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Cynthia

Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

Monrovia, California, United States | Member Since 2012

5671
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 222 reviews
  • 222 ratings
  • 513 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2015
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  • War and Remembrance

    • UNABRIDGED (56 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (2106)
    Performance
    (1798)
    Story
    (1785)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues here in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    aaron says: "What can I say that hasn't already been said??"
    "Always Remember . . ."
    Overall
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    If you could sum up War and Remembrance in three words, what would they be?

    Thought-provoking, stunning, unforgettable.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of War and Remembrance?

    Aaron Jastrow's eventual transformation, as a parable for Jews everywhere.


    What about Kevin Pariseau’s performance did you like?

    Loved the performance . . . Pariseau had numerous characters with various accents, and handled them well. Loved his pronounciation of "renaissance" (usually pronounced ren-ah-sance) as "ree" + "nascense". Really brings home the meaning of that word.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Too many applicable clichés: Epic, sweeping, detailed, grand . . .


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the book so much I involuntarily made a rude gesture at my iPod as one of the characters did something oh-so-predictable, but destructive. I was truly engaged from the start of the Winds of War through the end of War and Remembrance.

    Want to know what's historically accurate? Read the historical notes - don't try Wikipedia, plot spoilers abound.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • 1776

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5384)
    Performance
    (2470)
    Story
    (2477)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you ever thought history was boring, David McCullough’s performance of his fascinating book will change your mind. In this stirring audiobook, McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence, when the whole American cause was riding on their success.

    Amazon Customer says: "It tantalized my taste buds"
    "An Indecisive George Washington"
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    One of the first Audio books I listened to, ever, was David McCullough's 2001 biography "John Adams." My small town's very small library had books on CDs, and that was one of them. There were 15? 16? discs in a black plastic container, warped from sitting on the front seat of people's cars. Prying discs out of the container could be distracting and difficult, and hit the wrong button on the dash? You'd spend the next 5 miles fast forwarding and reviewing, trying to find your place. I was hooked anyway.

    McCullough's "1776" (2005) is a wonderful study of the nascent United States of America and the evolution of the revolutionary war. As a child growing up in the Midwest, I learned that overthrow of British rule was predestined. "1776" makes it clear that the winner was far from foreordained. The war was fought on the backs of poorly equipped citizen soldiers who enlisted for a year, and then walked off, en masse, when their terms were done. Stop-loss? That came at the end of the 20th Century. General George Washington was constantly writing letters, pleading for funding from congress for his troops. Some things are the same more than two centuries later.

    I've read or listened to dozens of books about the founding of America and the struggle for independence, but I missed the fact that George Washington as a perfect, sharply competent and unquestioned military leader was a myth. He spent a good part of 1776 in an indecisive fog, squandering opportunities that were obvious at the time, and not just in hindsight. Washington made basic tactical errors that lost battles, such as dividing corps that should have remained together. His errors were the errors that an educated, professionally trained military officer would not have made, and Washington recognized that. Even in the middle of making grave mistakes, he suggested founding what became the United States Military Academy at West Point. Washington also established something we take for granted now: enlistment bonuses and veteran's benefits. Washington as a demigod is easy to admire but impossible to relate to. McCullough makes Washington relatable, and aspirational.

    Something else I didn't realize: Just how many people were loyalists and supported British rule. As far as they were concerned, the founding fathers were armed insurgents. People who had lived in the American colonies for generations emigrated to England rather than renounce allegiance to King George III. Even Congress was divided on the issue - not every elected official signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, who was a Patriot and who was a Traitor was really a matter of perspective. Patrick Henry was a hero to Americans, but anathema to the British.

    McCullough's writing is evocative and provocative. It made a good listen, although it would have been helpful if he had reintroduced some of the more minor figures that made appearances hours apart. I liked the narration - the pacing was good, and the sound crisp.

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    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Helen Thorpe
    • Narrated By Donna Postel
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (56)

    Soldier Girls follows the lives of three women on their paths to the military. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home.

