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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

3807
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 701 reviews
  • 738 ratings
  • 1384 titles in library
  • 204 purchased in 2014
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  • Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles Seen Through Japanese Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Captain Tameichi Hara
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    This highly regarded war memoir was a best seller in both Japan and the United States during the 1960s and has long been treasured by historians for its insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known throughout Japan as the Unsinkable Captain.

    Jean says: "Rousing tale of fear overcome"
    "Rousing tale of fear overcome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was first published in Japan in 1958 and then in 1961 by the Naval Institute Press. The autobiography was highly regarded at the time both in Japan and the United States. The book was released as an audio book on November 11, 2013. Historians have used the book for insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known in Japan as the “unsinkable captain.”

    The book begins with Captain Hara recounting his early life and his time at Eta Jima, Japan’s Naval Academy. The book has anecdotes about his personal life, life aboard ship and “behind-the-scenes” events which made the book absolutely a super read. Captain Hara was highly regarded in Japan. He wrote a manual for the Navy on torpedo warfare. He followed a code of honor similar to his grandfather who was a samurai.

    The author was free with praise for American courage and resourcefulness. He also had praise for and was critical of the Japanese Navy and himself. Hara states that the Japanese combatants made more tactical mistakes than their American counterparts. He also specifically faults Tokyo with cronyism and acquiescing too often to the Army. He states the military would have been much better if advancement in rank was based on merit rather than political and birth class.

    Hara’s war began around Formosa and the inland sea during the 1930s. He was part of the diversionary forces that attacked the Philippines. Contrary to the title of the book he was not at Pearl Harbor. Captain Hara was a destroyer squadron commander aboard the destroyer Shiqure. Most of the book describes the battles in the Java Sea and the Solomon Island Campaign where Captain Hara participated in most of the major actions. Brian Nishii narrated the book. If you are interested in World War II Pacific theatre this is a book for you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Cinderella Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke
    • Narrated By Jan Maxwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    In a first-time collaboration, "Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark partners with best-selling author Alafair Burke to deliver a brand new suspense series about a television program featuring cold case murders.

    Jean says: "Engrossing"
    "Engrossing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is written by two authors I have read over the years and enjoyed. Mary Higgins Clark has been writing stand alone novels for over forty years many which have become best sellers. Alafair Burke is the daughter of author Jamie Lee Burke. Alafair is a law professor and an author in her own right.

    “The Cinderella Murder” is to be the first book in a new series. The story will continue Mary Higgins Clark’s story of television producer Laurie Moran’s investigation of cold case murders. In this book the show investigates the decades old murder of a beautiful UCLA student whose body was found in the Hollywood Hills missing a shoe. The murder was dubbed the “Cinderella Case” by the press.

    I have found that both authors imbue their novels with unbelievable suspense and that follows through in this story. When I started reading the book I found I could not stop, good thing the audio book was only about 8 hours long. The book is fast moving and riveting. If you enjoy mystery stories you will love this one. Jan Maxwell narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Antonia Felix
    • Narrated By Antonia Felix
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    We've heard the name "Condoleezza Rice" over and over again as the spokesperson for President George W. Bush in matters of national security and foreign affairs. She presented a balanced, firm, unafraid presence to the country after the terrible events of September 11, 2001, as she spoke to the media and the public on behalf of the President. And, when the President has something to say about our friends and foes overseas, "Condi," as she is known to her friends, is usually standing in the background.

    Jean says: "Readable biography"
    "Readable biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The biography covers the life of Condoleezza Rice from birth to her role as the first woman National Security Advisor. The story is well written and well researched and mostly covers the basic facts of her life.

    Condi’s father, John Rice was a Presbyterian minister and academic, her mother was a pianist and teacher. She was born in segregated Birmingham Alabama in 1954. Felix explores Condi’s passions from football to music, weight training to Russia. The author covers Condi’s role as the first black woman and youngest person to become Provost of Stanford University. I found the fact that when Rice was a student of international affairs and Russian language at the University of Denver her mentor was professor Josef Korbell, the father of the first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright most interesting.

