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CHESTER

Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States | Member Since 2007

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 159 reviews
  • 604 ratings
  • 1161 titles in library
  • 81 purchased in 2014
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  • The Second World War: The Grand Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (664)
    Performance
    (365)
    Story
    (367)

    This volume of Churchill's history of the Second World War recounts the events of 1941 surrounding America's entry into the War, Hitler's march on Russia, and the alliance between Britain and America.

    John M says: "Fascinating and Insightful"
    "EXTRAORDINARY MEN"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    History shows Churchill to be one of the greatest orators of war since Abraham Lincoln. He is also a fine writer. “…The Grand Alliance” is a fascinating first-hand account of an English Prime Minister/First Lord of the Admiralty’s perception of the great events of World War II. During the war years, Winston Churchill became the equivalent of a U. S. President and Secretary of Defense rolled into one. Winston Churchill, like Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt join a list of extraordinary men.

    This is an extraordinary history of WWII because it is written by a principal participant. Subsequent historians have clarified and expanded Churchill’s observations. The perspective of time seems to have been kind to Churchill’s memory of events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Lyndam Gregory
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (581)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (364)

    Salman Rushdie holds the literary world in awe with a jaw-dropping catalog of critically acclaimed novels that have made him one of the world's most celebrated authors. Winner of the prestigious Booker of Bookers, Midnight's Children tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born on the stroke of India's independence.

    Marc-Fr says: "Outstanding book, superb narration"
    "GOD AND THE SNAKE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Midnight’s Children" is about God and the snake. Written by Salman Rushdie, it is a story about religion and knowledge. It raises issues about God, Allah, Shiva, Buddha and many fundamental religious beliefs. In "Midnight’s Children", Rushdie uses a satiric pen to tell the story of India’s independence and the role of religion in Indian/Pakistani society.

    "Midnight’s Children" is a “coming of age” saga about one child born at the strike-of-midnight August 15, 1947, the day India became an independent nation-state. Rushdie demythologizes religion and promotes humanism by telling a story of India and Pakistan’s history. He infers the prime mover of life is human nature; not God.

    Rushdie uses the snake as a symbol of knowledge; knowledge that contains both good and evil. Rushdie writes that snake venom kills and heals; i.e. it kills when there is too much; heals when used in correct proportion. Saleem, as a young boy, survives early death with administration of the right proportion of venom; i.e. the right amount of knowledge.

    Prominence of a nose is a recurrent theme in Rusdie’s story. At times, Rushdie’s writing is laugh-out-loud funny, like when he describes the prominence of a big nose. Though the clairvoyant quality of Saleem’s life is lost when his nose is operated on, the nose offers other extraordinary powers. A listener is inclined to believe, as Saleem matures, that a nose knows about life and living in the Middle East and other regions of a troubled world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1264)
    Performance
    (1129)
    Story
    (1119)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "GOING CLEAR"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Without vilifying any one religion, Scientology, like all organized religions, is a belief system manufactured by man. Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, writes an informative, titillating. and believable book about Scientology. After listening to “Going Clear”, the human failings of Scientology are stripped bare with a force as explosive as the abuse of parish children by Catholic’ priests. The many testimonials of Scientologists that say Scientology “improved their lives” infers some value in its teachings; however, like all organized religions, it is subject to human failings. No organized religion in recorded history has been without human failure.

    Wright names the names of the most famous Scientologists with Tom Cruise and John Travolta at the top of the list. But, he also explains why lesser lights, like Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Greta Van Susteren, continue to follow the religion. What makes the story more interesting is why some of the early members are leaving; i.e. Paul Haggis, Bruce Hines, and possibly, Tommy Davis, a wealthy follower and former spokesman for Scientology.

    Wright amplifies interest by revealing secrets of the religion, some of its leader’s alleged violence, and mysteries of disappearing members.

    Where will Scientology be 100 years from now? Will Hubbard’s myths become a gospel of truth or will Scientology fall into the dustbin of history’s failed cults?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1212)
    Performance
    (1038)
    Story
    (1049)

    Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

    Darwin8u says: "Mantel Pulls the History out of the History"
    "THE PLAY'S THE THING"
    Overall
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    Story

    “Bring Up the Bodies” fictionally recreates the history of King Henry the VIII’s schism with the Roman Catholic Church. Hilary Mantel writes the story of Anne Boleyn’s demise and Thomas Cromwell’s role as the King’s henchman in separating Boleyn’s head from her body. Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies” reminds one of Hamlet’s “The play’s the thing!” which will out the truth.

