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S. Gilford

Sonoma County, CA USA | Member Since 2009

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 365 ratings
  • 693 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2015
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  • The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932 - 1972

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (95)

    This great time capsule of a book captures the abundant popular history of the United States from 1932 to 1972. It encompasses politics, military history, economics, the lively arts, science, fashion, fads, social change, sexual mores, communications, graffiti...everything and anything indigenous that can be captured in print.

    Paula says: "Fabulous book, good narration, bad recording"
    "A story of WWII told with honesty and perspective"
    Overall

    This book is a masterpiece. It is an honest story of a very personal war fought by a young Marine in the WWII Pacific told by a writer who excels at his craft of writing history and who after a lifetime of telling the stories of others now tells his own. He manages to evoke immediacy and endow it with perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1718)
    Performance
    (1519)
    Story
    (1525)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "A Wonderful Internal Voyage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked out this book on a whim. I had enjoyed her other book, "Cadavers", but I really didn't expect this one to be such a wonderful combination of information and entertainment. It is formidable on both counts. Roach is certainly aware of what she calls the "Ick Factor" in her subject matter but she handles it with such aplomb that you can keep your eye n the topic and not get caught up in "Yewwwww"s.

    Roach has done something that is the goal of all science writers, written about an important subject that is usually sidestepped by other writers and done it in such a way as to be useful and to make the reader feel as liberated in exploring the topic as Mary Roach became as she did her extensive research.

    In case I wasn't clear, I really liked this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4802)
    Performance
    (2911)
    Story
    (2913)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

    Zachary says: "Matterhorn"
    "Extraordinary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rarely do I read a book that changes my point of view but this ground pounders view of Viet Nam warfare does that by humanizing the "kids", the word the author uses often to emphasize their youth. Many of these guys spend 95 percent of their time as complaining, small minded people, divided by racism, social class, self-interest everything else that exists out in the world and then these same "kids" are capable of tremendous bravery and loyalty to each other. Central to the novel is the development of a single Marine lieutenant from young adult to becoming a man in the best sense of the word. Not a glorified hero, but a thinking, feeling creature who has been tempered by war and, at a brutal cost, has come to understand its meaning. This has to be one of the finest novels of warfare, period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4718)
    Performance
    (3182)
    Story
    (3209)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "A Whole New Outlook on European History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Mongols were a bloodthirsty horde that ravaged Europe and Asia under one of the most vicious conquerors of all time, Genghis Khan. WRONG!

    This book is an eye-opening account of the significance of the Mongol culture to the development of the modern world. The author places newly discovered documents in context that drastically changes our perception of the Mongols and why it was that Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived closest to the time of Genghis Khan wrote so admiringly of him and his civilizing effects on the nations he conquered while Voltaire and other later writers shaped our nearly universally held view of them as a flood of terror rising in the East and flowing outward to drown in blood India, Korea, Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China and more. In some important ways, Genghis Khan and his people were more modern, less savage than their European contemporaries. Certainly their sense of social justice was more developed. This is a book with the potential to change your understanding of the development of per-Renaissance Europe and the role of the Mongols in preparing Europe for that great intellectual, artistic and moral flowering.

    Te author also makes clear the continuing impact of Genghis Khan and his descendants in modern international relations, European customs, and language including words we use every day. I founf myself often thinking with wonder at a new revelation, "I never would have thought of that".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • War Horse

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Morpurgo
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (605)
    Story
    (600)

    In 1914, a beautiful foal with a distinctive cross on his nose is sold to the Army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western front. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

    Julie says: "Great idea for reluctant readers!"
    "Not the thoroughbred I had hoped for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story seemed contrived and a bit kitchy for my taste. On the other hand, for a younger audience, this might make a fine read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deliverance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James Dickey
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1575)
    Performance
    (1396)
    Story
    (1397)

    The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

    karen says: ""A river runs through it...""
    "Moves as rapidly as the river they are running"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story of four friends on a wilderness camping trip, canoeing a Georgia river made a gripping motion picture. The book has all of the adventure that made the film so memorable but it has something more more because the written characterizations and the motivations of the four friends are complex and very real. Dickey writes with understanding, verve and even compassion about brutality and the nature of masculinity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Winds of War

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3099)
    Performance
    (2630)
    Story
    (2639)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    Robert says: "A Masterpiece"
    "An extrodinary pairing of author and narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It is hard to fathom the amount of research that went into this book. I have a moderate professional's knowledge of the period and was struck over and over by the way Wouk wove real events and real people into a wonderful story that managed to give insight into a period and some fascinating people. The narration was better than I had thought possible. Actually, narration s not the word for this - it was an outstanding theatrical performance. I became so used to the vocal characterizations that I accepted that it was the character speaking. Age, ethnicity, personal style, all were captured in the voices used by the narrator.I had read this book thirty years ago and had liked it but listening to it was a far more engrossing experience.

    If I were asked to say what are my favorite three books of the hundred or so I have listened to, I would include this and the sequel, Winds of War. Everything I have said about this book I could say about Winds of War also.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (54)

    This memoir offers an unrivaled firsthand account of World War II in the Pacific - what it looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and most of all, what it felt like to one who underwent all but the ultimate of its experiences.

    Doug says: "The best war memoir ever"
    "At least one in a hundred"
    Overall

    Of the more than 100 books I have listened to at Audible, months later, this one sticks out in my mind. I have read all of Manchester's books. He is a fine historian but this autobiographical telling of one Marine's experience in the Pacific war is exciting, insightful and above all honest. It is not a romanticized view of war. This is an extraordinary piece of writing with a lot to be learned from it about the experience of courage, fear, and friendship.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Down and Out in Paris and London

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (185)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    Jessica says: "Good theater"
    "A new view of Orwell"
    Overall

    I only knew Orwell as the author of 1984. "Down and Out" is a wonderful book, full of enthusiastic insights about life at the bottom in two major world capitols. One effect of reading this book is to realize how far we have traveled towards social justice. Was this the result of a World War or of labor unions or of a society deciding to become more compassionate? I now want to know more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen Kinzer
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (679)
    Performance
    (281)
    Story
    (290)

    In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.

    amazonman says: "Fascinating & Insightful View of US/ Iran History"
    "I understand a bit better now"
    Overall

    This is a fascinating book. The background of US/Iranian relations becomes a lot clearer when you have read this well written and well presented history that includes how we look to the Iranians. All of a sudden, their behavior no longer seems so inexplicable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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