This was a fine book, but I need to say right out that having only an abridgement available detracted from this experience. Rudy had a lot of valuable experience to impart, and his story is compelling all along the way.
About the other low ratings, I'm beginning to suspect that there are trolls on Audible that lowball rate every title by a conservative without ever having read it.
She is at turns shallow, cruel, self-absorbed and needlessly deceitful to others... just a thoroughly unlikeable person. I found myself really pitying the men who had the misfortune to get involved with. I like your show Chelsea, but jeez... I turned this off in disgust not at her sex life but at her lack of simple decency to other people.
I have to admit that even a year ago if I had come upon a book written by a lesbian New York literary figure who spent time in the world dressed like a man, I would have dismissed it and moved on. More blue state pretention, and I can almost write the conclusions myself. "Men are pigs, and it's great to be a lesbian. More women should try it... and a few did with me." Having rounded a corner so to speak in my wanderings in this skin, being not so reliably red state in my response to my blue neighbors, I decided to download Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man, stick it on my iPod, and give it a listen on my drive from LA to Phoenix.
I'm really glad that I did. Far from being a man-hating screed, this is a tender, insightful treatment of men from what might otherwise be an unlikely source. And Vincent openly admits of the predictable liberal/lesbian/feminist presuppositions she carried around about men--before she decided, on a lark, to live like one. And so "Ned" Vincent was born.
As Ned, Norah joined a bowling league, went to strip joints, spent time in a men's group, participated in a drum-beating masculine discovery retreat, dated women, and ultimately broke down under the strain of living a double life.
Throughout the recounting, as I listened to her candid observations about men and their patterns of speech, their bonding rituals, their troubles and triumphs, their wisdom and their banality I came to deeply respect what this woman had accomplished. Far from being an expose about how dull and brutish men really are, Self-Made Man is a work of true compassion. We celebrate Jesus for living among the alienated in society, but Norah Vincent became the very creature she wanted to understand. Can there be anything more compassionate?
Unlike so many of the one-star wonders that emerge from the woodwork at Audible to trash stuff they won't bother to listen to, I actually tried this out. Sure, 90% or so of the people Bernie puts on the list are liberal, but what would you expect from Al Franken? I imagine that 100% of his list would be conservative, and George Bush himself would probably be in every slot from 1 to 10. So lighten up.
Truth is, Bernie has some impactful criticisms of those that are on his list. They're on there for a reason, and Bernie spells it out. Give this a fair listen and evaluate it for yourself.
This book offers many rational, dispassionate insights into the war on terror. Friedman does not go easy on the U.S.'s missteps and dissemblings, but neither does he obsess on them like the disloyal left is wont to do. Instead, he provides a balanced expose on the behind-the-scenes machinations and how the gears of decision-making turn in Washington, the capitals of Europe, and the caves of Afghanistan.
Now, the narration... truly distracting, especially since the narrator pronounced the end of every third or fourth sentence with a comma instead of a period. Amateurish.
Everyone out in the red states have known about liberal media bias and arrogance for a long time. Bernie Goldberg, a longtime New York media insider spells out why in a plain-spoken, straightforward manner.
Look, 80%+ of journalists voted for Gore, and Manhattan, the home of the scion of all media, the New York Times, went 80%+ for Kerry. It reminds one of the journalist who said, when Nixon was reelected in a landslide, that she was in disbelief--after all, nobody *she* knew voted for him.
When nobody around you at work or in your social circle has red state sympathies, assuming that your liberal beliefs are de riguer is actually understandable. Life inside an echo chamber is not the best place to be if what you want is an unbiased diversity of opinion.
So, what to do? First, as Goldberg says, Admit you have a problem. The bias is clear (and no, Virginia, just because Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are popular does *not* mean that "the media" (which includes ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and the Newspaper of Record) is biased towards *conservatism*. Red staters have Fox, talk radio, and the Washington Times. Blue staters have... well, *everything else*. Besides, most of what is considered "conservative" on Fox and on talk radio is commentary, not straight news reporting.
So, get the book and learn. Or, don't buy it, don't listen to it, and don't read it, and come back here to Audible and give it one star like so many love to do when conservative books (which this *isn't*, by the way) hit the market.
This excellent, well-researched story lays out in great detail the little corruptions that turn into bigger corruptions, resulting ultimately in a sad story of staggering financial losses not by the fat cats that led Enron, but by their workers for whom Enron was a paycheck and a shot at a nice retirement, not a slot machine. The spirit of greed and arrogance that corrupted Lay, Skilling and Fastow, along with a host of Enron officers and the accountants and attorneys who were supposed to be providing adult supervision, should never be allowed to ressurect itself in Corporate America.
Ollie North, a noted conservative polemic, provides here some excellent journalistic dispatches, full of detail and light on commentary. While he never attempts to hide his sentiments towards the Marines fighting and dying in Iraq, he shares their dangers and provides the perspective on the fighting that can only come from an experienced warrior. Well recommended regardless of where you stand politically.
While the author did a fine job of documenting the professionalism and endurance of the command soldiers of the 101st, he cheapened the work by grinding his anti-Iraq war axe. All the usual leftist dumps on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are paraded out, along with the sneering "well, were are the weapons of mass destruction, huh???" Regardless of whether Saddam possessed as much *capability* as we thought he did, he possessed all the intent necessary to rely on him to mount threats in the future. Also, he had an abundant track record of supporting terror. It's impossible to see what future would have resulted had we continued to place our faith in the UN (which was already under leftist pressure to end sanctions entirely) and let Saddam stay in place.
The war on terror is nothing less than the battle of Western Civilization against the anarchic brutality of militant Islam and those who seek to use it as a weapon for their own secular purposes (not anymore, Saddam). Those who imagine that it is a police action ("Get Osama") best left to the UN place our nation's security in inept, perhaps even entirely hostile, hands.
By the time this book came out, I had about had it with this series. What started out as fresh and inspiring ended up about twice as long as it should have, and left me wondering if they were just milking the franchise for all that it was worth.
The good news is, that God loves us and Jesus is coming back. The bad news is, we had to suffer through about half a dozen books too many to get to the best part of the story.
Like so many epics, this is great in the beginning and end, but way too long in the middle. Still, you gotta read it. There is no more important subject matter.
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