Read a book by Ruth Downie about Roman's in Britain. that got me interested and I came across this series. This is book one of the series by Lindsey Davis. It opens up in 70 A.D. with Susia Camillina running into Marcus Didius Falco (PI) on the steps of the Forum running away from some street thugs. Falco rescues her and finds out she is the niece of a Senator. Falco is first hired by the Senator to find out what is going on but then Susia is murdered and Falco goes to Britain to see Helen the daughter of the Senator recently divorced, who Falco thinks is the key to the mystery. He discovers silver being stolen from the Emperor. The Emperor Vespasian hires him to find the silver pigs and solve the murder. Told in the first person, some action, suspense and information about the romans of the period. Falco has a dry wit and is a bit sardonic, not an appealing character for me but it will give him a second try. Interesting enough for me to try the second book in the series. Christian Rodska narrated the book he has a English accent which was okay for the part of the book in England but where is the Italian accent when in Rome?
With the world in such a mess today it is refreshing to read of a time that the impossible managed to happen. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter saw an opportunity to fulfill his religious destiny by bringing peace to the Holy Land. Rosalynn Carter was the one to suggested using Camp David as an ideal location for a summit. The talks started on September 5 1978.
Carter had his hands full. Israeli Prime Minister Meacham Begin never loosened his tier, nor did his mind stray from the horror of the Holocaust. He was an avid Zionist. Sadat secluded himself from everyone including his own advisors. Carter under estimated the complexity of the situation. Carter believed they could reach an agreement in three days. It took thirteen days instead. Both parties threaten to walk out daily. Carter ran back and forth between them working on a compromise. Carter forgot all his duties and concentrated all his efforts for the thirteen days on brokering an agreement. Wright concludes that it was Carter’s leadership that was the key to the success of the Accords. As a party to the negotiations Carter allowed each side to make concessions to the United States that they couldn’t make to each other. Both Begin and Sadat took extraordinary risks that achieved the peach that last today. Wright reminds us that Carter’s Camp David Accords was an act of surpassing political courage. He won the treaty but lost the presidency.
On the negative side the author’s favoritism toward Carter and Sadat comes through the story clearly. Wright makes some unnecessary remarks about Begin; I feel was inappropriate under the circumstances.
The author has done an excellent job meticulously piecing together from presidential records, diaries, interviews and books on the subject to create this most interesting book. Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Begin and Sadat received the Nobel Prize for Peace for reaching the Camp David Accords. This peace has now lasted for the past 36 years. Mark Bramhall did an excellent job narrating the book. If you are interested in history of the Middle East this is a must read book.
This is book number 9 in the Oregon series. In this story we start out in Siberia with Cabrillo attempting to rescue a Russian Admiral Yuri Borodin from prison. Yuri is a friend of Cabrillo. Our protagonist Juan Cabrillo is handicapped with only one leg. But his leg prosthetics comes loaded with an array of weapons. His ship the Oregon is made to look like a derelict freighter but is really a high tech ship loaded with lots of fancy and exciting weapons, copters, boats and other secret toys.
One of my favorite scientists is discussed in this story, Nikola Tesla. Apparently Tesla has invented an optical cloaking device and it was being tested on Westinghouse’s yacht. The book is non- stop action adventure. It is slam bang action on sea and land with lots of secret weapons. As with all Cussler books there is some history and it this book some science tossed into the story. I usually find the history part of the story most interesting.
Cussler’s books make a good escape read that holds the attention from page to page. Scott Brick does his usual great job narrating the book.
In this book Wheatcroft brilliantly shows the skirmishes and battles that raged for centuries between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans, and their numerous vassals on both sides, represented not so much a “clash of civilizations’ as a collision of Empires. The author point out the struggle was not so much between Islam and Christendom, territory was the goal, and the right to claim the legacy of the Roman Empire.
