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Erik

WICHITA, KS, United States | Member Since 2013

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 107 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • The Pope's Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Peter Eisner
    • Narrated By Rick Adamson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In 1938, Pope Pius XI was the world's most prominent critic of Hitler and his rhetoric of ethnic "purity." To make his voice heard, Pius called upon a relatively unknown American Jesuit whose writing about racism in America had caught the Pope's attention. Pius enlisted John LaFarge to write a papal encyclical - the Vatican's strongest decree - publicly condemning Hitler, Mussolini, and their murderous Nazi campaign against the Jews. At the same time conservative members of the Vatican's innermost circle were working in secret to suppress the document.

    Erik says: "Sporadic and a Let Down"
    "Sporadic and a Let Down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. I'm a Catholic and a huge WW2 history buff, and after listening to this, I came away feeling let down and unsatisfied. The history is nothing new. The story inside the Vatican is interesting, however. The story bounces around. The theme is very unclear until the very end. I came into this book thinking it'd be about a priest actively working with the pope against Hitler. Instead, it's a priest personally summoned by the pope to perform a task. This priest performs the task with zero enthusiasm and without any heart...that's kind of the same way I felt listening to this book.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Peter Eisner again?

    Probably not. The story telling was sporadic and random. At first, I thought that this would be about John LaFarge, and for the first third of the book, it was. Then, the story starts jumping around following different people and telling seemingly meaningless stories of their lives while somewhat following a story line and some sort of plot.. The story begins in semi-first person then goes to third person, then back to first person, then is told in the form of a history lesson.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration, or the voice of the story was somewhat disappointing. I felt like I was a sixth grader being read to by a teacher - too simplistic and not a lot of emotion or variation in the voice. The pace of the story was slow.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a story of a simple, naive, uncourageous priest and treachery in the Vatican under Pope Pius XI. The WW2 history is uninteresting and abbreviated. LaFarge's actions are a disappointment. The outcome of this story is a huge disappointment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • At Leningrad's Gates: The Combat Memoirs of a Soldier with Army Group North

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By William Lubbeck
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    This is the remarkable story of a German soldier who fought throughout World War II, rising from conscript private to captain of a heavy weapons company on the Eastern Front. >William Lubbeck, age 19, was drafted into the Wehrmacht in August 1939. As a member of the 58th Infantry Division, he received his baptism of fire during the 1940 invasion of France. The following spring his division served on the left flank of Army Group North in Operation Barbarossa.

    Erik says: "Another Great German Soldier's Memoir"
    "Another Great German Soldier's Memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I think so. The story is very good and moves fairly quickly, but the narration is hard to listen to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of At Leningrad's Gates?

    Lubbeck's recollection of life after the War.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Learn how to speak German. It drives me crazy when narrators read books about German soldiers and can't speak German. His constant mispronunciation of "Wehrmacht" (vermaaaaaaaaacht) and "Leutnant" (looot-nant) drove me absolutely crazy.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, I think this is a great story. However, I was a bit uneasy when Lubbeck kept claiming he and his family weren't Nazis and had absolutely no knowledge of Nazi atrocities or even of any concentration camps. I can understand wanting to clear your name if you are truly innocent, but the repetition of these claims just didn't sit right with me...I don't know...I guess it just didn't sound sincere. Maybe that was the writing, maybe it was the narration. I wasn't there, so I can't say for certain, but I have ready many, many accounts of German soldiers and civilians. I find it hard to believe that a veteran of the entirety of the war on the East Front never once witnessed a war crime, when Lubbeck himself claims that they were fighting the barbaric (insinuating less than human) Red Army. I find it hard to believe that, living in Eastern Germany, he never even heard of a concentration camp until after the war. I've read other accounts of German families in the mid to late 1930s joking with their children that if they didn't behave, they'd be sent to a concentration camp, showing that they knew of the existence of these camps. Maybe they didn't know the extent of the horror that was going on inside, but they knew of the existence of the camps. Lubbeck knew of none.

