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Nor Cal Reader

LED

Northern California | Member Since 2004

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 1060 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
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  • On China

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Henry Kissinger
    • Narrated By Nicholas Hormann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (194)

    The eminent historian and strategist reflects on how China's past illuminates its 21st-century trajectory, drawing on 40 years of intimate acquaintance with the country and its leaders.

    Ben says: "Long, academic, bland - AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!"
    "Uriah Heep on China"
    Overall

    This is a tedious, tiresome, tendentious and fact-bending "history" of China by the undisputed Uriah Heep of American diplomacy. Despite a virtual battalion of research assistants, Uriah comes up with some very strange geographical concepts and errors (example: Annam never was 'the northernmost part of Vietnam' and American soldiers in South Vietnam were not "massing along the Chinese border." But such willful and inept distortions serve the theme of this book. The author wants merely to praise the five great men of the twentieth century: Henry Kissinger, Mao Zedong, Henry Kissinger, Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger. There is not a single word -- not one - of criticism in this overlong thesis for Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai or any of their lackeys. Kissinger's slavishness toward the Chinese regime has been for decades an embarrassment to critics of the regime. He is the only diplomat from a major power who came to China on his knees. He was never capable of appreciating the contempt that Zhou and Mao had for him. No doubt this book will very quickly be translated into Chinese and become a best seller in China -- subsidized by the Chinese government if they are as wise as the author insists they are. On China is dedicated by the author to fashion designer Oscar de la Renta in whose home, he tells us, he began writing the book.

    15 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By David Kaiser
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    In the 1970s, amid severe cutbacks in physics funding, a small group of underemployed physicists in Berkeley decided to throw off the constraints of academia and explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the “Fundamental Fysiks Group,” they pursued a freewheeling, speculative approach to physics. Some dabbled with LSD while conducting experiments. They studied quantum theory alongside Eastern mysticism and psychic mind reading, discussing the latest developments while lounging in hot tubs.

    Gary says: "Finally, I understand entanglement"
    "Why did I buy this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made How the Hippies Saved Physics better?

    This book could not have been worse. Perhaps cutting the entire narrative might have made it better.


    What was most disappointing about David Kaiser???s story?

    He appears to know absolutely nothing that he is writing about. The opening chapter is all totally spurious in its effort to make connections between bongs, marijuana, Berkeley, and Quantum Physics -- it reads like the kind of parody one might think of writing when one is stoned out of his mind.


    What didn???t you like about Sean Runnette???s performance?

    Let me put it very simply: If, like the author, you believe that Francis Ford Coppola made the movie "American Graffiti," then truly this is the book for you.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How the Hippies Saved Physics?

    If I could play editor, I would reject this book entirely and tell the author not to give up his day job.


    Any additional comments?

    Lord how I wish I could get my money back on this one. This book is to history what spray on hair is to cosmetics.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Eisenhower in War and Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jean Edward Smith
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (261)

    Author of the best-seller FDR, Jean Edward Smith is a master of the presidential biography. Setting his sights on Dwight D. Eisenhower, Smith delivers a rich account of Eisenhower’s life using previously untapped primary sources. From the military service in WWII that launched his career to the shrewd political decisions that kept America out of wars with the Soviet Union and China, Smith reveals a man who never faltered in his dedication to serving America, whether in times of war or peace.

    Keith Storrs says: "Great book to get to know Ike"
    "Magnificent History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Eisenhower in War and Peace the most enjoyable?

    This is a magnificent biography that caps the scholarship of the past two decades of work on Eisenhower and his presidency, placing him firmly and convincingly in the pantheon of the top American chief executives.


    Any additional comments?

    Smith manages to dispell some myths about Eisenhower -- such as the false statement that he regretted his appointment of Earl Warren to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the end of 1953. On the other hand, for a study of such wide scope, some errors and other myths are bound to enter in. Smith writes of the French "surrender" at Dienbienphu, a myth that has been perpetuated over time by American historians and journalists. There was no French surrender at Dienbienphu. The French positions were over run and the fighting ceased. There was no white flag, no surrender. When the French commander radioed to Hanoi that he was being overrun by the enemy, the response was:"Of course you will fight to the end. It is out of the question to run up the white flag after your heroic resistance." A Soviet film crew recreated the battle in the two days after the fall of Dienbienphu and it was widely distributed -- parts even making their way into the PBS Vietnam series. In the filmed version, the French surrender.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dark Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (30)

    The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present.

    A User says: "drugged"
    "A New Vision of Hell"
    Overall

    After suffering through Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter" I discovered an entirely new idea of what hell must be like. It must be like sitting in the coach section of an American Airlines 767 with Peter Straub seated at the front of that section reading aloud from "A Dark Matter." I can think of absolutely nothing more horrifying. The ineptitude of his prose, the relenteless silliness of his images and descriptions, the brainlessness of his "characters" as Straub's words wander aimlessly over the page in search of a plot. If this was a 7th grade writing exercise, the teacher would ask the child to throw it out and start over. And to think that only one month ago I concluded no one could tell a dumber story with greater ineptitude or more hollow pretense than little John Irving in "Last Night in Twisted River," when along comes Straub to prove me dead wrong. This book is not nearly as frightening or as fun as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Disneyland. And what is most frightening about it is its determination to continue on and on and on with neither plot or purpose as if the author was paid only by the word. The horror, the horror.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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