    Constance says: "Healing and Insightful"
    "Valor Knows No Gender"
    Overall
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    The Pentagon officially lifted its ban on women in combat in 2013. That means that Desma Brooks, one of the soldiers in Helen Thorpe's "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War" (2014), wasn't supposed to be at risk in her 2010 deployment to Iraq. She had a commanding officer that used his distaste for women as a reason not to give Ms. Brooks specialized training she needed to drive trucks in a combat zone. What that misogynist didn't even consider was that trucks convoy; other soldiers are on board, one navigating and another literally 'riding shotgun'; and that truck might be carrying weapons the battalion needs for its next fight. Ms. Brooks and her crew were badly injured when and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) went off next to the ASV (Armored Service Vehicle) she was driving. If that particular officer hasn't resigned his commission in the National Guard, he needs to be courtmartialed before he does any more damage.

    "Soldier Girl" follows three women in Indiana's National Guard: Ms. Brooks, a mother of 3 who enlisted in 1996; Debbie Helton Deckard, a mother of 1 who enlisted in the mid-1990's at the age of 35; and Michelle Fischer, the pseudonym of an unfocused college student who joined to pay for college - just before 9/11. Thorpe kept her promise to her subjects and only mentioned that one soldier asked not to have her real name used, but Ms. Fischer is the only one that can't be found in a quick search of Google images. All three women ended up in the Guard as part of what Ms. Fischer referred to, after finishing a degree at a prestigious university that her military service paid for, as an "economic draft".

    Ms. Brooks, Ms. Fischer, and to some extent, Ms. Deckard, served because they needed the money. It's a much more insidious draft than the one that ended in 1973: it only takes the poor. I ended up in that particular draft myself. I enlisted in 1982, the year I graduated from high school, in the middle of a recession that made the prospect of paying for college bleak. Thorpe's description of entering the service; basic training; and advanced individual training (AIT) is spot on. I never served in the National Guard - I was on active duty in the Army - but Thorpe's descriptions of weekend drills, annual training and the Armory itself match what I saw when Guard members trained with us.

    "Soldier Girl" is accurate about another facet of serving as a woman: the constant sexual harassment that sometimes spills over into actual violence. Thorpe mentions a term that the Department of Veterans Affairs has just started to use: Military Sexual Trauma (MST). It's a catch-all term for what Ms. Brooks and Ms. Fisher faced during their first deployment in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The leers and catcalls. The suggestive jokes. Nominally 'giving' sex for plum assignments and favorable living quarters - although with fraternization, what's actually happening is a subordinate is being rewarded for services rendered and keeping her mouth shut.

    Ms. Deckard, who became a grandmother during her deployment to Afghanistan, did not have the same level of unremitting harassment as the other two soldiers and attributes that to her age - but she wouldn't walk unescorted in various areas of the FOBs (Forward Operating Base) she was assigned to. The MST other women faced bothered Ms. Deckard more than it did the women themselves. When you've been around long enough and the military isn't your first real job, you recognize the problem more readily; you know what's happening is wrong; and you wonder why it's still happening. I was dismayed that MST seems to have gotten worse since I served. I wasn't assigned to a tactical unit like these women were, though. Perhaps it was always that bad and I just didn't know.

    I listened to David J. Morris' "The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (2015) a few weeks before "Soldier Girl." Together, they make a good introduction to real soldiering and the real problems veterans have. Donna Postel was a good choice for narrator.

    The title of the review is from a speech given by President Barrack Obama in 2013, announcing that combat jobs would be opened to women.

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    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Facebook Page: Facebook Marketing for Fan Page Owners and Small Business

    • UNABRIDGED (46 mins)
    • By David Duffield
    • Narrated By Roy Lunel
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In order to develop an appreciation for Facebook, you will be introduced to how you can use Facebook ads. Learn how to promote your page through social bookmaking websites; if it reaches just a fraction of the users, the impact can be extremely great. Getting more Facebook fans is the key to making more money on Facebook.

    Cynthia says: "Scary, but it works"
    "Scary, but it works"
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    David Duffield's "Facebook Page: Facebook Marketing for Fan Page Owners and Small Business" (2014) works. I'm proof.

    The reason I listened to the Audible "Facebook Page" is because I follow "MHS Wildcat," which is dedicated to our small town high school's sports. The page owner is our announcer, a smooth voiced man named Roy Lunel. Lunel's quick and accurate on the call, and he makes it sound like he's known every kid on the field since Pop Warner days.

