I ordered this audiobook before it was released in expectation of a great "listen." What a disappointment. The book consists of diary entries over a series of years: snippets each about 2-3 sentences long, with no synthesis or reflection ... just a catalog of events very sparingly presented. The result is tedious and ultimately infuriating coming from a writer of this caliber. I stopped listening mid-way through part 1. The author seems entirely absorbed by the fame of many of the people she met through Pinter and never hesitates to drop names and quotations, as though just knowing she was present among these people and heard them utter bon mots would impress a reader/listener. After she met Pinter, she left her husband and 6 children without a thought as to the consequences of her actions on any of them, and her children appear rarely in the text, briefly described, usually only by their clothing. Is this indicative of normative childrearing behavior for Scottish aristocrats, or the another indicator of the author's total self absorption...hard to tell.
This is a brilliant spy story about a brilliant spy, told by a master writer who knows how to blend character, culture and action flawlessly. For people of a certain age, the characters are familiar but the links between them and the remnants of the culture that protected them are revelatory. I listen to audiobooks in my iPod when I walk, and I walked more frequently and longer while listening to this riveting story. I am now looking into other audio books by this author. I found Lee's reading a bit fast paced and clipped, though his imitations of Russian, American, and upper class English accents were flawless.
This book presents a compelling story that has real relevance for our time. The story is clearly and carefully told and beautifully read by Kirsten Potter. The problem for a listener is that it has a cast of thousands. All these people are really hard to keep straight, and I can only hope that the printed book has a directory for a reader. A listener will have no trouble getting the overall contours of what happened, but the details of who did what and when were hard for this listener to retain across the length of the narrative.
The author reads this gripping condensation of his award-winning book with the energy and diction of a trained Shakespearean actor. The story moves along as though written by a Hollywood screen writer but in fact contains details only a dedicated scholar could uncover and an expert writer know how to knit into the plot, which unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy. The author makes it clear that although he loves his subject he is not blind to her faults and weaknesses. All the secondary characters, including Elizabeth I and Lord Cecil, emerge in high relief. The language is enhanced by his excerpts from original documents. Highly recommended for anyone who loves English and Scottish history and the English language.
This long and detailed biography of the patriarch of one of America's most famous families takes a listener into many fascinating segments of 20th century history. Along the way, a listener becomes familiear not only with the Kennedy family and children, but with other 20th century luminaries such as Gloria Swanson and, most brilliantly, FDR and his entourage. Many myths about the patriarch are dispelled and unknown facets of his life and those with whom he interacted are elucidated. The section during which Joseph P. was Ambassador to Great Britain is brilliantly told, tremendously gripping, and always shadowed by the listener's knowledge of the fate of the patriarch's oldest son. Wonderfully narrated even if the assumed accents are occasionally annoying. HIGHLY recommended for anyone interested in 20th century history.
Listening to the audio part 1, I wondered if this author had forgotten how to write history. He opens with an endless prologue, endlessly stitching together vignettes and stories about Ike, in no discernible order, many times repeating stories, all to set up his theme, which is that Ike governed much the way he played poker. FINALLY I skipped to Part 2 and was very pleasantly surprised. We get vivid depictions of Ike facing off against the demons in his cabinet, the CIA, Russia, and his own complex personality. Gripping history and excellent biography. The ending is also too long. Where was this author's editor?! Recommended for listeners who are not afraid to skip forward on their iPod.
two old hands at political observation and analysis present a detailed story of what those of us who follow politics with interest and increasingly with despair have noticed. their analysis is cogent and convincing. despair is mitigated by their suggestions for reform, most of which would only take a congress where the republicans agree to cooperate to implement (!!!). a very pleasing narration by William Hughes helps the medicine go down.
Not at all original or funny; I quit listening when it was clear she was going to inflict a confessional on us about The Day I Got My Period. REALLY, girls/ladies/women...we can't be more original than that??? We're past the 19th century, and we do have the vote!
The author knows how to tell a non-fiction story so that it unfolds with the suspense of fiction. Characters are lucidly drawn, facts presented to support the narrative, and the moral of the story elucidated. These are all stories we followed in the press, but no newspaper account included the amazing detail (never tedious) and the day by day snippets never contributed to the spellbinding narratives one gets here. Very competently read. Easy to segment with the four self-contained stories.
I am glad I bought the abridged version of this much-heralded book, because I found it tedious and eventually boring. The abridged version is a bit disjointed, but that was a small price to pay until the end, when the story became really interesting. At that point, the missing links in the text became annoying, and the story hard to follow, as the detectives who finally caught Holmes put together the clues that finally sealed his fate. You do get a sense of that astonishing era, when people could disappear without a trace with no one suspecting foul play and people naively trusted strangers. The story is competently read by Tony Goldwyn.
The only problem with this book is that it ends. If you listen to audiobooks while exercising, as I do, you will find that you exercise more so that you can listen to more of this story, which never flags, never for one sentence, from page 1 to the end. Wonderfully read by Edward Herrmann. A true classic.
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