    The author in her research of the book included interviews with family, friends and colleagues of Rice but the major downside of the book in my opinion was that Felix did not interview Rice. What the book did was provided me with the desire to learn more about Condoleezza Rice. The author narrated her own book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Love and Treasure

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Ayelet Waldman
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Maine, 2012. An old man is dying with the weight of a plundered necklace on his conscience. As an US Army Captain in 1946 Salburg, guarding the 'Hungarian Gold Train' full of looted Jewish treasure, he fell in love with camp survivor and helped her escape to Israel. Now, as his granddaughter sets out to repatriate the necklace, secrets buried in the past are uncovered, stories of love and deceit linked to that beautiful, peacock-shaped pendant and to a priceless, long-lost painting.

    Linda says: "Not Just Another War Story!"
    "A Haunting Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The facts: In 2005, the settlement of a notorious case of postwar liability took place in a federal court in Florida. Sixty years previously, the Hungarian Gold Train consisting of 40 box cars had arrived in Salzburg, Austria bearing property requisitioned by the Nazis from Hungary’s 800,000 Jewish citizens. Making its way to Germany the train is intercepted by the Americans. Some of its cargo was commandeered by the generals working on the Marshall plan, to furnish their headquarters. It would take a half a century for Hungarian survivors of the holocaust to settle a lawsuit that granted $21 million as compensation. The money was awarded to a number of Jewish social service agencies.

    The story: The book is a multigenerational tale largely set in Salzburg in 1945 and in Budapest both in the present and in 1913. Crucial to the plot is an enameled pendant, intricately worked in a peacock design.

    Jack Wiseman an American Jew and retired classic professor is dying of Cancer, his granddaughter Natalie, is spending time with him and listening to his reminiscences of World War II. He tells of falling in love with Ilana Jakob, a Hungarian refuge and survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau, while he was stationed in Salzburg immediately after the war. His memoires are shadowed by his guilt at the illegal removal of an item of jewelry, the only tangible trace of his lost lover. His granddaughter Natalie promises to return the pendant to the family.

    The book is divided into three main sections, Jack’s story during the war, his granddaughter Natalie’s search for the peacock pendant’s owner and three the true story of the pendant's owners in 1913 Budapest. Waldman weaves a great story through history of lost holocaust treasure. The author sustains her multiple plot lines with confidence and descriptive panache, fashioning complex personalities caught up in a series of events. My only complaint is I would have like to know what happened to Ilana Jakob and her fellow travelers to Israel. Did they make it, what was their life like since 1946? The story is somewhat in the vein of the movie “The monuments men.” If you enjoy historical novels about World War II or stories of the Holocaust this is a book you will enjoy. Jonathan Davis and Paul Hecht narrated the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Shot Rolling Ship: A John Pearce Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By David Donachie
    • Narrated By Peter Wickham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Pressed into King George's Navy for the second time in a month, John Pearce finds himself working aboard HMS Griffin, sailing the Channel in search of the numerous French privateers preying on English merchant ships. Pearce, however, has other things on his mind. He must find a way off the ship in order to rescue his ailing father from the dangers of revolutionary Paris.

    Jean says: "Rollicking yarn"
    "Rollicking yarn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book two of the John Pearce historical novel series. In this book John Pearce and comrades, the so called Pelicans, find themselves aboard the HMS Griffin, a slow, overcrowded ship. The ship is tasked to stop the French privateers that are raiding the English merchant ship in the Channel. The time frame is 1793, and in the prior book John was trying to save his father from the guillotine in Paris when he was caught by a Press gang in a London pub called the Pelican. The men that were captured with him stayed together and call themselves the Pelicans. The first two books are different from other naval stories of this period in that the hero is a landlubber that has entered the navy via a press gang and has to learn to be a sailor. The other books have the hero as an officer and are career navy. In this book John is still trying to save his father and is serving on a naval vessel in the English Channel. You will have to read the book to find out if he is successful in saving his father.

    The book is well written, with memorable characters and has some great moments of action that is quite gripping. Donachie makes his characters come alive. The author uses less nautical terms than some of the other authors writing in the genre. The story is well paced and engaging. Donachie astutely blends fact with fiction.

    David Donachie was born in Edinburgh in 1944. He writes under a number of pseudomonas. He has an interest in naval history of the 18th and 19th century. Currently he lives in Deal Kent with his wife the novelist Sarah Grazebrook and their two children. He wrote the Nelson and Emma Trilogy about Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton. I am looking forward to reading book three in the series. Peter Wickham narrated the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Farallon: Shipwreck and Survival on the Alaska Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve K. Lloyd
    • Narrated By Frank Wright
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    On a snowy morning in January 1910, the Alaska Steamship Company's Farallon struck Black Reef in Cook Inlet. The vessel carried no wireless radio to broadcast an SOS. Thirty-eight men scrambled into lifeboats, to be cast up on the rugged shore where they huddled under make-shift tents constructed from the Farallon's sails. Exposed to a bitter northern winter with meager equipment and clothing, a disturbing awareness sank in-rescuers may arrive too late.

