Phoenix, 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.
Most definitely! Normally I would never read a book about a military war written by a professional basketball player. I say "Play your position!" I'd already been through the period in my career when we tried to convince Shaq to keep his "day job" because he absolutely could not RAP! But I digress..... Kareem Abdul Jabbar did his research here and, as a result of due diligence, delivers "Nothing But Air" - ALL NET!! An amazing, amazing story not known to most black Americans, much less the world at large.
This is not just an emotional "we been done wrong" bleeding heart account. It is factual, well-written, and unbiased.
He is a black man and, probably without realizing it, adds layers of pride and dignity to an already heroic story.
The very end, the interviews with two of the surviving 761st Tank Battalion "Black Panthers". WOW! It brought me to tears!
This is a must-read for everyone who calls themselves an American. To hear about the bravery and sacrifice of men fighting for a nation that treated them like second-class citizens is appalling. Talk about hidden historical facts! These guys helped Patton win the war, even though he never acknowledged their contribution. (Patton died in a car accident the year after the war ended. See? God don't like ugly! ) The greatest tank battalion to ever fight in a war. They lost their lives to bring an end to Adolfo Hitler's reign of terror against the Jews and to gain the freedom of American, British, Australian and Danish soldiers being starved, beaten, tortured, murdered, and otherwise degraded by the Japanese in prisoner of war camps. To avenge the wholesale rape of Chinese women, the use of Chinese children as targets in "skeet shooting" by Japanese soldiers during the siege on Nanking. The enforced unpaid labor and killings of Chinese peasants by the Japanese throughout WWII.
Then these brave black American "citizens" returned home to sit in the back of buses, drink from "Colored" water fountains, be denied jobs, benefits, home loans and education for themselves and their children - the things given to every white veteran, many of whom saw no action at all.. Even while saving the lives of white soldiers, these soldiers were called "nigger" and "monkey". Yet they fought on with dignity, honor, respect and a bravery not borne from the support of a nation who treated them like second-class citizens.
The US claimed that they weren't smart enough or brave enough to be airmen so they were assigned to do a job that "no white man should be wasted doing" - to be boxed into what the military itself termed "iron coffins", huge unwieldy, untested rolling death boxes, often full of deadly carbon monoxide. Yet those black soldiers taught themselves how to drive and survive in those Sherman tanks, thereby being responsible for saving the lives of thousands upon thousands of white soldiers and officers. They had to fight another several decades to get the recognition they deserved. The records of their service and heroism were purposely destroyed because the government did not want it to be known how this country, allegedly the first democratic nation in the world, treated its citizens (and still does today) solely because of the color of our skin. These soldiers had to wait until the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - long after most of the surviving members of the 761st battalion had passed away - to get their due. Or PART of it, anyway. White Americans should be ashamed to show their faces after such hypocrisy. I hope you all read this book written by a brother about the REAL "Band of Brothers"! Learn what it means to be a true American!!! 🇺🇸
NOTE: One of the original members of the 761st Tank Battalion was the first black professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson, who suffered racism coming and going! What happened to the "unalienable right that we were ALL created equal"? My bad! Those documents were written by men who enslaved men and raped women but still got to the President of this country! The same nation that tried to impeach Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife! None of our business! Hypocrites! 👎😠
Not being able to understand what's being said. Some of the Australian accents are just too thick. I thought it would be one narrator reading the first-hand accounts of the war.
I didn't get that far. I gave up after 30 minutes.
This is the soundtrack of a documentary film. It doesn't work as an audiobook. The survivors' accents are hard to understand. Then some are speaking over sound effects of bombing and shooting - maybe from an underlying film segment - and that only makes it all worse.
Most definitely. I thought I could rely on a good read based on George R. R. Martin's name. But I have no idea what this compilation is supposed to be about. It's a mish-mash of stories which otherwise never have been published.
I was very, very disappointed in the book. Promised much, but delivered little.
This book seems to be a way for each writer to blow his or her own horns about what awards they've won, what books they've written and which books they are working on. In some cases, the laudatory prefaces are more interesting than the actual stories. I had to give up on this before I finished Part 1. AWFUL!
There's no way THIS production is better than anything, much less the print version! It is poorly produced and badly narrated. I would rather have READ this book than listen to it.
Overall, the book is well-researched, going into detail about many areas of organized crime, often overlooked in other books.
First, this book is about AMERICAN organized crime, so why wasn't an American narrator used? Is the author British also? I found it disconcerting to hear money described in "pounds" instead of dollars in several places. Also, there's something "Un-Mafia" about finding a body in "the BOOT of a car"! I was waiting for Al Capone on go "on holiday" or ask "When will tea be served?
But the major, major flaw here is in the production of the sound recording. I have listened to 2,000+ audiobooks and I have never EVER heard a narrator stumble, cough, take a long pause, and then start a sentence all over again! Plus he could barely pronounce the names of key figures or common words. This, on top of giving other words the British pronunciation when the subject matter is purely American.
