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Williamsport, MD, United States | Member Since 2014


  • Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Philip Kerr
    • Narrated By John Lee

    Skillfully weaving history with mystery, Philip Kerr sets this thrilling story in the 1696 Tower of London, where Sir Isaac Newton, warden of the Royal Mint (a post he actually held), and his apprentice Christopher Ellis (also a real person) track down a counterfeiting ring and, as the body count increases, a murderer. "An illuminating, often crackling exploration into the mysteries of science, mathematics, religion, and human nature," raves Booklist in a starred review.

    Jim says: "A cracking Yarn not a biography!"
    "It's fiction!"

    This is not a book to read if you want to learn anything in depth about Newton,although there are points of his persona which are accurate enough. That said, it is a great story. Kerr keeps the action going while filling in the characters as he goes. The feel of the late 17th-early 18th centuries is palpable. Kerr's Newton is no Holmes, nor is he intended to be, but the same subtle arrogance is a part of the character. The historical references, people, and situations all add to a well told tale. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is possible, but it's fiction! A good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David Fromkin
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar

    The question of how the Great War of 1914 began has long vexed historians. In a gripping narrative, Fromkin shows that hostilities were started deliberately and that two wars were waged, one serving as pretext for the other. Shedding light on such current issues as preventive war and terrorism, Fromkin provides detailed descriptions of the negotiations and incisive portraits of the diplomats, generals, and rulers as he reveals why diplomacy was destined to fail.

    Flavius says: "New Insights Into A Much-Studied War"
    "Well done untold tale"

    Fromkin has written the definitive lay persons (non-historians) book on the origins of the Great War. The incidental events of that summer became the kindling for the colossal event of 1914-18. Fromkin carefully and diligently maps the terrain - literally and poltically - then leads us through a labyrinth as Byzantine as any. Yes, there was a person(s) ultimately responsible for what followed that August.

    For his next work, Fromkin could write the story of the post WWI century. He alludes to it's many consequences, but he doesn't set them out and analyze them as this book is not the place.

    The research is topnotch, the writing, as Flavius notes, is accessible, and the narrator is excellent. 5 well earned stars.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • She: A History of Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By H. Rider Haggard
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood

    Somewhere in Africa, a tiny, primitive tribe, the Amahaggers, live secretly amongst the debris of a lost Egyptian civilization, ruled by the beautiful semi-goddess Ayesha, or She-who-must-be-obeyed. Ludwig Horace Holly, a Cambridge academic, is reluctantly drawn into plans for a voyage in search of this legendary queen. With his adopted son, Leo, he sets out on a brave journey, following a trail of clues. Shipwrecked and captured by cannibals, their voyage soon turns into a nightmare.

    Craig says: "Great Adventure"
    "Great Adventure"

    Haggard was a much better writer than the snobs gave him credit for. The dialogue is realistic - the language pure Victorian. The narrator of this selection is good and separates character's voices well. She is high adventure which misses only in the lack of detail about the trip home. It's a wonderful tale probably better heard than read. Most fantasy, science fiction, and adventure tales have lifted plot lines, characters, and even locales, from She. That alone makes it a must read.

    She is easily better than almost any adventure story written since.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Callisto

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Torsten Krol
    • Narrated By Curt Skinner

    Odell Deefus may be a little dumb, but when he discovers a freshly dug grave at the back of Dean Lowry's house, he understands that it's intended for him. When he finds an old lady's corpse in the freezer, he knows that she has been murdered. And when the bomb in his car explodes, levelling every building in the vicinity, and Odell must suddenly hide the body of a terrorist, even he recognises that things are getting seriously weird.

    Craig says: "Oh My!"
    "Oh My!"

    Callisto has been favorably compared to Catch-22. I have to agree. It is to the war on terror what Catch-22 is to the Mediterranean Theatre of WWII. It is a wacky take on the world we live in. Our hero, who winds up penniless in Callisto, Kansas - the result of a car breakdown - is a dunce. Yet he is an imaginative dunce who becomes less of a dunce as he digs himself into holes - literally - and extricates himself from them. Who knew such happenings could occur in your own backyard? This is a great novel of the new century.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Pierre Bayard
    • Narrated By John Lee

    Eliminate the impossible, Sherlock Holmes said, and whatever is left must be the solution. But, as Pierre Bayard finds in this dazzling reinvestigation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, sometimes the master missed his mark. Using the last thoughts of the murder victim as his key, Bayard unravels the case, leading the reader to the astonishing conclusion that Holmes - and, in fact, Arthur Conan Doyle - got things all wrong: The killer is not at all who they said it was.

