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Steven

PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States | Member Since 2008

159
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 221 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
6

  • Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano, Whitey Bulger’s Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Howie Carr
    • Narrated By Keith Szarabajka
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (73)

    Martin Scorcese’s The Departed barely touched his story, but radio talk show sensation, crime reporter, and Boston Herald columnist, Howie Carr, takes us into the heart of the life of Johnny Martorano. For two decades Martorano struck fear into anyone remotely connected to his world. His partnership with Whitey Bulger and the infamous Winter Hill Gang led to 20 murders for which Johnny would serve only 12 years in prison.

    Scott says: "Great book but"
    "My audible listening enjoyment has taken a hit"
    Overall

    I usually like mafia books, but this one is below mediocre. Although the publisher promoted the book by saying Johnny Mortarano was an unlikely hitman, he's a psychopath, with the lowest moral character, who is among the likeliest to become a murderer and criminal.

    The writing has no panache. The author introduces so many characters, that it is extremely difficult to keep track of them. The writing is merely a bland recitation of the events. The story is told through the cross examination of Mortarano through a defense attorney who is trying to impeach Mortarano's credibility. It's a good device - but hey- everything else about the book sucks.

    Although the author says Mortarano never went to college, wikipedia says he played football for the Boston College Eagles. He's even listed on the Boston College Eagles, wikipedia page. WTF.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (184)

    On Mars, the harsh climate could make any colonist turn to drugs to escape a dead-end existence. Especially when the drug is Can-D, which transports its users into the idyllic world of a Barbie-esque character named Perky Pat. When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch arrives with a new drug called Chew-Z, he offers a more addictive experience, one that might bring the user closer to God. But in a world where everyone is tripping, no promises can be taken at face value.

    Jerry Witt says: "Fantastic and current"
    "Disjointed-Not worthy of PKD"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's impossible to keep up with this story. Not because, "i'm just not smart enough to keep up with this," as one reviewer put it. But because the story is disjointed, the plot keeps changing with further complications, and the book is an incomprehensible mishmash. Not one of PKD's best. I could bow to the political correctness of other reviewers and insinuate that the story is somehow above the normal comprehension of mere mortals. but I'll just say that this is poor writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Making It: Why Manufacturing Still Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Louis Uchitelle
    • Narrated By Alex Hyde-White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In the 1950s manufacturing generated nearly 30 percent of US income. Over the past 55 years that share has gradually declined to less than 12 percent at the same time that real estate, finance, and Wall Street trading have grown. While manufacturing's share of the US economy shrinks, it expands in countries such as China and Germany that have a strong industrial policy.

    Steven says: "Important Subject-Rarely Covered by the Media"
    "Important Subject-Rarely Covered by the Media"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is written by veteran NY Times reporter - Louis Uchitelle. The book arrived with no fanfare, recorded by Audible. I'm not sure it is available in written form. I bought it having been familiar with Uchitelle's writing.

    I think the book could have been more comprehensive. It's mostly Uchitelle's 1st person accounts of various manufacturing companies he's dealt with over the years. He puts forward a few theories about why manufacturing is dwindling in the U.S. and some ideas for its revitalization.

    He could have spoken to some of the economists who have said that persistent trade deficits usually lead to stagnant growth in an economy, and big problems. and why this hasn't happened yet in the U.S. Because I've studied this issue I'll answer this question myself. My theory is that because the U.S is a reserve currency, and because of the problems with the Euro, the U.S. dollar is strong, and investment is strong. However, I believe that dwindling manufacturing and persistent trade deficits, will eventually sink the dollar, and cause big problems. We've already seen stagnant wages for like 30 or 40 yrs. and declining standards of living.

    so you see, that the book is lacking some comprehension and analysis. However nobody else is really dealing with this issue, except Uchitelle's book. So if you're interested in this subject, I recommend the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Roger Lowenstein
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (199)

    Until the election of Woodrow Wilson the United States - alone among developed nations - lacked a central bank. Ever since the Revolutionary War, Americans had desperately feared the consequences of centralizing the nation's finances under government control. However, in the aftermath of a disastrous financial panic, Congress was persuaded - by a confluence of populist unrest, widespread mistrust of bankers, ideological divisions, and secretive lobbying - to approve the landmark 1913 Federal Reserve Act.