    Anne Boleyn is never characterized as a weak, simpering woman but as a passionate, calculating, and forceful female that refuses to be cowed by the King, Cromwell, or her lascivious and narcissistic family. She hates like a man but uses her feminine allure to seduce a King and transfix a multitude of suitors.

    Mantel shows that Henry the VIII is the dominant force in decisions made in England but the instrument of execution for the King’s decisions is the brilliant, irreligious pragmatist and tactician, Thomas Cromwell. Mantel’s first book, “Wolf Hall”, sets the stage for Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power; Mantel’s second book “Bring Up the Bodies” is the play, with Cromwell as the main actor, the Queens as supporting actresses, and noblemen as bit-players; with the King as producer and director.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lisa Randall
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (87)

    The latest developments in physics have the potential to radically revise our understanding of the world: its makeup, its evolution, and the fundamental forces that drive its operation. Knocking on Heaven's Door is an exhilarating and accessible overview of these developments and an impassioned argument for the significance of science. There could be no better guide than Lisa Randall.

    Amazon Customer says: "Love the book, hate the title"
    "LEADERSHIP IN SCIENCE"
    Overall
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    Lisa Randall believes the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is one of the wonders of the world, competing with the pyramids of Egypt in its colossal achievement. Located near the border of France and Switzerland, it is the largest construction project ever built.

    “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” is the story of the Collider’s creation, inner workings, and scientific objectives. It is also a story of America’s loss of leadership in science.

    A quibble one may have with Randall’s book is that she digresses into derivative finance to suggest that more scientific analysis would obviate the kind of financial disaster that occurred in 2007. She suggests that proper analysis of real estate derivatives would have stopped the madness. The naiveté of that argument is that there were a few that saw the collapse coming but their scientific analysis only convinced a small number of people. Few financial “geniuses” chose to believe real estate derivatives were a financial instrument of destruction. How different is that from the scientific community’s position on global warming?

    Scientific analysis misses part of what makes human’s human; i.e. minds can know something and still act irrationally; not to mention, rationality is often in the mind of the beholder. Randal admits as much in writing about beauty and truth and clearly notes that they are not necessarily equivalent because of human subjectivity. If one can make millions of dollars off a quant’s mistaken calculations, what incentive does that person have to ignore the opportunity?

    Randall convinces one of the formidable reality of the LHC and its potential contribution to science. America may have missed a chance to be a leader rather than follower of one of the 21st century’s great contributions to science, the Large Hadron Collider.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Feminine Mystique

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Betty Friedan
    • Narrated By Parker Posey
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (133)

    The book that changed the consciousness of a country - and the world. Landmark, groundbreaking, classic - these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined "the problem that has no name," that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since.

    Crystal says: "Just download it already!"
    "HUMAN BEINGS FIRST"
    Overall
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    Story

    By writing–women are human beings first–, Betty Friedan speaks truth to power. Friedan’s theme in The Feminine Mystique attempts to enlighten thick-headed males and doubting women about the equality of human beings. It is sad to realize that such a banal and obvious statement as “women are human beings first” so perfectly exposes the ignorance of prejudice.

    Every rational human being has a brain that functions in the same way. This is not to suggest that genetics do not matter. It is not to suggest that environment does not matter. It suggests that sexual function, color of one’s skin, and culture are outside influences that create prejudice while the brain is an infinitely malleable organ that carries the potential for genius as well as stupidity.

    Freidan’s concern is that women are not treated as equals even though women are approximately equal-in-number to men. Things have changed since 1963 but equality remains a work-in-process. Of the fortune 500 companies in the United States, only 25 have female CEOs. Women doing the same job as men in 2010 receive $.81 for every $1 paid to men, a 19% difference. Though house work is shared more now than in the 1960s, women work 18 hours a week homemaking while men work 10 hours a week (according to a PEW Research Study in 2011); i.e. the greatest burden remains with women. Without meaning to argue that the glass is half empty rather than half full, the revolution exemplified by Freidan’s book is incomplete. Many people continue to fight for equality of all human beings but many men and women continue to resist; to the detriment of society.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10281)
    Performance
    (9316)
    Story
    (9396)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    Livia says: "Formulaic and Hard to Finish...."
    "SHEER ENTERTAINMENT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Noah Charney wrote an article in “The Daily Beast” titled “Fact-Checking Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’: 10 Mistakes, False Statements, and Oversimplifications”. The truth is there are more than 10. But Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and now Inferno are terrifically entertaining fictions. Charney’s petty criticism misses the point of reading a novel for sheer entertainment. If one reads Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Christo or The Three Musketeers), the same criticism is applicable, but great tales are told by both Dumas and Brown.

