Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2014
As a black American who grew up in Washington, DC, I never had ANYTHING good to say about the Confederacy. Reading this series only proved my personal credo "Racism is born out of ignorance". Guess who was a hypocritical, ignorant racist? ME!!! I discovered that I knew about as much about the Civil War as I was taught in school about African-American and black Americans - NOTHING!!! Oh, we got a smidgen on George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass but only enough to fill a thimble. Although my family home was just 3 blocks from Fort Stevens where the Confederate army almost took Washington and where President Lincoln was almost killed by a Confederate army, we never learned the amazing story behind the fort which we used as a playground.
This series of books covers the Civil War from "A to Z". They are extremely well-researched, providing little-known information about this historical fight. I came away with a new respect for the South for fighting and dying for a cause in which they believed in totally. I learned that the Civil War wasn't about white people hating black people (although there were quite a few whites who held the ridiculous belief that we weren't even humans). The war between the North and South was more about the economic necessity for cheap labor to maintain America's dominance in agriculture which fueled Europe's dominance as an industrialist giant. And the proof was in the South's total destruction after the Emancipation Proclamation. Rich plantation owners were broke, busted and bankrupt. No cotton or sugar - no money.
I have a new-found respect for Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee and the multitudes of Confederate soldiers who lost their lives fighting to maintain their way of life. Of course, as a descendant of slaves, I'm glad that the North prevailed. It's just unfortunate that the South couldn't see past their noses and let over 20,000 skilled black artisans (carpenters, blacksmiths, seamstresses, etc.) leave for the North instead of revamping the South by becoming the nations center of furniture makers, ironworks, and purveyors of clothes for the rich and poor. To compound the country's total lack of vision, the alleged Northern abolitionists lost out also because it gave these new black citizens jobs as cooks, maids, nannies - actually, let's just call "a spade a spade: "Mammies" - butlers, house boys, and manual laborers.
That said, Shelby Foote gives a well-rounded objective insight into a much misunderstood war that didn't really advance America's narrow-minded view of the people it brought to these shores in bondage and oppressed for more than a century after this horrible conflagration. But I thank him for helping me see the Confederacy from a different and enlightening perspective. I had lived in Atlanta, GA for 15 years when I read this book. My northern family and friends couldn't understand how I could stand the "racist South" with its "good ole boy" attitude. That is something I have never experienced in Georgia. I don't worry about the Confederate flag or the hero leaders of the Civil War which are carved in the side of Stone Mountain, like Mount Rushmore. In all my years there, I was never called a "nigger" not once. Yet, after moving to Phoenix, AZ, I was called "nigger" four times in my first six months here. Has this country learned nothing? I still consider myself a "Georgia Peach".
According to Shelby Foote's amazing account, the south has nothing to be ashamed of for fighting for what it believed was right at the time. Now if the whole country can learn from past mistakes and move forward as a COMPLETE country - white, black, brown, red, yellow or purple with pink polka dots - we will be ready as a nation to defend our shores from foreign threats. Reading this book is the first step in the right direction,
I should have heeded the other reviews but I was thinking "No one can mess up a story which is basically a true-life Cinderella story gone awry." WRONG!!!!
Yeah, we can Google or Wikipedia all we need to know about one the more famous Vanderbilts but it's really better to get it from the actual "horse's mouth". This account is rather lightweight and obviously fluffed up. And this is before Chapter One starts! There is something not quite credible in presenting this book as being written by Consuelo Vanderbilt. Or ANY Vanderbilt except journalist Anderson Cooper or his mother fashion designer/entrepreneur, Gloria Vanderbilt, What really sinks this book is the horrible narration. Coleen Marlo sounds as if she's underwater with bubbles rapidly escaping her mouth. Her pronunciation is deplorable!
Consuelo (or whomever really wrote this book) doesn't have enough sense to see that there is nothing cute in bragging about owning slaves. She then tries to make us feel bad because her family lost their fortune after the Civil War, resulting in having to move to Paris. Really? Connie, let me enlighten you on how MY ancestors fared after that war. The closest we got to anything European was share-cropping in Paris, TENNESSEE or getting lynched in Rome, GEORGIA while YOUR folks romped at the Tuileries! Gimme a break, Girlfriend!
Keep your money or credit!