    Jean says: "Important and Intriguing"
    "Overated book about the creation of the Fed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is way overrated. 1st off I don't find Lowenstein a great writer. - he's mediocre. If he were writing fiction his books wouldn't sell. 2nd- The book would have been better if it dealt with a complete history of the Fed, By spending all his time writing about the creation, he skipped many interesting histories of the Fed- i.e. - how did the Fed react to the great depression? - was it a cause? how about when Paul Volker raised interest rates to double digit levels - some rates were 18% if my memory serves me well. 3rd - why should I care about every little thing that happened with the politicians who created the Fed - who cares? it's like the old joke - "just show me the baby"-most folks don't want to hear about the labor pains. The book would have been better if he dealt with the arguments put forward by those who want to change or abolish the Fed.- i.e. - how has the Fed served the public past, present , and future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Karl Jacoby
    • Narrated By JD Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    To his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican, the proud owner of a luxury apartment overlooking Central Park, a busy Wall Street office, and scores of mines and haciendas in Mexico. But for all his obvious riches and his elegant appearance, Eliseo was also the possessor of a devastating secret: He was not, in fact, from Mexico at all. Rather, he had begun life as a slave named William Ellis, born on a cotton plantation in Texas during the waning years of King Cotton.

    Steven says: "Fascinating Tale of Racial Passing"
    "Fascinating Tale of Racial Passing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this true story of William Ellis. Ellis was a raconteur, part con man, sharp businessman, and adventurer..

    Since Ellis had business interests in both Mexico and the U.S, the author gives a good background on the history of Mexico during this period, and Texas from it's Mexican origins to its becoming part of the U.S. The author has written several books on the border region so he is well versed on the subject. Having traveled to Mexico several times I share the author's love and fascination with Mexico.

    .The author engaged in what appeared to be a lengthy postscript about the subject of racial passing, (light skinned Negroes passing as white) I found that chapter to be unnecessary, and cut it short for these reasons: - Ellis was born into a racist, and unjust system and found a way to bypass that system by posing as Hispanic, and white.(good for him) He suffered the consequences of losing his identity, but flourished as a successful businessman. He was also a bit of a rascal. The story stands on it's own, with it's rewards and consequences, so no modern postscript is necessary.-Frankly, I'm bored with lectures about race The story is what it is, so my suggestion is to skip the postscript.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jane Mayer
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3346)
    Performance
    (3021)
    Story
    (2997)

    Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against "big government" led to the rise of a broad-based conservative movement.

    Mark says: "Fact attack"
    "The Whore-zation of the American Political Process"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jane Mayer has been working to unravel the Koch Brother's network, since her fine 2010 article in the New Yorker. Back then the Kochs' unsuccessfully tried to sick some private investigators on her in an effort to smear her. That in itself tells you a lot about what's in this book.

    If you've ever wondered who financed the Tea Party, and the evolution of some of the obscure and crazy ideas that are now mainstream in the Republican Party, like getting rid of the EPA and oh- "I can't remember the other 2 federal agencies I want to get rid of" then read this book.

    And don't pay attention to the negative reviews and the unhelpful votes this book will get by the naive and extreme people who always do this, with books they think are too liberal, which most often are books they don't even read. Like the guy who reviewed the book on Amazon who never read the book, but heard Jane Mayer on the radio.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Karen Dawisha
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (183)

    The raging question in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions. Karen Dawisha’s brilliant Putin’s Kleptocracy provides an answer, describing how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia.

    Steven says: "A Cautionary Tale, to how Democracy Gets Hijacked"
    "A Cautionary Tale, to how Democracy Gets Hijacked"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most Americans suspect that Putin is a thug. Troops with unmarked uniforms, face masks, and Russian accents, that populate break away Ukrainian territories are displayed on the nightly news. But like an iceberg, the majority of Putin's deviousness remains hidden from popular view, that was until this book. Whether Putin was an accidental prime ministerial candidate pushed forward by the oligarchs desperate to replace an ailing Yeltsin, or part of a deliberate plot by KGB and organized crime as advocated in this book, remains speculative. What is clear is that Putin, a man of mediocre abilities, reactionary tendencies, a crook, and probably a murderer, (can you say plutonium poisoning kiddies) now has a stranglehold on Russia. Now, the Russian mass media is merely a propaganda arm for Putin spinning the virile, shirtless myth, that some people are stupid enough to believe, and creating two star Audible reviews, to what is a well written book.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Eric Lichtblau
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (68)

    Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies.

    Leslie D. says: "Interesting but a little disorganized"
    "More hypocrisy in the McCarthy Era."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The seamy side of America's war on Communism, is that the CIA let thousands of Nazis settle peacefully in the U.S. Lichtblau provides ample evidence of this premise. He does so in an interesting, and sometime sarcastic manner, that the reality of this situation would engender.

