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Karl

Washington, DC, USA

45
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 48 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas E. Ricks
    • Narrated By James Lurie
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    The American military is a tightly sealed community, and few outsiders have reason to know that a great many senior officers view the Iraq war with incredulity and dismay. But many officers have shared their anger with renowned military reporter Thomas E. Ricks, and in Fiasco, Ricks combines these astonishing on-the-record military accounts with his own extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to create a spellbinding account of an epic disaster.

    Scott says: "History not Politics"
    "if you forget how this all started...."
    Overall

    I wanted to learn more about what’s gone on in Iraq than you get from reading the paper or catching something on CNN. I'd looked over a number of books and picked this one - maybe not the most read (?), but i liked it a lot. This is not a snapshot of the war as the paper or TV can be, but is a movie... and it was just what I needed. I don’t think it’s too far to one side or the other either – to me it was a very good report on what’s gone on, the choices that were made, how they came to be and why we are where we are today.

    If you want a reminder on how we got into the war in the first few years and really understand the issues at hand, I’d highly recommend this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of One

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (2688)
    Performance
    (1513)
    Story
    (1516)

    Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.

    Bob says: "Compelling story lifted higher by the narration"
    "it was a movie?"
    Overall

    OK, i didn't know that until later, but now i don't feel i have to see it. I'm sure the book was better. It is a nice read and the narrator did a fantastic - and i mean a fantastic job.

    Great story, amazing character development, very believable in a "story book" way and I honestly just loved the witting style of the author.

    My one dig is that it could have been just a bit shorter and we wouldn't have missed anything - but still, i's a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Traveler

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By John Twelve Hawks
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2260)
    Performance
    (438)
    Story
    (446)

    Maya is hiding in plain sight in London. The 26-year-old has abandoned the dangerous obligations pressed upon her by her father and chosen instead to live a normal life. But Maya comes from a long line of people who call themselves Harlequins, a fierce group of warriors willing to sacrifice their lives to protect a select few known as Travelers.

    Nicholas Winn says: "Told friends and family"
    "... huh???"
    Overall

    Maybe it’s me and this just isn’t my kind of book, but there seemed to be too much violence that – unlike other books I’ve read – was too out there and odd to be believable. I came away thinking the author had an ax to grind with society. Had it been toned down a bit I may have come away thinking about his ideas. I didn’t like the characters, the story, the plot or the level of paranoia.

    Had I not been driving 2000 miles, I might not have finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1217)
    Performance
    (574)
    Story
    (584)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "very much a history book"
    Overall

    A good beach book.

    This really is a very interesting book that covers a lot of ground but does so clearly and concisely. With a story like this I’d imagine it is hard to decide what to keep in and leave out, and I think that is well done here. I work in public policy in this area (public health) and have been glad I read this on a number of occasions. It most definitely educated me on a topic that translates to today on a number of levels – not just flu.

    As a history book, it’s not high drama and ends up a bit dry in a few places – but I did find it all interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Truman

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man, a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined, but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges.

    Erik says: "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    "Wow"
    Overall

    Wouldn’t it take an entire life to write a book like this?

    So 53 hours is a long time, but this book doesn’t seem long. Towards the end I kept hoping it was going to follow history along up to today, even after Truman passed, but I suppose biography’s don’t work that way.

    If you are reading reviews considering if you should get this book, you should.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the Roman Republic, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Cyril Robinson
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (25)

    The story of the Roman Republic is the greatest epic in human history. Seen in the long perspective of time, it seems too fantastic to be real. From its modest beginnings as a convenient fording place on the Tiber to its eventual destiny as the mistress of the Mediterranean, Rome offers a strange tale of fate, sacrifice, and indomitable willpower. The stern realities of war shaped its policies from the very beginning.

    Robert says: "A splendid read!"
    "Snooty, scratchy, stuffy, and - the drums?"
    Overall

    I love history books, but - by golly - I never even finished part one of this book.

    Here’s the scoop: the audio quality is awful and the reader’s learned accent is right out of a stuffy members-only dinning club. There are all these weird drummers who show up between chapters, and (as I recall) there is also the sound of “solders on the march” blended into the background, when appropriate.

