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Craig

Los Angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
81
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
51

  • The Veteran

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By Bruce Boxleitner, Patrick Macnee
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    A miracle in war-torn Siena that begins with the persecution of a young nun in the turbulent days of the 16th century and culminates in the bitter German retreat from Italy; a drug-smuggling heist on an international flight where the knock are only one step ahead of the smugglers; a ruthless urban murder, where a brilliant QC decides to defend the killers, resulting in a startling act of justice....

    Craig says: "Beware Audible Edition -- it's corrupted"
    "Beware Audible Edition -- it's corrupted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Veteran?

    I just discovered another problem with this download. Not only is the main item in the collection missing (the Whispering Wind complete novella), but the main short story (The Miracle) ends 2/3 of the way through. Abruptly. And the short story The Veteran begins in mid story. These two stories are broken up and transposed, with no warning. Audible should withdraw this item until they can get the order of the chapters right, and include all 5 items that are promised in the description. The novella is completely missing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Veteran?

    If Audible can get the download to work without having two of the stories jumbling up and intermingling out of order, it will be a good book. Frederick Forsyth is a master storyteller, and the narrators' performances are peerless.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fatal Catch

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Roxe Anne Peacock
    • Narrated By Popi Ardissone
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    It's 1963, and Chief Riley Bennett knocks on Dody Canfield's door informing her that her husband died instantly when his car struck a telephone pole. Not wanting to raise her three children alone, it isn't long before she brings home Frank Billings; and he's moving in. Mama sends Missy to take her little brother, Billie, fishing as Missy reels in slowly - bubbles begin emerging - releasing secrets, deadly lies, and terror on the Canfield family.

    Craig says: "Suspenseful novel, excellently narrated"
    "Suspenseful novel, excellently narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Fatal Catch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a good mystery novel, with a lot of gritty realism. It's suspenseful too. The narrator of the story is a 13-year-old girl, very well voiced by the book's voice-actor reader. The girl is Missy, and she and her brother Billie go through a lot that kids should never have to go through. It's a sign of the writer's talent that she manages to show how things looks through the kids' eyes, which is different than than through adults eyes. That's also a sign of the excellence of the voice-actor narration, that she can bring off this kids' world so convincingly. I haven't heard anything from Popi Ardisonne before, but I'm going to be looking for a lot more from her. I'd like to hear her voice-act an adult novel. She's got a wonderful, melodious voice.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The climax of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    When the mother brings home new "uncles", we adults know what's going on. The kids don't have this perspective. The effect of poverty is different on the kids too, than what we would expect it to be looking through adult eyes. What the writer does is hard to do, and she does it well. Be warned though if you're thinking of giving this book to your kids to listen to. There's too much of a danger-to-children element for it to appropriate for younger listeners.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Supreme Commander: MacArthur's Triumph in Japan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Seymour Morris
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    He is the most-decorated general in American history - and the only five-star general to receive the Medal of Honor. Yet Douglas MacArthur’s greatest victory was not in war but in peace. As the uniquely titled Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, he was charged with transforming a defeated, militarist empire into a beacon of peace and democracy - "the greatest gamble ever attempted", he called it.

    Pierke Bosschieter says: "Compelling book in an pleasant voice"
    "Interesting history, excellently narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Douglas MacArthur was one of the greatest and most fascinating war leaders America every produced, I think the only General to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. But as this book shows, MacArthur also excelled in his peacetime achievements. Almost no one expected that the bushido culture of Japan, steeped in militarism, could be turned around. Yet MacArthur did it. Morris's book also tells a lot about economics and politics, relating how MacArthur set the nation on a course to prosperity and democracy.

    The book is excellently narrated by Charles Constant. He has done other WWII histories, and has become a world-class vocal chronicler. I enjoy how he paces his story, and how his voice inflections can be grim, enthusiastic, momentous -- whatever is called for by the material. He's an extremely versatile narrator. Constant is becoming my first choice for voice acting of serious works.


    Any additional comments?

    There are historical errors in Morris's book. My major quibble is that he doesn't take MacArthur to task for his treatment of General Yamashita, who was convicted of war crimes and executed. MacArthur pushed hard for Yamashita's execution. The verdict was appealed to him, and he refused to reduce it, even though it was clearly established that Yamashita was not responsible for the Phillipine atrocities. It was his subordinates who committed the Manila and other atrocities, in direct contravention of Yamashita's orders. For a very good recounting of this incident, and the flaw in MacArthur's character, read James Webb's "The Emperor's General".

