This book is packed with suspense and action including sea, land and air battles. The major part of the book is based on cyber warfare. Even though this is fiction it should act as a warning of what could happen. Lou Diamond Phillips did a great job narrating this story. Jack Ryan Sr is back as President and Jack Jr is off chasing the cyber spy "center". His girlfriend is spying on him for the FBI. War heats up in the South China Sea as China tries to increase it's territory. Great air battles--felt like I was in the plane with the pilot. Clancy sure can write a good suspense military story. Looking forward to his next one.
Nevada Barr’s fans know Anna Pigeon, her Park ranger protagonist; in this 17th book in the series Barr brings us a survival thriller instead of the usual mystery story. The biggest surprise in this riveting novel is Anna; we get to meet her in her survival mode. We know who the bad guys are from the start. Anna is on vacation with 2 friends and their teenage daughters. One friend, Heath Jarrod is a paraplegic. Long timer readers will remember her from “Hard Truth” in 2005. The other is an engineer friend who is designing a wheelchair for Heath for use in the wilderness. They are on a canoe trip in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Anna was on a solo canoe ride when the Kidnappers enter the camp. She and the injured family dog then trail after them waiting for a chance to rescue her friends. Barr, who once lived in Minnesota, creates an authentic sense of place. The motivation for the kidnapping once revealed is reliably inventive and contemporary. This novel brings us a different Anna from prior books. Watch carefully during the story for information about destroyer angel you will find it interesting. I enjoyed the golden voice of the Audi Award winning narrator Barbara Rosenblat.
This is a book about slavery. Erskine Clarke’s engrossing, elegantly written history of the Wilson Odyssey involves much more than the 17 years they spent in malarial stations of Cape Palrnas, on the southeast coast of Liberia and at Boraka, a onetime slave barrack near Libreville in Gabon. It tells of human nature and the power that cultures and environments have upon it. The book opens with the history of the slaves of the Bayard and Wilson families then goes into the story of John Leighton Wilson, son of a prosperous cotton farmer in the Cypress Swamps of Black river, South Carolina and of Wilson’s wife Jane Bayard, daughter of a cotton and rice plantation family of Savannah, Georgia. In 1831 they left the United States and began missionary service among the Grebo and Mpongwe peoples of West Africa. They had freed their slaves and took with them the Grebo’s that wish to return to Africa. Some stayed at the Black River plantation and the ones in Savannah moved to find work. The book then tells the history of the formation of Liberia by the American former slaves. The Wilson’s would reshape their thinking about human freedom in their years in Africa. They had to deal with their own “missionary hubris,” cultural imperialism, tribal fetishes, incessant warfare among the native people, diseases and interference from mission authorities at home. They return home at the beginning of the Civil war with all its turmoil. I found the epilogue fascinating, as Clarke tells about the offspring of the original people in the story. One I found most interesting was Joe Robinson a slave at the Black River plantation, he chose to stay and work at the plantation when he was given his freedom and later he moved into town and was active with the black church in the town. His children all moved away were educated and had children. Clarke tells of Joe’s great, great granddaughter who was educated at Yale and Harvard coming to speak at the Church and visit his grave. She was Michele Obama. Clarke is the Bancroft Prize winner, the most prestigious of the history awards, in 2006. Mirron Willis did a good job narrating the book.
