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Randall D. Raymond

randytoad

Evans, GA USA | Member Since 2004

57
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 435 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Stalin: Breaker of Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert Conquest
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    In this book, the first to draw from recently released archives, Robert Conquest gives us Stalin as a child and student; as a revolutionary and communist theoretician; as a political animal skilled in amassing power and absolutely ruthless in maintaining it. He presents the landmarks of Stalin's rule: the clash with Lenin; collectivization; the Great Terror; the Nazi-Soviet pact and the Nazi-Soviet war; the anti-Semitic campaign that preceded his death; and the legacy he left behind.

    John says: "Great 1991 Study on Stalin fka Dzhugashvili"
    "Excellent Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have long been fascinated by Joseph Stalin. However, of the leaders of WWII, he is probably the most mysterious, and for this reason, maybe the most interesting. The book does an excellent job of setting out the facts of Stalin's life. The author does not do a lot of "psychologizing" but manages to paint a picture of an evil person with a very evil personality, quite possibly a true psychopath. He does an excellent job of showing what such a person can do when he has total control of a large country.

    The narrator has some odd speech mannerisms, that at first I found irritating, but fairly early into the book, I grew to like. He did an excellent job of differentiating speakers when reading dialogs and I particularly liked the way he imitated Winston Churchill when reading his quotes.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Broken Harbor: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan
    Overall
    (2250)
    Performance
    (1925)
    Story
    (1910)

    In Broken Harbor, all but one member of the Spain family lies dead, and it’s up to Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy to find out why. Mick must piece together why their house is full of cameras pointed at holes in the walls and how a nighttime intruder bypassed all the locks. Meanwhile, the town of Broken Harbor holds something else for Mick: disturbing memories of a childhood summer gone terribly wrong.

    Amazon Customer says: "Best in the Series"
    "Her best yet!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tana French is rapidly becoming my favorite writer of mystery thrillers. Quite possibly in my top 10 favorite writers in any genre. I loved In the Woods and Faithful Place and liked The Likeness very much. I would hardly have thought it possible, but this novel beats her others hands down, both as a whodunit and as an interesting set of psychological character studies. Not only is the novel itself wonderful, but Stephen Hogan's narration is the best in the series too. He does a wonderful job differentiating social classes by varying the Irish dialects they speak. All in all it is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (319)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (259)

    Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat? How do companies pave the way for dishonesty? Does collaboration make us more honest or less so? Does religion improve our honesty? Most of us think of ourselves as honest, but, in fact, we all cheat. From Washington to Wall Street, the classroom to the workplace, unethical behavior is everywhere. None of us is immune whether it's the white lie to head off trouble or padding our expense reports.

    Doug says: "You Cheat (and I Do Too)"
    "An interesting book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another really interesting book by Dan Ariely. One of the things I like about his books, including this one, is that he goes into great detail explaining how the experiments backing up his claims were conducted; thus allowing the reader/listener some basis for evaluating those claims.

    I also really enjoy Simon Jones' posh British accent.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole: The Dark Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2131)
    Performance
    (1950)
    Story
    (1931)

    In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a "skin-man", Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter.

    Amazon Customer says: "An exceptional story, but I miss George Guidall."
    "Definitely not the best in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As usual with a King book, you can't put it down once you start. I've read the entire Dark Tower series and this is probably the weakest of the bunch. However, I always enjoy interesting plot devices and this has one of the most unusual King has ever used. I don't think it spoils anything to point it out, but if you want, you can skip to the next paragraph........The book actually tells three stories one inside of another inside of another.

    I've gotten used to him, but I really don't care much for King as a narrator, especially since for many of his books he gets some of the best in the business. He has a flat voice and some mildly annoying speech mannerisms (e.g. he swallows his "L's").

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (11056)
    Performance
    (9560)
    Story
    (9528)

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Chris says: "Good Biography, Fine narrator"
    "Good Job"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Believe me, I am NOT and Apple Fanboi, but I really liked this book. As with his biography of Einstein, Isaacson does a good job of mixing his subject's work with his personal life. The narration is very good, though not outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Attack of the Theocrats!: How the Religious Right Harms Us All - and What We Can Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Sean Faircloth
    • Narrated By Sean Faircloth, Richard Dawkins
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (155)

    At no time in history has the United States had such a high percentage of theocratic members of Congress - those who expressly endorse religious bias in law. Just as ominously, especially for those who share the values and views of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, at no other time have religious fundamentalists effectively had veto power over one of the country's two major political parties. As Sean Faircloth argues in this deeply sobering yet highly engaging book, this has led to the crumbling of the country's most cherished founding principle - the wall of separation between church and state.

    A says: "Was expecting more but well worth it"
    "Polemical"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I happen to agree with the politics of this book, but if you didn't, you wouldn't find this book very edifying. Short on facts. Long on opinion. This is an author narrated book, and though he does a better job than I would, it is definitely NOT professionally narrated.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • What's Eating You?: People and Parasites

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Eugene H. Kaplan
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (67)

    In What's Eating You? Eugene Kaplan recounts the true and harrowing tales of his adventures with parasites, and in the process introduces readers to the intimately interwoven lives of host and parasite.

    Karin W. says: "Squirm-inducing, horribly fascinating stories"
    "Entertaining Book on an Interesting Subject"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Kaplan does an excellent job of communicating his passion for this subject. You can tell he just loves talking about parasites. Though he is obviously trying to write a book to make the reader smile and even laugh, he doesn't skimp on hard information. If I were forced to find one shortcoming in the book it would be the author's emphasis on the "ick factor" inherent in the subject, and the only reason I object to that is that as a biology geek my own "ick factor" tolerance is extremely high, so his attempts to entertain by the "gross out" often falls flat for me. However I realize that many of his readers, particularly young ones, this would be a plus. The narrator also does a great job of communicating the author's enthusiasm.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2616)
    Performance
    (1616)
    Story
    (1615)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Best book on the subject I've ever read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There aren't too many books that I listen to more than once, but this is one of them. I believe I've listened to it three times. Unlike the other excellent book on this subject in my Audible library, Without Conscience by Robert Hare, Dr. Stout illustrates her subject primarily through case histories. And what absolutely fascinating cases they are. Unlike Dr. Hare's book which deals primarily with convicted criminals, this book, as the title indicates, shows us sociopaths in ordinary life, people we may actually know as classmates, co-workers, neighbors, or perhaps even as family members. One of the really interesting things Dr. Stout talks about in this book is an entirely new (for me) class of sociopath, the sociopathic leach. The person who simply attaches him/herself to another person and uses his/her personal charm to parasitise his/her host. I liked everything about this audiobook. The reader is excellent.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert D. Hare
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (386)

    Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong....

    Douglas says: "When I gave up on books that supposedly would..."
    "Fascinating book on a fascinating subject"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have long been fascinated with the subject of psychopathy, and this book covers the subject well. Dr. Hare obviously knows his subject well, and is able to communicate his knowledge to a lay audience.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1052)
    Performance
    (869)
    Story
    (855)

    We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

    Teddy says: "Excellent Book All Over"
    "One of the Most Surprising Books I've Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just loved this book. I get so tired of hearing people say how bad things have gotten, and how much more violent we are than our wonderful peaceful ancestors. Pinker puts the lie to that idea and backs up his personal observations with extensive documentation. I appreciate that Pinker is trying to make a point here and may have omitted some evidence that didn't back up his claims, so I'd like to read a detailed refutation of his central tenet. The only objection I have to this book is that it is, in my opinion, somewhat longer than it needed to be, as he makes some points over and over again.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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