    One day, Lunel did a status update, and mentioned he's also a voice actor and he's done some Audible books . . .

    Until I listened to "Facebook Page", I had very little idea how Facebook marketing worked. Sure, I got the obvious: I know why I'm getting sponsored ads for "Our Time". I'm 50 and divorced. But how did Facebook know to keep showing me ads for Pi day t-shirts, as if someone somehow knew I'd eventually order one for each of my kids? And why do I spend so much time on Saturday mornings, happily drinking coffee and clicking away on fun stories from Madame Noir, Buzz Feed and Slate, fighting my way through luxury car ads? Duffield's book answers these questions and more. He tells the average individual how to design a Facebook marketing plan - and even where to find very affordable help doing it.

    It's a fascinating listen, even if you're not planning a marketing campaign. It's also a glimpse of how Big Data works, and it's a little bit frightening.

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    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (560)
    Performance
    (501)
    Story
    (498)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "Mortui homines loqui"
    Overall
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    Story

    I'm a fan of old-school coroner/medical examiners. Thomas Noguchi. Michael Baden. Kathy Reichs, as a PhD in Physical Anthropology and a Diplomate in Forensic Anthropology, not just a prolific writer. And now, Judith Melinek, MD.

    Dr. Melinek is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of California San Francisco and Board Certified in Pathology, but at the beginning of her medical career, she was a stressed out intern who'd decided against becoming a surgeon and was looking for a different discipline. She ended up in pathology, starting out in the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. In 2001.

    Given the timing, I expected "Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner" to be mostly about 9/11. Dr. Melinek and her husband and co-author, T.J. Mitchell devote a chapter to it, but the ME Office's work wasn't determining cause of death. It was victim identification.

    Most of the book is about Dr. Melinek's transformation from a shell shocked aspiring surgeon to a gifted medical examiner. Forensic pathology is clearly her true calling, and she has a passion for determining what causes death - and preventing premature death. I was fascinated by the discussion about the difference between surgical complications which result in death, and medical malpractice resulting in death. Her discussion about properly performed surgery resulting in an earlier death than would have happened without the surgery was illuminating. I do suspect that being able to convey the complex difference - a sign of an experienced expert witness - happened after those first two years, which would make sense because the book wasn't published until 2014.

    Dr. Melinek isn't squeamish about death for the most part, and her book isn't for the easily disturbed reader/listener. She talks about removing organs and the sound they make; making incisions; advanced decomposition, and so more. Pathology isn't done in the stylish elegance and artfully lit scenes of an episode of CSI. It's done with deniers to move bodies, scales to weigh organs, and careful mapping of scars and tattoos, Thankfully, Dr. Melinek pretty much avoids talking about the autopsies of kids. She did address one horrid case of child abuse that will haunt me, but at least it's just one more story to add to my mental list of 'Bad Things that Happened to Children I Can Never Forget. that Make Me Wish the Person Who Did It Could be Thrown Into a Cave Pit like the Mesa Verde Indians Used to Do.'

    I enjoyed Tanya Eby as a narrator. Her smooth delivery reminds me a bit of Colleen Marlo's narration of Amy Stewart's "The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks" (2013).

    The title of the review is Latin for "Dead men speak."

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    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the City: Tales of the City, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Armistead Maupin
    • Narrated By Frances McDormand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (383)

    For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture...from a groundbreaking newspaper serial, to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales of the City is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.

    Nancy J says: "Sparkling, Witty and Touching!"
    "A Polaroid Instant of 1970's San Francisco"
    Overall
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    The stories in Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" (1978) were written in a magic time and a magic place. The smoldering gay rights movement had burst into flame with the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. Birth control pills were approved by the FDA in 1960 and widely accepted by the early 1970's. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973's Roe v. Wade 410 US 113. AIDS was beginning to work its way across the world, but it wasn't recognized until 1981.

    1970's San Francisco was a sybaritic paradise. The Summer of Love of 1967 had finally been migrated to the upper class Bass Weejuns and Lilly Pulitzer crowd. Sex was plentiful and sexuality was ambiguous. Maupin, fresh from the U.S. Navy and Vietnam, was living in San Francisco and writing contemporary short stories originally published in Marin County's "The Pacific Sun." It's not a nostalgic look back, it's a true portrait in writing of a very short era.