    Overall, this book is interesting and informative. And the narration is excellent.

    Craig.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By William Manchester, Paul Reid
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer, Paul Reid
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (470)
    Performance
    (397)
    Story
    (397)

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A worthy final volume in a great biography"
    "First-rate historical biography, well narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 again? Why?

    I was ready to feel cheated when I learned, in the introduction, that Wm Manchester didn't write this book. He assembled all the data. Paul Reid wrote the book after Manchester's death. So the "written by" Wm Manchester line is deceptive. But it's impossible to feel cheated. Reid is an excellent historian in his own right. He takes an extremely complex period of history, and a complex array of characters, and weaves them into a gripping and understandable web. Don't assume this book is only about Winston Churchill. He's the main character, and the main reason I picked up the book. But the book is also about the politics of World War II, and the economics, and the military campaigns, and the major personalities. Not just of Churchill, not just of the English leaders, but of the key players in Britain, America, Russia, and even Germany and Japan.


    What other book might you compare The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 to and why?

    Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August". The same world-spanning grasp of history, and a similar narrative ability to make complex history understandable. Also, "First Blood: the Story of Fort Sumter" by Swanberg. A similar all-encompassing, multi-faceted history. Much shorter than the other two books though.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Don't be ridiculous. This is an enormous and multi-dimensional book, that will give you a satisfying two months of listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Beware of the introduction. It's not by narrator Clive Chafer, who is a very good narrator. It's by the writer, Paul Reid. Reid is an excellent writer, as I said, but he gets a D- as a narrator. That's not his thing. Fortunately, after the introduction, Clive Chafer comes on, and the narrating becomes professional and a pleasure to listen to.Craig.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bismarck: The Final Days of Germany's Greatest Battleship

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Niklas Zetterling, Michael Tamelander
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    The sinking of the German battleship Bismarck - a masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch guns - was one of the most dramatic events of World War II. She left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance. British battlecruiser Hood was quickly dispatched from Scapa Flow to intercept the Bismarck, together with new battleship Prince of Wales.

    Rick says: "A must read for any WWII Naval Historian!"
    "Very good history, excellently narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Bismarck?

    This is a serious maritime history, which is hard to find these days. It is excellently narrated by Charles Constant, who has the voice for it, and the intuitive feel for this type of material. Some of the sentences in the book are long and complex. Mr Constant knows where to pause verbally to break them into understandable segments. And he knows how to give emphasis without over-dramatizing. I'm a dedicated history reader (and listener). I wish some of my other favorite history audiotapes had been narrated by this man. Too often, the books are narrated by people who don't have a feel for the material, and don't how to pace it verbally. This, on the other hand, is a first-rate performance.


    What other book might you compare Bismarck to and why?

    Graf Spee by Dudley Pope. Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman. Along with this book, they are serious histories, related in a way that is respectful of the material.


    Which character – as performed by Charles Constant – was your favorite?

    Captain Ernst Lindemann. A master seaman, who took what care he could for his men under ultimately terrible circumstances.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Delicate Truth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By John le Carre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (247)
    Story
    (245)

    A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

    Darwin8u says: "A latter-day Jeremiah of espionage & statecraft."
    "You already know how it ends"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made A Delicate Truth better?

    If it wasn't so predictable. And if the characters were not so cartoonish. LeCarre's first few books were wonderful, complex, and unpredictable. His last few run like this: The good guys will end badly. They will end badly after making utterly stupid mistakes that the protagonists in his first few novels would have considered incompetent. In "A Delicate Truth" the good guys, all of them, achieve nothing toward their moral and praiseworthy goal, because they act like rookies, despite their years of experience and knowledge of tradecraft.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something not by John LeCarre.


    Which character – as performed by John le Carre – was your favorite?

    Toby.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Delicate Truth?

    The last half of the novel.


    Any additional comments?

