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Martha A. Murray

New Orleans LA

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Great Hurricane: 1938

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Cherie Burns
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    On the night of September 20, 1938, the news on the radio was full of Hitler's pending invasion of Czechoslovakia. Severe weather wasn't mentioned; only light rain was forecast for the following day. In a matter of hours, however, a hurricane of unprecedented force would tear through one of the wealthiest and most populated stretches of coastline in America, obliterating communities from Long Island to Providence, destroying entire fishing fleets from Montauk to Narragansett Bay.

    Tracey says: "Mesmerizing book!"
    "They Never Knew What Hit Them"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I heard of this hurricane while doing some genealogy research. So when I came across the book, I bought it. I was not disappointed!

    Long before Doppler Radar, television and meteorology, this super hurricane reeked havoc along the shore lines of the north. The reports were spotty but only called for heavy rain. No one mentioned it was a hurricane that was bent on destroying them. After all, hurricanes did happen here.

    The author gives us an insight into the sheer power and size of this monster. What struck me was the speed and size of this storm.

    Although they did not know what caused the flooding and sheer devastation, they reacted as we would...making irrational decisions. Trying to ride out of town when trees blocked their paths and water was rising. Risking their life for their pets and ignoring the severity of the storm are other blunders. Going back to the flooded house to get some treasure is another.

    Without radios or phones due to power outages, they were forced to fend for themselves. Many tried to help anyone they could. Many died.

    What struck me was the general chaos afterward. Many waited weeks before they knew whether their loved ones had made it. Many were reported dead only to wander home days later. It reminded me of Katrina. During Katrina I was in the Dome. I was reported dead but I survived. To this day there is no list of dead or survivors.

    You are tempting fate when you build to the edge of the water. And fill in swampy areas to extend the real estate. This storm tried to teach them a lesson. They chose not to rebuild.

    I recommend this book to everyone who says it can't happen to them. The thing we need to learn is be prepared.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Keepers of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Shirley Ann Grau
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (124)

    Abigail was the last keeper of the house, the last to know the Howland family's secrets. Now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, she must take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that shamed them, persecuted them, but could never destroy them.

    Chimigi says: "very enjoyable"
    "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold"
    Overall
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    Story

    I thought from the excerpt this would be a great book. Instead I found a lame excuse for a listen.

    The powerful rich Southern family has a secret. Everyone knows most of it and it is not much of a secret. After all everyone talks and the rich families are great fodder.

    After the patriarch and his mistress dies, only his granddaughter and her family are left to run the family homestead. During her husband campaign for public office, the secret surfaces.

    The town turns vigilante and the granddaughter has the moxie to defend her family when the pillaging mob comes. Her husband has abandoned her. So she takes revenge.

    The author thinks sprinkling the book with the Lord's name used a curse gives it some spice. Cursing rarely gives anything a lift. Using the Lord's name in vain is not good in any circumstances.

    Save your money and pass this one up.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Farewell to Manzanar

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp - with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton-twirling lessons, and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popular song except the nation's number-one hit: "Don't Fence Me In".

    Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention.

    Avalon says: "Freedom subverted"
    "It Can't be Helped-It Must be Done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of those dark times in our history. We rounded up Japanese like they were cattle. Just like we had done so many times before and would do again...witches, Indians, Communists, negroes to name a few. We never learn.

    What this book brings to this is a myopic view of the interments. The author looks at her imprisonment through rose colored glasses. The Japanese had a saying "It Can't be Helped-It Must be Done."

    She did give us an understanding of her family and their culture. This context helped me grasp how much this incarceration affected them. The cultural differences were unknown to those in charge and this created some tense moments.

    This is a story of everyday life behind barbed wire. It is also a tale of how they made the best of a bad situation.

    The author brings things full circle and tells us about life after the camp. I found it compelling that when time came to leave, they wanted to stay. With nowhere to go, the camp offered a sense of security.

    So the reader doesn't think this camp was atypical of the other camps, we must remember Tule Lake. This was a miserable camp for those "suspected" of crimes against the USA.

    This book becomes a salve to soothe those who become aware of this dark hour of our history. See things were not so bad.

    The narrator was excellent and really gave the story an extra boost. It is so refreshing to have a narrator who is of the right ethnicity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2979)
    Performance
    (2646)
    Story
    (2644)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Susan says: "Fascinating Journey for Two"
    "Friendship Through Brokeness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A child tossed through the system like yesterday's trash is given one last chance. She must help Vivian an old lady clean out her attic as community service or face jail time.

    On the surface they are as different as night and day. But as they sort through the attic's treasures, Vivian tells her story. She has had her share of hard knocks and disillusionments.

    The orphan train offered a chance to have a fresh start and the Children's Aid Society believes it was the answer to the children's woes. But the reality was much different.

