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M.J.

Lutz, FL, United States | Member Since 2011

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 348 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
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  • The Three Musketeers

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (75)

    The young and headstrong D'Artagnan, having proven his bravery by dueling with each, becomes a friend of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, members of the King's Musketeers. He is in love with Constance Bonancieux and, at her urging, he and his friends head for England to reclaim two diamond studs that the Queen has imprudently given to her lover, the Duke of Buckingham.

    M.J. says: "The best adventure tale of all time"
    "The best adventure tale of all time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Three Musketeers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the very best. It is the only novel that I read as a child that I still enjoy as much today. The Three Musketeers has all the ingredients of great story-telling: non-stop suspense, action, danger, intrigue, romance, and royal scandal. On top of all this, there are four heroic figures instead of just one. And, many of the minor characters in this novel were real historical figures who actually lived in the seventeeth century, several of whom are ancestors of Prince Charles, his late former wife Diana, and their children Prince William and Prince Harry.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I like Athos and D'Artagnan the best. They are both noblemen, but Athos is a father figure for D'Artagnan, who behaves too rashly when he becomes involved with the wicked, ruthless Lady de Winter, who is actually the former wife of Athos, but who has since become a spy and assassin for the power-hungry Cardinal de Richelieu. Athos realizes that D'Artagnan is no match for such a cunning, cold-blooded creature, who eventually murders D'Artagnan's beloved mistress, the unhappily married Madame Bonacieux.


    What does Michael Page bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He makes the novel come to life with his excellent vocal skills and great characterization. This is just as good as watching the 1948 Gene Kelly/Lana Turner classic or the excellent 1974 Michael York/Oliver Reed/Raquel Welch version, the latter of which is now a cult favorite.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. Sometimes I fall asleep listening to it, and wake up refreshed wanting to listen to even more.


    Any additional comments?

    This audio would have been a success no matter who read it, but I believe Blackstone chose the best person possible. However, I once heard Michael York on the cassette version years ago and he would have been just as wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marilyn Monroe: The Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Donald Spoto
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (43)

    Fifty years after her death, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe still beguiles the world, her image enthralling millions. Many books have attempted to explain her allure and tell her story, but none has succeeded as well as this work by acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto. Spoto’s exhaustive research uncovers a conspiracy of silence, allowing him to present the facts, free from often-repeated myths and speculation. Granted access to more than thirty-five thousand pages of formerly sealed files containing letters, diaries, appointment books, and other intimate papers, he also interviewed nearly two hundred people who had never before spoken on record.

    M.J. says: "The Definitive MM biography"
    "The Definitive MM biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Marilyn Monroe the most enjoyable?

    The fact that it was unabridged. I think the narration is quite good, but I would have preferred to hear the actual author's voice.


    What other book might you compare Marilyn Monroe to and why?

    The biographies of the Queen, the Kennedys, and Diana, Princess of Wales by Sally Bedell Smith. Sally Smith, like Donald Spoto, knows how to research and pen a proper biography, unlike hatchet hacks like Kitty Kelley and Christopher Anderson who rely too much on gossip, printed tabloid reports, and unsubstantiated or incredible sources for their books.


    Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

    Marilyn Monroe herself. She would have wanted this fair and balanced account of her life written before Norman Mailer (1972) and Anthony Summers (1985) brought sensationalism into their versions, which clearly distorted her legacy and damaged the legend of Monroe. Mailer did not mince words when he admitted forty years ago that he wrote a semi-fictional biography because he needed the money. After that all MM biographers, except for Spoto, did the same. No wonder Spoto was the only one granted access to her private letters and documents. He has done full justice to her memory and once and for all cast permanent doubt on the many lies told about this heartbreaking icon. She deserved nothing less.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely.


    Any additional comments?

    If anyone wishes to know the real truth about Marilyn, this is the biography to read or listen to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Penny Junor
    • Narrated By Gareth Armstrong, Clare Corbett, Thomas Hunt, and others
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    His face is recognized the world over; his story is well known. But what is Prince William truly like? As Diana's eldest son, he was her confidant. While the tabloids eagerly lapped up the details of his parents' divorce, William lived though it, suffering the embarrassment and divided loyalties. He watched his father denounced on prime-time television; he met the lovers. And when he was just 15, his beautiful, loving mother was suddenly, shockingly snatched from his life forever. The nation lost its princess and its grief threatened the very future of the monarchy. What was almost forgotten in the clamor was that two small boys had lost their mother.

    M.J. says: "Excellent Story Expertly Told"
    "Excellent Story Expertly Told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Prince William the most enjoyable?

    The fact that it was unbiased and told the true story instead of reporting what so many other biographers have written to please the public. It revealed that royals are human beings even if they are born bluebloods. Prince William has been fortunate enough to inherit the best qualities of both parents. He has his father's sense of duty coupled with his death mother's enormous charisma. And he looks like a film star, an advantage his beleagered father never had.

