Irving Stone wrote this book in 1934 and became the master of the biographical novel. I had read a number of his books back in the 50's and 60's and wanted to read them all but did not have the time. I do hope that Audible will provide all of his outstanding books. A number of Stone's books were made into movies. " Lust for Life" is the story of Vincent Van Gogh, the facts are correct but stone's brings him to life and in doing so has to take creative license therefore it is a novel. I remember after reading this book in 1962 I went to the museum to look at Van Gogh paintings. I am glad I read this book again as I had remember very little of it. Stone describes the colors of the area and what Vincent is painting so it helps me see the world though Van Gogh's eyes or the eyes of a painter.
Van Gogh probably had a bipolar disorder and did has greatest painting when in the manic phase. Some of his medical complaints may also be caused by his over consumption of Absinthe as it contains a toxin and to lead poisoning which was common among painters of that era. The toxin in Absinthe causes one to see yellow and halo around lights. The story covers in detail his early life to his death. You will enjoy this book.
Susan P. Mattern, professor of history at the University of Georgia wrote a meticulous and engaging biography of Claudius Galenus, also called Galen of Pergamon (Pergamum) (129ce to 226ce). Mattern’s rigorous scholarship unveils the rich, vivid layers of Galen’s life and times. Galen, a Greek aristocrat of great ambition and superior intelligence, was already a renowned physician when he arrived in Rome in 162 ce. He treated Emperor Marcus Aurelius, philosopher Eudemus and of course, the Gladiators.
Mattern tells the story of Galen from early life to death. Mattern stresses that Galen was an exemplary products of Hellenistic culture, urbane, deeply familiar with Greek philosophy and literature as well as medical literature. Galen learned the art of oratory and debate practiced by the Sophists. Mattern reports his encounters with other physician were brutal rhetorical showdowns.
Galen was a titan of his time. His many books would be consulted by medics for centuries to come. Where chronology is uncertain Mattern organized material by theme. In a series of chapter Mattern, combines biographical material with emphasis on some aspect of Galen’s doctrine and practice. Over all it is surprisingly an easy readable book considering the complicated material it covers. Professor Mattern managed to create a book anyone can read and understand not just the academic. James Patrick Cronin narrated the book.
The 1800 elections unveiled a schism in the body politic for the first time in U.S. history. The battle of the two party systems begins with this election. In the final days of John Adam’s presidency, he tried to appoint as many Federalist as possible to position established in legislation passed by the outgoing Federalist majority Congress. He had recently appointed John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when John Jay refused to take the job again. A handful of commissions for justice of the peace remained undelivered when incoming Democratic-Republican President Thomas Jefferson took office. Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them. A disgruntled office seeker, William Marbury, sued to have his commission honored.
The book is well-research even including some contemporary newspaper accounts. The book reads like a political thriller. Marbury V Madison is considered the most important legal case in American history. The case established the judiciary as the final arbiter of any conflict between the law and the Constitution. The authors supply Marbury’s historical context and unravels the complex fabric of personalities, politics and law that animated the case. Sloan and McKean spent most of the book on the 1800 election and the thoughts of Adams and Jefferson. I wished they would have spent equal or more time on John Marshall and how he came to his decision. The book suffers from occasionally losing momentum, dragging and poor editing. But overall the book provided a review of the history of the 1800 election, the antagonism between Adams and Jefferson as well as insight into legal history. If one is interested in American history and legal history this is a great book to start with. Peter Jay Fernandez did a good job narrating the book.
My introduction to J. A. Jance was a book in the middle of the Joanna Brady series. I enjoyed it so much I read the entire series then started on the Beaumont series. I was so glad to see a new book in the Brady series; I thought she had forgotten about. The book starts out in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where a daughter of a hoarder is forced to return to her mother’s house. Lisa Machett’s mother Thelma is dying and Lisa needs to deal with Thelma’s affairs. In cleaning the house she discovers a large amount of cash. People who help Lisa are killed; Thelma’s house is burned down on the day of her funeral. Dr. Machetts is found murdered and tortured in his home in Bixby, Arizona. He is Lisa’s half brother.
Sheriff Joanna Brady is also dealing with the murder of Junior Dowdle, a long time character in the series, along with Junior’s body is a number of dead and mutated kittens, rabbit and small dog. Gradually the two plots weave together to form a compelling tale of family dysfunction and murder. This is a complicated read that moves forward at a rapid pace. As usual J. A. Jance has written an interesting tale. Hillary Huber did a good job narrating the book.
When I saw the author was Patrick Buchanan, I remembered him as an aide to Richard Nixon, so I understood from the beginning the book would have a favorable bias. The book covers the time frame from the defeat by JFK for the presidency in 1960 and the lost to Pat Brown for governor of California in 1962 to his winning the presidency in 1968. This time frame to borrow from Winston Churchill was his “wilderness years”.