    Maupin has a great ear for dialogue, and most of his character development is through conversations. It's fun to find out what degree of separation each person has to each other, and how they are somehow held together by the glue that is Anna Madrigal and her homegrown marijuana and hand rolled joints.

    The difference in communications really struck me. I'd forgotten a time when long distance calls cost so much that secretaries from the Midwest only called their parents once a month, writing actual letters, using pen, paper and 13 cent stamps between expensive calls.

    There's a lot of sex in "Tales of the City", but the book isn't pornographic. Maupin sets the scene and the players - an expensive home and a grocery delivery boy; a funky apartment that's not in the Castro; a bathhouse on Ladies' Night. The rest is left to imagination.

    The stories are a bit of a difficult follow on Audible because it's hard to tell when a new chapter starts. That's a problem that doesn't happen with the text version. Frances McDormand narrates, and well - she's Frances McDormand, the Academy Award winning actress for Fargo (1996) a movie that's as quirky as "Tales of the City."

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    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Happiness Bible: The Happiness Advantage: 5 Actionable Strategies to Create a Positive Path to Success

    • UNABRIDGED (34 mins)
    • By Ashley Walker
    • Narrated By Roy Lunel
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Learn about traditional happiness and compare it to new age ideas of happiness. Find out why is it important to adopt the empowered mindset to happiness and the tips to become empowered for happiness. Learn about the good and bad about the empowerment mindset for happiness.

    Yaquelin says: "everyone can have it"
    "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
    Overall
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    I have a lot of patience for self help books. I figure if I'm engaged in the listen, I start to think, and I get at least one good usable idea, I've gotten my time and money's worth. For example, M J Ryan's "This Year I Will: How To Finally Change A Habit, Keep A Resolution, Or Make A Dream Come True" (2006) was 4 hours, 32 minutes, and only 10 of those minutes had 'The Idea/Plan.' It was the blueprint that helped me quit smoking, and it's held for 18 months.

    Ashley Walker's "The Happiness Bible" (2014) is the same way for me, although at 36 minutes, it's a much, much quicker listen. It's kind of a quick little think positive pep talk, and Chapter 8 has some suggestions worth following. The best is to obsess over your successes as much as you obsess over your failures.

    "The Happiness Bible" will probably work for regular people, but isn't a good listen for untreated depressives. Telling someone with clinical depression just to think happy is like telling someone who's been stabbed to put a Bandaid on the cut.

    I enjoyed the narration. Roy Lunel's got good cadence and delivery, and he did well with text that was too much in the passive tense.

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    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • John Quincy Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Harlow Giles Unger
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (192)

    He fought for Washington, served with Lincoln, witnessed Bunker Hill, and sounded the clarion against slavery on the eve of the Civil War. He negotiated an end to the War of 1812, engineered the annexation of Florida, and won the Supreme Court decision that freed the African captives of La Amistad. He served his nation as minister to six countries, secretary of state, senator, congressman, and president. John Quincy Adams was all of these things and more. In this masterful biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals Adams as a towering figure in the nation’s formative years.

    Gotta Tellya says: "Informative and well written."
    "Better as a Former President"
    Overall
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    Some U.S. Presidents make much, much, better former presidents. Jimmy Carter, for one. I remember him being president, but all I remember about that was horrible inflation and boycotting the 1980 Olympics. As a former president, he is an adept and respected international negotiator who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. There's the 10th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, William Howard Taft, who was instrumental in shaping the modern Court. He was also, against his desire, the 27th President. Add another to that list: John Quincy Adams, who was so politically ineffective in office that he spent hours every day horseback riding, just to kill time. Out of office, the 6th President changed history.

    John Quincy was the oldest son of Founding Father and 2nd President, John Adams and his strong willed wife, Abigail Smith. As a teenager and young adult, John Quincy traveled extensively with his father, eventually speaking half a dozen languages fluently. He attended Harvard - after nearly being derailed by a petty administer who disliked the Adams family - and became a mediocre lawyer. He was rescued from an ignominious life negotiating contacts and litigating property lines by his father, followed by his mentor and friend, Thomas Jefferson. John Quincy, as Secretary of State to James Monroe, was the architect of the Monroe Doctrine.