    This is an insider's glimpse into the lives of two future kings of England. Penny Junor, who went to boarding school with Princess Anne, knows Prince Charles and Prince William personally. Muckrakers like Kitty Kelley and Christopher Anderson have never met members of the Royal Family and do not know them, therefore they feel entitled to print unsubstantiated gossip that maligns innocent people they feel free to judge very harshly without getting their facts straight.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Both Prince William and Prince Charles, who was especially courageous after his former wife's death in 1997 when he was the target of so much intolerance and hatred.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It makes the storytelling much more vivid.


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

    The true story of the King of Hearts.


    Any additional comments?

    Diana may have been the humanitarian Queen of Hearts but her true legacy has been as a young, modern mother who changed the Royal Family and the direction of the Monarchy forever.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Duchess

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Amanda Foreman
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.

    connie says: "accessible, entertaining and good history"
    "A fitting tribute to a heroine of her time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Duchess the most enjoyable?

    Wanda McCaddon's elocution is magnificent. I have several other audio sets and audible.com selections in which she is the narrator. The sound of her voice enhances the books with each reading.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is the true story of a remarkable, young woman born into high society yet held back by her own sex. Georgiana still achieved much for herself, and had she lived in the twentieth century instead of the eighteenth, she might have accomplished so much more. She struggled, much like her great-great-great-grand-niece Diana, Princess of Wales, against a powerful dynasty, a distant, philandering husband, and a voracious media so eager to reveal too much about her private life. Like her collateral descendent, Georgiana also loved her children, adored ordinary children, had many lovers, an eating disorder, and endured constant scandals that threatened to undermine her reputation, yet she perservered in the hearts of the British people. This is a fitting tribute to a long forgotten figure in English history, and a superb debut by an American scholar. Georgiana, as was Diana, was truly a heroine of her time.


    Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

    Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, although surrounded by giants of history including Marie Antionette, George IV, King George and Queen Charlotte, and so many others, still stands out as one of the most intriguing figures of her age.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My only reaction was my disbelief that the other woman in the Duchess's marriage, the ruthless, promiscuous Lady Elizabeth Foster, was never shown the door. She was Georgiana's best friend, yet she bedded every man in sight and abused the Duke and Duchess's hospitality for twenty-five years. Ironically, by contrast, I have more sympathy for the present Duchess of Cornwall because I don't believe that she set out to ruin Diana's marriage. The same cannot be said for "Bess" Foster, who went after the Duke with single-minded determination.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a biography that reads like a novel. Few scholarly works have ever illuminated its subject so well. Georgiana's story reads as if it could have happened in any time. As an eighteenth century time capsule it is without parallel. Indeed, it will be remembered as a parallel cautionary tale to that of the modern Princess of Wales, who also died young and left behind an extraordinary legacy. It is an astonishing body of work about a truly unique lady.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By William J. Bennett
    • Narrated By Charlton Heston
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Explosive and hard-hitting, The Death of Outrage is directed at a shameful chapter of American history. It is an urgent call for American citizens to repudiate the deep corruption of Bill Clinton, and the corrupting arguments made in his defense,

    M.J. says: "A lesson from history"
    "A lesson from history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Death of Outrage the most enjoyable?

    Just hearing the voice of the late Charlton Heston is a pleasure. It is the best audio recording I have ever heard. I owned it on abridged cassette in 1998, and jumped for joy when I discovered I could purchase it unabridged via my kindle.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Death of Outrage?

    When Bennett makes the argument that the First Lady was just as irresponsible as the President and probably enabled his cheating on her.


