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Joseph E. Mercier

trinityfly

Trinity National Forest | Member Since 2008

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 126 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stephen Dando-Collins
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (347)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (159)

    Stephen Dando-Collins paints a vivid and definitive portrait of daily life in the Tenth Legion as he follows Caesar and his men along the blood-soaked fringes of the Empire. This unprecedented regimental history reveals countless previously unknown details about Roman military practices, Caesar's conduct as a commander and his relationships with officers and legionnaires, and the daily routine and discipline of the Legion.

    Ethan M. says: "You should really be interested in the topic first"
    "Wish there was more"
    Overall

    This is the kind of historic story telling I adore. Julius Caesar was an incredible warrior and leader of men. But he may well have laid the ground work for the western world we now live in when he put together 10th Legion circa 60 BC from raw recruits in the Roman territory of Spain and birthed an an entity that would shaped western history for nearly 150 years into the future. The the details of the troop movements and detailed information on what it took to form a legion of fighting man into a coherent force fleshed out the realities of the Roman age. For me it was the personal stories of soldiers that made up the 10th Legion that really what sets this work apart from others. In fact, I was shocked that the 10th eventually found itself on the opposing side of the from Caesar's nephew Octavius and under the leadership of Mark Anthony at Actium.I do wish more detail was provided on Caesar's battle for Alexandria but true to the goal of the work the 10th Legion was not involved in the struggle in Egypt.
    Long after the time of Caesar at the end of the Julian dynasty upon the death of Nero, the role played by the 10th Legion in the rise of the Flavian rulers of Rome and the history of the Jewish revolts proved fascinating.
    Excellent reading of the work.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • I Will Fear No Evil

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (289)

    As startling and provocative as his famous Stranger in a Strange Land, here is Heinlein’s grand masterpiece about a man supremely talented, immensely old, and obscenely wealthy who discovers that money can buy everything.

    Lisa says: "Not Heinlein's best - but still good"
    "Hienlein Fans should run"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The man is a great writer but I just couldn't stomach this book. Page after page of adolescent erotica. I know that I should consider the so called "free love" cultural hype of the period in which it was written but I lived through that period and even then I would have considered it junk. The narrator did a fine job but you can't make a silk purse out of.... you get the idea.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Byzantium

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Lawhead
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (201)

    Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan's quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present the beautiful and costly hand-illuminated Book of Kells to the emperor of all Christendom.

    Christine says: "Unforgettable!"
    "Ponderous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Geez what a disappointment. 2 hours into it I could take no more. The writing is ponderous and the narrator just drones on and on. Love audio books and have years of listening experience. Seldom have I encountered such a dreary production.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (107)

    Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) ascended to the throne of Macedon at the age of 20. He fought his greatest battles, including the conquest of the mighty Persian Empire, before he was 25, and died at the age of 33, still undefeated by any enemy. His reputation as a supreme warrior and leader of men is unsurpassed in the annals of history.

    Bill says: "Excellent"
    "The Heart of Alexander"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I feel that no review of this work made by me will do justice to this amazing work. While listening to The Virtues of War I laughed out loud, shed tears and felt the thrill of understanding of issues so deep and evocative that I just could not put it down. Any Western Civ. history buff or fan of pre-classical, classical, post-classical Mediterranean history should miss the opportunity to listen to Pressfield's prose. If you want to understand what motivated Alexander then I think this is as close to an intimate knowledge of the man as can be found. It is true that Pressfield takes considerable artistic license with historical fact regarding times and places in this tale but he explains his reasoning up front and the license is made understandable as well as forgivable.

    If you liked Mary Renault's "Flame from Heaven", then you will love the Virtues of War.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (52 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (403)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (363)

    On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.

    A User says: "This is the definitive reading!"
    "Love every minute of it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great narration and true to Dumas. Made the historic perceptive of France in the early 1800's live for me better than when I read it. Thanks Audible

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swan Song

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2921)
    Performance
    (2544)
    Story
    (2583)

    Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.