    After his ineffective presidency from 1825 to 1829, he brilliantly defended the 35 slaves of the Amistad who revolted. John Quincy's friends and neighbors elected him to Congress where he served successfully for 18 years. He was ardently and eloquently anti-slavery and helped lay the foundation for what became the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Harlow Unger's "John Quincy Adams" (2012) is a nice follow up to to David McCullough's 2002 "John Adams." McCullough's book won the Pulitzer, but to be fair to Unger, John and Abigail Adams were prolific writers. John Quincy kept a journal for 68 tumultuous years, but his wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, was not the prolific correspondent Abigail was. I do plan to listen to more of Unger's books - he's written dozens of books and they look intriguing.

    Johnny Heller narrates, and he is - as always - a kick. He did two recent non-fiction narrations I really enjoyed - Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy's "Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus" (2012); and the amusing "You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News" (2011), which was written by an author that Audible has asked me not to disclose in this review.

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    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3805)
    Performance
    (3356)
    Story
    (3351)

    Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.

    Jane says: "Definitely entertaining. I had some smiles."
    "Alright, alright, alright"
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    A couple of years ago, I went on a weekend long Michael Connelly Audible bender. My kids were with their Dad, and I was doing what single moms do when the kids are out of the house for a few days. No, I wasn't at Sena, the local tapas bar, drinking a cold Pinot Grigio in an oversized, delicate wine glass and eating surprisingly good ceviche on thick home made tortilla chips. I was cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging my house, accompanied by "The Lincoln Lawyer" series.

    Mickey Haller's haunts are the tired courthouses of Los Angeles, with the echoes of heels in the marble tiled hallways really built for men in expensive and noiseless loafers; the soft whisper of attorneys and their clients tucked into doorways, agonizing over jury selection; and the hopeful eyes of hallways of petty criminals looking for an attorney to get them out of whatever hole they've dug. Connelly has a way of writing Los Angeles so the sad and fraught places are intimate and special.

    In "The Gods of Guilt" (2013) Connelly works the same magic on people on the edges. The murder victim is a prostitute who had a chance to make it out once, but an old life cruelly clawed her back. The suspect is her technologically advanced but guilt wracked pimp, who punishes himself far more than the legal system ever could or would. Connelly's "Gods of Guilt" are nominally the jury, but perhaps they are really the voices of our conscience.

    The title of this review is from an Oscar acceptance speech of Matthew McConaughey, the original silver screen "Lincoln Lawyer". Oh, I know McConaughey won for "Dallas Buyer's Club" (2013) and the term 'silver screen' is a 1940's throwback, but Connelly so reminds me of Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959) and his cynical detective, Philip Marlowe. And Humphrey Bogart was the original Marlowe.

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    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David J. Morris
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Just as polio loomed over the 1950s and AIDS stalked the 1980s and 1990s, post-traumatic stress disorder haunts us in the early years of the 21st century. Over a decade into the United States' "global war on terror", PTSD afflicts as many as 30 percent of the conflict's veterans. But the disorder's reach extends far beyond the armed forces. In total, some 27 million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame.

    Cynthia says: "The hell where youth and laugher go"
    "The hell where youth and laugher go"
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    As I was driving into work one day on the 5 South, passing the University of California at Irvine that David J. Morris mentions several times in "The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (2015), I heard something in the narration that truly shocked me. Sharp intake of breath, cold running from my hands to my feet, pounding pulse surprise. Morris mentions that some people actually ask veterans if they've killed.

    I served on active duty in the US Army from 1982 to 1986, and I'm not one of the few people that saw combat in Granada. My drill instructors were in Vietnam, though, and so were a lot of my senior commanders. Asking that question was the strongest taboo I ever encountered in military life. It simply wasn't done. As soldiers, we collectively understood that trauma belonged to the soldier, to be shared by choice. And if a soldier chose to share, you listened attentively, you learned, and you were grateful.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) isn't a new condition, although the term is. Morris traces its scientific, ethical and sociological development - its genealogy, as he calls it. His emphasis is on Western conflicts, especially the American Civil War and World War I, and of course, Vietnam. Morris delves deeply into the moral conflicts that can cause or contribute to PTSD, even after a 'good war' like World War II.

