LAS VEGAS, NV, United States | Member Since 2004
This is a fantastic story. If there's a single word I can use to describe the author's handling of the events in this book, that word is "love." You sense the author's respect for these men as you experience this book. As a lifelong student of the war in the air during the World Wars, I can say that the research that went into this work is first class. The story makes you want to meet the German pilot and thank him for his humanity. You'll find yourself making time just to listen!
If you want to know what went on behind the scenes during Armstrong's 7 TDF victories, this book does a good job bringing out the facts. It's well organized and give an outsider's view of the details as compiled from the written evidence and participant interviews. You also get to hear about all the people who either facilitated the fraud or fought against it. It's more of a journalists version, and not as "personal" as probably one of the best accounts I've read, Tyler Hamilton's "The Secret Race."
If you're interested in the SEALS, this is another in the well done accounts which have come out recently about the Spec Ops masters. The book is a little disjointed, but thats OK because the author gets his point across. I would have liked to have heard more about his time as a training officer, but overall I enjoyed the book. Some people have complained that Rorke Denver as narrator is a bad idea. I liked it. He may not have the English accent nor the sonorous tones of the professional narrator, but his no frills, direct, and sometimes dead serious narration just adds authenticity, and helps you realize you would not like to be on the wrong side of this guy in a firefight.
The story is very good. The technical aspects of the accident and investigation are interesting. The main character is very likable and you root for him throughout the book. Overall an interesting story and definitely worth a listen. If the book has any drawbacks, its the lack of exposition of the various characters, who appear and disappear so frequently that they are hard to keep straight sometimes. Also, although the ending is well done and edge of your seat stuff, it seems lacking somehow. It's as if the author had a deadline and had to end the story about a chapter or two early.
BTW, the narrator is top class.
This was my first foray into Z "literature" and it was fun. All around good book. Kept me interested.
First, this is one person's audiobook review and not a "for or against" religion tirade (which is commonly seen when "atheist" books are reviewed).
I thought Hitchens narration was good. What is lacking due to his not being a professional narrator is more than made up for by the fact that he is the author and seems to know the material (surprise!). He reads with flair and wit . . . and you get those classic Hitchens deadpan zingers in all the right places.
As for the substance. This was an entertaining listen with a lot of good ideas. Dawkins' (The God Delusion) is more scientific and Harris' (The End of Faith) is more comprehensive. Hitchens brings his ability to throw literary punches and intelligently rip into religion as the "product of close evolutionary cousins of the chimpanzee" This is a great book, whether you have Faith or not.
My suggestion is Sam Harris first, then Dawkins, then Hitch.
(Disclosure: I have been an atheist since I could think for myself and these new series of books on the subject are a godsend. How many times can you read Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw?)
For those who enjoy knowing about "things" which most people have no idea about, this is a good book. It delves into the world of underwater archeology and treasure hunting within the realm of 500 year old shipwrecks containing valuable Chinese and Vietnamese porcelain. The personality conflicts and risks involved are all painstakingly laid out. Also very interesting is the description of "saturation diving", which is a requirement during such expeditions. The book kept my interest, mainly because I like to be the only person in the room who can talk about Vietnamese pottery. But if you are expecting "Shadow Divers" part II, forget it, that book was five stars and in an altogether higher classification than this one.
I was introduced to Dan Brown when I read the DaVinci Code. I thought that was an interesting book which was full of fascinating historical information as well as an effective and substantial plot which, within the world of fiction, was relatively plausible.
Unfortunately, Angels & Demons is a completely different experience. The trademark Dan Brown "historical scavenger hunt" is thin and easily figured out. Its almost as if Mr. Brown forced this part of the novel to fit the main effort of the book, which seems to be the James Bond style action sequences. The Mission Impossible movies have nothing over this story. The protagonist of the book, Robert Langdon, is portrayed as a college professor, Navy Seal, CIA agent, marathon runner, and Don Juan all rolled into one. Remember that "robot" from the Terminator movies who was made of a space age liquid and indestructable? Well, he couldn't play Robert Langdon in the movie version because he would probably get hurt. This is one of the most implausible plots ever. It really takes away from the story. Dan Brown is definitely a talented author, but this story is not up to par.
Also, note to Dan Brown: Cell phones don't have dial tones.
As a lifelong armchair soldier, I'm a great fan of good, eyewitness style war narratives. This is a well written, well researched war story. The author first introduces the various Marines who will become the subject matter of the story. The listener then experiences the vicious struggle on Peleliu alongside these great men. The death and suffering are described without any attempt to soften the punch. Although the book delves into the reasons for the Peleliu operation and whether it was even necessary, the main thrust of the book is the personal accounts of the soldiers who were there. The best compliment I can give this book is that, as advertised, it really is as compelling as the brilliant "Band of Brothers".
I'm a real fan of the European explorers and have read various books on the subject. This book has its good parts, and its problems. When the author sticks to Columbus and Magellan, the narration is relatively informative, although books on those specific explorers will have much more detail. The second half of the book loses the listener. When the author spends time on Cortez and the Aztecs or Pizzaro and the Incas, the book becomes more a history of those indian cultures than a narrative of the explorations conducted by the Europeans. I guess I was expecting an explorer/adventure book and got a dry description of ancient american indian society.
There are also some interesting aspects to this book which I was not expecting. The author is apparently German because he continually tries to inject Germans into the explorer club. I don't doubt that Germans participated and bravely explored in their own right, but they pop up unexpectedly and seem out of place.
Also, the author spends a great deal of time pushing the "Viking" theory of first discovery. And not only of Newfoundland, but as far South as Mexico. I think this is because throughout the book the author gives the feeling that "white men" were specially endowed with the knowledge and courage to explore the world . . . and the "Viking" theory supports this position. For example, the very last sentence of the book mentions the superiority of the white man in becoming the master of the world! Wow, the more I think about it, this book is really outdated.
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