    Other than that, I think the story is well told. It went a bit quick for me, and didn't go into great detail, but it was interesting to hear the story of an artillery soldier that rose through the ranks, having served through the entirety of the War.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Adam Makos
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (1121)
    Performance
    (1021)
    Story
    (1034)

    Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger.

    JerryL says: "An Absolutely Incredcredible Audiobook!"
    "Incredible Story of a WWII German Ace"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up A Higher Call in three words, what would they be?

    Duty, Chivalry and Courage


    What other book might you compare A Higher Call to and why?

    Soldat by Siegfried Knappe because of the in-depth recollection and storytelling of the wartime service of a German soldier.

    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand because you get the same sense of dread every time a bomber crew took off on a mission.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must read (listen to) for any WWII history buff. This is an excellent source of information into the lives of a German fighter pilot and an American B-17 pilot. While the story focuses primarily on Franz Stigler, you still get an good story for Charlie Brown and his crew as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the detailed recollections of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown and how their stories interwove. Both stories were captivating. Really, though, the "escort" part of the book (as depicted on the cover) was only a minor part of the story...probably the most interesting part, but that was not the climax of the book. The writing was such that you got a real sense of the stress these men faced on a daily basis. Descriptions made it feel as if you were in the heat of the desert or freezing at 30,000 ft. You felt the tension of having to go up on another bomb run over German, or diving in the Bf-109 towards the enemy bomber formation. Adam Makos' research really pays off in his writing. This book is definitely worth your time and money. A MUST READ!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • With Hitler to the End: The Memoirs of Hitler's Valet

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Heinz Linge
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    Heinz Linge worked with Adolf Hitler for a 10 year period from 1935 until the Fuhrer's death in the Berlin bunker in May 1945. He was one of the last to leave the bunker and was responsible for guarding the door while Hitler killed himself. During his years of service, Linge was responsible for all aspects of Hitler's household and was constantly by his side. He claims that only Eva Braun stood closer to Hitler over these years. Through a host of anecdotes and observations, Linge recounts the daily routine in Hitler's household; his eating habits, his foibles, his preferences, his sense of humour, and his private life with Eva Braun.

    Douglas says: "Books Like This Are Important..."
    "Insight into One of Hitler's Unrepentant Dullards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up With Hitler to the End in three words, what would they be?

    The story of your typical unrepentant Nazi...one who is a racist, babbling on about things he knows nothing about and holding himself up as a more important figure that he was. This guy was Hitler's valet, not a soldier, not a general and not a politician. He should just stick to telling his experience as a valet.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was good, nothing to complain about.


    Any additional comments?

    This guy was in charge of making sure Hitler's underwear was folded correctly and that he had enough socks...I don't care to hear his rantings on how the War was managed by the Generals and Hitler and what he would have done better. I don't need to hear his racism. I don't need to or want to hear his Nazi propaganda. What's interesting to hear (and what I wish there was more of in this book) is his experience being intimately close to and the day to day interactions with Hitler from 1935 till the end in 1945.

    The book does well about 2/3 of the time, when Linge is sticking to what he knows (service as a valet). The book is awful when Linge tries to lecture on things he knows nothing about - being a soldier, military tactics, military operations, when he tries to describe "coward" generals, when he praises the genius of and his thoughts on the infallibility of Hitler.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cat's Cradle

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Tony Roberts
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (745)
    Performance
    (436)
    Story
    (442)

    Cat's Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut's satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet's ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist; a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer; and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat's Cradle is one of this century's most important works...and Vonnegut at his very best.

    Robert says: "KV at his best."
    "Not a Pack of Foma! This is Good Stuff!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Cat's Cradle in three words, what would they be?

    Busy busy busy...


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I wasn't a fan of Vonnegut's typical "war is bad," "people are bad," "science is evil" and "religion is stupid" cliches. I really wish I hadn't know this book was by Vonnegut because I really enjoyed it. I really don't like Vonnegut's hippy-dippy ways, but if you try to block that out, this is a very enjoyable story. In fact, it's the only audiobook (so far) that I went back and listened to a second time immediately after finishing it.


