I was drawn to this book due to my interest in the period and my fascination with how a nation could so embrace a philosophy that is so alien to the rest of us today. I was absolutely enthralled by the subject matter and the detail descriptions of some of the more colorful and yet abhorrent characters of this book. To me atleast, the book explains in detail the pure absurdity of the final months of the war and the total inability of the powers that be to change the outcome of destruction that Germany faced. There really was no alternative to Hitler. I truly wish that Audible release more Ian Kershaw books on WWII fairly soon. This is wonderful reading (listening) and if you like history, this must not be missed.
So many people have raved and recommend this book on so many lists and publications. I certainly will be another promoter for the author and this amazing piece of work. This is a remarkable story from a remarkable story teller. The book has a wonderful exotic theme that permeates each page and you eventually loose yourself in the dust and poverty that is Addis.
I loved the story of the twin boys, Marion and Shiva, growing up in Ethiopia with their slightly quirky adopted Indian parents. Their love for these two young geniuses is never ending and their maternal guidance is a torch light that never dies. To me, the family’s life with their inner circle of friends and family, all centered around a charitable hospital is pure magic. There is adventure, political chaos, religion, heartache, young love, fear, forgiveness, and many other human traits throughout the book.
The story of these two young men fulfilling their dream of becoming respected doctors in Addis Ababa, all the whilst trying to be good citizens in their parent’s eyes is the real story. As most have found, either you will love the extensive medical explanations in the book or you will skip the pages. I loved each page. At the end, through tragedies of life, the final mysteries of the twin’s lives are finally revealed. This was an incredible read.
Note to author: Please write the same book thru Shiva’s eyes.
As my upcoming trip to Kenya looms, I have been searching for those people who lived and thrived in Kenya in the early part of the 20th century. There are many historical figures including that of Karen Blixen, Finch Hatton and Lord Delamere. As I started to read about the various individuals, a certain name caught my eye. She was a beautiful and tall woman who was an avid aviator and a different sort of adventurer. She ofcourse was Beryl Markham.
This is a fascinating book that she penned in the early 40s after her departure from Kenya with Bror Blixen, ex-husband of Karen Blixen. Note that in those early days of flying, aircraft were rather flimsy machines and had rudimentary instruments. Many had no radios. What is amazing is that she flew from Kenya to Europe and back numerous times and on occasion solo. Her life in these wild and charming days are beautifully laid out in these riveting chapters. I was awed by her recollection of the times and the words she chose to summarize them within the book.
Eventually she returned to Africa and died in the 1980s. Her fame however will live on and as a next step, I would love to read her autobiography, ‘Straight on till Morning’, by Mary S Lovell.
This is one of the most harrowing of stories that I have ever read. It’s a short book, concise in nature and very much to the point. There is no grandiose explanation of the time or of how and why, but an experience of a child who lost his family and faith.
In a few chapters, the horror of the Holocaust is explained in very intimate terms. From the beginnings of disbelief to the painful reality of chimneys and smoke, the horror is unveiled to the masses of the starving, diseased, and helpless souls of the camps. It is the terrifying truth of an abhorrent ideology against basic human goodness.
We have to be thankful for Elie Wiesel and the countless others who survived to tell such stories so we may never forget such evil.
After reading Miep Gies’s “Anne Frank Remembered”, I realized that many other gentiles saved the lives of Jews during WWII. They worked tirelessly and in great fear to save as many of the oppressed from the Nazis. This is another such remarkable story from occupied Holland based on the family of Corrie ten Boom, a watchmaker in Haarlem.
Through their courage, and the Dutch underground, many people’s lives were saved using the ‘Hiding Place’ – a small closed room within a wall of Corrie’s home. As the world continued to bleed in war, these saviors through their gift of incredible faith continued to forage for food and other items to help the residents being hidden.
Eventually they were caught and sent onto infamous death camps where her beloved father and sister both perished. Yet, this is a story of both hope and faith that transcends the calamitous times of war. It is a fascinating story.
Sadly, the narration of this story is very poor. But that is only a small nuisance.
Even though I have visited the Anne Frank museum, I have yet to visit the museum of Corrie ten Boom. I hope to very much do so now.
If you want a page tuner – this is it!
The author, Captain Tameichi Hara is a brave, resilient and a lucky individual. He himself states that his survival in WWII is owed to luck rather than any strategic brilliance. But throughout his surface campaigns, he shows that he is a brilliant commander to his loyal men and a tough and experienced naval fighter. He pulls no punches on his superiors for their ineptitude in battle, the suicidal and piece-meal deployments, and utter chaotic command strategy. Even the famed Admiral Yamamoto does not escape his criticism. Yet, he himself is self-deprecating in more than one occasion.