Audiobooks cost way too much money for this lackadaisical level of production. Overall, this is a great account of organized crime, from it's very inception. However, I had to stop listening after just a few hours in because the flaws in the recording and narration became irritating. If I can spend my money or use a valued credit, why can't I be assured that Audible.com is giving me a well-made product? Audiobooks need some kind of quality control. With the ease and low cost of digital media, there is no excuse for this poorly produced book.
This is a book better served printed!
This is pure fact, much of it overlooked in other history books,. However this is the worst narrator ever, especially for a book that is entirely narrative with little or no dialogue.
Not at all! Amy Licence totally ruins this book. She reads way too fast, fumbles words, and mispronounces even more. Her voice is shrill, irritating, and lispy. The book had not been rated at all when I bought it but I figured how bad could a story about the Tudors be? Answer: VERY BAD AS NARRATED BY AMY LICENCE!
She's just not experienced enough. A more dynamic narrator like Nadia May, Wanda McCaddon or Simon Vance could have made this a 5-star read.
Yes, it could start with one on the Plantegenets as a prequel. The sex lives of the the rich and Royal is well told in the original book.
I could only take a few hours of this book due to the exceedingly bad narrator. Also the recording production is full of reverb which only exacerbates the narrator's poor performance. With another narrator, this could be a really good work. As it is now, it's not worth the credit.
It was something to do. It's certainly not as good as Agatha Christie. I listened to three in this series and Wentworth rehashes the same plots, dialogues, and characters over and over again. A will, a wealthy relative, an American, a bunch of poor relations, one house, a cad, a cousin, a crime, a colorful scarf, Also, Miss Silver is not well-developed and is very uninteresting sleuth.
Yes, there's a market for this kind of book. If you like Miss Marple - and you have read all of those books THREE TIMES EACH - then this series will work.
I said "Rachel" in my review of the first book "Grey Mask" but that's because I'd read 3 in a row and they were all basically the same. I got the characters confused in Books 1 and 2. Rachel Treherne was my favorite here.
There's nothing overall wrong with this series. Just don't fall for the description "like Agatha Christie" as I did. Because Wentworth is not even close. These books are good for their era and as long as you wait 6 months between each in the series. I can read Agatha Christie books one after another, even a second and third time each, and still not figure out the plots. I was looking forward to listening to all of this series. However three of these is enough for me!
I tried 2 more by Wentworth and found all three books to be the same story, just different names. Narrator Diana Bishop is superb.
In this first book, I was mildly surprised. But that's because if you pay attention, each most viable suspect - the poor relation, the jealous lover or competition, the disgruntled retainer - are all eliminated, one by one, until the LEAST LIKELY person is left standing. By the third book, I figured it out right away.
Probably not. Mrs. Silver is not as well-developed as a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. She's just not very interesting enough to carry a feature film. Maybe a television series.....
There's nothing overall wrong with this series. Just don't fall for the description "like Agatha Christie" as I did. Because Wentworth is not even close. These books are good for their era and as long as you wait 6 months between each in the series. I can read Agatha Christie books one after another, even a second and third time each, and still not figure out the plots. I was looking forward to listening to all of this series. However three is enough for me!
Not as a true story. This story is too contrived. Overall it's a good emotionally charged read. I just don't believe it as an actual account. I can't find anything about Sara Tuvel Bernstein except as it refers to this book.
Just call it what it is - FICTION! I don't doubt that Ms. Bernstein suffered some oppression at the hands of the Nazi's. I just don't believe that she was the only survivor among millions to have the kind of resolve - and luck - that she claims in this book.
Wanda McCaddon is masterful as always.
Only if you think of it as either fiction or a historical account in which the author has taken considerable literary license. The story IS moving and inspiring - it's just not believable.
I've read all of the reviews both here and on Amazon.com. Only one other reviewer feels like I do. I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I wish someone had given me a less emotional review of this book. I'm black and I'm used to Jewish friends claiming to "understand the pain of slavery". Well, no! "Your blues ain't like my blues"! But I always read books about Holocaust survivors out of respect for THEIR plight. However, there was something just not right about this account. Sara seemed to always have the answer or solution to some really horrific situations while her reaction to the deaths of her family members, one by one, was like "Ho hum!" I just didn't believe that one person in millions had the survivor instincts that this writer claimed to possess. It's easy to say you've done this and that when there's no one to refute your assertions.
The story is well-written and well narrated. But when you "pull the seams apart", it just doesn't fit. There's no way to fact-check the claims of the author. Plus, she was only in that concentration camp for a few months right before the war ended. I found her account of her early life and the years leading up to her so-called "arrest" much more interesting. Living like a hunted animal with no country to call "home" had to be awful. It's when she gets to the camp and on the trains that the story falls apart. Who can go WEEKS without water while doing back-breaking work? Or eight days without food or water packed into a boxcar like sardines? One minute everyone is freezing to death inside the boxcar, then in the same week, the train is sweltering from the weather outside. While the first 75% of the book tells an interesting account, the last becomes overly dramatic and predictable. And, again, I found Sara's total apathy towards the death of her family and camp friends bordering on sociopathic. Why? Because nobody died like she claims.
