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David P. McGivern

retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so

Vancouver, BC Canada | Member Since 2007

241
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 784 titles in library
  • 39 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
36

  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9683)
    Performance
    (7181)
    Story
    (7218)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    Tim says: "True Blood PG13"
    "I liked it a lot"
    Overall

    I was surprised to read the variety of reviews, from praise to condemnation. I recommend this audiobook without hesitation, both the book and the narration. I believe you have to start from the perspective of the genre you are reading - it is, after all, make believe. There are no such thing as vampires and witches ( well, not real witches). So..the author has the task of making you willingly suspend belief, and at the same time care about the characters. Harkness accomplishes both, and more. The book is best described as " Twilight for Adults", and thinking adults at that.

    I look forward to Book # 2

    111 of 123 people found this review helpful
  • League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Fainaru-Wada, Steve Fainaru
    • Narrated By David H. Lawrence XVII
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (68)

    So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005 scientific paper on concussions in America's most popular sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that it was facing a deadly new scourge: A chronic brain disease that was driving an alarming number of players - including some of the all-time greats - to madness.

    Cynthia says: "How to Kill Friends and Influence People"
    "Overall, well worth the credit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I approached this book a bit different ( more knowledgeable) than most history books I order - that of being a trial lawyer for 30 years ( personal injury) in which cause of a medical condition ( including dementia-like conditions as causally linked to head trauma) was almost always the issue. It came as no surprise, therefore, to listen that CTE as linked to NFL play was hotly debated. BUT - although I did like the book; although the narration was excellent; and the authors did a very very good job in describing the players for us, their careers and the downturn some of them faced post NFL - their bias was a bit too pronounced. Not a lot, but not insignificant either. They implied throughout that those in favor of linking CTE to football were the good doctors, those which did not were the bad doctors. Listening with " a lawyers ear" ( and I acted for people against insurance companies throughout my career) I thought it was not as clear cut as the authors would have us believe, especially as the majority of NFL players do not develop these symptoms. I also agree with the first reviewer that it was difficult to keep track of which doctor, which opinion. That is not to say, however, that I did not like the audiobook. I did. It is worth the credit.. I found it very interesting, all parts, the whole discusson, especially, to repeat myself, when the player's lives were discussed. I will follow up and research further this topic CTE and the NFL ( starting with the show that " Frontline" did on the book, available via YouTube), which for me is a good sign the book is worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Soldiers

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Finkel
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (158)

    It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers.

    Candy says: "This book is amazing, but brutal"
    "Compelling, moving, disturbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this book right after " Duty" by Robert Gates ( the latter which, without hesitation, I also recommend). Althought there have been books books and news articles and tv shows and documentaries on the two wars, Gates ( from high above) and Finkel ( down with the troops) give the listener the perspective of the danger, resolution and disillusionment of the men ( as much as any of us safe at home can begin to understand). I found the narrator excellent and fit exactly the sentiment of the book

    Excellent excellent book. I recommend

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (158)

    This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.

    David C. Daggett says: "The Best of all Biographies"
    "amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    wow.

    Some time ago I listened to the last ( so far) in this series "Passage to Power". THAT is a good book! So much so, I always had in the back in my mind to listen to the others. But- 60-120 hours or whatever it will end up being??? However, Gardner is superb as an narrator ( I've listened to him multiple times) so for my New Years resolution I thought I would undertake. The first book goes only to 1941, Johnson's term as a congressman, and I was apprehensive - 40 hours just to get that far? Well - it was fascinating. Every step of the way. Deeper and more compelling than the majority ( if not all) of biographies I have read, and I read this genre a lot.

    I cannot speak highly enough of the combination of Caro/Gardner. I have immediately downloaded Book 2 without hesitation

    It is a long haul, but thoroughly enjoyable so far.

    Highly recommend.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Freeman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Leonard Pitts
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (102)

    Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam - a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army - decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged".

