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St Louis, MO, United States | Member Since 2002

  • 10 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014

  • Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael B. Oren
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Israel and the West, it is called the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is known as the June War or, simply, as "the Setback". Never has a conflict so short, unforeseen, and largely unwanted by both sides so transformed the world. The Yom Kippur War, the war in Lebanon, the Camp David accords, the controversy over Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the intifada, and the rise of Palestinian terror are all part of the outcome of those six days.

    Patrick says: "Great overview of Middle East troubles"

    This is the way a definitive work on a major military battle should read. Oren's thorough research comes through with amazing levels of detail in both the Israeli and Arab decision-makers and planning staffs, as well as U.S. and UN actions and behind-the-scenes considerations. Amazingly, Oren found a way to cram this book with tons of details, but I never found myself getting bored or lost in the data--probably due to great writing and narration.

    Oren's account of the 6-Day War drives home the point that Clausewitz made long ago: "War is politics by other means." Until you understand the political drives, the personalities calling the shots, the miscommunications, the hidden agendas and the historical perspective, you will not truly understand why any given war occurs or how it ends, and if the resulting peace is truly lasting or if it is going to lead to more conflict.

    As I read this book, the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon conflict was just heating up. I found the historical insights in this book invaluable in understanding some of the context of the current conflict.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Places in Between

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Rory Stewart
    • Narrated By Rory Stewart

    In January 2002, Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan, surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day, he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past.

    James says: "Nice Choice"
    "A Brilliant Work of Nonfiction"

    This is among the top 10 audiobooks I've ever listened to, and probably one of the top 3 nonfiction audiobooks I've heard (Night and Ireland are the other 2).
    Stewart's writing style and oratory are clear, easy to listen to and very effective at creating a crisp, clear mental image of the events as he relates them. I almost felt as if I were walking with him.
    He also manages to relate all this information without editorializing, or sounding preachy.
    I have come away from this with a much clearer knowledge of the ethnic people and terrain of Central Afghanistan. I have also developed a great respect for Mr. Stewart's calm storytelling and knack for observing subtleties in people of different ethnicities. I now want to read his latest book, The Prince of the Marshes, just to hear more of his wonderful stories.
    Great book--I strongly recommend it.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester

    The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa (the name has since become a by-word for a cataclysmic disaster) was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event which has only very recently become properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round the world for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid.

    rwise says: "Great subject, great writing, great voice"

    If you want a book that discusses everything from plate tectonics, animal migration, 19th Century Dutch trading posts, global wind and climate patterns, and every single eyewitness account of events associated with Krakatoa--no matter how mundane, this is the book!
    Overall, while I found some of the scientific linkages interesting, I felt the author was mired too far down in the details and could have gotten to his key points in a much more succinct manner. His narration was fine, for me the only thing that made this book tedious after a while was the excruciating detail.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Tuscan Sun

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Frances Mayes
    • Narrated By Frances Mayes

    Frances Mayes - widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer - opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In sensuous and evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Also available: Bella Tuscany.

    Alicia says: "Under the Tuscan Sun"
    "Good book, abysmal narration"

    The book is everything that people have described it to be--a beautiful tapestry of life in the Tuscan countryside and all the trials & tribulations of taking on renovation of a piece of European history.
    If this sounds like it interests you, buy the book, don't get the audiobook because unfortunately the narration will distract you from the enjoyment you seek.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Soldier

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By General Tommy R. Franks, Malcolm McConnell
    • Narrated By Eric Conger

    The Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command from July 2000 through July 2003, General Tommy Franks made history leading American and Coalition forces to victory in Afghanistan and Iraq, the decisive battles that launched the war on terrorism.

    Ron says: "An American's American"
    "Honest and forthcoming"

    This book gave one of the most forthright accountings of the events after 9/11 and leading up to and through Phase IV operations in Iraq.
    While I could see the military acronyms being a distraction to some not familiar with the military in any capacity, I found the account to be refreshing and honest...and another nail in the coffin of our so-called "unbiased" press corps with all of their media parlor tricks to gain readership and support of their viewpoints.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cry, the Beloved Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alan Paton
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

    Penny says: "Two Words"
    "History With a Human Face"

    Alan Paton does a tremendous job of describing 1950's Apartheid S. Africa from a simple Zulu man's perspective. I found the story line to be intriguing and the narration to be outstanding.
    I will admit, Mr Paton's voice was at first difficult to listen to, but his ability to accent the English, Afrikaans and Zulu characters provided great depth to the narration and made the book truly engaging.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by National Public Radio's Correspondent

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anne Garrels
    • Narrated By Anne Garrels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One of only sixteen unembedded American journalists who stayed in Baghdad's now-legendary Palestine Hotel throughout the American invasion of Iraq, NPR's Anne Garrels was at the very center of the storm. She brings us the sights, sounds, and smells of our latest war with unparalleled vividness and immediacy.

    Native Texan says: "My favorite book of the year!"
    "Best non-fiction book I've read this year"

    What a pleasant surprise! I expected a left-leaning, "war-is-evil" perspective and instead found an unbiased, multi-faceted description of life in Baghdad by one of only a handful of American journalists to remain in the city before and during the kickoff of Iraqi Freedom. As a member of the US Air Force who spent the same time frame watching the war play out from Saudi Arabia, I found Ms Garrels' observations are one of the few US media reports that confirm what I knew to be true at the time: Coalition airpower was as precise as current technology allowed and as humane as possible while still achieving the dramatic effect of regime change in less than three weeks.
    The biggest surprise of the book was the human face that she put on life in Baghdad, as well as the insight into a relationship of incredible depth between her and her husband, Vint.
    Outstanding!!! A must-listen!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Lian Hearn
    • Narrated By Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.

    Jody R. Nathan says: "Wonderful epic story"
    "Hooked from minute one!"

    Once I began this book, I could not stop listening. Well-written, well read, the mental imagery Hearn painted put me right in the middle of feudal Japan. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Painted House

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By David Lansbury

    In a departure from the legal thriller genre, John Grisham's latest novel draws inspiration from his own rural childhood in Arkansas. Listen and enjoy this moving tale about a 7-year-old boy and the dose of reality that comes, one autumn during the harvest, to take away his innocence. Also available abridged.

    Janelle Carter says: "Bittersweet way of life of time past...."
    "Vivid Mental Picture"

    Grisham does a tremendous job capturing the world of a 7-year old boy in rural Arkansas for the reader as vividly as if you were there. Excellent plot/setting, well narrated too.
    Not your typical Grisham book in terms of subject matter, but the quality of his writing is constant throughout.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Its Soul for Saudi Crude

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Robert Baer
    • Narrated By Robert O'Keefe

    Robert Baer reveals how our government's relationship with Saudi Arabia and America's dependence on Saudi oil make us vulnerable to economic disaster and put us at risk for further acts of terrorism. Our addiction to cheap oil and Saudi petrodollars caused us to turn a blind eye to the Al Sa'ud's culture of bribery, and its financial support of fundamentalist Islamic groups that have been directly linked to international acts of terror, including those against the United States.

    Kevin Christy says: "Ouch. The truth hurts."
    "An Informative Read"

    This book was chock-full of fascinating facts and linkages between the US Government, the Saudi royals and the confusing web of Mid-East governments and Islamic extremist terror organizations that the American public is only just beginning to become familiar with in the aftermath of 9/11.
    Baer includes a bit more emotional rhetoric and "conspiracy theory" than I am comfortable with in a non-fiction work, but he provides a solid primer on the tangled web of US/Saudi/Mid-East relations nevertheless.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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