    Morris' discussion of treatments for the disorder is both fascinating and horrifying. He has PTSD and has treated for it through the Veterans Administration hospitals. One widely accepted treatment, Prolonged Exposure (PE) left him so debilitated he stopped treatment - but only after breaking a knife blade stabbing his cell phone. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) did help him - and it certainly sounds like most people respond better to that. Medications like Paxil work for some people, but no one is sure why. Morris explores alternative treatments, and it sounds like one in particular works well for a lot of folks: yoga.

    Morris doesn't limit his discussion of PTSD to combat veterans. Rape is one cause of trauma he discusses extensively, as well as the difference in PTSD signs, symptoms and treatment between men and women.

    "The Evil Hours" is wide ranging and sometimes difficult to follow. Morris jumps from philosophy, history, neurobiology and neuroscience, pharmacology, cultural conditions, technological developments in armaments . . .

    It's a difficult listen. It's intellectually challenging, and compelling. I would have done better with it on text, but I wouldn't have been able to sit down and read it for months, or maybe even years. I found myself wanting to tell Morris to slow down and explore his ideas in more depth, but I realized that he's set down a guide for what could be his life's work, and will guide researchers interested in PTSD for years.

    This is another Audible I wish had a true Table of Contents, so here it is (with thanks to Villanova's on line library) Audible 1 - Introduction; Audible 2 - The warning; Audible 3 - Saydia; Audible 4 - In terror's shadow; Audible 5 - Toward a genealogy of trauma; Audible 6 - The haunted mind; Audible 7 - Modern trauma; Audible 8 - Therapy; Audible 9 - Drugs; Audible 10 - Alternatives; Audible 11 - Growth; Audible 12 -Counterfactuals; and Audible 13 - Epilogue.

    I wasn't that wild about the book as an Audible, and it could have used an edit. It tended to meander and get repetitive. I am giving it 5's because the importance of the work makes up for an occasional lack of focus or an obscure point. Giving it any less would make me feel like I'm devaluing a landmark.

    The title of the review is from Siegfried Sassoon's "The War Poems."

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    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Ceremonies in Dark Old Men

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Lonne Elder III
    • Narrated By Rocky Carroll, Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, and others
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    First produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, this classic masterpiece by Academy Award nominee Lonne Elder III gives us the portrait of a Harlem family that dreams of a better life, but pursues it in tragic ways. Ceremonies opened the door for new generation of African American playwrights, August Wilson among them. NBC-TV called Elder’s dramatization of rituals "exciting drama, filled with meaningful insight and original comedy."

    David A. Heckman says: "Brilliant"
    "Talismans of Despair"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With a title like "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men," things are not going to end well. The question is just how bad they can get for Russell B. Parker, a broken down vaudeville performer and sporadic barber, and his three adult children. Adele, his daughter, chafes at being the sole support of her family. Adele's resentment and her brother Theo and Bobby's attraction to the deceptively easy life of crime set the inevitable tragedy in motion while Parker deludes himself into an illusion of love and prosperity.

    Lonne Elder III, a contemporary of Lorraine Hansberry ("A Raisin in the Sun", 1959) wrote "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men" (1969). It had a respectable Off Broadway run, but what's neat about this 2010 LA Theatre Works production is that it's directed by Judyann Johnson Elder, Lonne Elder's former wife. Judyann was began her performing arts career as an actress in the Negro Ensemble Company, which debuted the play. There's a pleasing symmetry to the production.

    I was a little disappointed that LA Theatre Works did not have a teacher's guide with this play, as it did for its productions of "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" and "Jump at the Sun." Those were the earlier Audible releases for Black History Month in 2015. It's understandable, though: "Mr. Rickey" is about the integration of baseball and "Jump" is about the prolific Zora Neale Hurston. Lonne Elder was talented and award wining, but did not leave a large body of work; and "Ceremonies" was set in the 1950's, after the Harlem Renaissance but before the Civil Rights movement.

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    8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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