    I used to love John LeCarre. That was when his characters, both good and evil, behaved intelligently. His last 4 novels involve characters who behave like rank amateurs. In "A Delicate Truth", the main protagonist doesn't see things coming, which a 3rd grade reader would see coming a mile away. There is never any surprise anymore in his novels. The good guys are moral. They are self-defeating. They will end up very badly. The instrument of their bad ends will be telegraphed long before the end of the novel, and reader will wonder how the protagonist could not have seen it coming, when everyone else could. Sad ending for John LeCarre. He used to be able to write fiction. Now he writes cartoons.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stephen Dando-Collins
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (165)

    Stephen Dando-Collins paints a vivid and definitive portrait of daily life in the Tenth Legion as he follows Caesar and his men along the blood-soaked fringes of the Empire. This unprecedented regimental history reveals countless previously unknown details about Roman military practices, Caesar's conduct as a commander and his relationships with officers and legionnaires, and the daily routine and discipline of the Legion.

    Ethan M. says: "You should really be interested in the topic first"
    "an excellent historical work"
    Overall

    This isn't just the story of the 10th Legion. It's also the story of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Marc Antony, Rome's civil wars, and so much more. It's told in an interesting manner, never dry or boring despite its richness of proper sourcing and crediting. I wish more history was told so entertainingly and accurately.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • War and Peace

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the story as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.

    Craig says: "a promising young writer"
    "a promising young writer"
    Overall

    This writer has potential, but he needs a good editor. He tends to overwrite. Massively. Every scene and every sentence. There are many, many characters to keep track of. Some writers can handle this well, such as the American southern writers. This writers should be exhumed, brought back to life, and forced to read Faulkner, Herman Wouk, and Pat Conroy.

    0 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Prince of Tides

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (2008)
    Performance
    (1187)
    Story
    (1187)

    Spanning 40 years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

    Ella says: "A "Prince" amongst novels"
    "A wonderful and true book"
    Overall

    Conroy is an amazing writer, and this is his best novel. It's dense and rich and funny and tragic in places. He's a southern writer in the classic tradition: his novels are peopled by legions of characters, and none of them are cardboard. There are at least a dozen major characters here (!), and all are fully-fleshed-out, complex, human, with unique voice and character traits that make them come alive. The way they interact with one another makes this a relentlessly interesting and satisfying story. So what's it about? Geez. It's about Tom Wingo and his brilliant but psychotic sister Savanah, and good-ole-boy-cum-philosopher Luke. Plus their mom. And their dad. And their grandparents. And... well, read the damn thing. You'll see. It's absolutely engrossing. He's a writer of compassion and wit and laugh-out-loud humor. I personally liked the earlier Wolfram Kandinsky narration best, but Conroy likes this one by Muller best; and Muller, as always, is exceptional, bested by no one in the narration universe except Wolfram Kandinsky.

    41 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • The Letter of the Marque: Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (93)

    In the early 1800s, the British Navy stands as the only bulwark against the militant fanaticism of Napoleonic France. Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he has not committed. His old friend, Stephen Maturin, usually acting as the ship's surgeon to cover his activities on behalf of British intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his old ship, the Surprise, to command as a privateer.

    HomeFixers says: "Letter of the Marque read by Simon Vance"
    "An Anomaly"
    Overall

    It's pretty amazing, when you think of it, that O'Brian can make the Napoleonic war at sea so dull. Not so in his other books. I'm a fan of Patrick O'Brian, and his other books are wonderful. In Letter of Marque, though, nothing happens for the first quarter of the book. Then you get to the second quarter, where nothing happens also. In the third quarter, Jack Aubrey sets sail for a distant location where he hopes to find an enemy ship. Sail, sail, sail. Aubrey and Maturin talk a lot. The crew eat a lot of flying fish. The ship gets painted. There's high drama when one of the crew comes down with an impacted wisdom tooth. Then more sailing, sailing, sailing. No engagements. No battles. Finally in the last quarter of the book, they meet the ship they were sailing to meet. And take her. You were expecting a rousing sea battle? So was I . But no. They take her by surprise. There is a boarding party skirmish, but this is dispensed with in less than two minutes of narration. Really. That's it for the action. Back to the impacted wisdom tooth and more boredom. It's hard to believe this is the same Patrick O'Brian who wrote the stirring, emotionally involving other books in this series. I'd regret giving away the punchline in this review, except that there is no punchline. Nothing happens. The book is a great soporific though.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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