    His research indicates that the right wing Foster Dulles was the architect, of this policy. In addition to (overthrowing a few elected governments in Costa Rica and Iran,"info not included in this book") pardoning a few ex Nazis was on his to do list.
    After all, weren't the Communists our real enemy, and what's a few dead Jews, gypsies, and partisans between friends?? Yea, and I personally hate the airport named after him in D.C, and then there was the 'successful Bay of Pigs operation', (What, politicians with irrational fears making them do crazy things,- this could never happen, again ?) .but I won't let that get in the way of a good story. And this is an interesting and well authored book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Cramer's Get Rich Carefully

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By James J. Cramer
    • Narrated By James J. Cramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (514)
    Performance
    (442)
    Story
    (435)

    Tired of false promises about getting rich quickly, promises that lead to reckless decisions, the stepping stones to the poorhouse? How about trying something different? How about going for lasting wealth based on thirty-five years' worth of insights from Jim Cramer, a grizzled stock veteran and host of CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Cramer . . . How about getting rich carefully?

    Steven says: "Great Stock Mkt. Analysis with Timely Trends"
    "Great Stock Mkt. Analysis with Timely Trends"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I take Cramer's advice with a grain of salt. The reason is, I'm a mutual fund guy, and I don't buy a lot of stocks. That said, I always pay attention to Cramer, because he's the smartest stock mkt. pundit out there, he doesn't follow the crowd, and he's not afraid to stick his neck out, by making recommendations that could easily come back to bite him in the ass, as some inevitably do.

    The book analyzes some new trends that most people aren't aware of like stealth technology, which is how non tech companies use tech to revolutionize their companies. Examples are Amorall's use of clothing that wicks sweat, dries fast, and stays warm, Doninos Pizza's use of online ordering, etc He also discusses which companies should break up, and why. And the notable 20 best CEO's.

    Cramer does a good job of reading his book, although he has an annoying habit sometimes of talking too loud, which probably helps hold interest on TV, but hey I've already purchased the book so I don't need someone shouting in my ear to hold my interest, like that right wing gadfly Rick Santelli.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Miles: The Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Miles Davis
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (722)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (648)

    Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles Davis was one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. Here, Miles speaks out about his extraordinary life. Miles: The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back. For the first time Miles talks about his five-year silence. He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it. He condemns the racism he encountered in the music business and in American society generally. And he discusses the women in his life.

    Barry says: "A man untroubled by his own contradictions"
    "Takes you Inside the World of a Jazz Legend"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Miles wrote a brutally honest autobiography. You see the man's faults, as well as the tremendous drive that made him one of the most renowned Jazz greats of the 20th century. The book answers some of the questions that made Miles such an enigma, such as: why did he famously turn his back on audiences on stage? And why was he known for having a sometimes contentious personality?

    Miles was very sensitive to patronizing, and racist comments by whites, partially because he came up at a time when blacks were excluded from some night clubs and hotels that he traveled to, and because he grew up in East St. Louis which had a terrible race riot in the early 20th Century, where many blacks were killed.

    He tells of an incident where he was at the white house receiving an award when he took offense at a patronizing racial comment from one of the guests. "I bet your Mammy would be proud of you." After he told the lady off, the insulted woman asked, "what did you do to deserve this presidential award?" "I changed the music 6 or 7 times," Miles said. And he did, from his groundbreaking Sketches Of Spain in the fifties, which is unlike any other jazz album, to his rock fusion in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

    Miles was accused by some of pandering to commercialism when he combined his jazz with rock. I saw Miles shortly before he died, when he did a free concert at Penn's Landing in Philly. I saw a little baby dancing, and the music was just that natural and spontaneous, which was what Miles said about it. He also said that the young people get addicted to the electronic sound, and then it becomes hard to listen to acoustic music. - and I find this true with my own listening. Miles just had that inherent knowledge about music - which made him the legend he was. He also sacrificed everything for his music.

    If you're interested in jazz, or what it was like being a jazz celebrity in the 20th Century you'll like this book.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Graham Nash
    • Narrated By Graham Nash
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (479)
    Performance
    (453)
    Story
    (453)

    From Graham Nash - the legendary musician and founding member of the iconic bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies - comes a candid and riveting autobiography that belongs on the reading list of every classic rock fan.

    Steven says: "The Best of the Recent Rock Biographies"
    "The Best of the Recent Rock Biographies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After listening to Keith Richard's and Clapton's bios in addition to Billy Crystal's, I liked Nash's the best. Nash was always the most articulate of Crosby Stills & Nash. Which is remarkable for a guy who never completed high school. He doesn't waste lot of time discussing his drug use like in Keith Richard's bio, nor does he spend a lot of time bragging about his children and worrying about his imminent demise like Billy Crystal. lnstead, Nash gives us the condensed version of what we came for, which is his rise to rock and roll stardom 1st through the Hollies and then with Crosby Stills & Nash. It's a remarkable story. How the Hollies 1st big U.S. hit Bustop was written by the 14 yr. old Graham Gouldman, and how Nash was blown away when the kid performed it for him. And the 1st time he sung together with Crosby and Stills at Joni Mitchell's house. He also brings us up to date with his current pursuits.

    What made the audiobook for me was that it was read by Nash himself, a really nice personal touch.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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