Like Malcolm Gladwell, Sacks rarely misses the bullseye when spinning a great anecdote, and when his sights are tightened on a topic as ripe (and as personally held dear) as this one -hallucinations- you have the makings of a minor masterpiece. Wryly reported and expertly narrated, here is an accounting both personal and academic that begs you to bed early to sneak in an extra chapter, and then later to gaze at your medicine cabinet with curious and longing eyes.
Hands down among the best of 20+ related books on this topic I've read or listened to in the past decade. A generous, over-arching history of WWll, factoid-filled and fleshed out with choice, heartfelt recollections of the men and women who were there, in broad spectrum of their capacities. Wrapped up with the perfect ender.
Excellent, excellent, excellent. And at 25hrs a prize and a half.
This tale began as just the type of page-turner I'd hoped it would be: The pace, setting and cast of characters seemed a choice fit as a thriller, and what kept me hooked was that I could NOT figure out where it all could possibly be going. An excellent narrator added to the mix.
SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: Alas, about at the book's 3/4 mark, upon hearing the brief mention of "Lovecraft", elements began lining up in that more predictable direction, and while I don't discount that genre in and of itself, I suppose I'd hoped for a bit more, given the earlier intrique.
Still very much worth the listen, just not one that may figure to be an enduring favorite of me personally.
Although not a complete stranger to the genre, this was a title new to me. Originally published in 1949, it will be soon obvious this is THE classic of its kind, one which laid the foundation for virtually every apocalyptic adventure tale that would follow, for another half-century and beyond.
I especially enjoyed the first half, joining our "lone" survivor as he explored a road map of barren, vacant cities and deserted highways, and while a few aspects are agreeably dated, even unabashedly racist (not completely out of step given the man's rather inflated self-perceptions), the mass of this epic is an engrossing, often "scientific" depiction of an end of the world that still rings true even sixty-plus years later.
In 1978 Stephen King published "Night Shift", a hands-down classic collection of early short stories which has pretty much gone unequaled in the mainstream horror genre for the last 35 years - that is, at least until now. "20th Century Ghosts" pays homage to KIng's early talents with an often-subtle, but nonetheless knockout selection of the craft ranging from the ghastly to sweet-hearted to the outlandishly sublime. If this book isn't already being heralded as a new-found masterwork from a relatively new author, there is little doubt it soon will be. In this unabridged audiobook version, narrator Ledoux makes it an even bigger treat. This is grand treat to enjoy now and for years to come.
I stumbled across this excellent audiobook - equal parts personal memoir and professional wake-up call to fellow U.S. journalists - entirely by chance and was hooked instantly just listening to the preview. Rather's telling of his life's work and travels here and abroad, are recalled in his trademark no-nonsense fashion, seasoned with just the kind of behind-the-scene anecdotes and details that keep you paying close attention, chapter after chapter. From covering the White House, to Vietnam, 9/11, Afghanistan and so many more, he shares the stories behind the stories, and in doing so paints a vivd self-portrait of a devoted journalist (and Texan) borne of an unflinching, old-fashioned patriotism as well as a confessed obsession to "get it right", in many cases no matter the consequences, personally or professionally.
Just as importantly, Rather makes a strong case for how the last two-decades have dealt wicked blows to our free press, an institution he (rightfully) views as an integral part of our democratic process, and one in peril. His detailed recounting of his personal experiences with the Viacom-owned CBS contains revelations both stunning and sobering, and no doubt serve the perfect example of our need to preserve a press that is free of manipulation - and outright control - by a government which has strayed dangerously far from it's constitutional roots to become "... of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations."
This is an engrossing, and important, listen.
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