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laconfidential

Sharply Opinionated Know-it-all. Curious beyond healthy. Gallows Humor. Election Coverage Junkie. Hollywood Insider.

Beverly Hills, CA | Member Since 2012

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 25 ratings
  • 77 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2275)
    Performance
    (1655)
    Story
    (1653)

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Patrick says: "compelling father-daughter story"
    "Beasts of Burden: History Up Close is Myopic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Larson's In the Garden of Beasts is excellent. He unpacks one of the most fascinating and studied moments in history and reveals the hard truth of hindsight. It's 20/20.

    Sitting comfortably in 2013, we can pat ourselves on the back and say we would have done everything in our power to stop Hitler's rise. Indignantly, we will stomp our feet and judge the men and women who sat "idly by" and did nothing as Hitler and his thugs seized control of Germany and pulled the world into chaos.

    But then Larson puts us in the moment - Berlin - the epicenter of it all. And without benefit of a crystal ball, we are left with the uncomfortable question: Would we truly have seen the danger signs? If so, would we have had the courage to act?

    Perhaps those close enough to actually make a difference, were so far inside the belly of the beast, they could not see the teeth.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Leibovich
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (400)

    The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash. What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.

    John S. says: "They're out of touch ... and how!"
    "Leibovich is Voice of the Peephole"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Leibovich lovingly lambasts This Town's most prominent insiders and inside outers - while copping to his own complicity as a member of The Club.

    As both muckraker and media muck, the vet journalist exposes the success of excess so superbly, the listener is compelled to laugh even as his stomach churns.

    Joe Barrett's narration is excellent - most appreciated when he voiced famous people - never mimicking - but "suggesting" a subject's unique vocal qualities.

    Barrett also understood the humor - and when to push or let it ride.

    The total effect is one of both knowing and utter disbelief that our nation's capital seduces even the most well-intentioned with the siren song of greed.

    Hail to the Thief.






    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1000)
    Performance
    (912)
    Story
    (921)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Shipshape Story, Mispronounced Words"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brown's attention to detail anchors this showstopping underdog story. Impossible not to root for these boys as they attempt to achieve the unthinkable. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    Hermann's performance was stellar. The one exception was his mispronunciation of certain proper nouns in the Pacific Northwest region.

    Just as any South Dakotan knows that capital city Pierre is pronounced "Peer" . . . anyone from Washington, Northern Idaho and Western Montana would pronounce the "Bon" in "Bon Marche" like "Bon as in Yawn". Likewise, "Kootenai" is pronounced "Koo-ten-nee". Finally, "Coeur d’Alene" is pronounced "Core-duh-Lane" by natives.

    Hermann mispronounced all three - seemingly to rely on phonetics and French origins. No excuses for this. Producer or someone should have checked this out. The Washington Boys are rowing in their graves.





    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2626)
    Performance
    (1369)
    Story
    (1360)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out the Hitchens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If there was a God, I would want Him to bless Christopher Hitchens.

    His careful, articulate, well researched and reasoned arguments are superb.

    Finally, someone has said the Emperor is wearing only his birthday suit.

    The only complaint is that Hitchens tends to drop the ends of his sentences to a low frequency - and I found it rather difficult to hear his last bits.

    Overall, I am thrilled that he douses the Fire & Brimstone Crowd with both Common Sense and Thorough Scholarship.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Caroline Kennedy (foreword), Michael Beschloss (introduction)
    • Narrated By Jacqueline Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Caroline Kennedy, and others
    Overall
    (451)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (358)

    In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, decades later, these conversations can be heard in this digitally remastered eight-and-a-half-hour audio program. This audiobook includes the foreword written and read by Caroline Kennedy; introduction written and read by historian Michael Beschloss and the photos from the hardcover book, as well as complete annotations from Michael Beschloss, both in downloadable PDF format.

    Tim says: "Fascinating Listen"
    "Oh, Jackie!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Audio Book:

    Sensational. Jacqueline Kennedy in her own words - terrific. Fascinating and truly compelling to hear her perspective. I admire her tremendously.

    The Rest of the Cast:

    If you can get past Caroline Kennedy's delivery - her typical snooze-fest monotone - her introduction is interesting. Why on earth no one ever bothered to give her a speech lesson when her father was one of the greatest orators in modern history is beyond me. She's simply awful every time she opens her mouth.

    Michael Beschloss is far more interesting to listen to. Quite nice.

    Schlesinger reveals himself to be a pompous bore - pretentious and overbearing.


    But Jackie . . . Oh, Jackie! Classy, funny, intelligent, candid, lovely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (569)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (458)

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

    Elizabeth says: "Loved everyone minute!"
    "From Russia, With Love!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before Catherine the Great by Robert Massie, my interest in Russian history was second only to that of watching a second coat of beige paint dry.

    A friend told me how much he enjoyed CTG - and I grudgingly ordered the audio.

    Before you could say Sputnik, I was fully engaged in Massie's masterful story. Deakins is a superb narrator.

    Political thriller, Romance, History Lesson . . . CTG reigns supreme.





    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Frank Langella
    • Narrated By Frank Langella
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (152)

    Captured forever in a unique memoir, Frank Langella's myriad encounters with some of the past century's most famous human beings are profoundly affecting, funny, wicked, sometimes shocking, and utterly irresistible. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. Langella takes us with him into the private worlds and privileged lives of movie stars, presidents, royalty, literary lions, the social elite, and the greats of the Broadway stage.

    Kathy says: "Delightful"
    "A Love Letter to Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a joy to hear the author read his extraordinary book. If you are even thinking about reading or purchasing the audio version, do not wait another moment.

    The best autobiography or biography I have ever "heard" . . . Truly remarkable.

    The author does not make the mistake of painting himself as the hero of his own narrative - bravo to him and even better for us.

    Honest, profound, intriguing . . . a Love Letter to Life

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Fielding: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Chad Harbach
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1141)
    Performance
    (954)
    Story
    (955)

    At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

    S. says: "Not Quite ~"
    "With Bases Loaded, Novel Strikes Out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One hesitates to write a review of a book - any book - when one has not written or published a book - any book - and probably never will. But alas, here I am.

    The Art of Fielding has one hell of a great dust cover - and there is some easy transition here to the adage "Never judge a book by . . . " but I will spare all of you.

    Truth be told, this novel starts out like gangbusters. Spectacularly rewarding. The prose vivid and lively. Characters are rich and intriguing - plot is compelling. The roster of characters the author lines up to bat seem to be drafted from the Island of Misfit Toys - truly inspired.

    But by the bottom of the 7th inning, each character's most admirable qualities are their undoing and the spirit of the book seeps out. I had to push myself to finish, if only out of respect for the author. But it was sour going in the home stretch.

    If we wanted to feel miserable, we'd be spending time with our family - not reading a book.

    The Art of Fielding leaves us with no one left to root for, staggering from the stands wondering what we had just witnessed - a mercy rule or simply a rain out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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