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Ricko

Sarasota, FL United States | Member Since 2005

35
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 118 ratings
  • 539 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Amy Reading
    • Narrated By Richard McGonagle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (51)

    In 1919, Texas rancher J. Frank Norfleet lost everything he had in a stock market swindle. He did what many other marks did - he went home, borrowed more money from his family, and returned for another round of swindling. Only after he lost that second fortune did he reclaim control of his story. Instead of crawling back home in shame, he vowed to hunt down the five men who had conned him. Through Norfleet's ingenious reverse-swindle, Amy Reading reveals the mechanics behind the scenes of the big con.

    D. Littman says: "a scattering of interesting facts"
    "Sometimes Hard to Believe, but a Ton of Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a lot of fun. The central character, a real man who got involved in some really outlandish and dangerous situations, is like someone from a movie. In fact if, like me, you love the movie The Sting, this is a must-listen. The narrator is especially well-cast, and makes even the duller moments engaging. But there aren't a lot of dull moments.

    Occasionally I would think that some event presented as fact was just too outlandish to be true, that we only had the man's word for how it happened. To her credit, the author usually points this out, often with a funny or wry comment. Other times, against all probability, she provides additional evidence that some wild event really did happen, an independent witness or article.

    If you've any interest in con artists or complicated true tales of vigilante justice, this is a perfect choice.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Fire of Rome: The Fall of the Emperor Nero and His City

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Stephen Dando-Collins
    • Narrated By John Lescault
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    In A.D. 64, on the night of July 19, a fire began beneath the stands of Rome’s great stadium, the Circus Maximus. The fire would spread over the coming days to engulf much of the city of Rome. From this calamity, one of the ancient world’s most devastating events, legends grew: that Nero had been responsible for the fire, and fiddled while Rome burned, and that Nero blamed the Christians of Rome, burning them alive in punishment, making them the first recorded martyrs to the Christian faith at Rome.

    steve says: "Not bad"
    "Decent book, misleading title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a strangely-organized book. It starts out as a detailed history of the titular fire, but that has burned its way through the book by the halfway point. The second half of the book is a straight-forward biography of Nero's life from the fire onward, with some flashbacks to his earlier days. It's a little plodding in the second half, and you'll learn a lot of details about how various Roman nobles killed themselves. A lot.

    The narrator is clear and easy to follow, but rather stilted and very dry. Not particularly engaging at all.

    The author makes some interesting deviations from the conventional wisdom on Nero's killing of Christians. I can't judge whether or not he's likely to be right, but he weirdly places the argument for his changes in the introduction and then in the main narrative presets his version as pure fact, without reference to any debate amongst historians. I found that off-putting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Anthony Everitt
    • Narrated By John Curless
    Overall
    (830)
    Performance
    (410)
    Story
    (409)

    Caesar Augustus has been called history's greatest emperor. It was said he found Rome made of clay and left it made of marble. With a senator for a father and Julius Caesar for a great-uncle, he ascended the ranks of Roman society with breathtaking speed. His courage in battle is still questioned yet his political savvy was second to none. He had a lifelong rival in Mark Antony and a 51-year companion in his wife, Livia. And his influence extended perhaps further than that of any ruler who has ever lived.

    John says: "Outstanding!"
    "All the Details Most Histories Skip Over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating book about one of history's most significant figures. I studied Roman history extensively in college, but most histories gloss over so many of the most fascinating years of Augustus' life. Everitt's book delves into them and more. It's a compelling, enjoyable, and even-handed appraisal of the man's life an times. A perfect follow-up to the book Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland, which is another great audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Richard Miles
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (88)

    An epic history of a doomed civilization and a lost empire. The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased.

    Amazon Customer says: "Fascinating Overview, Occasional dry stretches"
    "Fascinating Overview, Occasional dry stretches"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read a fair amount of ancient history, but never knew much about Carthage in particular. This book gives a compelling, easy to understand and enjoyable to hear overview of the ancient city's entire history. There are just a few dry as dust sections where archaeological details get a little overwhelming, but the vast majority of the book moves along well. Grover Gardner, as always, does a great job with the narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tom Holland
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (185)

    The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama.

    Emily says: "Connects the Dots and Fills In the Gaps"
    "Well-Written, Engaging Overview of Late Republic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I majored in classical history and studied this period pretty intensely - but that was twenty years ago. For me this was a wonderful refresher, engaging and fast-paced and very informative. I can't recommend it enough if you're interested in the period.

    I've knocked the Performance score because, while the narrator is quite good, there are a lot slightly over-long pauses, especially in the beginning. There are also numerous instances where you can hear him swallow or make other little noises, which is something I don't ever remember hearing on an audiobook before. I assume it was the producers fault. It's a minor distraction from a great listen.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1913)
    Performance
    (1578)
    Story
    (1594)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "Informative and Interesting but Shallow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I learned a lot listening to this book, but everything I learned felt grossly simplified. Lewis has latched onto these defining aspects of national character as his framework for the book, and I think he very often overplays them. The generalizations and pop-psych cultural studies sometimes fly a little thick and obscure the more interesting points, which I found distracting. But overall, it's worth a listen.

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs)
    • By John Julius Norwich
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (122)

    With the papacy embattled in recent years, it is essential to have the perspective of one of the world's most accomplished historians. In Absolute Monarchs, John Julius Norwich captures nearly 2,000 years of inspiration and devotion, intrigue and scandal. The men (and maybe one woman) who have held this position of infallible power over millions have ranged from heroes to rogues, admirably wise to utterly decadent.

    Nassir says: "A relentless succession of very old men"
    "Well written, well read, and fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book covers a lot of time and a lot of people, but it never drags and is always interesting. I burned right through it, learning and enjoying (and being appalled by bad papal behavior) all the way through.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • American Subversive: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Goodwillie
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert, David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    As the 21st century enters its second decade, foreign wars, the lingering recession, and a caustic political environment are taking their toll on Americans. But the party hasn't ended for Aidan Cole and his friends, a band of savvy, if cynical, New York journalists and bloggers who thrive at the intersection of media and celebrity.

    Jerry says: "Did I miss something? Not a 4star book."
    "Interesting set up, poor reader"
    Overall

    The book has two readers, and the woman, Tavia Gilbert, does a good job. But I found David Drummond's reading to be excruciating and eventually stopped listening. The plot was mildly engaging, but not enough to make me suffer through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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