    There are many twists and turns in Brown’s story that will draw its audience into the tale. The cleverness of Brown’s writing is enhanced by some knowledge of Dante’s poem but the story rests on its own merit. Inferno, like The Three Musketeers, is a highly entertaining story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10931)
    Performance
    (8365)
    Story
    (8416)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"
    "GUILTY PLEASURE"
    Overall
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    "The Way of Kings" is a guilty pleasure: i.e. guilty for listening to 45 hours of an audio book; pleasure from a writer’s imagination that vivifies human strength and weakness. Brandon Sanderson teaches creative writing at BYU. Judging from Wikipedia’s bio of Sanderson, he uses three laws when teaching or writing creative fiction. Each of these laws helps explain why "The Way of Kings" is a pleasure worth its 45 hour length.

    Sentient beings are not perfect; i.e. they are good and evil. "The Way of Kings" shows that some beings believe there is no God but God; others believe there is no God but science. "The Way of Kings" suggests there is a middle way. One might conclude from "The Way of Kings" that sentient beings live life by their own rules and suffer their own consequences.

    "The Way of Kings" audio book will have different meanings to its listeners but the skill of Brandon Sanderson and the expert narration of Reading and Kramer will entertain all who listen to its 45 hour adventure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Watergate: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Thomas Mallon
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (100)

    For all the monumental documentation that Watergate generated - uncountable volumes of committee records, court transcripts, and memoirs - it falls at last to a novelist to perform the work of inference (and invention) that allows us to solve some of the scandal’s greatest mysteries - who did erase those eighteen-and-a-half minutes of tape? - and to see this gaudy American catastrophe in its human entirety. In Watergate, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew.

    Tad Davis says: "A great listen"
    "WATERGATE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel about “Watergate” will offend and entertain. It will offend those who believe Nixon was a great political leader. It will entertain those who believe Nixon was simply a man with strengths and weaknesses, overblown by great power. Mallon cleverly weaves a story of the Watergate break-in that magnifies its stupidity by revealing known facts and improbable speculations.

    Aside from a fictional side story of an extramarital affair for Mrs. Nixon, Mallon gives his audience an entertaining story. He successfully reveals how momentous the Watergate’ cover-up became.

    Nixon did not lose the Presidency from the petty Watergate’ burglary; he lost it from the cover-up. Just as LaRue is not found guilty of murdering his father, Nixon is not convicted for a petty crime. However, both are punished for the remainder of their lives. As Forest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does”.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Demon Under The Microscope

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1770)
    Performance
    (1056)
    Story
    (1050)

    The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

    Sara says: "A fantastic book"
    "MEDICINE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Those born after 1945 take anti-bacterial medicine for granted. Before 1932, approximately 100,000 people died from pneumonia in the United States; an estimated 2,000 mothers died from “child birth” fever. There were no effective treatments for syphilis or malaria. Sore throats, commonly referred to as “strep throat”, were notorious killers. The spread of germs from poor hygiene and contaminated surgical procedures killed as many surgery patients as it saved. With the advance of WWI, wound infection became as great a danger to survival as combat.

    Thomas Hager tells a terrific story that resonates with today’s complex societal relationship with the drug manufacturing industry. On the one hand, huge investment is needed to discover patent-able new drugs; on the other hand, millions of people cannot afford new medicines that are manufactured and controlled by drug companies that seek better return on their investment. The opportunity for a manufacturer to hide behind patent law to unreasonably dominate a critically important drug is as possible today as it was in the early 1900s. One wonders how much rising medical costs are a function of greed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12961)
    Performance
    (5313)
    Story
    (5358)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "BALANCE POINT OF LIFE"
    Overall
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    Story

    Ken Follett, in “Pillars of the Earth” reminds one of Alexander Dumas; in part because of John Lee’s narration (who is the speaking actor of “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Christo”) but, more particularly, because of the thrilling adventure of his story. Ken Follett successfully captures the balance point of life where life turns either up toward constructive fulfillment or down through despair.

    One can easily fall in love with a Dumas’ adventure but Follett surpasses Dumas because he reaches beyond adventure to civilization-building with a credible story of how cities form, expand, prosper, and die. Follett creates a brutal world of an imagined 12th century town in England, called Kingsbridge. The heart of the town is a church and monastery.

    Follett ties every characters’ story into an ending that touches history in a satisfying denouement that pleases one’s sense of justice; i.e. each of Follett’s characters bare the consequence of life’s joys and sorrows with an end and balance point that only comes with death.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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