Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
If I'd read this book before seeing the movie starring Keira Knightley, the film would have been a serious disappointment, being the usual Hollywood fluff, merely a excuse for sumptuous costumes and sets. This book shows us that Princess Diana came by her neuroses legitimately. Her ancestor, Lady Georgiana Spencer, suffered from eating disorders, a gambling addiction, substance abuse, and many other psychological afflictions. She was totally out of control financially, having no respect for money. Although she gained political success in England, it was due more from her need for attention than any real feelings for social change. The film makes it out like her husband was some kind of monster who forced into extramarital affairs and out-of-wedlock children but the Duke was more patient with her than a lot of men. (Prince Charles put up with Diana's nonsense about a long as he could before he realized that his wife would not make a stable Queen Consort). Like Princess Diana, Lady Georgiana set the tone for fashion among her peers and subjects and was generally loved by the people. But both women were neurotic, irresponsible, and immature. If not for her untimely death, Diana would have self-destructed if she'd continued on like her ancestor. This is a great book, well-research and insightful. Georgiana's life was NOT the stuff of Hollywood. As with the former Princess of Wales, it was a tragic and tortured life.
This ain't Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir! Although it does get a bit dry at times, this is a straightforward factual account about Elizabeth I's master spy! MI6 has nothing on Sir Francis Walsingham! It's great to read more about the reign of Elizabeth than whether she and "Robin" did it or not, her insecurities about her looks, and her unbridled jealousy if one of her ladies or female cousins married without getting the permission she wasn't giving up anyway! Worth the price of admission!
Before stumbling upon my first Georgette Heyer novel a few years ago, I was not into romance stories. But I found "Frederica" to be be a great story with well-defined intelligent characters. I then listened to every book available in audio format - at that time about 25 titles. The beauty of Heyer's books is that it matters not who narrates them as long as he or she is reasonably competent. Because each novel stands on its own, the listener doesn't become overly comfortable with one narrator, causing a disruption if there is a change. It had been a while since a new audiobook had been released so I was pleased to be able to enjoy this one. Lead character Venetia is the usual strong female who can live unmarried but doesn't mind when "Lord Right" comes along. Queen Elizabeth I could have learned a thing or two here - the whole "Virgin Queen" thing was a bit much! Heyer's books are very relevant for our time even though written long before feminism, birth control, and couples being sexually nasty for no reason. I'm no prude but it is nice to read a book where love is supreme, respect is obvious, and sex is hinted at without being graphic.
This is an enjoyable bit of fluff that reveals little known but hilarious events during the Civil War. Well narrated and the author keeps the listener engaged and laughing.
I am a World War II junkie and will listen to just about anything on the subject. But this book has me in a bit of a quandary. While it does present the war from a different perspective, I just can't figure out which one! It jumps all over the place. And for a book that is almost 30 hours long, it doesn't go into as much depth as required to really get a good grasp on any particular aspect.
There are several mispronunciations of Japanese words but the narrator does extremely well with so many names here. As for one reviewer's complaint about the author's alleged obvious dislike of General Douglas McArthur - WHO COULD ADMIRE SUCH A POMPOUS NARCISSISTIC AIRHEAD?!? He was a media "junkie" (not the word I REALLY wanted to use!) who's reputation was built on old propagandist movie news reels and Hollywood films created to sell movie tickets. In recent years, his "legend" doesn't quite pass the "smell test", pretty much like the racist Gen. George Patton who thought black Americans weren't qualified to serve in the military but needed our men to help him win the war.
I liked this book, overall, but I think it is just too long. It kills me to say that since the longer an audiobook, the more I like it. Maybe it was narrator who is rather boring. Or maybe this book would be better abridged since it only covers the fight with Japan in the last year of the war. The entire war - from 1939 to 1945 - could have been covered in 30 hours!
I downloaded this book as part of Amazon.com's unlimited streaming promotion. I'm glad I'm doing the 30-day free trial because I would have been so mad if I'd paid for this title or used one of my Audible credits. Listening to this book was like seeing a really gruesome car crash - you're appalled by the tragedy but you just can't look away. The subject matter, while unconscionable, is still of great historic value. But narrator Eric Brooks is so awful that I honestly thought he got this gig only because Amazon.com put a notice on its employee cafeteria bulletin board soliciting people who could READ! Brooks can barely do that, much less be competitive with such great male NARRATORS - not READERS - like Simon Vance, John Lee, Dion Graham, and Simon Prebble, just to name a few. He stumbled over words and mispronounced so many that the whole thing became ludicrous! I tried to hang in for several hours, hoping Brooks would hit his stride because I really wanted to know more about the subject matter. But listening to him is like insisting on natural childbirth in spite of enduring a long, difficult, and PAINFUL labor. Hey, you can do it but WHY when there's an epidural waiting in the wings! I gave the author the benefit of the doubt because this book can also be downloaded to your Kindle app for old school reading. That way you can avoid Eric Brooks and hopefully find a decent story.