Notice that Sara is the only person who repeatedly manages to "save the day" by stealing, smuggling, or hiding enough food for her companions. Under those severe and harrowing circumstances, I know I wouldn't take up with a bunch of losers who never bring anything to the table to help in the survival of the group. When Sara is given a lice-ridden coat in the camp-wide clothing swap, she somehow gets one full of paper money hidden in the lining! And she just happened to have squirreled away a needle and thread in the tightly secured camp so she can rip up the lining to get the money, then sew it back up expertly. Really? As if all of those SS guards were too stupid to notice that the already thin garment just might be a little heavy or bulky! Then she and her friends used the money for TOILET PAPER for several weeks but, again, no one in the camp, prisoners included, noticed them "Benjamins" in the crapper! You haven't wiped your butt in months and that's all you could think to do with a large amount of money? C'mon!
What I DO believe is that some opportunistic writers saw a KERNEL of a good book after meeting a Holocaust survivor, likely in her dotage. I thought this book would be a first-hand account by an actual survivor who had gone through one horrific act after another during World War II as a Jew in occupied Europe. It turned out to be a compilation of everything that could happen to several people in a "perfect storm" of terror and persecution. Kind of like "Forrest Gump Meets The Fuhrer"! There's something that just didn't pass the "smell test" for me. I almost didn't write a review because I knew others would be upset with my reaction to this book or they would say, being black, I just don't understand the plight of Jewish people. That's absolutely not true. I sympathize and empathize with the hatred endured by Jews THROUGHOUT the history of the world. How could I not when my own ancestors were oppressed, murdered, beaten, lynched, and raped for centuries as recently as the 21st century? Here, I'll just have to take the hit because I'm calling "a spade a spade" - Sara is "shoveling" it a bit deep!
With all of the crime that is happening now, people should see that there was just as much crime 60 years. I'd recommend this to friends who are always complaining about "the good old days" and "these kids today". The mindset is the same among criminals - only the amount of firepower has changed. "Dragnet" is the father of all crime shows today, especially the in depth technical ones which involve forensics and DNA and also shows like "Law & Order" that used real crimes taken from newspaper reports or police files. Jack Webb was an innovator who created this genre of television.
That question is not applicable here.
This is a multi-performer audiobook with different actors playing each role. That gives the listening experience a rare layered effect.
IMPOSSIBLE! It's 16 Parts of 6 to 8 hours in each Part. But, say, I had nothing to do for a whole month, like I'm stuck in a hospital bed because I broke every bone in my body - I'd have to say that no one would WANT to listen to these episodes in one sitting or even one day. It's basically the same format over and over again - crotchety old landladies, snoopy neighbors, arrogant criminals, mouthy teens, precocious toddlers, each repeating the same dialogue from one story to the other. The "stage business" - walking, stirring coffee, typing, opening doors, balling up paper, etc. - gets irritating after a while. It worked 60 years ago because listeners wanted to get as much bang for their buck in the 30 minute show time. However, listening to Sgt. Friday "walking" on a hard floor for the first 100 episodes, it becomes a bit old to have to hear it for 260 more shows.
Overall I enjoyed this "book" which is actually recordings of old radio shows, even with the snaps, crackles and pops. That's what gives it the dated feeling. However, the original recording was poorly done with no levels adjusted from one season to another, much less episodes. I had to give up the ghost when "the needle got stuck", playing several parts over and over again. In the old days, we'd just lift up the record player arm or put a coin on it to hold it in the groove. Here it is apparent that the engineer wasn't paying attention during the production and that Audible did no quality control afterwards.
NOTE: A highlight of these old shows is the advertisements. To hear the manufacturers of Fatima ("The Long Cigarette") and Chesterfields ("The Mild Cigarette") insist that smoking is healthy for you and that THEIR product is the very best is both funny and sad. Fatima goes on and on about how smokers switching to Fatima has increased by 500% since its last "report". If you've lost a loved one to lung cancer, this will be hard for you to take. But that was the way it was back then. People lit up a cigarette for any reason, even in a hospital bed!
I think there's a good story in there someplace but I couldn't get past the narrator's too high and irritating voice. Plus, after several starts and stops, I just couldn't get "engaged" in this story. I still don't know what it is about. After about 3 hours, I just threw in the towel. The glowing reviews for this book come from READERS, not LISTENERS, which is misleading since I am an Audible customer.
A much better narrator. While Alison Larkin is not a totally crappy, she just wasn't right for this book.
Yes, I think it was a "perfect storm" of issues which brought the whole work down.
This book is barely BOOK material - I cannot see it being made into a feature film, unless it was a Netflix movie or straight-to-DVD one.
I was the first Audible.com listener to review this book. I bought it based on the reviews but noticed too late that they were all from Amazon.com buyers. I find this very unfair to listeners of books. Narration, production and various other features are critical in an audiobook but are not important in the print version. I don't like the way Audible merges the different web site reviews when they are so very different. It is almost like "bait & switch" if one doesn't pay attention. I gave this book several chances to "come alive" but it only fell flat. REFUND!
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