Wheatcroft is the author of several books on both the Hapsburg and Ottomans. He is a noted Habsburg historian. Wheatcroft has done a great deal of research recently in Ottoman studies including issues of military history. The author covers in depth the Siege of Vienna in 1683. Wheatcroft covers both the political and military context of the siege. The Ottomans and their Tatar auxiliaries had great strength in the fighting skills of their infantry and the mobility of their horseman. They were less skilled and disciplined in the art of the Siege.
The book goes a long way to fill the gaps in popular knowledge about the Ottoman, after the Golden age of Mehmed the Conqueror and Suleiman the Magnificent and before the fall of the Empire in WWI. The book focuses on the 17th and 18th century battles between the mightiest Empire of Europe and the largest in the Middle East.
I found the book interesting and easy to read, it nicely filled the gaps in my knowledge of the subject. Stefan Rudnicki did a good job narrating the book.
This is the last book in the Ark Royal trilogy. The book takes off immediately after the events in the previous book “The Nelson Force.” Warning you must read this trilogy in order starting with “Ark Royal”. All the familiar faces are present including the ones that the rest of humanity thinks are dead.
The writing has improved with each book. The characters are good, the story/plot compelling and the action is fast. Earth is losing the war with the aliens. Admiral Smith and the crew of the HMS Ark Royal are sent on a diplomatic mission. Complicating factor is the Russians and a sector of the aliens do not want to stop the fighting.
As the author cleans up all the loose ends of the story we at last find out the cause of the war. At the end of the book we have the excepted showdown between Ark Royal and a sector of Aliens that want to continue the war. What happens? Read the book. I am looking forward to more books from this talented new author. Ralph Lister does a good job narrating the trilogy.
“The Innovators” is a serial biography of the large number of ingenious scientist, and engineers who led up to Jobs and Wozniak. Isaacson covers the transistor, the microchip, microprocessor, the programmable computer and software. He also covers videogames, the internet and web, search engines, touch screens taken together it is called the digital revolution.
The digital revolution has changed many things for all people. Some people call this the third industrial revolution. The first based on coal, steam and iron, the second on steel, electricity and mass production.
The author tells the story of how the digital revolution happened, through the accomplishment of many individuals. Isaacson draws attention to organizations that, for a time hosted groups that were more than the sum of their individual parts. At the “idea factory” that was AT&T’s Bell Labs the physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley created the transistor, the fundamental building block for the microprocessor. It has been called the most important invention of the 20th century. The creative teams at Intel, the key company in development of the microprocessor industry and Xerox-PARC probably the single most fertile source of electronic innovation in the 1970s, they created the Ethernet, the graphic user interface, and the famous mouse. Texas Instruments created the personal calculator. The creation of demand for personal devices has blossomed.
It was Robert Oppenheimer, who at wartime Los Alamos so effectively found ways of getting scientists with radically different fields, skills and personalities to work together in designing the atomic bomb. Bell Labs, Intel, Xerox-PARC continued this team approach with great success. Silicon Valley took team innovation, venture capital, Stanford and University of California Berkeley Universities put them together to create what is called the “Ecosystem”. The authors shows how Silicon Valley took this “Ecosystem” of innovation and turned it into a powerful pool of creative revolution
The author tells of Gordon "Moore’s Law” predicting the doubling of a microprocessor’s power every year and half focused energies on a goal that was authoritatively said to be attainable. Bill Gates foresaw that hardware could be commoditized.
Isaacson tells of mathematician Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, as she set out to create analytical engines. Isaacson weaves his enormous amount of research into deftly crafted anecdotes into gripping narrative about these imaginative scientists who transformed our lives. The book is a fun and informative read. Dennis Boutsikaris did a good job narrating the book.
This is an “issue” novel. It is not the first one Grisham has written. The 2013 book “Sycamore Row” looked at racism in his native Mississippi, and his 1994 book “Pelican Brief” attack the environmental problems of the Gulf. I think that some issues are better attacked/told in novel form and his true story “The Innocent Man” might have worked better in a novel format.
Our protagonist Samantha Kofer, daughter of two high powered attorneys graduated from Georgetown University and Columbia law. She was a third year associate at a huge New York law firm when the recession began. When Lehman Brothers failed she is laid off. The firm stated they will continue her benefits and seniority if she would work for free in a not for profit organization for a year. She got an intern job at Mountain Legal Aid in tiny Brady, Va. in the heart of Appalachia.
