I was interested in this story because my mother was born during the flu epidemic of 1918-19 and the doctor who delivered her died before he could sign her birth certificate. I was always curious about how a healthy person could die that quickly, with stories of bodies of flu victims being stacked "like cord wood" because there weren't enough healthy people to bury the dead. This book is so much more than a story about that pandemic.
It is a remarkably well-researched history of medicine starting with Hippocrates. Making medicine into an empiric science and transforming medical education were occurring just prior to this epidemic. We learn about how the flu affected the role of laboratory science, epidemiology, bacteriology, virology, public health and military medicine. Mr. Barry does an incredible job of explaining immunological and pathological concepts for the lay audience. He gives us much food for thought about the present influenza worries.
This audiobook is highly recommended for the general audience. I would really like to see it as required reading for medical students.
With her background as a "space" correspondent, Ms Sherr was in the right place at the right time to make an acquaintance with Sally Ride. Although the astronaut was a very private person, she did share some of her thoughts with the reporter through their years of friendship. The special relationship probably helped the author gain access to other friends who could add their recollections of Sally to make a well researched biography.
The book also illuminates that era of NASA history involving picking a group of astronauts of varying demographics to fly on the space shuttle. It was interesting to see the extent of training these non-pilot scientists were given. Sally was a member of both Columbia and Challenger crash panels and those experiences were handled well by Ms Sherr.
The second half of the book details a more general indictment of how our society has discouraged girls from pursuing science careers and the role Sally played in encouraging both teachers and kids in how to make teaching science interesting.
As the story unfolds it becomes less believable. We have an agent of the US government who appears to be marooned in a small town, and he seems to remain clueless and helpless through much of the story. It does remind me of the kind of artificial plot lines that showed up in some of the mediocre episodes of the Twilight Zone TV series
The "reveal" at the end of the novel is even less believable. I can not see me ever buying any further installments to this series.
The book is too long and ponderous. There is a little bit of science fiction and a lot of other stuff. I am 3/4 of the way through this book and it feels like it will never end. From my viewpoint because it's not set very far into the future the author gets bogged down into a lot of today's geopolitics and socioeconomic woes that really isn't all that interesting to me.
Mr. Flynn did a much better job with Eifelheim, which is another Audible selection, and a standalone SF novel set in the present.
I left this book in my wish list for a long time. The reviews are somewhat mixed, so I'm glad I took a chance on it. In order to set the stage for the story Ms Kiernan wants to tell there is some background information about scientific discoveries and events leading up to the need to build a facility to separate and purify uranium isotopes.
As a baby boomer I felt like I had some historical context for the events that lead up to the building of the Bomb. I had heard about some of the day to day hardships experienced by people on the "home front" with rationing and scarcity for all the people, and employing women in "Rosie the Riveter" jobs for the first time.
The vast majority of the book is based on interviews with women and men who were recruited to work at the "Clinton Engineering Works". It is told from their point of view. These individuals ranged from women college graduates with science backgrounds to recent high school graduates from nearby appalachian towns to army recruits literally pulled off troop trains bound for battlefield deployments. Many were recruited without knowing the location of the facility. Instead of a modern, clean facility, think mud with wood plank sidewalks.
Oak Ridge was literally built up around these recruits and shrouded in an unimaginable cloak of secrecy. All information about the jobs these people were hired to do was doled out on a need to know basis, so the vast majority had no idea that they were working on the bomb, even the girls who ran the uranium collectors and the chemists who assayed the product for purity.
I did appreciate the stories Ms Kiernan collected from the recollections of the day to day activities of these folks, many of whom had brothers in combat. She was able to record many of their reflections after learning that their efforts resulted in unleashing the destructive forces of the bomb. Just like others of their generation, these women and men are dying off. It's hard to believe that the American public will ever again mobilize to such an extent for any cause, so that makes these stories even more valuable.
The narration could have been better but did not detract from the audiobook.
Although The 13th Tale has nothing to do with Emily Bronte, there was sort of a feeling of being out on the moors in a Bronte-esque style of writing. The plot is well-developed and at the end many disparate elements are pulled together to make an interesting ending.
Two narrators worked very well and added greatly to the performance.
In spite of these strengths, the story requires a significant suspension of belief and none of the characters are particularly likeable.
I realize this book was not meant to be great literature. The premise is unique and has the seed of a good story in it. Most of the main characters have major personality flaws that perfectly fit the plot so that anything that could go wrong does go wrong. Even the physical facility where the story takes place is designed in such a way that the problems are fairly predictable.
It's sad because the story could have been told with characters who were not so mentally ill and would really have strengthened the "technothriller"
Luke Daniels does a very good job of narration. Will definitely look for more of his performances.
I appreciate the opportunity to try out books when Audible has a sale. I have enjoyed the Scandinavian authors, and have also enjoyed other Italian police procedurals. However, as another reviewer said, if this book portrays a typical Italian defense lawyer, there isn't any work done outside the courtroom.
Much of the book is the introspective musings, fears and disappointments of this attorney, interspersed with courtroom oratory and rhetoric. The premise was worthy of a story, but the story told was not engaging. I have no desire to listen to any additional books in this series.
Other reviewers have noted that there are parts of the story line that stretch belief. That's true. In essence, there are two stories that intersect with the crash. The story of the crash investigation is superb. I learned quite a bit about the crash scene investigations and there are lots of exciting and believable moments tied up in that part.
The "bad guys"... not so believable.
To me a book is good if I know I'll enjoy listening to it again in the future. Crashers is one of those books.
People reviewing this book either love it or hate it. Other reviewers have pointed out many of the flaws in this book. It is difficult to add another review without spoilers, but I will try.
Mr. Coben asks his readers to suspend belief time and time again.
We know little of the motivations of Jake's girlfriend as the story develops, as to why she acted the way she did and what she brought to the relationship that was special enough to create his obsession. The fact that they were both in a position to meet each other in the first place was a contrivance. Jake's best friend also mourns the loss of a "significant other" lost to him more or less the same way.
A very diverse cast of characters who have been touched by violence have all intersected with Jake's small liberal arts college. The faculty contains members that too conveniently include a former FBI agent and former diplomat, so that Jake can rapidly get information that most college profs would not have access to.
The story just doesn't hold water for me.
Mr. Giminez does a nice job of telling the story of a selfish self-promoting lawyer who sees the light, loses wealth, status and selfish wife by defending a rather remarkable junkie prostitute.
The main characters may be a little stereotypical, the plot resolution may also be a little stereotypical, but the story is worth telling and there are enough supporting characters and subplots to make for a satisfying listen.
Although the setting is Dallas instead of the deep south, this novel does have the feel of a good Grisham book.
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