Like most people I just had to read this book right away to see what all the fuss was about. It is an interesting story of a man's life as a Navy Seal. He starts as a kid that read a book written by an ex Navy Seal that inspired him to want to be a seal. He fulfilled his goal. The parts of the book that covers the operation to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden was exciting and full of action but did not give much more information than was already available. The narrator Holter Graham did an excellent job with the narration. I am sure the book will continue to be controversial and people will have strong belief's for and against the operation.
On January 23, 1968 the USS Pueblo, a lightly armed diminutive spy ship was boarded by heavily armed North Korean military near Wonsan and the American crewmen taken prisoner. Jack Cheevers, a former Los Angeles Times political reporter, painstakingly and dramatically describes the seizure of the ship and crew and how close the United States came to becoming involved in a second Korean War. On January 21, 1968 North Korean commandos had attempted the assassination of the South Korean President. The USS Pueblo was never notified of this incident. The author had done meticulous research including tracking down survivors for their stories.
To avoid the potential war LBJ dispatched Cyrus R. Vance to South Korea to negotiate. Cheevers carefully tracks Vance’s delicate mission. For eleven months the Pueblo crew was regularly and savagely beaten, tortured and starved while negotiation to get them back was going on. Cheever’s reports that once freed the crew all suffered from a variety of mental and physical ailments. A Navy psychiatrist diagnosed some of the crew member with “Concentration Camp Syndrome”. (A disorders that afflicted survivors of Hitler’s death camps).
The last part of the book deals with the Navy’s inquiry of the incident. The Court of Inquiry ordered a court marshal of Cmdr. Lloyd “Pete” Bucher but the Secretary of the Navy dismissed it. Bucher and crew had to fight for their reputation the rest of their lives. Many years later, after a long fight by supporters, the crew was finally awarded the POW medal.
This book tells an important and almost forgotten incident of the Cold War. The book reads like a suspense military novel rather than a history book. Jeffrey Kafer did an excellent job narrating the book.
This book provided a great amount of information into the background of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan’s rise to power. Matthews worked as a speech writer for President Jimmy Carter and was an aid to Speaker Tip O’Neill so he is writing as an insider. Matthews’s eyewitness account of the collapsing Carter campaign in 1980 is one of the strongest sections in the book.
The 1980 election made Ronald Reagan, who was the most conservative Republican to date, President. The Republicans got control of the Senate but the Democrats controlled the House. Matthews paints Reagan and O’Neill as mirror images of Irish American politicians. O’Neill fits the type but Reagan was a product of a protestant small Midwest town and southern California and down played his Irish heritage. Matthews misread Reagan as affable when his election depended on his very public meanness, his zest for the punitive ---the vow to crackdown on “welfare Queen’s” and domestic spending. Reagan began his political career working for Barry Goldwater. Reagan launched his campaign for presidency in the heart of KKK country to counter Jimmy Carter.
Matthews portrayed O’Neill as a blustering, tough Irish Bostonian who came up through the ranks of Congress, a consummate political insider. Reagan by contrast likes to portray himself as an outsider somehow innocent of the machine. His politics are still being played out today in the suspicion of all government programs and the conviction that all taxes are bad. Reagan the actor was head of the Actor’s Union and former Governor of California.
The book is instructive with lessons on legislative flexibility and budget protocols that are now often ignored. Political scholars will profit from Matthew’s emphasis on documentation in his recounting of the pivotal role played by James A. Baker III, Reagan’s chief of staff, in the Reagan-O’Neill deal. Baker was not too proud to trek to O’Neill’s home at night to craft the compromise. Tip was able to rescue a tottering Social Security system and keep it going a good long time to come with the help of Reagan and Bob Dole. Tip’s support was crucial to Reagan achieving a historic nuclear arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union whom Reagan called the “evil empire”. On the other hand, the 1981 fight over the budget O’Neill failed to stop the slashing of taxes on the rich. O’Neill supported Reagan on deploying Marines to Beirut and tried unsuccessfully to thwart the President’s domino fixation on Nicaragua and the Contras.