The author does justice to the physical beauty of Appalachia and to the decency of most of its people. Grisham’s portrait of the poverty and injustice is abrupt as compared to Samantha’s privileged upbringing. The real subject of the book is the suffering inflicted on the people by coal mining companies and politicians who pander to the mining companies. Of course, none of this is new Eleanor Roosevelt attempted to help the people of Appalachia back in the 1930s. She even took on the coal mining companies and got some mining safety laws passed.
Grisham covers the problems of black lung disease, domestic violence, meth production and addiction, illegal collection companies, as well as the death of children from falling boulders dislodged by mining companies. The first thing Samantha is told was do not drink the water. The rape of the land by strip mining as well as toxic waste that has poisoned the water makes the story appear to jump right out of the newspapers headlines.
Grisham makes his characters very real and the plight of the miners and the realities of their lives are heart breaking. The story delves into small town politics and of course, a murder to solve. The mystery is a minor portion of the story; the main thrust is coal mining. I hope this novel by Grisham will shame society to act against the destruction of the mountains and rivers by strip mining or enforce or enact stricter regulations. Catherine Taber narrated the story.
Nicholas Rankin tells about Archibald Wavell, whose career began in the Boer War and ended with him a Field Marshall and Viceroy of India. Wavell wrote “The beginnings of any war by the British are always marked by improvidence, improvisation, and too often, alas, impossibilities being asked of the troops.” Improvisation defined British deception operations, camouflaging soldiers in the field, building entire fake armies and fake cities to fool airborne reconnaissance and bombers, counter sniping with dummy heads-all originated in the British amateur spirit and gift for discovering a way forward out of the strangest materials. The first half of the book is about World War One and the second half covers World War Two.
At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Solomon J. Solomon a portrait painter became obsessed with camouflaging soldiers. With the help from members of the London theatrical and artistic worlds he started a British Army School of Camouflage in Hyde Park. Another painter marine artist Norman Wilkinson designed a better method to camouflage ships from submarine attacks. He used a vivid painting of the vessel that dazzled and gave the impression that the head is where the stern is.
Sefton Delmer in late 1930s produced a German language radio program to entertain and seed disinformation to demoralize Hitler’s troops. The program ran all during the war. The author also discusses the famous Operation Mincemeat. Rankin states that the British Military have always looked for ways to outsmart their enemies, by hiding the extent of and defensive weakness and obscuring the timing and direction of any offensives. The author states the British integrate deception into the highest level of strategic planning during the two world wars. Some escapades became famous: phony units with pretend tanks, a double of General Bernard Montgomery arriving in Gibraltar to discuss fake operations. I got a good laugh at one story Rankin tells about the Luftwaffe paying tribute to a dummy railhead in Egypt by dropping a wooden bomb on it.
Churchill loved cloak-dagger exploits and was fascinated by cryptography, and military wizardry. Churchill promoted unorthodox figures who excelled in the crucial field of camouflage, propaganda, secret intelligence and Special Forces operation. Rank quotes one of Churchill’s famous declarations that he lived up to that “in wartime the truth should be protected by a bodyguard of lies.”
The book is a page turner and lots of fun; it covers many exciting and interesting illustration of British deception. If you are interested in either WWI or WWII or just in military history this is a must book for you. It is fairly long at about 22 hours. Napoleon Ryan does a great job narrating the book.
This is book three in the Hayden Series. Captain Charles Hayden is the son of a British Post Captain and a French mother. Hayden is fluent in French as he spoke it all his life. The time of the story is during the French Revolution with England and France at war again.
Hayden’s orders was to take the HMS Themis to a spot off the French coast to met a spy and then get the message immediately back to the Admiralty. The message was that the French have a naval fleet and 100,000 soldiers to invade England. The HMS Themis is captured after a daring chase and the French 79 gun ship runs aground while being chased by two British Naval Ships. The book has lots of sea action both from ship to ship battles as well as with storms at sea. Lots of suspense as the French thinks Hayden is a French Royalist that has gone over to the British. This is an excellent sea faring adventure.
