This is a very nicely written plantation saga with plenty of sweep and character, as well as an interesting take on race in the antebellum years. The reader is solid enough, but ought to come to Eastern Maryland and hear the local accent someday. His white characters all sounded like Deep South caricatures.
You'll experience a strong sense of deja entendu if you've ever listened to "Iron Mike" read the forecast on NOAA VHF weather radio.
"Soul-der" for solder is bad, but wait till you hear him try "Hoechst", and Admiral Spee's name doesn't rhyme with "pee". I could go on.
Great story, though, and the writing is simple enough to absorb in challenging traffic or while making love (just kidding).
The overall effect is Bob Dylan reading bad Hemingway, i.e. frankly annoying, and the writing, while workmanlike, is illiterate in spots: German U-boats did not create a "Maelstrom" for US merchant shipping, for God's sake!
The narrator has a strange, over-dramatic, cadence and the depressingly usual trouble with the unfamiliar: "Admiralty" comes out "admirality", "Dominic" is, inexplicably, "Dominique" (most Doms I knew wouldn't like that at all) and "Babineau" is "Babinow". He affects a bizzarre, ostensibly Bostonian, accent for the he crew members and their families, which sounds like a speech impediment.
Nevertheless, this book is the result of a fine and important piece of journalism and will be of substantial interest and worth the annoyance to anyone enamored of ships, mariners, and tales of survival at sea. I am in that category and it certainly made the dishes and the gym go faster for a week.
Epic story of catastrophic overreach and callow foolishness told in an endless series of breathless mini-vignettes. Seems the wrong style for such a long treatment.
Narrator is terrible. Trails off to inaudibility at the ends of his sentences, has one, all purpose, foreign accent (why any?) and can't read: it's ciprofloxacin, not "ciprofloxin"; KAbul, not" KaBOOL" and Dostum, not "Dotsum"!
Caro continues his LBJ saga with even greater scope as the Man attains supreme power, but none of the detail and texture is lost. The writing is repetitive and can verge on bombast, but this is still biography at its very finest and great literature by any standard.
This is the lively and fascinating story of a brilliant creep with a serious personality disorder, which seems to have matched his times and social milieu perfectly. He appears literally to have been unstoppable by physics or law enforcement, until succumbing to a dreary and debilitating brand of "meshugas". Being under 75, I had to Google pictures of his female conquests, but, I must say, he did phenomenally well in that department. Money, however, is just money.
Unfortunately, the writing is barely literate. For instance, the word "that" is used uniformly and annoyingly when "which", "who", or "whom" is called for. The reader amplifies the effect by stumbling over words, such as, "camaraderie" and coming up with at least three unique mispronunciations of "Domergue".
The book starts well, with a convincing setting, taut narrative, and the beginnings of character development, but then wanders aimlessly off into fantasy and gratuitous plot gimmicks.
I enjoyed the accents and prosody of the apparently Korean narrators, but the good production is wasted on this mediocre novel.
The monotonous, uninflected, seemingly uncomprehending, reading doesn't ruin the sublime writing, but comes too close.
Dialog and dialect are key in this book and the reader carries neither off effectively. However, even this can't kill the savage funnies.
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