I am a middle of the road independent and I was wondering how a democrat was going to portray a republic president. I must say for the most part Matthews just laid out the facts and did not add political commentary. The book is interesting and entertaining. Chris Matthews did a good job narrating the book.
This book is about mobilizing women (and men) to get off the sidelines and become active in effecting beneficial change in society. The author is challenging women to become involved in changing society toward benefitting women. Gillibrand said men learned this lesson a long time ago. In so many words change will not happen until more women become active in all areas of government. Gillibrand says politics is one big way to change the country and we need to put more women in position to make change. Gillibrand said generally women work to get bills passed and are more willing to focus on the goal and not let petty party politics get in the way of the greater good. The author said her fellow female Senators are more willing to reach across the aisle to achieve goals and more willing to compromise. Gillibrand describes her fight to get 9/11 first responder health insurance passed and the fight to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She goes on to say there are many areas that work is need on such as workplace discrimination, access to child care, equal rights, sexual discrimination and abuse in the military and on college campuses and many many more. The author says politics is a means for advocacy for her causes. In many ways this is a book with an ethical message.
Gillibrand provides a memoir of her life up to writing the book to illustrate what triggered her to get off the side lines and become an advocate for change in her community. She first was elected to Congress from the 20th district in New York. When Hillary Clinton left the Senate to run for president Gillibrand was appointed to Clinton’s place in the Senate. Edward Kennedy was the senior senator from New York and Gillibrand worked with him on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal. When Kennedy died Warren was elected to his Senate Chair. She discuss the distaste she has of comments made about women’s clothes, hair style, weight and so on whether they are running for office, giving a speech or in the business board room. These types of comments are not made about the men. Gillibrand tell what it was like to be pregnant when she was a congresswomen and having young children while working in the Senate.
Over all I found the book interesting and I do hope that it will motivate young girls to think of a career in politics, or the career areas of government such as the State, Treasury, Justice Department or other such areas. Gillibrand recommends everyone become active in their local community government. Some will want to advance to state and federal government or other related organization to advocate for their causes. I noted that Gillibrand and many of the politicians are attorneys therefore, that appears to be a good professional path to positions of leadership and government jobs. I wish Gillibrand had provided some suggestion of courses to take or professions that would help provide the needed skills and tools to be an effective politician.
I had recently read the biography of Chief Justice Lorna Lockwood of the Arizona Supreme Court and had noted she encouraged women attorneys to advance themselves to various judgeships. Lockwood said women need to advance themselves in their profession and to help the young women coming up in the profession. Lockwood said more women in all areas of professions, business, not for profit organizations and government would bring about a more balanced world. Susan Denaker did a good job narration the book.
Personal trainer Trey Ziegler is found dead by Trina, Lt. Eve Dallas’s hairdresser. I think this is the 39th book in the series. This book takes place during the Christmas holidays as have several other stories in the series. I am glad that Robb has managed to treat each holiday different and that the annual “party” is evolving also. I always get a kick out of Dallas’s reaction to the holidays as I feel the same way. This book has a bit more about the personal life of Dallas than other stories in the series. We tag along as she gift shops, helps with “the party” preparations, wraps gifts and so on. Of course, she is trying to solve the murder of Ziegler in between the social life. In the first book of the series Dallas was alone for the holiday by book 39 she has a husband, lots of friends and an active social life, my how she has changed.
This book lacks the action and suspense of some other the other books in the series but it fits right in with the holiday theme. The victim is a bad guy who raped women, blackmailed people. I got a laugh out of one of Dallas sayings in the book. “Secrets plus greed generally equals a slab for somebody.” I enjoy all the main and secondary characters in the series. Robb has created a rich cast of supporting characters. They all cannot play a large role in every book however the author uses them when they can support the plot. Both Roark and Dallas have evolved over the series sort of like watching friends grow over time. I am amazed that Robb can keep coming up with interesting plots and has kept the characters fresh. Susan Ericksen has narrated the series. I like it when the publisher keeps the same narrator. This is a fun, entertaining read.