This book is written by the three American Hikers arrested by Iran in 2009 for crossing into Iran while hiking. Bauer and Shourd were living in Damascus attending university. Fattal was a journalist friend who came to visit. They decided to take a weekend trip to a popular vacation area for visitors to the Middle East, in Iraq’s Kurdish area which is untouched by the war. They make a point in the book of saying they did not knowingly cross the border of Iran, a soldier waved them to him and they walked over to see what he wanted and that was when they cross over. They were taken to Tehran’s Evin prison and were accused of illegal entry and espionage. The book gives an excellent account of their life in the Prison and of the interrogations they underwent. They were held in solitary confinement but treated better than the other prisoners. Eventually the Bauer and Fattal were placed together in a cell but Shourd remained in isolation for 13 months before she was released. Bauer ant Fattal remained in isolation in the prison for another year before they were released. They say the isolation was the most difficult part of the stay; it took away means of measuring their existence in relationship to time, events, or people and the self lost caused depression, paranoia, and anger. The anger about being a toy of international and internal politics comes across in the book very clearly. They also felt the United States did nothing to obtain their release. Instead they give the credit for their release to the Sultan of Oman who’s envoy did the negotiations as well as paid the million dollar fine and flew to Iran to bring them to Oman. They also give credit to the head of Iraq’s Kurdistan and Switzerland for their help in obtaining their release. The book is divided into segments with each writer telling their story. Over all the story is interesting about what they did to survive in the prison, and what their families did to obtain their release. If they did not have families fighting for them they would still be in prison. What kept going through my mind while reading the story was this could have happened to me or any tourist on vacation. The book was narrated by Michael Goldstein, Julia Whelan and Tristan Morris.
“The Heart of everything that is” is a Sioux expression for their sacred homeland in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was familiar with all the battles, people and problems presented in the book but this is the first time I have encountered it all in one place. Drury and Clavin chronicled in great detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their way of life. Red Cloud (1821-1909) chief of the Oglala Sioux presided over a vast swath of the western United States, from Canada to Kansas, from Minnesota to Wyoming. Red Cloud’s father died of alcoholism, so Red Cloud never drank and hated the Whiteman who provided the “fire water”. The author’s tell the tale of the Fetterman Massacre and the battles along the Bozeman trail in great detail. Red Cloud had the unique ability to unite various tribes of the Sioux, as well as the Cheyenne, and Arapaho to fight the white men. Red Cloud changed his battle tactic to keep the Army off guard. The defeat of Capt. Fetterman was the largest defeat of the U.S. Army by the Indians up to that date. Of course, eleven years later Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse would “chastise” George Armstrong Custer at the little Big Horn using the tactics they learned from Red Cloud. Red Cloud proved to be not only a brilliant military tactician but a shrewd negotiator. He went to Washington and secured land in Nebraska. The reservation was named after Red Cloud. Of course, the government took this land away from them when settlers wanted the land. Red Cloud and his people were moved to the grim Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Red Cloud took repeated trips to Washington seeking better treatment for his people. Lots of famous names dance e across the pages such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Man afraid of his horse, Jim Bridger, President Grant and Hays, Col. Henry Carrington, Capt. Fetterman, Phil Kearny, Ridgway Glover, John Protégée Phillips. I found it great to have all these events and people I was aware put into one place in chronological order. The treatment of the Native Americans is one of the more disgraceful events in our history. If you enjoy history you will enjoy this book. George Newbern did a good job narrating the book.
Downie set the story of Semper Fidelis book 5 of the series, in 2nd century Roman Britain during Hadrian’s rule. The protagonist Gaius Petreius Ruso, a Roman Army Medical officer and wife Tilla, a native Briton are back with the 20th legion. The Emperor Hadrian and Empress Sabina are visiting England. Ruso and Tilla are posted to fortress Eboracum (modern day York) only to find things are going seriously wrong there for the legion’s British recruits. Mysterious injuries and deaths have occurred. Ruso runs into problems with Centurion Geminus when he starts asking questions. Ruso suspects Geminus is preying on the recruits, how, why he set out to find out. Tilla brings to the Empress attention the plight of the recruits. I particularly like the section of the book when the British recruits appeal to the Empress Sabina to accept there petition and help them. They are chanting Sabina, Sabina and the Empress responses to them in such as way to reveal she has had very little attention paid to her. Downie does factually portray the relationship between Hadrian and Sabina. There are many twists, turns and setbacks for the protagonist. The characters major and minor are well drawn. The author does an enormous amount of historical research and weaves this into the story with such a light hand that you’ll hardly notice you’re being educated as well as entertained. I like the authors note at the end of the book providing the historical facts provided in the story as well as the modern day location in the city of York that are presented in the book. There is proof of the abysmal treatment of native recruits to the legions in Britain in the “Vindolanda Tablets” dated from 85 -122 CE they also tell of Hadrian’s visit to Britain in 122 CE. The award winning, Simon Vance does a super job narrating the story.