This is the first book I read about the Japanese view point in WWII. It is a fascinating history of the men who fought this war against a far superior opponent who eventually annhilated the IJN. Even to the end, knowing fully that the war was lost, these men fought on. The final IJN sortie, Operation Ten-Go, is harrowing in its description.
This is the finest WWII book I have ever read.
What a fascinating and unbelievable adventure. This book tells us of the remarkable story of the 28 member crew of the Endurance and their truly heroic tale to survive in the lonely, cold, windswept hell of the Antarctic.
Amongst them is one of the greatest heroes of the early 20th century adventurers, Sir Ernest Shackleton; a fearless explorer driven by determination to seek the glory he realizes is within reach for the Empire whilst leading his varied band of seamen, scientists and fame seekers. Affectionately known by his men as the “Boss”, his sheer will leads the team to survive the doomed Endurance mission – the first land crossing of the Antarctic.
If anyone saw the Kenneth Branagh’s 2002 TV movie, ‘Shackleton’, you must read this book. The movie is great, but this book will astound you. As with “Alone on the Ice”, the story of Douglas Mawson and his Antarctic adventure, this story captures your imagination from the first page. Long after you finish the story, you will wonder who these 28 men were and what drove them to such endeavors. True heroes!
I had sorely missed reading a good crime novel for ages. Some list recommended this as a worthy read and I was intrigued by the Author. I had not known of Ira Levin and many of his writings that were turned into major motion pictures. Someone wrote that this novel, the first from Levin, is his Magnum opus
Certainly the character of Bud Corliss, a certified psychopath is an intriguing invention. As you read through the pages, you can feel the drive of this individual to attain the one thing he lacks; money, fame and social standing. He will do anything to attain his goals including outright murder. He feels nothing for his victims as he calculatingly removes his obstacles.
This is not a mystery novel but a true, fast paced, crime story. It is beautifully written and keeps you well engaged until the last page is turned. I really enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it.
I watched the 2006 film version with Ed Norton and Naomi Watts and thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation. Somewhere I read in a review that the adaptation had the familiar Hollywood gloss and the book was somewhat different. Finally, I got a deal at Audible and I dived in.
This was my first Maugham and I enjoyed the period setting of this novel in the colonial Far East. The character of Kitty Garstin, a self-absorbed socialite is a character I despised. The story revolves around her infidelity with a dashing but unscrupulous married diplomat and the luckless husband, Walter. There are some wonderful quotes in this book that makes you read it out twice. They stick in your mind long after the story has died. As Waddington, an alcoholic diplomat says to Kitty,
“Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.”
In summary, the words within the book are stronger than the story and there lies the strength of Maugham’s writing. There are no characters in this book other than perhaps Waddington, who captures your imagination as a progressive, cohabiting with a noble Chinese woman. The rest are thoroughly rotten in their own way. At the end, you even wonder if Kitty finally does find salvation through her experiences.
This is a good book and I recommend it.
I have to say that this is my best ‘listen’ on Audible for 2014. It’s a superbly written and narrated book based on the life and times of Henrietta Lacks. Not only her life, but the religion of science, period of exotic discovery, lack of ethics in medicine, shameful bigotry, and the ultimate victories of the human spirit.
When I came into this book, all I knew was the word HeLa. I knew nothing of the wondrous discoveries that these cancerous cells gave the world or its actual beginnings within a woman of color. The author is to be commended for her long and thoughtful endeavor to publish this fascinating history. The author’s journey took more than a decade and its final reading escaped the woman who should have heard it the most; Deborah Lacks, the daughter of Henrietta. Deborah had labored and toiled to make her mother be known, heard and understood and yet she dies on the evening of that triumph.
Even though Henrietta and her family never achieved the sought after financial gain or any recognition from her immortal cell line whereas many individuals and companies did, we should ever be grateful to a woman that lived in a segregated decade and suffered in death, with gifting humanity of her cells which are even used today to discover remarkable cures.
This was a very fast listen and probably deemed a novella. Yet, it won the Booker in 1973 and deservedly so. Its writing and storyline are marvelous with lots of comedic situations interlaced with horrific death and mayhem. The sense of fair play, pompous attitudes, constrained lifestyles, witty interludes of conversation and utter idiotic and flamboyant behavior are all intertwined within a narrative of residents trapped by a mutiny. This all takes place in a faraway residence in India under the East India Company. Well where else would it be? There is nothing more sinister or comedic, based on your interpretation, than reading about the local residents camping out on a hill, viewing the battle between the sepoys and the residents play out amongst cannon fire and vultures bloated on corpses. Finally, the residents emerge, not quite victorious, but thin out of hunger, diseased and rather smelly. A metaphor for the British Raj I am sure. Great book!
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