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

    I'm embarrassed to say that I never have, but I will look into it. He had the ideal elocution.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The hypocrisy of the media and the Democratic Party. I voted for Bill Clinton, but his behavior was inexcusable. If a Republican President had done this (even with a strong economy) he would have been shown the door long before the impeachment process. Now that George Bush has wrecked the country to a greater extent than his father did, Clinton's flagrant adultery in the Oval Office seems tame by comparison, but it should never be condoned. The arguments will always be made that Monica Lewinsky pursued the President with singleminded determination, or that John Kennedy had countless affairs while President (one of them allegedly with a teenaged intern three years younger than twenty-two-year-old Lewinsky) , or that Franklin Roosevelt had several mistresses, or that Warren G. Harding fathered Nan Britton's child when she was twenty-one, but I can never excuse Clinton's abuse of power. By the time he became the Commander-in-Chief, the media's collusion in covering up the President's private life had long since passed, but he still thought he was above the rules as well as the law. I can only imagine the internet and network fallout if President Obama indulged in the same hanky panky while discharging his duties as the most powerful man on earth. Yet Bill Clinton is rich, famous, and celebrated while Monica Lewinsky will be a punchline for the rest of her life and still cannot get even a low level job in the private sector at the age of thirty-eight. She will be forty-years-old in two years' time. Most employers will not hire anyone over the age of forty-five. Granted, she has money squirreled away, but it cannot last forever. Bill Clinton is worth upwards of one hundred million dollars. He should give some of it to Monica. His dalliance with her ruined her life. After the scandal broke, she stood up for him for twelve hours with Ken Starr's prosecutors but he fed her to the wolves. Not once did he have a decent thing to say about her. Like everyone else, she was expected to fall on a sword for him. I'm so glad that she kept that blue dress. It turned the tables on him and he was forced to come clean on national television much to his shame but not chagrin. He never felt any remorse and she did. How ironic that Hillary Clinton was able to use the scandal as a springboard to the Senate. Too bad that the Lewinsky drama robbed Al Gore of much-needed votes for his 2000 Presidential bid, and ultimately did Hillary in as well when she made an aim for the Presidency herself. Too many political commentators were aghast when she wanted to run for the highest office in 2008 because it would have in effect given her husband an illegal third term. And Barack Obama was a better choice. Both he and his wife have demonstrated that they have a stronger moral compass than either Bill or Hillary Clinton. Even Ted Kennedy (ruled unfit for the Oval Office after the tragedy at Chappaquiddick in 1969) felt compelled to back Obama. This book by Bill Bennett is more than enough proof that corruption in high places casts a dark shadow over any nation and a terrific reminder that the leader of the free world needs to be as, John Adams so wished, an honest and wise man. The American people deserve nothing less.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended for students of history and lovers of democracy, and by far Bill Bennett's best book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (354)
    Performance
    (319)
    Story
    (323)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Sara says: "Inspiring"
    "a magnificent, moving, inspirational experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Hiding Place to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Hearing the story makes it come vividly to life. I read the book decades ago as a teenager. The listening experience was infinitely better. One feels as if you are reliving the actual events with the heroine.


    What other book might you compare The Hiding Place to and why?

    The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne was hiding in an Amsterdam attic when the Ten Boom story was evolving in Haarlem. Like Anne, Corrie was discovered by the Gestapo and ultimately sent to a concentration camp. But Anne Frank who was Jewish (a virtual death sentence) was first sent to the Westerbork concentration camp in Holland, then to the extermination center at Auschwitz in Poland and later perished at Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Corrie Ten Boom was first sent to a Gestapo prison then to the concentration camp at Vaught in Holland, then to the concentration camp Ravensbruck in Germany where anyone who wasn't Jewish had a minimal chance of survival. Luckily, Miss Ten Boom was saved by a clerical error toward the end of the war when she was released from Ravensbruck in January 1945. She was to learn years later that all of the middle-aged women in her prison block were sent to the gas chamber only a few days after she was sent back to Holland.


    Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

    Corrie Ten Boom. As the narrator of the story, it is this heroine who springs most vividly to life.


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

    They did make a film of this book in 1974 and I believe the tagline was a truly inspiring one. I can't remember what it was but I don't believe I could improve upon it.


    Any additional comments?

    Today a lot of Christians and people of all religions have lost their faith in God. Money has become the center of their lives. Since most people do not have as much as they would prefer, this has caused many to become bitter and resentful of those who are wealthy, particularly Jewish people. This rage produced so much hatred in Germany in the decade following the First World War and especially during the Depression that it enabled Hitler and the Nazi Party to rise to power in Germany. Once Hitler became Chanchellor it wasn't long before he disolved Parliament thereby outlawing any democratic opposition to his military dictatorship. Hitler therefore had the absolute power to rearm Germany and prepare for war and the military conquest of most of Europe. When his troops occupied most of the European countries, the Gestapo and their dreaded SS put into motion the Final Solution which eventually led to the murder of more than half of the Jews in Europe. We are again living through dangerous times because the ability to maintain the quality of life is just as uncertain as it was during the Great Depression. This has brought about the rise of Fascism in Europe, as it did eight decades ago, only this time the Jews are targets of both the hard right wing as well as the millions of Muslim immigrants who have moved from the former colonies for a better life on the Continent. If there is any irony in all this it is because the right wing neo-fascists care no more for the Muslims than they do for the Jewish people. Europe may once again be on the verge of a World War. It happened twice before and it may happen again. A French political pundit told the New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman several years ago that the Churches in Paris were empty and the Mosques were full. This is as good an indication as any that most White Christians in Europe are just as discouraged as their American counterparts and that the current demographic situation will not improve collective attiudes regarding racial tolerance anytime soon. A story like The Hiding Place has just as much relevance if not more so today than at the time of its original publication in the 1970s. Corrie Ten Boom never gave up her faith in God and this faith enabled her tolerance of her fellow man, including her greatest enemies the German occupying forces. It is a lesson still taught by Anne Frank in the most famous passage of her diary that in spite of everything she really believed that people were good at heart.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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