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Ted

Menifee, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 516 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall and the Battle for the Supreme Court

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Cliff Sloan, David McKean
    • Narrated By Peter Jay Fernandez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (109)

    The Great Decision tells the riveting story of Marshall and of the landmark court case, Marbury v. Madison, through which he empowered the Supreme Court and transformed the idea of the separation of powers into a working blueprint for our modern state.

    Tim says: "Brings to life the early days of the USA"
    "The original "activist judge""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John Marshall is widely viewed as the man who established judicial review in the United States. This is an engaging account of the circumstances and politics surrounding Marbury v Madison. Judicial review and the independence of the judiciary are fundamental to the American system; here are the details of how that came to be.

    Chief Justice Marshall had a clear grasp of the issues and understood that only a strong supreme court could defend American democracy. We can all be thankful that this strong leader was able to bring the court up to equality with the other two branches of government.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ian Haney López
    • Narrated By Eric Yves Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney Lopez offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog-whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich.

    Melvin Thomas says: "Understanding Our Current Political Atmosphere"
    "Informative but over-thought; poor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, let me say that I will studiously avoid this narrator in the future. He speaks in a loud voice until the end of each sentence, at which time he drops to a whisper. This might be for some imaginary emotional effect, but in a noisy car that means you either turn the whole thing loud enough to hurt your ears or you miss the last third of each sentence.

    I enjoyed the book in the sense that it gave a name to a phenomenon that I have long been watching: the politicians' habit of talking about race without ever directly using offensive language. The author developed the concept in great detail and helped point out racist talk that is not clearly open to criticism. You can see the defense against dog-whistle racism by looking at the critical reviews of this book.

    I have to say I could not follow the author into the deeper reaches of his exposition. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as racist presidents? I listened closely to the reasoning, but that part of the story does not ring true for me. If they used terms that kept the whole south from turning against them, maybe they share some blame. In their hearts, I do not think they are racists.

    A thoughtful person, especially one who can open his mind to perhaps a bit of self-criticism, would benefit from these ideas even if not accepting the whole package. I believe the important arguments could have been delivered in a much shorter format, maybe an article or a radio interview rather than a book. However, the thinking behind it has a good deal of merit.

    My recommendation is read it if you want to raise your awareness of subtle racism. Don't bother if you are unconcerned or unlikely to think through the new ideas. If you read it, you might prefer the written version instead of the maddening alternating volume in the narrated work.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (462)
    Performance
    (370)
    Story
    (371)

    Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

    Ryan says: "Important themes, with blind spots"
    "Why some countries are prosperous but most are not"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have traveled since my youth and have speculated for many years about the reasons that we (USA) have it all and most of the world has so little. Everyone seems to have a ready explanation- tropical diseases, cultural deficiencies, native flora and fauna unsuitable for domestication, environmental devastation, or exploitation of the poor countries by the wealthy ones. Although some of these factors certainly play a role, there are counter-examples that disarm them all in in many cases. I am convinced that this book has an explanation that stands up in just about every case. Further, it is an explanation that squares with evidence readily observable during one's own travel. Although the explanation offered here is generalized and must by qualified for each specific case, I can enthusiastically recommend the book as a thoughtful overview of this important question.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • History Decoded: The Ten Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Keith Ferrell, Brad Meltzer
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (117)

    Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer's hit show on the History network, History Decoded explores many fascinating and unexplained questions. Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman "Spear of Destiny"? What's the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy's $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? Did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone?

    debbie says: "I would rate as just OK!"
    "Not so much history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I assumed from the title and description that I would be hearing an analysis of historic events delivered by a scholar. I was disappointed to learn that it was instead a dramatic presentation of conspiracy theories. If you buy grocery store tabloids you might like this. If you enjoy serious historic accounts, give this one a miss.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anthill

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By E. O. Wilson
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (36)

    Inspirational and magical, here is the story of a boy who grows up determined to save the world from its most savage ecological predator: Man himself. "What the hell do you want?" snarled Frogman at Raff Cody, as the boy stepped innocently onto the reputed murderer's property. Fifteen years old, Raff, along with his older cousin, Junior, had only wanted to catch a glimpse of Frogman's 1,000-pound alligator. Thus, begins the saga of Anthill....

    Jacque says: "Fascinating"
    "Entertaining fiction from a great scientist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After following Dr. Wilson's scientific work for years, I was pleasantly surprised that he could produce entertaining fiction. OK, there are skilled fiction writers who can probably crank out better stories, but I am seeing this in the context of his full range of talents.

    Perhaps there are parallels between the life of his character and Dr. Wilson's own history- it seems the home town and early interests of the main character are quite similar to those of the author. Fair enough- just add some drama and a foot chase and you have a good story.

    If you follow E.O. Wilson's scientific work or his contributions to environmental issues, I recommend this work without hesitation. If you are not aware of his background in science, then you may not find it as interesting as I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2596)
    Performance
    (1529)
    Story
    (1503)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "Your chance to re-learn some basic probability"
    Overall

    I greatly enjoyed this book but will recommend it for slightly different reasons than the official promotion. You could use if for a slow and clear introduction to the fundamentals of probability, followed by some simple statistics. At each step the author provides a nice explanation using real-world examples, then follows with more cases where it applies. The claim about explaining the world around you is mostly based on those examples. The book does a good job of exposing our universal ability to see what we expect rather than what is really there; that would be the theme woven together by the probability lessons and follow-up examples. We are all subject to self-induced illusions and can all benefit by understanding them better. I definitely recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • VocabuLearn: Chinese, Level 1

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Penton Overseas, Inc.
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    VocabuLearn is the only audio language learning system designed to teach the way you learn best...concentrating on vocabulary and helpful expressions. This three-hour program contains over 1,500 commonly-used words and expressions - the building blocks of language. This audio flash-card system will have you communicating effectively in the shortest time possible.

    says: "A bit of a let down"
    "Best for re-learners?"
    Overall

    My high rating of this title is based on a comparison with a couple of competing books. I found this one to step along quickly enough to maintain my interest; the others were excruciatingly slow. I may disagree with other reviewers in part because I am re-learning Mandarin. The comparatively rapid pace may be less appropriate for those trying it for the first time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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