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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

3542
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 662 reviews
  • 699 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 163 purchased in 2014
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  • Coolidge

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Amity Shlaes
    • Narrated By Terence Aselford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (190)

    Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus.

    Jean says: "Silent Cal"
    "Silent Cal"
    Overall
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    Story

    Amity Shlaes has produced a scholarly look at Calvin Coolidge. It is well documented but not a dry boring story that some scholars write. The book came along at a perfect time for me as I had Coolidge on my list of people to read about in 2013. The book covers Coolidge from birth to death. He was born on July 4 1972 in Plymouth Notch Vermont and died there on January 5 1933. The Coolidge family was one of the founding families of Vermont and had the frugal hard working values of New England. He went to Amherst College and met a group of men that he maintain a lifetime friendship and appointed some to government positions. For example I was surprise to learn that Dwight Morrow was an Amherst buddy of Coolidge and he appointed him to the study the role of aviation and then appointed him Ambassador to Mexico. Morrow was the father of Anne Morrow who married Charles Lindbergh. I have a book in my wish list on Anne Morrow so I was pleased with the connection. I love it when one book provides information to another I am to read. Coolidge chose to "Read the Law" rather than go to law school. Then opened up his own practice. He was active in politics and was elected to local, then state positions. He married Grace Anna Goodhue in 1905 and she was outgoing and he was shy so she was a great first lady. She was a teacher at a school for the deaf and a good friend of Elizabeth Reeve Cutter who married Dwight Morrow. When He was governor of Massachusetts he had to deal with the Boston police strike in 1919. When president he not only balanced the budget he had a surplus which he used to pay down the national debt. He had to battle Congress as they wanted to spend the money. But his basic philosophy was to leave business alone and unregulated and all would be fine. He thought aviation was the future but thought that commercial aviation should lead the way not the military. The press noted he was key to healing the country after the scandal of Harding's presidency. I will not give away any of the story you are going to enjoy reading how and why he handled all the above plus more. Terrence Aselford did an adequate job narrating the book.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By James M. McPherson
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    History has not been kind to Jefferson Davis. His cause went down in disastrous defeat and left the South impoverished for generations. If that cause had succeeded, it would have torn the United States in two and preserved the institution of slavery. Many Americans in Davis's own time and in later generations considered him an incompetent leader, if not a traitor.

    Jean says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
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    Story

    Civil War scholar and Pulitzer winning (“Battle Cry of Freedom” 1988) author James M McPherson has taken a fresh look at a subject with whom he is eminently familiar: the life and times of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. With open minds in short supply these days the author takes a big risk in challenging past postulations. Many still consider Davis a traitor.

    McPherson has methodically, without emotions written this short book. It is obvious he has conducted an enormous amount of research in preparation to write this story of Davis. This is not a biography in the traditional since as details of Davis’s life before Secession and his fate during Reconstruction are not covered.

    McPherson claims Davis was not an inept leader as many historians have claimed. Davis was a graduate of West Point and had served in the Mexican War. The author states that the south also had problems with its Generals. He compared the tentative George B. McClellan to the backpedaling Joseph E. Johnston. While he documents that Davis made his share of mistakes and was an impolitic politician, McPherson concludes that Davis devised a credible strategy for fight the war. The South’s material and manpower handicaps are well known, but McPherson list other obstacles such as the Southerners were anything but united. The “States Rights” mantra often inhibited coordinated military tactics. The author covers the 1862 threat by Arkansas to secede from the Confederacy and in 1863 North Carolina’s leaders favored negotiations. On top of this Rebel soldiers deserted in droves.

    McPherson’s overall evaluation of Davis is fair-minded. He criticizes Davis but also points out some favorable points. The book’s worth a read particularly for those interested in the Civil war. Robert Fass did a good job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Ray Monk
    • Narrated By Michael Goldstrom
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    Robert Oppenheimer was among the most brilliant and divisive of men. As head of the Los Alamos Laboratory, he oversaw the successful effort to beat the Nazis in the race to develop the first atomic bomb – a breakthrough that was to have eternal ramifications for mankind and that made Oppenheimer the “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” But with his actions leading up to that great achievement, he also set himself on a dangerous collision course with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his witch-hunters. In Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center, Ray Monk, author of peerless biographies of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, goes deeper than any previous biographer in the quest to solve the enigma of Oppenheimer’s motivations and his complex personality.

    david says: "Nearly Perfect"
    "A comprehensive biography"
    Overall
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    Story

    This lengthy (700 pages or 36 hours audio book) book aspires to be a comprehensive biography of Robert Oppenheimer. Monk covers more of the Oppenheimer’s work and love of physics than some other of the biographers.