I understand that Russell wrote Sci-fi/fantasy novels under pen names and going into historical seafaring adventure novels in new to him. Nick Boulton did a good job narrating the story.
This book covers the span of years between the end of the War and Washington’s presidency. This period is hardly mentioned by biographers or just called the wilderness years. The author said he felt these years helped Washington understand the weakness and problems facing the emerging country that helped him later as President. Larson writes about the Virginia planters putting his estate in order. When Washington traveled to check his frontier tracts in Pennsylvania and western Virginia he became worried. He found the inhabitants increasingly fractious and only sketchily loyal to the new nation. He worried that the western settlers may turn to Spain who controlled the mouth of the Mississippi river and the Western lands beyond.
The author said Washington believed that only a common interest supported by a vigorous central government and nourished commercial ties, could prevent the fragmentation of the large country. He recommends the building of canals which would benefit both private investors and the Nation as a whole. Larson reveals Washington writing to Henry Knox saying “Good God! There are combustibles in every State, which a spark may set fire to!”
When Congress called the Constitutional Convention in 1787 they wanted Washington to come and give stature to the proceedings. Washington was initially ambivalent about returning to politics. Washington sensed that division among the States threatened national liberty caused him to join the Constitutional convention in 1787. I really enjoyed Larson’s account by John Adams “John Adams groused, all anybody was likely to remember about the Revolution was “that Dr. Franklin’s electric rod smote the earth and out sprang George Washington. That Franklin electrified him and thence forward those two conducted all the policy, negotiations, legislation and War”
Larson describes Washington’s medical and dental problems and the pressure for Washington to be the president. The author brings to life the founders daily struggles to draw up a document that would preserve individual liberty while ensuring the new government’s supreme power and sovereignty. Larson identifies Washington’s three goals—“respect abroad, prosperity at home and development westward.” Larson did a lot of research and then wrote a readable history of a little discussed period of Washington’s life.
Edward J. Larson is a historian and legal scholar at Pepperdine University. He received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history for his book “Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion.” Mark Bramhall did a good job narrating the book.
This book just won the 2014 Man Booker prize. This was the first year that Americans we allow to compete for the British Award. Richard Flanagan is a Tasmanian, graduated from the University of Tasmania, awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Worcester College Oxford.
Flanagan wrote the book in tribute to his late father, who survived the horrors of “the line” thousand more did not. Beaten and starving, riddled with malaria, cholera, ulcers and beriberi, allied POWs and local workers alike perished in the dense jungle between Thailand and Burma to build a railroad. Forced by their Japanese captures to build a railway between Thailand and Burma under appalling slave labor conditions caused the death of 13,000 POWs and 100,000 local workers. The book reminds me somewhat of the movie “Bridge over the River Kwai.”
Flanagan historical novel protagonist is Dorrigo Evans an Australian Military surgeon. The book covers Evans life from childhood, education, war survival to post war life. During the War he is captured and sent to work on “the line” building the railroad. As a physician he treated both his fellow POWs and the Japanese Commander and his men. After the War Evans is haunted by the experience of the War, Flanagan’s writing reveals danger is omnipresent even after combat recedes, nature careless and monumental in its rains and bush fires.
Flanagan’s historical novel is an examination of what it is to be a good man and a bad man in the same body and, above all, of how hard it is to live after survival. Flanagan is a fine writer and through the voices of a broad cast of characters, he takes us deep into the world of war in the jungles of Burma. Flanagan has written a magnificent historical novel of passion, horror and tragic irony. The story looks at terrible things and creates something beautiful. In researching to write the book Flanagan says he spent many hours interviewing his father obtaining details like the smell of the ulcer hut, the taste of sour rice. He also drew upon published histories and memoirs. For those interested in the history of World War II this is a must read book. David Atlas did a good job narrating the book.
Report Inappropriate Content