    Have you listened to any of Tony Roberts’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I'm going to. He is the first performer that I've liked so much that I'm going to find other books he reads to listen to them. The way pulled off the voices of all the characters was unique and fit them to a tee.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "History! Read it and weep!" -Bokonon


    Any additional comments?

    An overall good story with an excellent performance by Mr. Roberts. A must-listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Ethan Hawke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2656)
    Performance
    (1341)
    Story
    (1357)

    Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

    W. Seligman says: "What more can be said?"
    "Overrated and a Complete Letdown"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade better?

    Coherent writing. A serious take on the Dresden bombing. A main character who isn't an idiot. Characters that grow and develop.


    What was most disappointing about Kurt Vonnegut’s story?

    Everything. Amateur writing. Disjointed story. Zero climax. Forgettable characters. Annoying use of, "or so it goes."


    What aspect of Ethan Hawke’s performance would you have changed?

    His performance was adequate. He definitely made Billy Pilgrim sound like the idiot he is.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade?

    Can't event tell. I hated the book. Everything about the it, I hated. No amount of editing could have changed how much I despise this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't waste your time, money or credits on this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (669)
    Performance
    (603)
    Story
    (598)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "THE Definitive Work for the History of WWI"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of A World Undone to be better than the print version?

    Yes - the presentation was perfect. The print version would be nice to have as a reference though. I was very impressed with the amount of information provided in this work.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A World Undone?

    The Backgrounds provided at the beginning of several chapters. Not only does this book do an excellent job of thoroughly and fairly covering what happened between 1914-1918, but it provides necessary background to important events, battles, people and places, which are necessary to know before you can understand the significance they had in the War.


    Which character – as performed by Robin Sachs – was your favorite?

    He didn't perform characters, as there weren't characters to perform.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I can't quite listen to a book that's 28 hours long, but it provided me a great month of listening to while driving to and from work.


    Any additional comments?

    If you want to have a well-rounded, in-depth, fair, balanced, well written and well read history of WWI, you need look no further. Get this book! You won't be disappointed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
    • Narrated By Jeremy Davidson
    Overall
    (772)
    Performance
    (637)
    Story
    (649)

    In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.

    Paul Bennett says: "Fine book, adequate narration"
    "Not every soldier in WWII needs a book about them"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Monuments Men?

    The book starts off great. There's a great buildup describing the main characters, what their mission is, who the villains are, what the scenes will be....but then nothing comes together. The 10 main characters all have great back stories, and I was led to believe that they'd all come together to undo some big evil plan of Rosenberg's...but no, nothing. The way Ettlinger's back story was set up, I thought he'd play a huge part in the book, but no, he gets drafted, then pulled from his unit before going to the front, sits around for four months doing absolutely nothing, does some translation work for the MFAA, finds his grandpa's painting, then goes home. What?!? All this buildup for that??? So far as I can tell, the 10 main characters are never even in the same room together. They barely meet, and when they do, it's for a matter of days, maybe a week, then they're off running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That's how the story line of the book goes to, if you can say there is a story line. There's no plot. There's no antagonist. There's no theme. There's no drama. There's no buildup. There's no climax and there's no resolution. The book is just a hodgepodge of random, disjointed stories with WWII going on in the background. Why should I care that a Christmas package of fruit cake arrived in March instead of at Christmas? Why should I care that Rose Valland can't trust anyone and won't give up the information she'd been collecting for 3 years? I don't know. The monuments men follow the front line, going to churches, castles and caves finding and saving artwork that was either stolen or stored for protection. They constantly complain about being understaffed and under-supplied, but no one ever does anything about it. No one seemed to care about the monuments men during the War, after the war, or even up till today. Also, this book is full of historical inaccuracies. Churchill most certainly did not insist on a cross-channel invasion of Europe after fighting had ceased in North Africa. He wanted to go for the soft underbelly of Europe - Italy. Ike, Marshall and FDR were the ones wanting to invade northern Europe right away. If you're interested in WWII history, this book is not for you. Maybe if you're in to art history, you'll find something of interest here, but I doubt it. Is art worth a life? I don't know, but reading this book didn't do anything to answer that question for me.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter again?