    Monk goes into the German-Jewish tradition into which Oppenheimer was born and the ethical cultural belief that shaped his family and education. The author claims Oppenheimer was so brilliant that Harvard University forgot its anti-Semitic discrimination. Monk follows “Oppie’s” education from Harvard, Cambridge and to Gottingen University. The author tells of Oppenheimer fluency in French and his love of French literature, he also wrote poetry and learned Sanskrit. Oppenheimer also spoke German and Dutch. In 1927 Oppenheimer co wrote with Max Born a paper entitled “On the Quantum Theory of Molecules”. This paper helped “Oppie” become known in the field of Physics.

    The author cover in great detail Oppenheimer‘s teaching jobs at Caltech and the University of California Berkeley. When I took physics at UC Berkeley my professors were proud to have been students of Oppenheimer and E. Lawrence. He was able to pass on to his students his love of physics. Monk then covers the time at the lab in Los Alamos and the work on the bomb. The author covers the two pillars of Oppenheimer’s life. His scientific leadership role in WWII atomic bomb project and his status as a martyr of the McCarthy era after the 1954 security hearing that stripped him of his clearance.

    The remainder of the book Monk describes Oppenheimer’s years leading the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Monk provides by far the most thorough survey yet written of Oppenheimer’s physics and his work on neutron stars and black holes. His paper he wrote in 1938-39 was considered his most important theoretical work of his career. But “Oppie” died in 1967 before astronomical discoveries made his work relevant. He lost his chance for a Nobel Prize because they cannot be given posthumously. The book kept my attention throughout the 36 hours. Michael Goldstrom did a good job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Imperfect Sword: The Lost Stars, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    President Gwen Iceni and General Artur Drakon have successfully liberated the Midway Star System - but the former rulers of the Syndicate Worlds won’t surrender the region without a fight. The dictatorial regime has ordered the ex–Syndicate CEOs terminated with extreme prejudice and the system’s citizens punished for their defiance.Outnumbered and led by junior officers hastily promoted in the wake of the uprising, Midway’s warships are no match for the fleet massing and preparing to strike.

    Jean says: "Engrossing Space Battles"
    "Engrossing Space Battles"
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    I enjoyed Jack Campbell’s “Lost Fleet” series and have just keep reading right into his new sub series of the “Lost Stars” series. This is book three in the series. The series follows the trials and tribulations of the newly independent Midway Star System. We met this Star System and the people in the later books of the “Lost Fleet” series.

    Midway broke away from the Syndicated Worlds Empire and formed their independent Star System. President Gwen Iceni and head of Defense Artur Drakon are the key leaders. The people form a democracy for the first time in history of their system. Campbell allows this back ground to create lots of suspense, political intrigue, espionage as back drop to the major problem they face, the Syndicate wants to retake the Midway Star System. This of course, leads us to the area where Jack Campbell shines through. Campbell is the master of the space battles. His fleet movements techniques, the chess like moves of the fleet and the fighting in space kept me glued to my iPod. We meet up with Kommodor Marphissa, the female commander of the Midway fleet. She is turning into a most interesting character in the series as is the new Captain of the battleship Midway. The ending sets us up for the next book. Mark Vietor does as excellent job narrating the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Donovan: America’s Master Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Richard Dunlop, William Stephenson (foreward)
    • Narrated By Eric Martin
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    The fascinating biography of the man who laid the foundation for the CIA. One of the most celebrated and highly decorated heroes of World War I, a noted trial lawyer, presidential adviser and emissary, and chief of America’s Office of Strategic Services during World War II, William J. Donovan was a legendary figure. Donovan, originally published in 1982, penetrates the cloak of secrecy surrounding this remarkable man. The result is the definitive biography that Donovan himself had always expected Dunlop would write.