Of the first fifteen chapters of the book, twelve are reprinted from “The Atlantic.” In the three introductory ones which precede these, the physical character of the river is sketched. The book was published in 1883. The book begins with a brief history of the river beginning with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto then on the French Marquette and La Salle.
The most engrossing section describes the author’s education as a steamboat pilot. Vivid details and anecdotes link the story of life on the River. He tells of the odd habits of the steamboat pilots. There is a section on how to read the river including the conformation of the banks, sandbanks, islands and inlets as well as sudden cut outs of the river after storms.
The rest of the book is an account of Twain’s trip down the Mississippi decades later as an old man. He describes the changes in the river and of American during his lifetime. The book is hilarious, fascinating, meandering tour of the Mississippi River most of all the book is entertain. Grover Gardner does an excellent job narrating the book.
Max Hasting well known British historian attempt to take a realistic view of Winston Spencer Churchill. The author has written a subtly revisionist account of Winston Churchill during the war. Hasting has taken a different method of looking at Churchill that is by looking at him through the eyes of others at the time. Hasting used diaries, letters and stories then he ties it together with a bits and parts of Winston Churchill speeches. That Hasting is never seduced by Churchill’s effortless apothegms and anecdotes is an indication that this is a fine book rather than simply an addition to the hagiography.
During the period in which Britain fought almost alone—the Dominions being the exceptions—Churchill parsed what amounted to a series of defeats and evacuation as noble encounters. Finally the Russians entered the war and had to deal with 200 axis’s divisions, the British struggled to handle a couple of Afrika corps. I found one comment by Hasting that WSC was so frustrated with the British Army; all they could do is lose battles. Churchill praised the Air Corp and the Navy. Hastings said WSC was intensely frustrated by the caution and lack of imagination of his Army Generals—notably those who won the Victoria Cross in the First World War They were fighting the prior stationary war instead of adjusting to the fast moving current war.
The author wrote a damning indictment of Britain’s culture of war-making, making do with shoddy equipment, corruptions in procurement, appointments and promotions based on mere social statues not merit. These are the same complaints that Lord Wellington made during the Napoleonic war. Napoleon was the first to promote officers on merit. Napoleon once said “ give me my officers and the English soldiers and I could rule the world”. Hasting discussed the Russian Spies in England that kept Stalin abreast of every major development. The author also discussed the Union strikes during the War slowing down vital war materials.
This book may have some valuable lessons not just about leadership but about the relationship between soldiers and civil society. The book is well balanced revealing Churchill’s failings as well as his strengths. Despite his failings he is revealed as one of the greatest wartime leaders. If you are a history buff, a Churchill fan or interested in WWII you will find this an excellent book. Barnaby Edwards did a good job narrating the book.
This is book one in a trilogy about the Royal Navy in the future. The Ark Royal is a space cruiser ready for the junkyard with a Captain that is a drunk and a crew of misfits. This is a military Sci-Fi or some people call it a space opera based around old technology and a problematic crew.
The old obsolete RN space cruiser is pushed into action against an alien menace. Nuttall does a good job of building up the back story to his characters (of course, he will have three books to work with). The author introduces some twists-one of the crew is a British Prince, lots of relationship between the crew. The description of the aliens and their culture is slow to start unveiling which adds to the suspense.
I noted in the space battles they are blasting away at each other up close with guns. That went out with World War II so I do not find that very realistic. Nuttall should read Jack Campbell or David Weber both are suburb with battle scene. The book needs more editing, too much repetition, the technology and space combat tactic need to be made more plausible. The plotting is good, the characters interaction is good and the story carries the day. There is a lot of potential but the book needs a good editor and a rewrite to clean it up a bit. For a first book the author did a good job and is worth reading more of in the future. Ralph Lister did a good job narrating the story.
This is not the type of memoir or biography I normally read. I have heard people talk about Carol King so thought I would learn about her. I am afraid I stopped listening to music when Elvis Presley came on the scene. I stayed in the Big Band era.