Acquaintance and date rape have been prevalent on college campuses for decades. This book is about one school in Montana that, in its face, seems to have an overwhelming amount of sexual assaults. The subject matter is compelling and definitely needs as much exposure as possible. The problem I have with this account is the author's failure to remain fair and unbiased. The male students are repeatedly referred to as "rapists" and the sex acts are labeled "rape" without benefit of ant criminal adjudication. Yet the women are not held accountable for their lack of common sense and good judgment. We certainly wouldn't refer to them as "tramps" just because they got blind drunk, took an equally drunk male home, and invited him into her bed, where some place between cuddling and oral sex, she "withdraws consent"! The male is generally arrested or expelled from school. But the author keeps ranting that the men have done "it" before and will continue to rape, pillage and kill the cattle while presenting no evidence that the assault was anything more than a one time act between 2 inebriated young people, both totally devoid of good judgment.
There is a good story to be told here but the author makes it preachy because he has predetermined the guilt and/or innocence of the young people involved. He missed a great opportunity to educate students, parents, and college officials on the danger of alcohol use on campus. NO ONE can exhibit good behavior when they are blowing 3 times the legal limit for alcohol. I get "No means NO" from a drunk female but one has to consider that the male can't reasonably process that directive if he is also bent from liquor.
I started out liking this book because of the interesting account but, at about 90 minutes in, the author began to bore me with repetitive minutiae, hearsay, and unsubstantiated assertions. This is a serious matter on college campuses and it deserved much better research than the author has presented here. I learned more about this matter using Google.
I'm not going to write a long review on a book that's about 20 hours too long. Historically, it's interesting and compelling. I could even deal with the length if the writer hadn't chosen to use prose to tell it. Just imagine 37 hours of Shakespeare. There's just so much "Out, out, damned spot" or "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee" that a listener can stand, especially in an historical account about a cruel, oppressive, racist prisoner-of-war camp. There is nothing poetic in statements like "Dem Yankees is as shiftless and lazy as de niggers"! This would have been better told in plain Civil War era English.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. Lightweight crime story but entertaining. The second book wasn't quite as good yet bearable. However, this one is a hot mess! The plot line is all over the place, making no sense at all. Why would the city of NY expend resources for an elite squad to waste time and money on the ridiculous "crime" depicted here? Det. Zachary Jordan spends more time obsessing over wanting more sex with his police psychologist girlfriend and/or fantasizing about having ANY KIND of sex with his partner and unrequited love, Det. Kylie MacDonald. ENOUGH, ALREADY!
I love historical fiction, particularly books which take place in Tudor England. But this is probably one of the worse books I've ever read in this genre. The cover of the book and the synopsis leads the reader to believe that it is another like the ones written by Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir. NOT EVEN CLOSE! This is a book written by a man which caters to the sexual appetites of a male. Rape, sodomy, and abuse run rampant from start to finish. The main character, Alice Petherton. is portrayed as a slut who deserves the ill treatment of an old fat smelly Henry VIII, the sexual harassment and retaliation of Sir Richard Rich, and debasement by just about every male and pimp she comes into contact with. The way the book is written, one almost agrees.
I am in no way a sexual prude but some things are unnecessary in telling a good story. Unless you are looking for perverse pornography. Trust me, that is not what I bought into when I purchased what I thought would be be just another story about the Tudor court. There is no respite from the depravity depicted here. Alice, a mere maid of honor (as opposed to the more noble lady-in-waiting) is the poster child for low self-esteem golddiggers who think that they are controlling the world with what's between their legs. She refers to her monarch's abuse of her body as "making love" and constantly makes excuses for every male who takes advantage of her. She justifies her own poor choices by convincing herself that she's the one in control when anyone with a smidge of sense knows that females of that era were hardly free to do anything since they had no rights other than those provided to them by their fathers or husbands - or, in this case, the King of England. Alice calls the King's 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, delusional and stupid and a whole bunch of other names but the rest of us call her "The Queen" - at least Jane had enough sense to get old Henry to put a ring on it!
I am sure that there is a market for this kind of book but Audible needs to be a little bit more honest in its own presentation. This is NOT a "love story". This is NOT a tale of beautiful maid of honor who catches the eye of a King. This is NOT a book which would interest any self-respecting woman with an ounce of pride about herself. This is just Tudor Trash! If you like listening an indepth account of a woman being sodomized and raped several times a day, day after day, then have at at it! I'm requesting a refund!