    Jean says: "Fascinating Biography"
    "Fascinating Biography"
    Overall
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    For the past 4 years I have been reading books about World War One, therefore I found the section about Donovan service in WWI most interesting. Donovan was the most decorated American soldier in WWI. The author covered Donovan’s WWI service in-depth and anyone interested in learning more about WWI would find this book helpful. I had just finished reading Caesar Commentaries so when I read that Donovan was reading a French translation of Caesar Commentaries with comments by Napoleon it jumped right out at me.

    Richard Dunlop was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune and a former OSS agent in World War II. He passed away in 1987. Sir William Stephenson was a Canadian soldier, spy master and oversaw British Intelligence for the Western Hemisphere during World War II. His code name was “Intrepid” and is thought to be the inspiration for James Bond.

    Dunlop and Stephenson’s book is a light weight biography of Donovan. This book was first published in 1982. The audio book was published in February of 2014. If you want a detailed and long book read Anthony Cave Brown’s “The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan.”
    The book covers an overview of Donovan’s life from childhood in Buffalo, New York and his education at Columbia University and Columbia Law School. During World War I Donovan served in the famous New York fighting 69th Irish Regiment where he received numerous decorations. Donovan was the only person to have received all four of the United States’ highest awards: The Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Service Cross, The Distinguished Service medal with two oak leaf clusters and the National Security Medal. He also was awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart with two Oak Clusters. He was awarded medals by all the Allied countries. At the end of World War One he left the Army as a Colonel. After World War One Donovan returned to his Wall Street law practice and he was active in New York politics as well as a friend of FDR.

    In WWII FDR created the OSS on the advice of William Stephenson, the British Intelligence officer for the Western Hemisphere. The United States had no intelligence network. FDR then appointed William Donovan as its head. The book covers an overview of Donovan’s work with the OSS during WWII. Donovan was promoted to Major General during WWII. Donovan continued to head the OSS under President Truman and when it was dissolved at the end of the war he helped Allen Dulles set up the CIA that Truman had just created.
    After World War II Donovan reverted to his life as a lawyer he was special assistant to Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal. In 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Donovan as Ambassador to Thailand.

    Dunlop was given access to Donovan’s private papers and spoke with Donovan for hundreds of hours in preparation for writing this biography. The book is well written and most interesting. Eric Martin narrated this book. If you are interested in WWI or WWII history this is a book for you. This book provides an excellent overview of the life of William Donovan.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Call to Duty: Book I of Manticore Ascendant

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David Weber, Timothy Zahn
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    Growing up, Travis Uriah Long yearned for order and discipline in his life...he two things his neglectful mother couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. So when Travis enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Navy, he thought he’d finally found the structure he’d always wanted so desperately. But life in the RMN isn’t exactly what he expected. Boot camp is rough and frustrating; his first ship assignment lax and disorderly; and with the Star Kingdom of Manticore still recovering from a devastating plague, the Navy is possibly on the edge of budgetary extinction.

    Milton says: "Nice to see this universe again"
    "Astronautical adventure story"
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    When I first read “On Basilisk Station” in 2009 David Weber had me hooked. I have read all the Honor Harrington series and now all the sub series. This book is to be book one in a new series about Manticore star system prior to the time of Honor. In fact the book starts not long after the founding of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. The Manticore wormhole junction has not been discovered yet.

    Our protagonist is Travis Uriah Long who has just enlisted in the Royal Manticore Navy at the age of 17. The existence of the Navy is under threat from political and budget problems. Travis is assigned to a ship going out of the Star system to check out the Havenit military surplus ship sale and to check out their shipbuilding capabilities. Then they meet the pirates and the action begins.

    Long’s brother Gavin is a junior peer in the House of Lords who wants to do away with the Navy. We are introduced to naval officer Edward Winton heir to the Manticorean Crown who is fighting to keep the Navy. The ending is a cliffhanger getting ready for the next book.

    The book is well written, full of action and interesting characters. The book contains technical details, military protocol, intrigue and political drama that you would expect in a Weber book. I think there is less world building political info dumping with Zahn as a co-author. The book is a fun read. Eric Michael Summerer did a good job narrating the book. If you enjoy military sci-fi or are a fan of Honorverse you will enjoy this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By S. C. Gwynne
    • Narrated By Cotter Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    General Stonewall Jackson was like no one anyone had ever seen. In April of 1862 he was merely another Confederate general with only a single battle credential in an army fighting in what seemed to be a losing cause. By middle June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western World. He had given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked: hope.