    Jean says: "Gripping Tale of Survival"
    "Gripping Tale of Survival"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I was a kid I loved stories about survival and shipwrecks, I still do. This book is the story of the shipwreck of the S.S. Farallon, a wooden schooner steamship that was used to transport lumber. On a snowy morning January 5, 1910 the S. S. Farallon struck Black Reef in Cook Inlet Alaska. With no radio to call for help, the crew scrambled into lifeboats and headed for the shore.

    The book tells of how the crew survived being castaways in the barren wilderness in midwinter with temperature plunging to -40 degree Fahrenheit. The author provides background of the various mariners and ships that played a part in the events that unfolded while pacing the narrative in a compelling manner. The author’s research was extensive and the book is well document. One of the crew members was an amateur photographer; he grabbed his Kodak camera when he went into the lifeboat. He took one hundred photographs of their ordeal. The photograph collection is at the University of Washington.

    It is hard to believe that these men actually managed to survive their ordeal. The book tells of the courage and stamina that it takes to come through alive. The author states that pieces of the ship are still on the rocks of the uninhabited coastline, undisturbed a century later. The book was published in 2000 by the Washington State University press and contains some of the pictures of the ordeal. The audio book was released on November 11, 2014. Frank Wright narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Empire's Corps

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (288)
    Story
    (286)

    The Galactic Empire is dying and chaos and anarchy are breaking out everywhere. After a disastrous mission against terrorists on Earth itself, Captain Edward Stalker of the Terran Marine Corps makes the mistake of speaking truth to power, telling one of the most powerful men in the Empire a few home truths. As a result, Captain Stalker and his men are unceremoniously exiled to Avalon, a world right on the Rim of the Empire. It should have been an easy posting...

    john says: "Please publish rest of the series"
    "Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book one in a new series. Nuttall is a fairly new author; I read his first books, the Ark Royal trilogy. I see he has now started a series. I enjoyed his trilogy so decided to give the series a try. The Galactic Empire is dying and chaos and anarchy are breaking out everywhere. Our protagonist Captain Edward Stalker spoke the truth to those in power. As a result he and his men are exiled to Avalon, a world right on the rim of the Empire. Avalon is about to collapse from a corrupt government and insurgents, bandits roam freely in the county side. Stalker and his Marines are soon caught up in a whirlwind of events.

    The Empire starts off with a good description of the enormity of the Empire including intricacies of the political scene which seems enormous. Nuttall creates not only an interesting world but an entire universe full of planet inhabited by humans. With hundreds of planetary cultures I can only imagine where the series will go. The book is fast paced, lots of action, suspense and military dialog. There is more character building because it is the first book of a new series. The book is about Marines so there is less Naval space action in this story.

    I understand that Nuttall was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland but he is currently living in Borneo with his wife Aisha. This is the first time I have encountered a book narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. He did a good job narrating the book. I will look forward to listening to him narrate other books. If you enjoy military Sci-Fi you will enjoy this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John McCain, Mark Salter
    • Narrated By John McCain
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    John McCain’s evocative history of Americans at war, told through the personal accounts of 13 remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Jean says: "Stories of courage"
    "Stories of courage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John McCain, a Senator from Arizona and a former Navy aviator wrote this book about thirteen soldiers. The author identifies a single soldier, sailor, airman, or marine from each of American’s thirteen major wars to eulogize for courage under fire. The chapters follow the books basic format, setting the world stage, recalling the principal person’s prewar life and then describing the person’s performance of duty.

    For example, the Civil War the authors chose Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. For the 1898 Spanish American war Edward Baker, a Buffalo Soldier cavalryman and Medal of Honor recipient. Persian Gulf War Mary Rhoads a reservist and the Afghanistan War medic Monica Lin Brown. The war of 1812 a black seaman named Charles Black. From the Viet Nam war Leo Thorsness an F-105 wild Weasel pilot, prisoner of war and Medal of Honor recipient.