The GOP was split between the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater hard-liners and the more moderate Republicans represented by Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney. Nixon started courting the conservative press and laying down strategy for helping the GOP recoup losses in the mid-term election of 1966. This strategy included reassuring law and order, endorsing Rockefeller for Governor of New York, fashioning a new Republican Party of the South that rested on human rights not bigotry.
Buchanan provides an insider’s account of how Nixon made his comeback. Buchanan bolsters his tale with copious evidence, not just his first hand memoires as a major participant but also abundant new clips and archival material. The book is thoughtful, well-written and entertaining full of intrigue and gamesmanship of politics. I did note the book revealed time and again that Nixon chose to attack opponents rather than develop solutions for problems facing the country at the time. As we are at the fortieth anniversary of Nixon resignation I assume more books about Nixon will be forthcoming. Arthur Morey narrated the book.
This book might be a good preparatory reading for World War One. Dr. Mosier covers a number of topics, geography of France, German and French history prior to WWI, railroads and their usefulness and limitations as well as military preparedness. He explains in pain-staking detail why the French artillery was terribly inaccurate and inadequate. French politics are reviewed along with their divisive role in military preparedness.
The author claims the lost history is actually buried history. The French army controlled all information or disinformation of the war. The author delved into this mass of suppressed information finding that each layer of command lied to the one above it as to the results of the latest offensive effort. One of the main points the author makes is that Verdun was not one battle but a series of battles fought from late 1914 to 1918.
One need to carefully review the source of the information provided in the index and keep a skeptical viewpoint to decide for yourself, is the book a fresh viewpoint and a struggle with official “truth” or a powerful revisionist account. Mosier also points out that WWI had no hero General to catch the public attention. Whereas, WWII had many Hero Generals that has kept the public interested in WWII for years. For those interested in World War One history the book is well worth the read. The book was narrated by Wes Talbot.
Terms of Enlistment is Marko Kloos first book. It is an entertaining military Sci-Fi fare. It features a stagnant overpopulated human population on earth, slightly populated space colonies, a powerful military apparatus and a formidable alien. The central protagonist Andrew Grayson joins the military to obtain food and a clean place to sleep and escape the welfare ghetto of Boston.
There is a lot to like about this book, the action is fast-paced, and the vivid descriptions of the desperate battle that Grayson and his team fight during pacification of an urban riot in Detroit are outstanding. The interaction between the soldiers is believable and the protagonist comes across as a regular guy. On the other hand, the alien encountered toward the end of the book is not particularly believable. The manner in which faster than light travel is explained is just a bit vague, no plausible explanation as to how to get around the problem of Newtonian and Einsteinium physics is provided. The flaws aside the book is extremely readable debut novel. Luke Daniels did a good job narrating the book.
I found this to be a charming book and very readable book. No reporter has gotten close to the reclusive writer other than Maja Mills. In 2001 she flew to Monroeville Alabama to write about her for The Chicago Tribune. She told Alice about the Chicago library’s “One Book, One City” to celebrate the 41 anniversary of the publishing of “To Kill A Mockingbird”. To Mills surprise the sisters gave her a brief interview. Alice Finch Lee was born in 1911 and is the older sister. She is the measured steady one and is still a practicing attorney. Maja Mills had been diagnosed with Lupus in 2004 and was out on disability from The Chicago Tribune. Consequently, she moved to Monroeville, Alabama next door to the Lee sisters home. Mills states the move was with the permission of the Mills sister and with the understanding she was going to write a book. She entered easily into the world of the Lee’s and their friends. They all shared aching joints and free time to talk about books, local history, to go fishing and long car rides into the country. The book provides a rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sister’s lives.
The author is respectful guest of the Lee sisters, so don’t expect insider gossip. Mills describes Nelle Harper Lee (born 1926) as a down-to-earth, self assured, spirited, spontaneous, quick-witted and passionate. She is also impatient and has a temper. The author repeatedly tells of what good company the Lee sisters are. When ask about the name Harper they explain the middle name Harper, was a tribute to the doctor who saved the life of Louise (the middle sister). Mills delves into Harper Lee’s relationship with Truman Capote, who appears as Dill Harris in “Too Kill A Mockingbird”. Truman lived with his aunt next door to the Lee’s a few years when they were all children.
The publisher delayed the publishing of the book because Harper Lee published a letter saying she did not participate in the book and did not authorize it. Alice Lee wrote a letter to the publisher saying both she and Harper Lee participated knowingly and willing in the book. So the publisher went ahead with the release of the book.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” was published in 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize and became a classic of American literature. It still sells some 750,000 copies annually and is now sold in e-book and audio format. Harper Lee stopped talking to the press in 1965.