Tamerlane (Timur the lame) or correctly known as Timur ruler of Samarkand 1369-1405. Lamb says Timur was a Tartar, some other biographer’s claim he was a Turko-Mongol. I believe Lamb is correct as Timur was born in what is today Uzbekistan, which is the home land of the Tartars. After the fall of the Soviets, they tore down the statue of Marx and Stalin and put up a big statue of Timur. According to Lamb he married a Great Granddaughter of Genghis Khan. I found the author’s remarks that Samarkand was famous for its crimson cloth most interesting. I love learning these little tidbits of information. The author also said that Timur liked turquoise blue so the people made him turquoise blue cloth, they wore the cloth over the saddle that is the reason they were called the blue hoard. Lamb did not specify if his enjoyment of turquoise blue was before or after his conquering of Turkey. His Empire was enormous he ruled all of the “stans” all the middle east including Turkey , Egypt, India, Russia, Mongolia and parts of China. According to Lamb when he conquered the Golden Hoard (the Mongolian tribe that ruled Russia) he placed a group of Tartars in Crimea to control the area where Russian came in touch of Europe. (They lived in the Crimea until Stalin sent them to the gulags. The tartars returned with the fall of the Soviet’s and they apparently voted against the Russia takeover of the Crimea) Lamb said Timur also took Poland for a time. Lamb says Timur was a great patron of the art and architecture. Timur apparently enjoyed the domes of the Byzantium architecture and brought it back to Samarkand and into Russia. Timur used the Dome on his palaces and mosques, he was a Muslim. The author did cover Timur’s wars and brutality but also covered his love of architecture, his great ability as an administrator and war strategist. In enjoyed learning about Timur, his land and time. Lamb has a way of writing that brings history to life. It took me a bit to get use to the sound effects used in the audio book. I think the voice of Charlton Griffin was appropriate for this type of story.
I had delayed reading this book after the death of Tom Clancy, sort of, postponing the end of the Clancy era. When I read the first few chapter's I said Wow! This is right out of the headlines of today’s news. This is not the first time Clancy’s has a seemingly far out part of one of his stories has come to be seen in the headlines, I am thinking of his having terrorist seizing airliners and flying them into buildings long before nine eleven. The story opens up with military action in Estonia as Russian tanks and troops invade this small country; the Russians are repelled by a NATO force stationed in the area. Russian then roles into Crimea Ukraine. Russian President Valeri Volodin’s justification for trying to seize Ukraine is “It is the home of the Black Sea Fleet, our oil and gas pipelines to Europe go through Ukraine, and we need to protect Russian citizens in the area”. In the story Volodin as ex KGB man and his main enforcer Roman Talanov as young men saw the coming of the collapse of the Soviet Union. They stole money from the KGB and hid it in numbered accounts in Switzerland. They past the money through various dummy corporations and account and bought companies in Russia to become wealthy. Volodin becomes President of Russia with the goal of establishing Russian dominance over the former satellite states. Clancy has Jack junior tracking the monies from 30 years earlier trying to find the current owners of certain companies. The story goes into a typical Clancy cloak and dagger spy adventure, high tech military action, all triggered by the poisoning via plutonium of Ryan’s friend Sergey Golovko who dies at a lunch with President Ryan and his family in the White House. I enjoyed the book more now than if I had read in at the end of last year when it came out, because of what is happening right now in the Ukraine. I wonder does Clancy’s death spell the end of the Jack Ryan Saga or will Mark Greaney carry it on? Lou diamond Phillips does a good job narrating the story.
