New information flows from this excellently researched book that covers a largely lost body of history. The book crosses a long arc of Soviet history and shows the recurring theme of inhumanity to a helpless people. The Bloodlands were the western areas of the Soviet Union that took the brunt of the German Assault in WWII. However that is only part of the story. This area was devastated the persecution of farming Kulaks and the miserable collectivization of farms that created epic famines. What was enlightening and horrifying was that the greatest number of murders came from the Soviets on their own people for no sensible reason.This book could make all of us think twice about the consequences of strong centralized, all powerful governments with cliques on their own agenda.This is a particularly difficult book to read as it deals with horrific events exacted on helpless people. It is a story of the systematic murder of millions of innocent civilians by two countries, the Soviet Union and Germany. After reading this book, you will be assured why the Ukrainians wanted out of the USSR at the earliest opportunity. Frankly, several times I wondered if I was doing the right thing, plunging into this pit of human despair and informing myself of things that I might have been happier not knowing. For that reason, I waited 6 months to write this review. This is an important book that deserves reading and the people of the Bloodlands deserve to be remembered in some degree. This book will never set anything right, but it is important that we not forget and forgive the unforgettable and the unforgivable. The narrator told the story, he did not read. His resonant, magisterial voice delivers this impactful story with the solemnity required. He does treat the irony perfectly with voice tones that brings lift to the written word.This is a solid 5-star book, disturbing but richly informing.
This is a book where the characters are somewhat odious and you cannot really say that any of these arch villains are anyone or anybody's favorite. There are no heroes in this book.
This is really not an appropriate question. All of the book is interesting. None of it lends itself to being a favorite. All that said, I would suggest that the pre World War II saga was quite interesting and informative as the modern Soviet Union and Russia have disappeared this from history.
The suffering of the people of the Ukraine. It is impossible for me to comprehend the savagery that they suffered in Stalinization, the German invasion and then improbably the Russian retaking and march west to Poland and Germany. The starvation of the young child and his plaintive murmurings touch the soul.
You could learn to hate the Soviet Union, Soviet Communism and the Soviet government forever with a clear conscience once you read this book. They were horrifying and cruel beyond imagination. They make Hitler seem unimaginative in the destruction of their own people. You see that WWII was very convenient means for the Soviet Union to create a new narrative and bury the past.
"Swing" by Rupert Holmes kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. Frankly it was hard to tell how the mystery would resolve itself to the very end. Like any good Noir, it slowly descends to a final violent and unforeseen conclusion.
Rupert Holmes has previously won a pair of Edgars, a Grammy and three Tony Awards. He writes very thoughtfully with an abundance of period information. Set in 1940 during the Golden Gate International Exposition on the manmade Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, the noirish fictional historic thriller is narrated by sax player and arranger Ray Sherwood. He is part of the Jack Donovan Orchestra of Note...playing an extended gig at the upscale Claremont Hotel in Oakland. Holmes uses real locales throughout this novel. His descriptions of various key elements of the architecture, Pacifica statue and carillon at the fair make this an atmospheric production.
A college student entices Ray into helping her arrange an orchestral score for her prize winning piano piece. Part of the prize is a performance by Japan's Pan Pacific Orchestra. The music, the student and the orchestra are not what they seem.
This book is rich with details of swing music. scoring music, and the details of touring bands. Set in that strange world's fair that World War II was soon make immemorable, it highlights the final gasp of large world's fairs that time had already past. You get much more than a murder plot in this book, you become immersed in 1940, the music and the fair.
This audible book is appended with original big band music composed by Mr. Holmes.
No matter...the story is about something more ominous and disturbing than a murder, but to tell more would diminish the pleasure of the denouement.
"Swing" is right on key and not to be missed.
This novel came up in one of Audible’ s special sales. It sounded interesting to me, a Boston attorney comes to bayou area outside New Orleans buying a huge Southern mansion and doing the restoration/renovation mostly himself, rebounding from a broken engagement and finding love. Embodied in this was a parallel story at the turn of the century involving a murder in this home and various spirits (ghosts) that were active in this long-abandoned plantation home, and the obligatory love story, both past and present and very connected. So far, so good.
As a male reader of mostly history/nonfiction and detective/thriller novels, this had some excellent elements to get me engaged. First, the story is somewhat complex as the characters from the past are highly correlated to the characters in the present. There is a lot of ghost activity, flashbacks and paranormal events. Nora Roberts demonstrates authority on the process of restoration which was interesting.
Suffice it to say, this story leaves the concrete world and heads somewhere else. The characters are well-developed and interesting. The couple is compelling, complex and interesting whole people. My only quibble comes at the end, when too many things happen and there is parallel story running simultaneously; that got me into disbelief quickly. Would you say yes to marry someone that had lost his mind/gender periodically?
Things happen with much purpose and everything means something, so there is a bit of rush as everything has to be neatly resolved. I recommend this book as excellent entertainment. Nora Roberts writes a novel with strong characters, a great plot and wonderful information and dialog.
So, from a man's perspective, this is worth the time and money. It was escapism at its best.