Here is yet another really depressing story about black people in this country who are doomed from birth. Alex Kotlowitz tells a compelling tale of 2 young children, Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, trying to survive with their parents, siblings and peers in one of the worse project in the country - Chicago's Henry Horner public housing.
My parents also moved into the projects in Washington DC in the 1950s, the same time as the family of the mother of these boys. LaJoe Rivers and I are about the same age. However, I wasn't subjected to becoming the second generation of my family living in the projects after the country stopped caring about the inner city war zones created by the government. At the age of 8, my mother and father were able to move us into a single-family home in an upper middle class neighborhood, where I went to school with the children of DC's "black aristocracy" such as the late Dr. Earle Matory, high profile criminal defense attorney Theodore V. Wells, and Dr. Drew Tuckson. As a result, I went on to college and law school. But my parents were in a city where black people could find work - my mother as a civil servant in the federal government and my father in maintenance at Howard University. We weren't well off but we had food, clothing, and a clean home owned by my parents. My father's tenure at Howard enabled me to get a first class education, tuition free.
However, the young children in this book didn't have a chance, growing up in a complex controlled by rival gangs and abandoned by the city. Children were subjected to seeing their young friends shot down during open air gun fights in the wretched playground or killed in cold blood by over-zealous police officers. By the age of 14, the children of the Henry Horner projects had been to more funerals than weddings. Narrator Dion Graham is his usual magnificent self, giving us a great sense of the hopelessness and helplessness felt by young Lafayette and Pharoah, both really bright young children.
This book was made into a film in 1993 by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. While I appreciate Ms. Winfrey's short-term interest in the appalling living conditions in her home town of Chicago, I'm question her motivation since she took the role of LaJoe Rivers, the boys' extremely beautiful and tiny but overwhelmed mother. With Winfrey looking just like a stereotypical "Madea" welfare mother with 8 children, I didn't really get LaJoe's frustration in having to raise her kids in such an awful environment. With her looks, in another situation, she might have been able to break the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, like the critically acclaimed HBO series "The Wire" (which depicted a drug infested project in Baltimore MD - just 45 minutes away from the nation's capital - in which young black children were just thrown away like garbage, neither this book nor the film got much exposure. They are just too real and too embarrassing. These stories make white people uncomfortable. Accordingly, they would rather watch fantasy Mafia shows like "The Sopranos" rather than accept that our children are being raised in war conditions similar Iraq or Afghanistan.
Anyway, this book ends like all such stories of this kind. It is sad and disheartening to know that the most wealthy country in the world created, cultivated and perpetuated an environment where politicians made it impossible for these people to break free of a condition which is the same as slavery. Only now, black people are not making this country rich with the exportation of cotton, picked and baled on with the blood, sweat and tears of an enslaved, oppressed, raped, and murdered race. Even after freedom, blacks were denied the same rights as other citizens who came here more than 200 years after us. Now the United States has no use for us. Yet it refuses to accept the fact that it has bred a generation after generation of black men who either die before age 21 or who are incarcerated for life. This is a journey into the abyss for Lafayette and Pharoah.
I'm confident that many people won't like my review. But I always tell it like it is - from front to BLACK. However, as negative as my review may sound to the readers with selective liberalism, with intentional blinders on their eyes, and who want to hide with from the truth with their heads in the sand when it comes to what American is REALLY about, the end result is that this book is a keeper. Read it and weep....... I know I did.......
This is a story about 2 young women in London for the season, looking for husbands. Then why does the narrator sound like Miss Marple?!?! I couldn't finish it.
This is the 5th book in the series I've listened to. Well researched and masterfully narrated. I look forward to future books like this from CJ Sansome. A big thumbs up!
I thought this would be a more serious account of Empress Elisabeth but it's like a way too long fairy tale. The narrator is really bad. There are so many characters and accents, male, female and children, that it becomes confusing. Really awful "chick lit".
I expected more from the author of "Shuuter Island" - although, in that case, the movie is the rare example of being much, much better than the book. But this book made no sense at all. It's about a private investigator who somehow gets himself in a war with local black gang members. This is Boston, not South Central, but I have never seen, known, read about or had any knowledge of any black gang - much less black people - who act like we are depicted in Lehane's book. It's as though he's never met a black person in his life, much less a gang member. The interaction, dialogue and speech patterns are so wrong. Is this Lehane's fantasy idea of our people?. Surprisingly, the only likeable (?) and well-developed character in the entire book is an overtly racist redneck guy named Bubba!
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