    Someone should edit the book to make it a little more fun to read, drop the background noise and have someone read it who can make it interesting. I regret not being able to plow through it because I’m very curious to learn about the topic…. Oh well, not with this book I guess.

    2 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Isaac's Storm

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (332)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (143)

    September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history.

    Greg Mefford says: "A wonderful listen"
    "Historical, accurate, detailed, surreal"
    Overall

    The story is what you would expect – a calamity of terrible proportions. The author clearly did all the necessary homework and digging to get as much material as possible. The result is a complete start to finish story of everything that happened during this terrible event.

    There isn’t a whole lot of really deep character development, though there is an attempt to get you sucked into the life of the weather forecaster and his family. I didn’t really buy into that in the end. The book stands on it’s own as a very complete history. It is not a novel, but it is extremely interesting, and of curse, sad.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Pretty Horses

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1006)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (354)

    All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of the Borders Trilogy, tells of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers. Across the border Mexico beckons; beautiful and desolate, rugged and cruelly civilized. With two companions, he sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

    Gene says: "A Super-Listen"
    "Aint no shoot em’ up western"
    Overall

    If you are looking for a typical cowboy book, don’t start here. This is more of a painting with words. It won’t give you the Clint Eastwood bang-bang feeling – but there are guns, horses and big fights.

    I followed the story of this “drop out” 1940’s horseback rider and his partner on their ride into Mexico (the reason they depart is still vague to me). I loved it. While I agree with the reader who said the narrator reads in a quiet steady voice (I missed a few lines during the home renovation I was doing at the time), it helps with the personality of the main dude – who is a quiet observant type.

    I’ve been to Mexico, used to wrangle horses and hung out with a few real cowboys in my day. This book took me back, and I really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2245)
    Performance
    (487)
    Story
    (504)

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

    Karl says: "An education and inspiration"
    "An education and inspiration"
    Overall

    I’ve read a lot of books from Audible. Few have hit me in the gut like this book does. Greg Mortenson is really an amazing person – and the story in this book, I think, will make even the most outgoing and philanthropic person feel humble. I honestly can’t think of anyone who has given as much of himself to help others. I would agree with the folks who have said this guy is in line for a Nobel Peace prize. Still, with all that aside, the STORY told here is just as captivating as the man and his work.

    I hate when I read an audible review and it gives away the ending, etc., so I’ll try not to do that here. That said, Mortenson risks his life and struggles through very hard times to educate children in remote parts of the world. He learns, adjusts and perseveres. The resulting successes are inspiring for anyone who has wanted to do something to help others. The book will make you feel that you should try to climb K2 tomorrow. The story is timely, too. Had Greg worked to build schools, educate children and provide to those in need off in sub-Saharan Africa the book would still have been an amazing read. But against the backdrop of Afghanistan, Bin Ladin and the Taliban, and in the historical context of the book (starting well before 9-11 and ending during our modern day situation in Iraq) the Mortenson story has a lot to teach us all about this remote part of the world.

    38 of 39 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Richard Brown
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    This fabulous account of Sir Ernest Shackelton's epic adventure recreates one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded. In August, 1914, the Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months Shackelton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world...

    Timothy C S says: "A wonderfull treatment of a complex story"
    "everyone on earth should read this book"
    Overall

    Well, so I’ve tried to re-tell this story to friends, but I’m not a writer. For that reason, you just have to read this yourself – it can’t be re-told better than it is done here. The fate of these men, the struggles they faced, the human sprit, the will to live, and the STORY found in the pages of this book are truly unforgettable.

    I read the book about a year ago and still can’t imagine how they pulled this off.

    Keep in mind that the book gets off to a slow-ish start, that the audio is not so great, and the characters don’t really all have a personality (the sailors all meld together in your mind, save one or two)… but I’ll be darned if you don’t get sucked in – and by the end, you can’t believe what they’ve managed to do. Anyone who has been out in the cold for a bit too long and didn’t like it will get Goosebumps. Anyone who’s been on a boat in the ocean will be stunned, and anyone who’s ever wanted to give up on something will be humbled.

    Can you tell I enjoyed it?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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