This is a refreshingly different type of mystery. It is set in the heady days of the new Pathet Lao communist government's victory in 1975. You have a very wily coroner, Dr. Siri, operating in a very backward country and capitol city, Vientiane with little or no technology. The plot is somewhat convoluted involving the newly ascendant Vietnamese that are tense political partners in those times.
I have a quibble. This book has dream sequences that start chapters. When listening and without context, this dialog becomes confusing as to what is real or not. Eventually, a listener catches on and can sort through it.
I liked this book very much. It is fresh and has a clever protagonist, a Doctor in his retirement years forced to become the state coroner. Of course, he gets involved in some political drama, as the new administration is the motif for the mystery. I feel like I learned quite a bit about a very obscure country and what life must have been like in this highly impoverished state.
This book, actually part of a series, is similar to Phillip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels set in the Third Reich, where an honest coroner/detective foils the corrupt system. It will be fun to follow Dr. Siri through future revelations and mysteries.
Larry Bond has an excellent command of the technology of naval, undersea and rocket/missile warfare. This book is similar to a Tom Clancy novel at Tom's best, loaded with military detail. The premise is that China has chosen to assert control over a wide swath of the South China Sea (sound familiar)?
This is a fairly long book (over 19 hours of listening), so the plot and the characters are fully developed. Of course, this type of book has to create some heroes, both political and military. And it has to create some weaklings also. So while the war in the Pacific explodes with realistic military fury; you have characters that are a little too cute. Think of it as "The Hardy Boys Do World War III."
I found this book vastly entertaining, informative and spot on when the military, weapon, tactics and strategies unreeled. The political picture in the three belligerents was somewhat muddled...just like real life!
The narration was very good considering the vast amount of characters and voices needed. I rate this a fully excellent modern military novel.
This is a very interesting, first-hand exploration of the psychopath in contemporary times. There are many fascinating revelations in this nonfiction work. This is a Gonzo novel, wildly subjective as the author wobbles around and meets an array of very interesting characters. This is the type of writing that Jon Ronson does so well. It is funny, heart-breaking and will touch you.
I learned quite a bit about this subject that if not taboo; it is seldom discussed in detail. He calls it a "Journey Through the Madness Industry." Well, there are some interesting types that commercialize the mental misery of others (not all are drug companies). You begin to wonder if any part of our mental health delivery system is either effective or honest in their purported knowledge or purported results.
This book will also create some reader unease as things are not quite right in the mental health industry.
I read this book when it was published in 1969. I decided to revisit it via Audible. I love all of Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries. In his books you get a deep and loving exposure to the Navaho way of life and religion.
There are two Navajo detectives in virtually all of Hillerman's novels, Jim Chee, a budding religious figure and lower level officer in the Navaho Tribal Police. The older and wiser Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn makes a very superior detective. The plot starts with an unidentified body found by a railroad in a near impossible location. Chee and Leaphorn pursue differing crimes and find that they merge in Washington DC. This is a very solid entry in the series.
Just a nit, the narration is fine. Originally the books on tape were narrated by Tony Hillerman with his gravelly, worldly voice. I miss Tony as a author and miss listening to him. He was an acknowledged master of mystery writing.
Carl Hiaasen's dark but perceptive take on the seamy side of Florida is acute and loaded with his sardonic humor. His characters are drawn large and cartoonish but we learn to love them. There is a bit of a mystery in this novel. To me, often Hiaasen likes to throw some extreme characters into hurricanes and see what happens. In this book, we do have a tropical storm, but underlying it is a diabolical plot. This was a very fun book to listen to and very entertaining.
This is a break-through best seller that is terrific for science fiction fans and lovers of good thrillers. It involves a band of rogue assassins (Reckoners) that lay traps, ambushes and killings on the Epics, evil super humans. The fun part is that each Epic has an Achilles heel, a vulnerability that makes their super powers dissolve. So you have a detective motif of trying to find the vulnerability and the means to kill these evil rulers set in what was Chicago. The protagonist is an 18-year-old long on luck and naivety. There are so many surprises throughout the book and incredible action scenes. I loved every minute of it and hope that it will surely become a series.
Takes you into the bureaucracy of state government and game wardens in the state of Wyoming where hunting is big business. Character development was terrific. And finally, there is a relentless, exciting plot.
Very original villian committing crimes under another pretext.
Great voice for the western voices in the Novel.
Yes, unfortunately, I do not have 8 straight hours.
Yes, the performance made the characters come alive. The voices for each character were individual and nuanced. The accents were nicely done.
This plot is relentless and breath-taking. It surges from page to page and chapter to chapter. The author writes in a very action-oriented style. He adds some interesting science, history and lore to blend a really exciting story. His characters are risk-taking, interesting and attractive. This is probably the best of the Jame Rollins novels.
Final, long scene in underground Ubar. No spoilers.
Perhaps, the confession of love and proposal in the midst of a major and dangerous crisis. A marriage proposal facing death, how much better does it get than that?
This is a fairly long performance and novel. It delivers on a complex plot, many characters and an amazing secret or should I say secrets. Well worth your time if you enjoy the Clive Cussler type of novel where historical events, persons and contemporary hero-types chase a mystery rooted in the past. I was disappointed when it ended. I believe this book became the genisis for the author's Sigma Force novels that followed.
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