    Jean says: "Captivating"
    "Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
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    There have been a few biographies of Civil War Generals lately and this book can be added to the list. Everyone knows that little fazed General Thomas J. Jackson, at the first battle of Bull Run came the famous quote “Yonder stands Jackson like a stone wall.” S.C. Gwynne writes a very detailed and most readable biography of Jackson.

    The Virginian born Jackson went to West Point and fought in the Mexican-American War. Jackson was a professor of physics at the Virginia Military Institute when the Civil war started. Jackson was religious and was not proslavery but chose to fight for his State of Virginia rather than the Union.

    Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. The author shows that Jackson was a master of deception and movement. Jackson’s army could out march, outflank, out maneuver the Union Army. He was always outnumbered but he racked up victory after victory. The author delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the lass of his first wife and his regimented personal habits.

    The book is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich in battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. The author’s battle scenes are marvels of description and action. The book is meticulously researched. Gwynne used both primary documents and highly respected secondary sources. Gwynne maintained his objectivity and presents an unbiased biography. One minor annoyance was the fact the author provided more information about the war and other people, he needed to stay more focused on his subject Stonewall Jackson.

    The author points out that Jackson went from obscurity to fame in twenty-four months in the Civil war. Jackson had a stunning effect on the course of the War. In 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville Jackson was shot by one of his sentries. His tragic death caused both the South and North to grieve. If you are interested in Civil War history you will enjoy this outstanding biography of one of the War’s greatest Generals. Cotton Smith narrated the book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Steel World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1768)
    Performance
    (1650)
    Story
    (1658)

    In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers....

    D says: "Classic Space Opera"
    "Bizarre twisting plot"
    Overall
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    Story

    This is one of the many military Sci-Fi books. This is book one in a new series for Larson. This is my first Larson book so I am glad I managed to start with the first book in a new series. In this book the earth has been taken over by an advanced collection of races called the Galatics. Earth was given an ultimatum: join the Empire and produce a useful product to trade with the rest of the galaxy, or surrender the planet for more productive uses. Earth offered up mercenary soldiers.

    The story follows James McGill a young recruit to one of the mercenary outfits. We follow him through basic training and it to service. Larsen has created interesting and fairly dimensional characters. The tech is interesting and provides the story with some interesting philosophical and ethical questions.

    This is an easy to read and hard book to put down. Larson provides lots of action and bizarre twist and turns in the plot that kept my attention. The book is well written and the new series seems to be off to a good start. Mark Boyett narrated the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Jungle

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Clive Cussler, Jack Du Brul
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1289)
    Performance
    (777)
    Story
    (791)

    Jungles come in many forms. There are the steamy rain forests of the Burmese highlands. There are the lies and betrayals of the world of covert operations. And there are the dark and twisted thoughts of a man bent on near-global domination. To pull off their latest mission, Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon must survive them all.

    Noreen says: "Another great story"
    "Thrilling"
    Overall
    Performance
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    “The Jungle” begins with a history lesson as all Cussler books do. This one is set in eastern China 1281 A.D. it reveals the battle tactics of General Khenbish, who is in the employ of the great Khan. We learn the history of the three tents that precede each battle and see the first use of laser and dynamite on a battlefield. We observed the obliteration of walled village because it dared to defy the Khan. It is the independent observer who accompanies the General that is the surprise at the end of the opening chapter. The book leaps to the present in the next chapter.

    This is a book in the Oregon files series. Juan Cabrillo and his team aboard the Oregon have been dumped by the U.S. Government when a new president takes office. They find themselves trying to stir up business to stay afloat. A woman disappears on a hike in the jungles of Northern Thailand. Her father hires Cabrillo and team to stage a rescue. In this book we are introduced to new crew member. The new team member is captured and a sinister villain reveals a devastating weapon.

    This is an action adventure book with lots of unrealistic action, lots of suspense with a bit of history tossed in. The book makes a good break from heavier reading. Jason Culp narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By Leon Panetta, Jim Newton
    • Narrated By Leon Panetta
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    It could be said that Leon Panetta has had two of the most consequential careers of any American public servant in the past 50 years. His first career, beginning as an army intelligence officer and including a distinguished run as one of Congress' most powerful and respected members, lasted 35 years and culminated in his transformational role as Clinton's budget czar and White House chief of staff.

