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Robert

COVENTRY, CT, United States | Member Since 2003

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 71 ratings
  • 1566 titles in library
  • 33 purchased in 2014
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  • The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (307)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (251)

    This monumental book tells the enthralling story of one of the greatest accomplishments in our nation's history, the building of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge rose out of the expansive era following the Civil War, when Americans believed all things were possible.

    Kathy says: "The Great Bridge"
    "A Tour de Force of Engineering and NY Politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is hard to imagine that a book of this length could be written about the building of a single bridge. Indeed, 1776, McCullogh's outstanding history of the revolutionary war, is a third the length. One must conclude that McCullogh became obsessed with the bridge and the people responsible for completing one of the most unique engineering feats of the 1800's. He did exhaustive research and was the first to explore the rich archives at RPI which provide many of the details. While I wish he had spent more time on the engineering and less time on the politics, I suspect many listeners will feel quite the opposite. Regardless, this is a great historical book, and it provides more insight into life in the late 1800s than any other book I have read.

    I was very sorry when this amazing story ended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3408)
    Performance
    (1393)
    Story
    (1397)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "A Classic of Science Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I noted a number of bad reviews, I downloaded this book solely based on its having won the 2005 Hugo Award. I have never been dissappointed by a Hugo or Nebula Award winning novel, and I am happy to say that this was one of the best. The question I address here is why there are so many mixed reviews, and I believe the answer lies in the slow start. The author spends a great deal of time (perhaps too much time) setting the stage, both in terms of character development and the ambience of the 1800s. I enjoyed it, but it is clear that many readers/listeners found it boring. But if you can make it through the first 8 hours, you will be rewarded with a wonderful experience. The reader is excellent, the characters have depth, the plot is sophisticated and while hard to follow, worth it. Many of the footnotes are enjoyable, and the reader handles them well and does not let them hinder the momentum. I strongly recommend this book. This novel, and American Gods, are the two best of the year for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5347)
    Performance
    (2215)
    Story
    (2229)

    For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

    Joseph says: "Amazing, powerful book about America."
    "An Allegory for Modern Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Imagine a world where our gods exist only to the extent that we believe in them, and if we believe in them, they take on substance and power. This is a story of such a world but placed in modern times with a cast of characters that dates back to the earliest mythologies. A remarkably creative work that will be loved by those who remember (or are willing to revisit) their studies of the beliefs of the early normans, greeks, and romans. The main character is all too human and the gods he interacts with much too powerful, but like mythology, you can sometimes outwit a god if you are creative and play to his weaknesses. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (51 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (1294)
    Performance
    (992)
    Story
    (1020)

    Debt of Honor ends as Jack Ryan is confirmed vice president minutes before a mammoth act of terrorism kills the President, most of his cabinet, all but a few members of Congress, the entire Supreme Court and all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suddenly Ryan is President, which is where Executive Orders begins.

    Thomas says: "Don't some of us wish Jack ryan was real?"
    "Tom Clancy's Worst"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tom Clancy's early books are great, but his most recent books have been written not for our entertainment but as a platform for political discourse. He wants to make sure you agree with him politically, and for those listeners who are not religious conservatives or staunch catholics, his books can be painful experiences. He thinks the government should stay out of everyone's business unless the individual is a woman, and then the government should be in control of their body. Very Santorum. Very Ugly.

    What makes this much worse is that 65% of the story is political exposition. Very little action. Other reviewers have said much the same, but I foolishly figured it would not be that bad. It was that bad and it ruined the story.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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