The writer did his homework in tracing the movement of radical fundamentalism from the founding preachers of the twenties/thirties to the modern politicians and mega church pastors who promote wealth and power as evidence of being blessed by their God. In the fundamentalist mind, America is the true promised land where their God will establish the perfect nation. Their concept of the manly Jesus is the lynchpin in all of this religious fervor, and the individual is the primary object of God's intent for His world. The craziness unfolds as the influence of this movement exerts itself — it would be hilarious if it weren't so serious. This is a must for anyone seeking to trace the regressive tendencies of modern conservatism as it seems to have evolved. Not an easy read, this book held me spellbound. The narrator performed spectacularly in his presentation, and after I recover from being shaken up by this work, I will listen to it again!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1522)
    Performance
    (1022)
    Story
    (1016)

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Most interesting and revealing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While a rather long and tedious work, this book reveals the man George Washington to be more and less than legend has presented him. Chernow has studied hard to present a most interesting narrative of just who the father of this country was. Credit is due to Scott Brick for his excellent narration—straight forward and comfortable. Much of the work that unfolds has the nature of a novel. After the experience of Washington: A Life, I have a clearer and more appreciative concept of the American Revolution and the formation of the American experiment in democracy. If one has the perseverance to stay with it, this book is well worth the effort. As a lover of history, I found this book easy to love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Unmarked Grave: A Bess Crawford Mystery, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    In the spring of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well. However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered.

    Kathleen says: "A Nurse Bess Crawford mystery"
    "Fascinating, Dramatic and Spellbinding."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A wonderful story of wartime hardship with a Downton Abbey feel. A nurse discovers an inner strength that she would never have known apart from the stark ruthlessness of her own illness and the First World War. From a privileged military family in Britain, the heroin determines to return to France to serve the wounded after having, herself, survived the Spanish Flu pandemic that rivaled the war in numbers of fatalities. There is intrigue coupled with valor. This is a tribute to the strength and determination of women. It was hard to put down. Well narrated, I highly recommend this easy listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By James McPherson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (198)

    James M. McPherson, professor emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton, is one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. In this informative and meticulously researched masterpiece, he clarifies the differing ways of life and philosophy that led to this shattering conflict. Abraham Lincoln wondered whether "in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government". And Jefferson Davis felt "forced to take up arms" to guarantee states' rights.

    Brian says: "Incredible audio book"
    "The definitive Civil War book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a student of the American Civil War, I found McPherson's work to be utterly fascinating. I gained new insights into the great American tragedy that never would have occurred to me. Well narrated, this immense work is a must for anyone interested in what divided and divides us as a nation. The ultimate in historical research, Volume 1 opens the door to the clearest look available into the mind of a fractured nation. You will learn from this volume, but you will also want to find out even more from Volume 2.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wilbur and Orville: A Biography of the Wright Brothers

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Fred Howard
    • Narrated By Larry McKeever
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    The Wrights' longest flight in 1903 covered 852 feet and lasted 59 seconds. In 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles in 38 minutes and the issue was no longer how to fly but how to cash in. Their effort to exploit their invention is a suspense story of the best kind; their voyage into flight and into American history is a gripping tale from takeoff to landing.

    James says: "Interesting but not hard to put down..."
    "Interesting but not hard to put down..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I applaud Fred Howard's book for its research and its tenacity. However, it took me a long, long time to get through it. What drudgery. I love history, and am sure I learned a lot by reading this tome. However, the man I admire the most is narrator Larry McKeever. How he managed to read this entire work is a marvel. I recommend this biography to anyone who has an absolute fascination with flight, with Dayton, with Kitty Hawk, etc., but be forewarned that it will take you places you'll wonder why you went. I used to read The Doctors Mayo to put me to sleep during the ten years of my advanced education. This book would have worked even better.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22303)
    Performance
    (8980)
    Story
    (9054)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"
    "Whew! What a read!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't bother with the movie. This book is much better! Larsson's ability to develop characters leaves nothing to be desired. There is no falling asleep in this very well narrated piece. It's a story that makes one cheer for the underdogs and the eccentrics. You can't read this without wanting to visit Sweden. However, it's no travelog. Evil predominates until justice finally reigns, and the experience won't let you put it down until Audible "hopes you have enjoyed this..." If you read this, you will have to read at least Book 2.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Russell S. Bonds
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (314)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (259)

    On April 12, 1862—one year to the day after Confederate guns opened on Fort Sumter and started the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union spy named James J. Andrews and 19 infantry volunteers infiltrated Georgia and stole a steam engine called the General. Racing northward at speeds near 60 miles an hour, cutting telegraph lines, and destroying track along the way, Andrews planned to open East Tennessee to the Union army, cutting off men and materiel from the Confederate forces in Virginia.

    auther says: "Sometimes Facts can be more exciting then Fiction"
    "A Civil War reenactment."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As one who is deeply interested in American Civil War history, I had heard this story many times prior to Bonds's work. Well narrated, I found it hard to put this one down. The tragedy that was our "Civil" War had some bright, humorous moments, and this story captures one of them. Here's this band of Yankees daring to go deep into Rebel territory not to assassinate someone, but rather to steal a hissing, rattling, tooting, steam engine--ultimately pursued by another steamer running backwards. Outright laughter is tempered by lots of human despair, but this is a great read. It's difficult to keep all the characters clearly in place, but anyone interested in the tragedy of the Civil War needs to have this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of those Who Survived

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Andrew Wilson
    • Narrated By Bill Wallis
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (123)

    Although we think we know the story of the Titanic - the famously unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America in April 1912 - little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did the loss of the ship shape the lives of the people who survived? How did those who were saved feel about those who perished? And how did they remember that terrible night?

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful"
    "Fascinating."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Coupled with the narrative skills of Bill Wallis, the author (Wilson) paints a fascinating look at one of the most intriguing tragedies of the twentieth century. It was especially interesting to see the distinctions that existed between how the first class survivors coped with the Titanic disaster compared to the "lower" class survivors. There is something to be said of the nature of those who see themselves as "entitled" over against the rest of us "mere mortals." A wonderful look at an historical event that remains definitive of human tragedy.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17638)
    Performance
    (7562)
    Story
    (7589)

    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

    David says: "irritatingly engrossing"
    "Captivating."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I felt compelled to read this one after Larsson's initial "Girl who..." work. I was drawn to the character development and the continuity with book 1. I felt that things bogged down toward the conclusion, but found it hard to put down. Overall well done, and the narrative was exceptional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Full Dark, No Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson, Jessica Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2176)
    Performance
    (934)
    Story
    (931)

    "I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger...." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922", the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

    Parusski says: "Eerie, honest, frightening!"
    "Engulfing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stephen King at his very best. I can't remember being any more captured by this storyteller engaged in his articulate craft. Don't enter into the world(s) of these stories unless you are ready to be completely caught up in the narrative(s). I will listen to them again, I think, but not until I'm once more willing to face myself wholly for one (like the characters in each tale) who may very well be possessed of two (at least) people. For the moment I'm just going to let these morality tales ferment someplace deep within me. Wonderful. Engulfing. Stephen King at his best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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