    Amanda says: "Simply an Amazing Story"
    "Ripped right out of Steven Kings "The Stand""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a shame! Clearly this was a contrived and revisionist rip of "The Stand". Ok, both dwell in the post apocalyptic world. "In The Stand" the end of the world was caused by disease, in "Swan Song" nuclear war. In both the main characters where from all around the states. The characters were developed and then they migrate by "divine will" to meet up and join together. The antagonist in both books is "a man with no face". He had morphing features, magical powers and pseudo religious origins. The chief mystic protagonists in both books were women. The main theme of both books revolved around a "Manachean" battle between "light and dark", "good and evil" the main theme of both books. Of course in both the good and light win in the end.

    As "The Stand" was written much earlier than "Swan Song" it is clear the McCammon must have read the King novel or perhaps saw the movie. I do not know if he knew what he was doing when he penned "Swan Song" but the similarities were to pervasive not to notice.

    One thing I also don't understand is the need for either writer to engage in the supernatural. Isn't the end of the world as we know it enough grist for the mill?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Song of Achilles: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Madeline Miller
    • Narrated By Frazer Douglas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (394)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (360)

    Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

    Cariola says: "Didn't Expect to Like It, but I Was Swept Away"
    "Breathy homo erotica"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love historic fiction but from the first page the reader seemed to talk just above a whisper. Images of ancient Greece, social structures and interpersonal relations illuminated. However, couldn't get through it. Painful to listen to the persistent love struck language and attitude regarding the relationship between the protagonists.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adrienne Mayor
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (228)
    Story
    (232)

    A National Book Award finalist for this epic work, Adrienne Mayor delivers a gripping account of Mithradates, the ruthless visionary who began to challenge Rome’s power in 120 B.C. Machiavelli praised his military genius. Kings coveted his secret elixir against poison. Poets celebrated his victories, intrigues, and panache. But until now, no one has told the full story of his incredible life.

    Darwin8u says: "A mythic & complicated life of a charismatic King"
    "Fascinating history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a student of Greco-Roman history reference to Mithradates has popped up frequently from a variety of sources. That he was a "bogey man" to the Romans was hauntingly familiar to the USA's preoccupation with Osama Bin Laden. For the same reasons I am sure. Facts, historic events mixed with politics and license. Through war and mayhem on a grand scale civilizations and indeed individuals were in turn enriched and impoverished, or in other words, "made history". One must keep in mind that during these adventures millions of men, women and children were killed, injured and enslaved, and that the boundaries of the known world were increased and defined.

    Not since reading "Funeral games" regarding the aftermath of the death of Alexander had I been so uniquely informed of the post Alexandrian politics of the near east. Mithradates life and times were fascinating. The author Adrienne Mayor continually alludes to the myth of Mithradates . The myth goes as follows. An individual of royal (elite) birth, born under an under an eastern star and destined by the gods to be the savior of the east(the light) from the tyranny of Rome (the dark). An old, old story. She did an excellent job of utilizing the historic biographic resources available. One criticism however was her annoying use of repetition of events and perceptions, as if the more times something was repeated the more significant to the total narrative it was meant to be. In fact, Mithradates was a tyrant, bent on conquering all of his Pontic neighbors and subjugating them to his will through any means possible. Mayor oft repeats stories of the fabulous wealth of Mithradates and suggests that his wealth came from the richness of his lands and his wise judgments in their utilization, all the while ignoring the fact that he lived off of the toil of the very people he proposed to be the savior of. Also, in his wars of acquisition and wars of defense against Rome perhaps more than a million of his people died.

    As to the verity of the history of the wars, Adrienne Mayor describes the Roman legions as near perfect killing machines. An army that sliced through the myrid polyglot armies of the potentates of the near east like a knife through butter, regardless of the size of their enemy. This smacks of Roman revisionist history, a la Julius Caesar's gallic wars. But then of course, most of Mayors sources for this material were Romans or under Roman influence.

    Reader Paul Hecht did a credible job with the material he had to work with. He did not, by tone or inflection, try to lead the listener toward a conclusion or point of view. He kept some of the "acting" out of the narrative that is the downfall of so many other readers. Well done Paul.

    All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in history and is a rousing adventure story as well.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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