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Richard

Huntsville, AL, USA | Member Since 2009

ratings
229
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
17

  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (181)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    Richard says: "This is the second audio book of Sledge's work"
    "This is the second audio book of Sledge's work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narrators matter and it is rare for me to buy an audiobook that I already own, and enjoy just to hear another perspective in the way it is read. But this book lends itself to the two pretty much different voices. Sledge wrote this book about his combat experience in his maturity. I think like many veterans of war, especially ground combat. some distance, in terms of years, often decades, is required to tell the story. But E. B. Sledge lived it and survived it, and not just physically, as a young man.

    George Wilson does a terrific job of telling this story as an adult explaining what happened, in the voice of someone who not only survived, but is strong enough to remember and acknowledge the ordinary people who accomplished remarkable things, good, bad, and horrific. The drama comes from the written word, and Sledge does not add many flourishes. The stated facts of what he saw and experienced do not need them.

    Marc Vietor reads in the voice of the young man experiencing the fatigue, terror and even humor, of the ground combat soldier in the Pacific of World War II. It is good to remember that Sledge and his fellow marines were very young. In another time they would have been deciding what they would do when they grew up. In that time they were just trying to stay alive to grow up.

    I am glad I indulged myself and bought both books.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Marja Mills
    • Narrated By Amy Lynn Stewart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (32)

    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of the best-loved novels of the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the novel's celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills.

    Richard says: "Story has nothing new to say about Harper Lee"
    "Story has nothing new to say about Harper Lee"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oddly enough, the question of whether Harper Lee or her sister Alice contributed to this book can be argued without a genuine resolution. They are elderly, but not all elderly people are incompetent. The question can be; could this author have gathered her stories about the sisters without ever having spoken with them, and she pretty much could have. Which does not say she didn't speak to them, about the article she wrote about encouraging everyone in Chicago to read the same book at the same time, To Kill a Mockingbird. Although this is a an interesting, well written discussion about the woman who wrote to Kill a Mockingbird and her hometown, there is nothing new here. The book is well written, interesting, if you are new to Harper Lee's history, but if Harper Lee says she did not agree or contribute to a book, there is every reason to believe her.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Behold the Mighty Dinosaur

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By John Kricher
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    Before their extinction, dinosaurs dominated Earth's terrestrial habitats for about 160 million years. They present the ultimate puzzle in forensic science, but we have learned a great deal about them in the last 50 years. This lecture series will explain the evolutionary and ecological relationships among dinosaurs, what it might have been like to be present in their time, and the question of what ultimately brought about the total extinction of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

    Ingwe says: "Intriguing"
    "John Kricher is a terrific teacher"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In order to explain a complicated subject the teacher has to be very very well versed in the subject to explain it clearly, and John Kricher is clear without being condescending.

    Professor Kricher touches lightly, but intelligently on the history of dinosaur hunters and their Museum directors, the earth's geological timeline and which dinosaurs existed in which era, and the anatomy of the subgroups of dinosaurs. If the man did not go deeply into each topic, it is because it would have taken several semesters of intensive course work to just to scrape the top of the geology, comparative anatomy, and the social history of the people who originally found and named the prehistoric bones. I enjoy listening to scholars who obviously enjoy their subject. I recommend this work to anyone interested in geology and history, not just dinosaurs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jimmy Carter
    • Narrated By Jimmy Carter
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    The world’s discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights: This is President Jimmy Carter’s call to action. A Call to Action addresses the suffering inflicted upon women by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare. Key verses are often omitted or quoted out of context by male religious leaders to exalt the status of men and exclude women.

    Richard says: "Incomprehensible from a western point of view"
    "Incomprehensible from a western point of view"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like Jimmy Carter as a president or not, like his style of writing or not, this is something that those of us who profess to be Christians, or at least decent human beings should read or listen to. It is easy for people in the west to view women's rights as equal work for equal pay. Not to dismiss this, but in large parts of the world women's the rights women need are the right to equal food, shelter, and safety from pain at the hands of people who profess to act in the name of the God they worship. This is probably why the people who want to control the other half of their population do not want those being controlled to learn to read.

    Misinterpreting (or even lying about) the words of holy books was probably practiced since the books were scrolls. So this book is not a diatribe against a religion, it is an indictment of people who hurt other people for their own benefit and justify it by saying but I am just following the holy world. Even though scholars reading the same holy word are saying "no your are not". Somehow none of this discussion is making its way to the poor people who are being raped and starved, etc.

    We as Americans and as part of the western civilization are very careful to respect cultures different from our own. But in American states and cities, if a person treated an animal the way the human beings are being treated in the countries noted in Jimmy Carter's book, the offending person would be prosecuted. Even in the most conservative of states.

    I don't pretend to have answers, but personally I can't just not look at this ugliness because I am not smart enough to fix it. But as a practical matter, Americans are really stubborn about fixing things once the whole nation decides there is a problem. So as a speck of the American population I am admitting this is a problem, with the knowledge that the western world will find a way to do redress it. Because the people who have convinced themselves that starving and torturing people not only gives them benefits and pleasure, it is a holy duty and are not going to change a thing.