    Kelty says: "Not too good."
    "No. Ah . . .no."

    Complete garbage and self promotion. Specious. Mumbo-jumbo of the most mediocre kind. Unsubstantiated, insubstantial, and intellectually incomprehensible. Oh, and did I say not good at all? Don't waste a credit like I did.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Know Much About Mythology

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Kenneth C. Davis
    • Narrated By John Lee, Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ever familiar and instructive, Davis shows why the ancient tales of gods and heroes, from Mount Olympus to Machu Picchu, from ancient Rome to the icy land of the Norse, continue to speak to us today, in our movies, art, language, and music. For mythology novices and buffs alike, and for anyone who loves a good story, Don't Know Much About Mythology is a lively and insightful look into the greatest stories ever told.

    Kermit says: "History isn't boring"
    "Sorta OK"

    But just sorta. He accepts the popular ideas of how Christianity "stole" all it's holidays and practices from others. Most of this "stealing" is itself mythic. He also mistakes in basic biblical stories - Jacob did not rob Isaac of his birth right. He stole Esau's. That's just one mistake. He also misspeaks giving a retelling of the Gilgamesh Epic.

    Someone claiming to enlighten others could do better.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Brian Fagan
    • Narrated By James Langton

    Best-selling author Brian Fagan brings early humans out of the deep freeze with his trademark mix of erudition, cutting-edge science, and vivid storytelling. Cro-Magnon reveals human society in its infancy, facing enormous environmental challenges - including a rival species of humans, the Neanderthals. For ten millennia, Cro-Magnons lived side by side with Neanderthals, an encounter that Fagan fills with drama.

    Paul says: "Fact and fiction"

    A better title would have been more descriptive of the book and the author's premise. Perhaps it should be titled Neaderthal Man since that is what the book is essentially about.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Bloody Crown of Conan

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Robert E. Howard
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren

    In his hugely influential and tempestuous career, Robert E. Howard created the genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery - and brought to life one of fantasy's boldest and most enduring figures: Conan the Cimmerian, reaver, slayer, barbarian, king. This volume gathers together three of Howard's longest and most famous Conan stories.

    Kirk says: "Awesome! Crom and Steel! Long live Conan!"
    "It's Conan!!!"

    I dunno. This is classic early fantasy. Love the genre or hate it, Conan is the best of the early stuff. Conan is Conan. Howard was one of the first writers to take up Lord Dunsany's mantle and run with it. Yes it's racist. Yes it's cliched. (Neither endearing but,) It's CONAN. Best to read one of the earlier stories than to start with this triptych, however. This set places Conan in late life after the many adventures in the early stories.

    It's not Jordan, but without Howard, Jordan might have been writing in another genre.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"

    At the beginning of the book you really question whether or not the author has her facts straight. How could it be that so many of us truly are sociopaths? But then you take off the earphones and begin to reflect on past relationships and you have too many OMG moments. There really are 4% of us who are without a conscience and who KNOW the world is theirs and the rest of us don't matter. You yourself know several. You yourself may be a sociopath!

    Psychology is pretty generally junk science, but these anecdotes are compelling, as are the ones you conjure up from your own relationships. After listening to this you may see sociopaths coming out of the woodwork. Just know who they are and avoid them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Throne

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Chris Kuzneski
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1890, a man collapses near the Piazza della Santa Carita in Naples, Italy. Strangers manage to revive him, but he is unable to speak. Police carry him to the nearest hospital, where he is not admitted because he has no money or identification. Frantically trying to communicate, he scribbles notes in ancient Greek and German that would have told the world about a discovery of immense importance - if anyone had read them.

    Lórien says: "The best Kuzneski yet"
    "Great Listen"

    Kuzneski has written a seriously non-formulaic actioner. The premise is pretty much hidden from the listener until well into the book, but that is not a problem since the action and the characters drive the plot. There's a compelling - real world/not so real world - mix of story lines which all converge without strain. I enjoyed The Lost Throne and will listen to more of Kuzneski (who uses his own name in a character's mispronounced reference to the unibomber - clever and funny).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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