    Chrissie says: "After the Civil War"
    "Gritty but very compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, It's truth in conveying that neither the Emancipation nor the end of the war did very little, in the day to day reality, to end the abject dehumanizing of the black nation, the cruelty of the South. Main characters suffer, and die. The dialogue is grounded in reality. A wee bit slow to start, as it tells 3 ( eventually to intersect ) stories, it gets better and better. The quality of the writing is superb.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Freeman?

    SPOILER ALERT - the death of Bonnie


    What aspect of Sean Crisden’s performance would you have changed?

    I did not actually like his performance. Somewhat flat throughout - did not do the suffering depicted in the novel justice, nor the quality of the writing. In fact, it took away from it. The audiobook succeeds in spite of the narrator


    Any additional comments?

    Buy it, be patient for 2 hours, you will not regret

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (581)
    Performance
    (521)
    Story
    (516)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "Better than Guns of August despite the narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A World Undone again? Why?

    Bit of background first. In anticipation of the second volume of Ken Follett's Century trilogy, to be released next month, I reread - in print form - " Fall of Giants" -which I had as an audiobook when it was first released. " Giants" is an excellent, compelling story of characters caught in WW 1, English, German, Russian and American. I usually confine my reading to WW 2, so re reading "Giants" sparked my interest to learn about the first World War. I purchased ( audiobook) "Guns of August" but gave up on it both because of Ms. Tuchman's excessive detail without context and also because it is more about the battles than the causes of the war, [gave up notwithstanding John Lee's narration]. I switched mid-listen to "A World Undone". Much, much better. Not only is the writing clearer, giving more of an overview of the war without getting lost in the "right flank went there, left flank stormed back", but each chapter provides a short "Background" giving the context of, for example, " The Serbs"; "The Hapsburgs"; "The Romanovs" or "Paris in 1914" "Tthe British commanders" " The Jews of germany" " The Sea war;" etc. By its conclusion, I had an understanding not only of individual battles, (which didn't interest me), but an explanation of what the world was like before the war; the causes of the war; personalities of the war; and a little bit of its aftermath.If you want to get an introduction to the causes and the personalities of WW1 choose this. If you want detailed explanation of the battles, choose Guns of August


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A World Undone?

    n/a


    What didn’t you like about Robin Sachs’s performance?

    Everything!!!. His pacing, his voice, his monotone. Terrible. This is one of the rare exceptions to my rule that narration is as important as story. Seldom will I invest 27 hours to a very poor narration. I did in this case because of the content.


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

    ?? well, not all 27 hours...... but yes, finished it before I started others.


    Any additional comments?

    can't wait for the sequel to "Fall of Giants", due September 2012.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dan Rather, Digby Diehl (contributor)
    • Narrated By Dan Rather
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (136)

    Rather - who has won every prestigious journalism award in his distinguished career - discusses all the big stories from his decades of reporting. This very personal accounting includes (but is certainly not limited to) his dismissal from CBS, the Abu Ghraib story, the George W. Bush Air National Guard controversy, his coverage of the JFK assassination, the origin of "Hurricane Dan", as well as inside stories about all the top personalities Dan has either interviewed or worked with over his remarkable career.

    J. James-Long says: "Excellent first-hand exploration of media today"
    "Engaging!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am Canadian, and grew up with the CBC, not CBS. So I bought this on a whim. What a great surprise. Mr Rather was much more interesting than I had anticipated, and - though melodramatic in parts - presents a compelling argument ( I say as a lawyer) that he was not treated well by CBS. ( As a trial lawyer I found this - which takes up the first 50% of the overall book- interesting but can understand lots will not). The second part of the book - his experinces in the Kennedy, Nixon, years, his time in Vietnam etc - well worth the time to listen. I found his character part of the appeal, surprisingly so. Less ego than I had anticipated.

    And above all - what a treat to listen to that voice!