I thought I had "WW II'd" myself into a coma, listening to or reading more than 50 books and watching a kazillion documentaries and online videos about World War II in the past year. I was just about to pass on this 25 hour account when I became outraged by one of the written reviews. While giving the book an overall favorable review, without the 5-star rating of the other written reviews, this listener claimed that her only criticism was that the book overdid the contributions of African-Americans to the war. REALLY? This is one of the very few books NOT written by a black author that even MENTIONS the many minority members of the military who fought in ALL of our wars, including the Civil War. Blacks were originally seen by the US as "not fit for combat duty" and were given positions as cooks, supply clerks, deck hands, etc. Eleanor Franklin changed all of that.
Was this reviewer aware of the MAJOR support that the 761st Tank Battalion - the first all-black tank battalion - gave to General Patton, helping him win the war? Black soldiers were relegated to what the military termed as "iron coffins" due the cumbersome movement of the tanks and the ever-present carbon monoxide leaking INSIDE the vehicles (often killing black soldiers silently, to be found by their comrades sitting up, eyes open, mid-sentence). Yet, Patton openly claimed "that a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor." (In the 1970 film "Patton", the 761st unit was depicted as WHITE soldiers coming to the general's aid!) While saving the lives of hundreds white "comrades", who openly called the members of the 761st "niggers" and "monkeys", the unit suffered 156 casualties; 24 men killed and 88 wounded, in the month of November 1944 ALONE! The unit also lost 14 tanks and another 20 damaged in combat. In December 1944, the battalion was rushed to the aid of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. After the Battle of the Bulge, the unit opened the way for the U.S. 4th Armored Division into Germany during an action that breached the Siegfried Line. In the final days of the war in Europe, the 761st was one of the first American units to reach the Steyr in Austria, at the Enns River, where they met with Ukrainians of the Soviet Army. THAT IS JUST ONE UNIT IN ONE BRANCH OF THE MILITARY!
Black Americans fought and died with distinction in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. But the real tragedy is that, after serving their country in order to stop the industrial murder of the European Jews at the hands of the Nazis and helping to end the war so that thousands of American, British, Australian and Chinese military and civilians could be liberated from the unparalleled cruelty in Japanese prisoner of war camps, black Americans returned to the United States to sit in the back of buses, drink from "Colored Only" water fountains, be assaulted, lynched and murdered, to be denied the same veterans benefits given to their white counterparts such as employment, housing, education, medical care, etc. Sgt. Isaac Woodard Jr. was BLINDED by South Carlina police officers while in uniform, just hours after being honorably discharged from the US Army!
These men's accomplishments were ignored by the military and America, their records of bravery suspiciously "lost". These AMERICANS were not honored for decades. After being rejected countless times, the members of the 761st Tank Battalion were finally recognized in 1978, eventually receiving 1 Medal of Honor, 296 Purple Hearts, 11 Silver Stars, and 69 Bronze Stars. In 1994, the THREE surviving members of the Navy ship USS Mason were awarded a letter of commendation for "meritorious service". The famous Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007 - given mostly to their widows or posthumously. The black Marines weren't recognized until 2012.
That said, this book - TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AND 58 MINUTES LONG - served the black Americans who fought and died in World War II both fairly and without undue bias. They were an integral component of the war effort and for anyone to disparage an author giving credit where it is long overdue smacks of the continued institutional racism that the U.S. is still guilty of.
I know that my review will receive more "Not Helpful" ratings than "Helpful" but I really don't care! I'm willing, once again, to stick my neck out to say what needs to be said. This is a great book about a major historical event. Black Americans were a part of that war and deserve to be included just like Hitler, Hirohito, and Patton. ALL three of those "men" were the worse racists ever but no one has a thing to say about the hundreds of accounts written about them!
If you want to learn more about our contributions in war, check out "Brothers In Arms", a fantastic book about the 761st written by NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar. You will be surprised to learn that baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, was a member of the 761st! Truth be told, there can NEVER be too much revealed about the bravery and heroism of the black members of American military ranks!
At first I was very pleased with this book. BUT that was while reading the FIRST story in the collection of twelve. "The Wallpaper" was as psychologically horrifying as the film "Psycho" or being INSIDE the Ingrid Bergman character's mind in "Gaslight". The story was well-crafted and creepy! However, NONE of the subsequent 11 stories even came close to it. The second story was confusing and the remaining 10 are just boring. The synopsis promised to deliver a book that "represents an important examination of 19th century attitudes towards women's physical and mental health". Well, the first story came through with flying colors - a tantalizing "appetizer" before an anticipated "meal" prepared by a Michelin star chef. "The Wallpaper" was like quail eggs with Kubbitz Dan caviar as the first course and the rest of the book served canned Spam! Ewwwwww! 😝👎
Probably if Kim Basinger wasn't narrating. Listening to her was like sticking a rusty fork in my eye!
No, it just continues to turn me off from Hollywood "actors" thinking that their skill set makes them into good book narrators.