    Jean says: "Outstanding"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Panetta memoir is the third cabinet member’s memoir and Obama is still in office. The memoir is a sub category of the autobiography. When I read a memoir I expect a narrow focus and want to feel I am looking at the situations as if I was that person. I am reading to get a better understanding of the events for a historical perspective. Panetta’s book gives a brief review of his earlier life so we can understand how he got to the point in the book that he is focusing on. He successfully puts me into the life of the director of CIA and Secretary of Defense. I felt as if I was in the meetings with him, understanding what he knew and thought and reactions to people and events as he covers his time as director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense. More than half of the book covers Panetta’s time as director of the CIA and his time as Secretary of Defense.

    Panetta’s book is well-written with frank descriptions of personalities and events. Panetta had been in government service for a long time and was the Congressman for the Monterey Bay area for many years. I enjoyed the story of his parents and grandparents immigration from Italy to the Monterey Bay area and Leon’s stories of childhood in Monterey. Panetta’s personality and his honesty came through in the book. The author covers in-depth the jobs he had in government including his being fired by Nixon when Panetta worked at Dept. of HEW enforcing the new laws about school segregation. I remember when the law was passed to create the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary to protect our beautiful coast (I live here). Therefore I found Panetta’s discussion about how he went about trying to protect the coast from off shore drilling and all the methods he tried and failed at until coming up on the creation of a marine sanctuary very interesting. Panetta tells of his time in the Clinton White House as first budget director and later chief of staff. He is frank about the problems he had trying to bring order and discipline to the White House when Clinton had no self discipline. He describes Clinton as brilliant but disorganized. He resigned in 1997 and thought his career was over.

    Panetta created the Panetta Institute that is on the campus of the Monterey Bay State University. He was running this until 2009 when Obama asked him to be director of the CIA. Panetta is a master of the budget and the CIA was in dire need of his services and organization skills. Panetta discusses his problems with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and retired Admiral Dennis Blair who was Director of National Intelligence. He also tells the fascinating story of finding Osama bin Laden and sending in the seal team.

    Panetta’s disagreements with the Obama White House when he was director of CIA and Secretary of Defense is well documented in his testimony before Congress therefore his frank to almost blistering comments in this book should not be surprising. Panetta opposed the prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. He disagreed with the removal of all troops from Iraq. He agreed with Hillary Clinton and David Petreius about intervening in Syria. Most of all he said Obama’s failure to act when Syria crossed the red line Obama laid down about the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people destroyed American credibility. The author provides us with his opinion about Obama’s ability as a president and he is careful to provide both positive and negative points of his abilities. Most of all Panetta minced no words about the dysfunction of Congress. He says there will be lots of problems coming up to blame on Congress because of their failure to agree on a budget and forcing the 10% across the board cuts that is going to destroy the ability of the military to do their job. Panetta had no good words for our dysfunctional Congress. I feel this memoir has provided an inside look into the workings of the CIA, department of defense and the white house.

    Panetta is plain spoken and impassioned in the book. I found it to be most informative and easy to read. Leon Panetta narrated his own book.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Francis Fukuyama
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Fukuyama examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.

    Jean says: "Interesting look at society."
    "Interesting look at society."
    Overall
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    Story

    The book basic theme is to review and discuss the underlying rules by which societies organize themselves. The book covers from approximately 1806 to date. During this time political institutions, the modern state, rule of law and accountable government developed to a dominant model.

    Fukayama divides the book into four sections. 1) The establishment of the modern states 2) Its expansion to other regions of the world 3) the concurrent spread of democracy 4) the degeneration of formerly successful democratic institutions. The author primarily has synthesized the existing literature on the topic and presents it in a readable organized manner even if it is a somewhat academic style. The author is primarily concerned about the functionality of government.

    In school I remember studying Aristotle. I remember learning one of his major insights was “the purpose of politics is in not to make living together possible, but to make living well possible.” Whereas Fukuyama suggests that politics has the more limited role of simply enabling innately disputatious humans to live together at all.

    I understand Fukayama has written another book entitled “The Origins of Political Order” 2011 and this current book is a continuation of the first book. The first book is over 600 pages so I am not sure I will tackle that book and just allow this second book to satisfy my curiosity about the subject. This book is also a long book just over 24 hours of listening in the audio book format. This book is packed with so much information I will have to read it a number of times to fully process and understand it. Jonathan Davis did a good job narrating the book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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