    Former President Carter's narration and writing style are so famous that it does not need discussion. But I think he does a good job with this one.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David C. Heymann
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    From the New York Times best-selling author of American Legacy, RFK, and A Woman Named Jackie comes an in-depth look at the much talked-about - but never fully revealed - relationship between Jackie Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.

    Richard says: "Could have been better"
    "Could have been better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Bobby and Jackie? What did you like least?

    Like a previous reviewer noted, everything here has been reported before. The bare bones in this book are exactly as recorded in the Manchester, and Robert Caro's books. Then we come to the things I like least. Opinions, surrounded by question marks, qualifiers such as probably, ALMOST certainly, make good gossip, and lousy history. I like history better than gossip, therefore I really didn't like this book. I don't care if the relationship between JFK's widow and his brother was more than a man taking care of his dead brother's family or not. I am irritated that something might be possible, something else might be probable, and things someone said to someone else are presented as fact. The author has a good deal of contempt for the reader.


    What was most disappointing about David C. Heymann’s story?

    I am disappointed in myself for not paying more attention to previous reviews. I bought this because I wanted something to listen to on a long and boring drive, familiar enough that it didn't require full attention, and interesting enough to keep me awake. Well it was irritating enough that I stopped it and put in Winston Churchill's biography by William Manchester.


    What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

    Dick Hill is a marvelous narrator. No matter how different his jobs are from each other he produces a perfect performance for each.


    What else would you have wanted to know about David C. Heymann’s life?

    Not much.


    Any additional comments?

    There is nothing polite that I would like to say.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5564)
    Performance
    (5190)
    Story
    (5186)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Ken says: "It's all about the codas"
    "Science Fiction and Laughter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Redshirts?

    This book is laugh out loud good. I know this because I found my wife laughing so hard she was trying to wipe her eyes with one hand and support herself on the kitchen counter with the other. I saved her by removing her earbud. Although I am not the science fiction fanatic that she is, even I got the joke. So if you've noticed that the guys in the red shirts are more likely to bite the dust, in the oldest most favorite SF show around, at least more likely than the guy in the gold shirts, then you may enjoy this book too.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Redshirts?

    When the new crew member understands how his new ship works. There is no way to do a plot summary of this story as well as John Scalzi tells it.


    Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, and Will Wheaton is always good, whether he is reading a smart sarcastic young men, or straight drama, or non-fiction.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Nope, this book is consistently sarcastic, ironic and still interesting.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (39)

    In The Murder of Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard chronicle their epic quest to find out what happened to the boy-king. They comb through the evidence--X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues--and scavenge for overlooked data to piece together the details of his life and death. The result is a true crime tale of intrigue, betrayal, and usurpation that presents a compelling case that King Tut's death was anything but natural.

    Kelly says: "Painful to listen to!"
    "Not history, historical fiction"
    Overall

    Mr. Patterson writes great stories, but history requires that all facts be acknowledged, not sorted through and cherry picked to support a theory. But the first clue that this is fiction, not history is the opening sentences. Putting words and thoughts into the mouths of people who have been if not dust, then very dusty since before the birth of Christ is the mark of a good story teller, not a historian. Especially since the man speaking is at the end of his reign and must contemplate making his son his co-regent. He is in Mr. Patterson's version avoiding this unpalatable thought, by thinking of spending time with one of his harem. Are we asked to believe the ancient Egyptians invented viagra as well as the first calendar? In a recent article in the Economist we are told that the most recent examination of poor Tut, by physicians and anthropologist reveals the hole in his skull is a result of mummification, that his DNA reveals inbreeding to the point of weakening him physically, that he was ill from a virulent form of malaria and that he probably died from complications of a broken leg. A light overview of ancient Egypt, if not quite as blood thirsty, but still fascinating is Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs. by Barbara Mertz. She also wrote Red Land Black Land a look at ancient Egyptians who were not royal. Ms. Mertz talks lightly about learning to read forms of ancient writing including hieroglyphys while getting her doctorate at the University of Chicago. Although her book is much older, her conclusion about poor King Tut's demise matches the most recent scientific studies. Mr. Patterson's book is a fun read, but should be moved into historical fiction.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Noir: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 16

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Laurell K. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (589)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (258)

    Jason Schuyler is a werewolf. He's also one of Anita Blake's best friends, and sometimes her lover. And right now he needs her - not to be a vampire hunter, or a federal marshal, or a necromancer, or even for her rank in the werewolf pack, but because his father is dying. He needs Anita because she's a pretty woman who loves him, who can make him look like an everyday guy.

    Katheryne says: "Zero stars"
    "Blood Noir"
    Overall

    Like many people who enjoy the Anita Blake series, I keep hoping that the strong woman in the first books, who fights even if she can't win, just because she refuses to quit, will come back. The choice of this narrator seems to dash that hope. This person has a lovely sweet voice. This voice would be perfect for a regency romance heroine, not for a character who crushes giant snakes, cuts fingers from a man who tortured her friends, and deals with grisly murders as a police consultant. I am afraid this choice of narrator means we now have a new lead character. But hey, hope springs eternal.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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