As I've said a kazillion times before, I don't know why Audible thinks having actors narrate books will make the listening experience better. IT DOES NOT!!! I've wasted money listening to Elliott Gould ruin a Raymond Chandler classic and Samuel L. Jackson fumble a book written by a black author about black people in Harlem. The only A-List actor who has ever really impressed me as a narrator is Don Cheadle. Everyone else should just stay in Malibu or Manhattan or wherever their movie money allows them to live and leave audiobooks to the professional narrators. Kim Basinger reads this already boring story as if she reading a bedtime story to a 2 year-old. I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and I suffer from chronic insomnia! On top of that, I bought the book because it's supposed to be about Louisiana Créoles. Yet, Basinger can't speak French properly nor does she give the characters any depth because she doesn't know the Louisiana dialect or customs. She can barely get through the ENGLISH parts, stumbling and bumbling through sentences as if English is her second language. I'm glad I only paid about $1.99 for this mess in the Daily Deal. But I still may return it for my $2.00. At least I can buy a beignet on Canal Street with the money! Don't waste your time or your money on this one!
It shouldn't have been published for mass distribution. This would have been a good - not great - limited edition work from Ms. Gaynor as a personal gift for Christmas, a birthday, or some really intimate event "among family and/or really close friends". But, as a literary work, it just didn't make it for me.
Not unless Gloria Gaynor writes an honest and interesting memoir. I don't care about Carswell one way or the other. If she's a competent author, I'll give her another chance.
Any one who reads my reviews know that I go hard on authors who read their own books unless they are very good narrators FIRST! But I have no patience for anyone who thinks they can do EVERYTHING well! In this case, Gaynor's main talent was as a vocalist - a DISCO vocalist - with less than a SMALL handful of releases - and only one "serious" hit single in 1978. Albeit a disco classic and the rally cry of a generation of feminists and black empowerment. Nothing in that skill-set qualifies a 64 year old woman to be a narrator, especially in the fast growing audiobook industry. I would have listened about 15 minutes past the 30 minutes I wasted on this book if a qualified narrator had been onboard. Maybe..... Maybe not.....
Nope! It's just a sanitized "work" as useless as petals in the wind.
As a record business professional with a 45 year career span in R&B music, I try to support others in my profession. That's why I initially purchased this book without reading other reviews or putting in my usually due diligence. I thought Gaynor was presenting an interesting and novel slant on the tune which has been her theme song for over 35 years. But all I found is an attempt to get one last exploitive squeeze from a song which had its "moment in the sun" 3-1/2 decades ago. I don't have much patience for people who claim one song, composed from ANOTHER person's blood, sweat and tears, changed their life or was overwhelmingly inspirational. As a songwriter myself, I often get letters or emails from "fans" who claim to have been inspired or saved or emotionally supported by something I did a kazillion years ago. However, the idea of compiling all of those much-appreciated communiqués together into a book to be narrated by me and SOLD to others......well, I'm not quite that narcissistic - YET! 😄. (One of my more recent works is a cut by Lil Wayne on his Grammy winning 2008 CD "Tha Carter 3" and the EP "The Leak". Believe me, a lot more than 40 kids have been "inspired" by Lil Wayne and me to smoke that "Kush"! The emails and text messages I get now, while very entertaining at my "advanced age" of 64, are not the stuff of legend - much less in literature! Especially from fans under the influence of marijuana AND extolling its virtues in barely literate 160-characters-or-less "testimonials"!)
I was hoping that Gaynor would have taken this opportunity (and book deal) to give both old school and new school music lovers an intimate look inside the disco and R&B music era, not blow her own horn about one song in a dozen from that time. I just hope "inspirational" books by Helen Reddy ("I Am Woman"), Chaka Khan ("I'm Every Woman") or even James Brown ("Say It Loud - I'm Black & I'm Proud") aren't waiting to roll off the assembly line! 😝
Sorry, Gloria, as another Sister Girl out here trying to collect some last minute "scrilla", I can't recommend this book to anyone!
I loved this book! I just finished reading Andrew Peterson's latest Nathan McBride (#4) installment "Ready a To Kill". I was mad as heck! No sniper action until the book was almost over! But THIS assassin, Keller, is just like I love my assassins: deadly, dour, and incredibly funny. Block weaves a great tale here with plenty of killings. Keller goes about his job as if he works at the post office. He tries to act heartless but he's a killer with a bit of a conscious. If not actually sorry for taking folks out, he yearns to own a house with a yard for a dog. To sit in front of the television, watching HBO and doing crossword puzzles. Or talking for a full 30 minutes on stamp collecting. Yet he is a deadly killer! A charming unassuming guy who gets his targets to trust him, even inviting Keller to dinner. Then.....WHAM! No one saw it coming! And his partner in crime, the assignment "scheduler", a woman named Dot is the perfect "Charley" to his "Angel". Narrator Robert Forster is the perfect choice - although the author steps in for the next book. I HATE IT WHEN AUTHORS READ THEIR WORKS! But we'll see......
Andrew Peterson needs to take a page from Block's play book. I want a book about assassins who complete their assignments satisfactory, quick, and efficient. Not a bunch of generic ex-CIA snipers whom Peterson failed to take the time to develop. Now I'm on to the next book in this outstanding series! Well played, Block!
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