    The Wide variety of characters from different race and gender from each military service makes for many fascinating stories. The book as a whole offers insights into life during battle. The authors cover ordinary soldiers going through difficult experiences. The story I enjoyed the most was of Medic Monica Lin Brown. I was familiar with most of the other story told. John McCain narrates the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood on the Water: William Monk, Book 20

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anne Perry
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    In her twentieth William Monk mystery, she brings us to London's grand Mayfair mansions, where the arrogant masters of the Western world hold sway - and to the teeming Thames waterfront, where one summer afternoon, Monk witnesses the horrifying explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, which takes nearly two hundred of the merrymakers on board to their deaths. The tragedy is no accident.

    Jean says: "Captivating"
    "Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is number twenty in the Monk series. Monk, commander of London’s River Police, is on patrol with his deputy Orem, when suddenly a large explosion rips open the bow of “The Princess Mary” a large party boat. They set about assisting in the rescue of people but over 179 people die. The next day Monk dives in a hard hat diving suit to see if he can find the site of the explosion. Monk is taken off the case and it is turned over to the head of the Metropolitan police. The police quickly arrest an Egyptian man who is quickly tried and convicted. Monk, Hester and Scuff set out to find the real killer.

    The book is mainly a morality tale but scuff and his new friend Worm add a bit of lively detail to the story. Perry’s strength lies in her extensive knowledge of the Victorian era which enlivens and adds authentic color to the well-plotted narrative. Every detail of custom and dress, manners is carefully aligned with the 1860’s England, with teeming streets, polluted waterways and deeply rooted class structure and social mannerism. The author’s depiction of life along the waterfront is authentic and most interesting historically. Perry manages to integrate the construction of the Suez Canal into the 1860 story
    .
    The story moves on at a very fast pace until the surprising conclusion is reached almost on the last page. I have enjoyed this series and find that it is Hester that I have grown most interested in and enjoy. David Colacci narrated the story and has narrated the majority of books in this series. Colacci does an excellent job with the narration. If you enjoy historical novels set in Victorian England you will enjoy this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Norton Smith
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From acclaimed historian Richard Norton Smith comes the definitive life of an American icon: Nelson Rockefeller—one of the most complex and compelling figures of the twentieth century.

    Jean says: "An Excellent biography"
    "An Excellent biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Richard Norton Smith is a well known historian and biographer. He is known for his strenuously researched, fully contextualized, comprehensive biographies. True to his reputation he has created an outstanding, comprehensive biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller.

    Nelson Rockefeller was the grandson of John D. Rockefeller and was born on his grandfather’s birthday. His father was John D. Rockefeller Jr. The author states that because NR did not have to make a living he chose to dedicate his life to public service. Smith spends about a third of the book on NR early life.

    Smith describes NR’s first job in government in August 1940 when he was appointed Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs by President Franklin Roosevelt. He was charged with designing economic aid and cultural programs for Latin America. He spent fifteen years in Washington as a special adviser, undersecretary and cabinet member for three successive presidents two of them democrats. Smith states NR developed a reputation as a visionary connoisseur of innovative thinking. In 1957 he became the Governor of New York. While governor he expanded colleges, parks and state infrastructure. Smith states NR blazed trails in funding the arts, protecting the consumer, restoring the environment and advancing transportation, human rights, highway safety and so on. On the negative side Smith states that in his final years as governor he became a budgetary hawk, did a right ward shift on welfare, did a brutal suppression of the rebellion at Attica state prison in 1971 and created draconian drug laws in 1973.

    Smith does not wallow in salacious details nor does he close his eyes to Rockefeller’s flagrant adultery and its personal and political consequences. He pulls no punches in this biography. Smith reports that as Rockefeller aged he became even more confident in his superiority, more self indulgent and more oblivious to his marginalization within the Republican Party.

    Smith reveals NR had dyslexia; therefore he called in authors, experts to explain their ideas to him instead of reading the reports. Because of his wealth he was able to create a brain trust around himself to assist him and to inform him of the latest ideas, knowledge etc.

    Nelson Rockefeller has been the subject of at least ten previous biographies but this one may turn out to be the most definitive one. This book is 880 pages or 41 hours in the audio book format but I could hard put it down it kept my attention throughout. Smith spend 14 years doing meticulous research, this included not only the prior biographies but also interviews with early Rockefeller contemporaries and 60,000 pages of newly available oral histories and family archives as well as the newly released letters of NR’s first wife Mary Rockefeller. This biography is all that an unbiased biography should be. Paul Michael did a good job narrating the book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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