June 28, 1914 will mark the 100th anniversary of that fateful day in Sarajevo. Well–known royalty historians King and Woolman bring us a detailed account of the life, times, and tragic deaths of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Czech Countess Sophia Chotek, that helped touch off WWI, which still shapes the world. The early chapters concentrate on Franz Ferdinand’s family, birth, childhood, education and military career. The reader obtains a look at the complexities of the stifling regime of the Hapsburg court in the reign of traditional bound ultra-conservative Emperor Franz Joseph 1 of Austria-Hungry. The romance, marriage, and family life of Ferdinand, Sophie and the children Sophie, Max and Ernst consumes about half the book. The author explains the morganatic marriage in detail. The authors reveal the petty snubs, deliberate insults from the court and how it affected the family. The event in Sarajevo takes up about a third of the book. The final chapter looks at the later history of the children and their offspring. How they had their home, money, personal items all taken from them by the Czech government. The Nazi arrested them and imprisoned them in Dachau concentration camp. The author’s tell the story in the camp and then living under the Soviets after being released from Dachau. Today their great grand daughter who wrote the foreword to the book is in a decades old legal battle with the Czech government attempting to obtain their family home Konipiste returned to them. The author’s did an enormous amount of research, assisted by the descendants who shared personal recollections and access to family archives and other archives. The wealth of resources makes the book of value to scholars of the outbreak of WWI. I found it most helpful that the author’s pointed out the rumors and theories then stated the proven fact in various situations throughout the book. This book brought to life the Archduke and his family as well as the time they lived. The book is well written and makes for an easy read for both the academic and the layman alike. Malcohm Hillgartner did an excellent job narrating the book.
The title comes from the lyrics to the traditional cowboy ballad “Get along little doggies”. This is the first Stephen Bly book I have read. Zachariah Hatcher and Suzanne Cedar are engaged to be married, but they have never met in person. Suzanne travels to Colorado to marry Hatcher only both die on their way to the meeting site. Tap Andrews who was with Hatcher when he died agreed to go on and met Cedar’s stagecoach and tell Cedar of his death so she would not be left alone in a strange country. Only there is a stagecoach accident and Cedar is killed. Pepper a dance hall girl took care of Cedar as she died then takes her place to meet Hatcher. The book has lots of suspense with outlaws, and wondering if they will tell each other the truth about themselves. I believe this is one of the so called Christian fiction books. It is a typical western with a bit of a twist to the plot and a moral point to the story. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes poignant but always entertaining. It is a short easy read that makes a good break from more complicated books. Jerry Sciarrio did a good job narrating the book.
George F. Kennan was the most celebrated diplomat-intellectual of the 20th century. He was the author of the strategy of containment that the United States adopted for the cold war. He was thought of as a strategist and as these diaries make clear, he spent much of his life thinking about political philosophy. The diaries cover 88 years so Frank Costigliola did a lot of editing to make into a readable format without changing the content. Kennan did not like automobiles, planes or fax machines; I wonder what he would say about all the electronic gadgets we have today. I was most interested in what he wrote in the section of the diaries covering the late 1990’s about not allowing the former USSR countries such as Poland, Hungry, and Ukraine to join NATO. He said these countries must be allowed as a buffer zone between Europe and Russia otherwise Russia would feel threaten and a new cold war would start or possibly a shooting war. Considering what is happening today in the Ukraine no one paid attention to his warning. Toward the end of his life he wrote a book called “Around the Cragged Hill” which he thought was his best work but the world has ignored. In the diary he was most upset about how the book was ignored. He wrote 20 books won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award twice plus many more awards. After he finished his career as a diplomat he was at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study for over 25 years. The diary reveals him to be a brilliant man but also one with problems of loneliness, self-doubt, and suffering from period bouts of depression. He was a gifted writer and his prose shine through even in the diary. I learned a great deal about what happened during the cold war from reading this book, I almost felt overwhelmed by the amount of information provided. I think I will read some of his books now that I know more about the man the books will mean more to me. If you are interested in history this book will interest you. William Dufris did a good job narrating the book. This would be a good book for whisper sync.
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