    With each new home she gave up a piece of herself. She is placed in one home after another with disastrous consequences. Finally she is placed in a decent home. She can't relax and believes every infraction will get her sent away.

    Her troubles don't end there. She marries but her husband dies in the war. She is pregnant with his child.

    The rest of her story is glossed over. The ending is sweet but hard to believe...they lived happily ever after.

    Still it is a good book to glean the history of the orphan trains. It does not sugarcoat the reality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Sylvia Nasar
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (28)

    John Nash was a mathematician teetering on the brink of international acclaim, but he fell instead into madness. Saved by the love of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community, he went on to win a Nobel Prize and worldwide fame. This is his true story - and a new film starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.

    B. W. Larsen says: "Abridged vs Unabridged"
    "Movie was Way Better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the movie so I thought the book would be as good. NOPE! The movie brings out the human side to Nash. This book brings a statistically view of him. It is very choppy and has no flow to it.

    Rent the movie, pop some popcorn and enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous: Fighting to Save a Way of Life in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Ken Wells
    • Narrated By Chris Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The true story of a resilient circle of shrimp boat captains who faced and withstood the wreckage of Katrina but now find their courage tested by a greater threat: the disappearance of their livelihood and their centuries-old bayou culture.

    Laurie says: "Well written book but not what I expected."
    "It Puts St Bernard on the Katrina Map"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having survived Katrina in the Superdome, I am extremely interested in the anything on how people fared in the face of her devastation. Almost everything you read about Katrina is based in New Orleans.

    This is about St Bernard parish, a suburb of New Orleans and the bayous around it. Having visited the area pre-Katrina I had a feel for the lay of the land.

    The author knows the area, the people and their culture. He explains why they stayed and how the bayou is in their DNA. Life has not changed in hundreds of years. It is all they know and they are a part of the land itself.

    You not only hear tales of survival and death but you are given a broader picture of the lives of these folks. Ken goes beyond the surface pain to extract the deeper sorrow about a way of life lost.

    These are a people who time has forgotten. And again they were overlooked in the face of Katrina. In the wake of her destruction no homes were spared. There was no fairy tale ending for the people of "da parish."

    And that is what makes this a book worth reading. Ken realistically sums up the aftermath of the storm. He tells about the suicides, those who gave up and left and those who started over. You get a feeling of why folks made those tough decisions.

    I wish the narrator had been a local resident. He butchered the names as do most people who do not live here. I had to do a double take to realize what he was talking about. At least he did not try to simulate a proper Cajun accent and for that I am grateful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fabulous 60's

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 27 mins)
    • By Nina Joan Mattikow
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The first troops went to Vietnam. Bob Dylan sang "Blowin' in the Wind". Star Trek debuted on TV. On November 22, 1963, the assassination of JFK shocked the nation, and was followed by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Here are the actual voices and events of a tumultous decade.

    Martha A. Murray says: "Psychedelic Haze...Bad Trip"
    "Psychedelic Haze...Bad Trip"
    Overall
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    The 60's was the generation with it all. I wanted to really enjoy a nostalgic trip through the decade. Alas It was a bad trip.

    It was like a psychedelic drug induced haze where you have a moment of clarity. Or like Laugh In dances before everything stops for the joke. It was a laundry list of events with a few comments.

    The things you would have thought would get top billing were brushed to the side. The decade was chocked full of events so there was no shortage of material. But it lacked integrity and clarity.

    Maybe it is a trip best taken with mind altering drugs. Hey rose colored glasses wouldn't help this book.

    Save your money. Don't buy this book or any of the other decade books by the same author. It is a bad trip better off avoided. Peace!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jennifer Worth
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1086)
    Performance
    (966)
    Story
    (975)

    At the age of 22, Jennifer Worth left her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she met while delivering babies all over London - from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lived to the woman with 24 children who couldn't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city’s seedier side - illuminate a fascinating time in history.

    Kathy says: "This is one I didn't want to put down!"
    "Hey Lovie, Characters Abound"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In 1950's London we are witness the birth of a modern midwife unit. The unflappable midwives are immersed in a culture of colorful characters including the nuns who sponsor them.

    We get to see the Londoners who are trying to survive their ever decaying neighborhood. Most live in tenement conditions that are appalling. With "coffee houses" springing up everywhere, the hood has deteriorated to red light district. Still the holdouts try and make the best of a bad situation.

    The book is done with integrity and realism. Their clients for the most part are the grit of the area. They are portrayed in kind gentle sense not a condescending way. The author brings each character to life as they bring forth the next generation.

    The nuns are more colorful than the ladies who are pregnant. It is a rare look into their lives. Their stories add an extra depth to the book.