    Probably not. There are blatant historical errors in his research and he didn't do a good job of writing a coherent story.


    Did Jeremy Davidson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I don't know. He's got a good voice, but with so many characters, even the best narrator would have a hard time differentiating them all. I couldn't keep track of who was who and where everyone was and what they were doing and why they were doing it. But, on a whole, the narration was okay. His accents sounded forced, fake and it was hard to understand what he was saying with an accent.


    What character would you cut from The Monuments Men?

    I don't know....all of them? After getting through the whole book, I still wasn't sure who was who. I just finished it a few hours ago and I can't even tell you who was in charge of the MFAA. They were really quite forgettable.


    Any additional comments?

    Skip this book. I've heard that the Rape of Europa by Lynn H. Nicholas is much better and reads like a thriller.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Antony Beevor
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (161)

    Over the past two decades, Antony Beevor has established himself as one of the world's premier historians of World War II. His multi-award winning books have included Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945. Now, in his newest and most ambitious book, he turns his focus to one of the bloodiest and most tragic events of the twentieth century, The Second World War. Thrillingly written and brilliantly researched, Beevor's provocative account is destined to become the definitive work on World War II.

    DJM says: "It Fills in Gaps I Didn't Know Existed"
    "Interesting (if not slanted) take on WWII"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Second World War again? Why?

    Maybe, but probably not for a while. It is 39+ hrs long, so I had enough in-depth coverage of WWII for a little while (even though I'm a WWII buff!). I love Beevor's writing (notably Berlin and Stalingrad), but listening to this book, I noticed that Beevor focuses far too much on the French (even after they were defeated and contributed practically nothing to the rest of the War on either side) and to the imperialistic British. I was offended that Beevor only gave one or two sentences about *some horribly dreadful march from Bataan*, yet spent pages, if not chapters, talking about the boring and irrelevant British interest in maintaining their crumbling empire in the far east, and the squabbling and ineptitude of the British command there. I don't care about what the British commander looked like and when he took his tea when, at the same time, thousands were dying on the Bataan Death March. Really, I think Beevor bit off more than he could chew with this. He does have interesting side stories that I haven't ever heard anywhere else, but they tend to drag the storytelling down in some places talking about some ultimately insignificant event, and then speeds through other important events without hardly event getting into detail about them. Beevor, in his own words, in an Anglophile and has a slight Anti-American tone, and continually downplays America's significant contributions to the War. I got the impression that whenever Beevor talks about the Allies, Britain is portrayed as the most important, followed by France, followed by Russia, followed by America, which is way out of line in my opinion. When he talks about the German-Russian battles, the coverage is more balanced and fair. I was sad that I read/listened to this book - it tarnished my respect and admiration for Antony Beevor as an author. This book is okay for WWII history buffs, but I'd really recommend reading the much better and more fairly balanced Stalingrad or Berlin.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The interesting side stories that I hadn't heard anywhere else before. Also, this book covers far more of the Chinese-Japanese conflict than I have read in any other WWII history book.


    What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Good accents and good tone. It was very easy to listen to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but at 39 hours, that isn't possible.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw
    • Narrated By John Wray
    Overall
    (357)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (318)

    A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.

    Erik says: "An incredible true story"
    "1 of the best autobiographies of a German soldier"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, and for several reasons. If you are interested in a German soldier's vantage of WWII or if you are just a WWII history buff, this is the book for you.


    What other book might you compare Soldat to and why?

    The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer


    Have you listened to any of John Wray’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he is a pretty good reader. His reading seemed very rushed at the beginning - it was hard to follow because he barely stopped at the end of sentences or to even take a breath, but he slowed down later. His style is personable and really helped me get immersed in the book and in Knappe's story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but at 12 hours, that wasn't practical.


    Any additional comments?

    I read this book in college and thought it was great. I got the audiobook to listen going to and from work, and ended up listening to the whole thing in only a few days because it is such a compelling and interesting story.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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