Carole King is a Jewish girl from Brooklyn. Her name was Carol Klein she was of Polish Russian Jewish descent. King states she wanted to be a teacher. She states the gift of her music presented itself early in her life. Apparently she was a piano prodigy. She tells of her of her first contract with a recording company when she was 15 years old. Kings says she learned to play and write all types of music from classical to rock and roll. King tells of her life married to Gerry Goffin having her first child at 17 years of age. She had two children by Goffin. She also tells about her other husbands Charley Lankey with whom she had two children, James Taylor and Rick Evers. Apparently some of the husbands were addicted to drugs but King states she never used drugs. She also is careful only to provide positive information about these men. She tells of her life on a ranch in Idaho.
King tells of being crammed into a cubicle at the music publisher’s office writing hit after hit. She writes in detail about the making of “Tapestry”. She tells about the writings of various songs and sings parts of song which was easy to do as she also narrated the audio book. She talks about the fact she preferred to write music rather than be a performer but her music produces said she was talented enough to perform and pushed her into. She says she only started to travel and perform routinely after her children were grown. She provides a travelogue type of information of the tours she did in foreign countries. I found this part quite interesting. King says she is not very good at lyrics and prefers to work with someone to do the lyrics. She writes all the music. She said her career has been going for 54 years so far and it took her 12 years to gather the memories and write the book.
I enjoyed the book it was like sitting down with a cup of tea and listening to a new friend tell stories about their life.
Ian Fleming born into a rich and well connected Scottish banking family was recruited in 1939 into the Royal Navy intelligence division as a personal assistant to NID’s head, Admiral John Godfrey. Fleming had the rank of Commander. He played a key role in the secret world of spies during World War II. He suggested schemes and ideas some of which were taken up and proved notable covert success.
I was surprised to learn a fact about Winston Churchill I had not come across or if I did the fact did not stay with me. Rankin stated that after the disaster at Dunkirk Churchill suggested creating commando units. The commando units were created by all the services and are still a key part of the military forces today. Rankin states that the most remarkable and lasting ideas by Fleming was his suggestion that a special group of Royal Marine Commandos be set up. This small group of intelligence gathering raiders who would attack and plunder targeted German establishments---radar stations, Kriegsmarine offices, naval installation, stealing anything useful such as code books, movement orders and so on. It was called 30 Assault Unit. The Unit proved invaluable in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Rhodes, Yugoslavia and the invasion of France. It was most effective in Germany during the last days of the Third Reich. It stole the entire archives of the German Navy over 500 tons of material.
Rankin tells the stories of the unit’s raids, describing the men and their exploits. After the war Fleming wrote the James Bond novels. Rankin tells a bit about Fleming’s personal life and problems after the war to his death. The 30 Assault Unit of the Royal Marines is still in existence and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The book could have benefited from the services of a good editor. Napoleon Ryan with his base voice narrated the book. Only give this book 3 stars overall because of the poor editing the information was most interesting.
This is the 19th Jack Reacher Novel. They are blissfully pedantic whodunits. I have found that both men and women like to read the Jack Reacher stories. Reacher is a retired army military policeman who is a loner. He is off the grid. He hitchhikes, or takes the Greyhound. He doesn’t have a credit card, driver’s license, or a cell phone. He buys new clothes, usually from a thrift shop every three or four days and throws the old ones away. He rights wrongs. He is laconically funny.
The plot of this book involves Reacher joining an international manhunt for a rogue sniper. The possible American sniper is John Knott a man Reacher had put into prison. The president of France is almost killed by the sniper. The G8 meeting is about to take place in London so the race is on to catch him. As Reacher had caught him before he is called in to catch him again. A sniper, gangsters, ex-military guys Child’s weaves together an exciting twisting story.
Child has continued to make Reacher interesting, informative and compelling. Child’s style is straight forward and no-nonsense sort of like Reacher. Child does provide a surprising twist at the end of the story. I am looking forward to the next Jack Reacher book. By the way Tom Cruise is NOT Reacher. Dick Hill did his usual great job narrating this book. Hill has been the narrator for the entire series he is Reacher.
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