    Nicola Barber is spot on in her narrating. Her Cockney is perfect. I hate narrators who are reading a book and can't get the accents right. But she has the ear for London slang. I would read anything she narrates.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • You Don't Want to Know

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Lisa Jackson
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (265)

    In Ava’s dreams, her son, Noah, looks just the way she remembers him: a sweet two-year-old in rolled-up jeans and a red sweatshirt. When Ava wakes, the agonizing truth hits her all over again. Noah went missing two years ago, and his body has never been found. Almost everyone, including Ava’s semi-estranged husband, Wyatt, assumes the boy drowned after falling off the dock near their Church Island home. Ava has spent most of the past two years in and out of Seattle mental institutions, shattered by grief and unable to recall the details of Noah’s disappearance.

    Ronda Snyder says: "Can't stop listening...."
    "Too Bizarre to Make Sense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Noah age 2 has been missing for two years. Ava his mother has never given up hope even after a stay in a mental hospital. Everyone thinks she is a certifiable nut case. As the story unfolds we learn the secrets this family is keeping. Each is more bizarre than the next.

    Just when you think you have figured it out, the author throws you a curve. The story becomes so bizarre as to be unbelievable. The ending doesn't make much sense.

    Another thing I had a hard time with was the hardcore cussing. The cursing would make a rapper blush. It is not necessary to spice up dialogue with G**D*** & F******C***** and much worse.

    I would not recommend the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Henry Wiencek
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (43)

    Is there anything new to say about Thomas Jefferson and slavery? The answer is a resounding yes. Henry Wiencek's eloquent, persuasive book - based on new information coming from archaeological work at Monticello and on hitherto overlooked or disregarded evidence in Jefferson's papers - opens up a huge, poorly understood dimension of Jefferson's world. We must, Wiencek suggests, follow the money.

    Bob says: "Like taking Medicine: Not pleasant but important"
    "The Hyprocite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    The book is a paradox. It is a 11 hour filibuster on the Jefferson behind the mask.

    Thomas Jefferson wanted to be remembered for what he believe not what he did. Jefferson was his own PR man ever conscious of his image.

    On one hand he wanted the slaves freed. But the reality was he needed them...they were his bread and butter. His ideas about them mirrored the times. They were collateral for loans, workers and to satisfy his needs. He preached against intermingling but anyone visiting his plantation saw he didn't practice what he preached.

    He paints himself in the image of the benevolent father figure. But if quotas were not met, he was not against the whip. The overseer did his dirty work.

    The author waivers between calling him on his hypocritical ways and excusing his slavery.
    In the middle of his summation, the author abruptly quits. I had to make sure I did miss anything. As quickly as he began he was done.

    The only redeeming part of the book was learning of his analytical way he set about life. The mansion had some every innovative things for the time.

    Jefferson was a hypocrite and any of his 600 slaves could testify to that if they were alive.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By James Madison Page
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Second Lieutenant James Madison Page was a Union officer of Company A, Sixth Michigan Cavalry during the Civil War. After participating in many skirmishes and battles, including Gettysburg, Page was captured in Virginia on September 21, 1863 by Confederate forces along the Rapidan. After spending several months in various prison camps, he arrived at Andersonville Prison in Georgia on February 27, 1864. He would remain there seven months during a time when the prison population grew from 10,000 to over 30,000.

    Martha A. Murray says: "Hang the Scapegoat"
    "Hang the Scapegoat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    An ancestor of mine had been taken prisoner during the Civil War. So I wanted to explore prison conditions he might of faced. Andersonville had a reputation for being the worse place to end up if you were captured.

    This book has to do with the guilt or innocence of Major Henry Wirz, commander of Andersonville prison. James Paige a prisoner of the prison bends over backwards to exonerate the Major.

    He makes the case that prisoners and guards alike faced short rations and deplorable conditions. Many died from all manner of disease brought on by overcrowding, lack of sanitation, lack of medicine and food unfit to be fed to anyone. When smallpox broke out, the vaccines were given but they were tainted. Many died.

    Paige refers to the decent treatment he received by Wirz. He makes the case that the Major was given orders and he followed them.

    He does make a great case that the trial was a kangaroo court and Wirz was the scapegoat. They hanged him. Everyone else involved was exonerated. They had their pound of flesh.

    He also states accurately that the Secretary of War was to blame for not exchanging prisoners. He didn't want to trade starved corpses for healthy soldiers. The Rebel captives were treated much better than Union prisoners. Union prisoners were to the point of death.
    His reasoning was if we hand over healthy prisoners they would be able to go back to the war and prolong it.

    Paige had done his homework and read all accounts of the prison written prior to his. In fact he is forever quoting these accounts.

    It is not as intense as I thought it would be. The book is told more as an observer or reporter than by an actual prisoner. It is Andersonville seen through rose colored glasses.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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