I enjoyed the book and found it to a relaxing read. Amy Lynn Stewart did an excellent job narrating the book.
William Tecumseh Sherman was born in 1820 in Ohio. His family nicknamed was “Cump”. He was the grandson of Roger Sherman of Connecticut a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the architects of the Constitution. WTS’s father moved to Ohio in 1811 and set up a legal practice. He fathered eleven children and died unexpectedly in 1829. WTC was adopted by Thomas Ewing a friend of his fathers and a wealthy lawyer and politician. Sherman’s brother John Sherman became a lawyer and politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and after.
The first part of the book covers Sherman’s early life, his time at West point (1836) and his career in the army. The section that covers the Civil War is extremely detailed. In the Civil War Sherman was assigned to serve under Major General Ulysses S. Grant, they fought together at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Sherman was promoted to Major General and turned loose by Grant in 1864, with an independent command, to rip out the logistical innards of the Confederacy. O’Connell goes into meticulous detail in Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. This is the largest part of the book and the most through.
The middle of the book covers Sherman’s career from after the Civil war to retirement. WTS was made General in Chief of the Army when Grant became President. WTS over saw the Westward expansion of the Nation, including the building of infrastructure such as roads, railroads and protecting settlers.
The last part of the book covers WTS personal and family life. He married Ellen Ewing his adopted sister. They had seven children. His wife travel with him to some post but preferred to stay at her father’s home in Ohio most often. They had seven children, one son became a priest must to the dismay of Sherman. Ellen was a devoted catholic but Sherman was a Calvinist. Ellen died in 1888. O’Connell does cover some of the affairs and mistress of Sherman. No biographer, including O’Connell has made the marriage come fully to life, or his well known womanizing. This section of the book is under developed.
Robert L. O’Connell has a Ph.D. in History and spent thirty years as an analyst at the National Ground Intelligent Center. Currently he is a visiting Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and author of numerous military books. O’Connell takes a fresh viewpoint from other writers I have read on Sherman to date. The book is well worth the read for those interested in Civil War history or in general history. Andrew Garman did an excellent job narrating the book.
Listening to this memoir by Gore Vidal, I had the feeling I was spending the afternoon with an elderly man listening to his stories. A few years ago I had read a biography of General Robert Olds who in 1942 married Nina Gore Auchincloss. Gore Vidal’s famous actress mother. I like it when information in one book I read shows up in another book I am reading. Vidal came from a famous family. His father was a military pilot who in civilian life started three airlines, TWA, Eastern and Northwestern. His mother was an actress whose father was a long time Senator from Oklahoma. Gore tells about reading to his grandfather who was blind and going into the U.S. Senate to read whatever was needed to him. The book is a bit rambling but just as it would be if you were sitting having a conversation with him. His life ranged from a playwright on Broadway to a Hollywood screen writer to essayist and novelist. In the book he discusses the various famous people he knew in all types of professions. From Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy (his step sister was Jackie Auchincloss Kennedy). He also discussed Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Saul Bellows, and Marlene Dietrich, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Two people he had nothing nice to say about were Truman Capote and Richard Nixon. A few of his witty aphorism were present also. He wrote this just after the death of Howard Austen his partner for 53 years. I noticed some of the reviews of this book were negative but I enjoyed listening to Gore Vidal. He gave me a glimpse into the life of a famous writer and intellectual from the 1930 through 2005. I remember reading some of his books such as Lincoln, Burr and the novel Myra Breckinridge. Gore Vidal narrated the book himself.
The tale begins in July 1914 about two girl friends and how their lives entwine when one of them marries the others brother. Kenzia a Vicar daughter and Thea who grew up on a farm were scholarship students. Thea gives Kenzia a book as a wedding gift “The Woman’s Book” a publication advising woman on a variety of subjects. The story pulls the reader immediately into Kenzie’s life. She struggles to be the wife her husband deserves, and struggles to maintain the farm while enduring the yearning their separation brings. Thea is transformed from being a suffragist to an ambulance driver on the front lines. Food is scares both on the home front and for the soldiers. To keep Tom’s spirits us Kenzia sends letters detailing imaginary scrumptious meals she’s prepared for him, which he shares with the comrades.
This historical novel illuminates the ways in which the Great War affected the men and women who were called to duty, as well as those who stayed at home. The story raises profound questions about conflict, belief, and love that echoes in our own time. This book was set 100 years ago; it was so well written I felt as if I had stepped back in time. It also made me think of all the advancement that has taken place over the past 100 years just in the home and on the farm. The book was published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Nicola Barber narrated the book.
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