    High recommendation

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (3364)
    Performance
    (2412)
    Story
    (2418)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
    "Overly detailed, but worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to Mr. Shirer's book while in a phase of reading and listening to nothing but Nazi Germany. I read two books by [the gold standard] Ian Kershaw ["The End"] which discusses the last year of the war, excellent and compelling and "10 Decisions" about decisions made in 1940 1941. I read a 1000 page autobiography of Hitler by Mr. Kershaw. (Etc) It wasn't that I was tired of this topic when I came to "Rise and Fall" it's just that the compelling parts of Mr.Shirer's story gets lost in the amount of details he gives. Every letter, every document, every telephone call. Perhaps that easier to read, but as an audio book, difficult to assimilate. Having said that, I listened to all 57 hours, Mr. Gardner providing his usual high standard and the time passed relatively quickly. In the end, however, I feel I will have retained more of Mr. Kershaw then Mr. Shirer. If you want this topic, go to Mr Kershaw. I recommend Mr Shirer only for the very dedicated.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Doomsday Book

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2101)
    Performance
    (1414)
    Story
    (1433)

    For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

    Owl says: "Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting"
    "Good and Bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    previous reviews seem to either love this book, or find it to be overwritten. I fall closer to the latter.

    There were elements that were very good. The narrator is excellent, superb. The amount of detail that Willis gives for the preparation of time travel was, at first, intriguing and unique. The story does have imagination.BUT, a big but, the length of the book, ( and I mean how long she takes to tell the story, not the length per se) and the unnecessary ( often boring) detail, and meanderings off the main trail, made it very tedious to get to the end. I finished it only because of two reasons. One, well, I'm OCD about these things. Two, the latter portion of the book got considerably more interesting than the former.

    I recommended only if you have lots [and lots] of patience with the developing story. Otherwise, a pass.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • East of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1190)
    Performance
    (1021)
    Story
    (1035)

    This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

    Suzn F says: "Epic story of Love and Loss"
    "More interesting than expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this "classic" on a whim, the literal equivalent of eating my broccoli. I almost turned it off in the first hour, then the second, then got used to it, then got interested in what happened next. Having said that, if you didn't tell me this was a great of American literature, I would not have guessed and I certainly did NOT get the biblical allusions ( or, rather, thought that the allusions were stretching it at best, and I know my Bible). Steinbeck leaps through decades of the character's development in a single paragraph, and has long reflections which are mundane BUT... as I said, I stayed with it, to see what happened next, I was engaged enough to do that

    To sum up: nothing what I would call "great" literature, but an ok way to pass the time on a drive to work. Good narration, which helped me stay with it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hannibal: Enemy of Rome: Hannibal 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ben Kane
    • Narrated By Michael Praed
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In the First Punic War, the Roman legions defeated and humiliated Carthage, their only serious rival for power in the Mediterranean. Now a brilliant young Carthaginian general, called Hannibal, is out for revenge. Caught up in the maelstrom are two young boys, Hanno, the son of a distinguished soldier and confidant of Hannibal, and Quintus, son of a Roman equestrian and landowner. A disastrous adventure will see Hanno sold into slavery and bought by Quintus's father.

    David P. McGivern says: "" Almost" as good as Iggulden"
    "" Almost" as good as Iggulden"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first Ben Kane novel, ( at the start f the year I listened to the complete "Emperor" series, 4 novels by Conn Iggulden, so I am comparing Kane to Igguldon as a frame of reference) and there are many things to like. The idea to tell the story of Hannibal through the eyes/stories of young soldiers was an interesting ( and good) choice; the narration ( Michael Praed) is excellent; the Catheragian story as engaging as Rome ( and instructive, as most of the novels these days are about Rome). If I have a criticism, it is that the actual battle descriptions ( both leading up to and the actual battle) are somewhat difficult to follow by listening, as opposed to reading ( with assistance of maps). Otherwise, worth the credit. I will purchase " Sparticus" by the same author and narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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