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Douglas

I like to read but listening is better.

Atlanta, GA, United States | Member Since 2015

31
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 33 ratings
  • 205 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • The Prince

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Niccolo Machiavelli
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (200)

    From his perspective in Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli's aim in this classic work was to resolve conflict with the ruling prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli based his insights on the way people really are rather than an ideal of how they should be. This is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince, a king, or a president.

    Cody Brown says: "You have to know what you get with The Prince"
    "Worth Reading but Not Sure What the Big Deal Is"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't really understand why this work and author remain so seemingly relevant in the 21st century. This wasn't quite the guide book for Realpolitik that I expected. All the Italian names and unfamiliar places were confusing. Grover Gardner, however, is excellent as usual.

    15 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hannah Arendt
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    This classic, definitive account of totalitarianism traces the emergence of modern racism as an "ideological weapon for imperialism", beginning with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 19th century and continuing through the New Imperialism period from 1884 to World War I.

    Roger says: "Vast and intricate analysis of horror"
    "Very Heady Look at Theory of Totalitarianism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was not at all what I was expecting. I was thinking this would be more of a history of the early stages of Totalitarianism governments such as in USSR and Germany. Those are the two governments that Arendt focuses on but this really isn't that sort of book. This is a theory book; meaning it focuses more on psyche and philosophy and behavior theory than facts, anecdotes, and events. There was a totally superfluous digression concerning Benjamin Disraeli that was quite lengthy, and that was actually one of the more interesting parts of the book for me. The reason I gave it 4 stars overall is that I think if you're looking for a theory book, this is an excellent one. It just wasn't what I was looking for. I don't want that to influence people who might be thinking of buying this though. And Nadia May is brilliant as always as narrator. In fact, if not for May, I probably would have checked out more than I did. She makes even the driest theory ramblings seem sort of interesting. More than that, she always convinces me 100% that she herself believes what she's reading and that what she's reading is absolutely true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Stephen Prothero
    • Narrated By Andrew Eiden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Since Thomas Jefferson first recorded those self-evident truths in the Declaration of Independence, America has been a nation that has unfolded as much on the page and the podium as on battlefields or in statehouses. Here Stephen Prothero reveals which texts continue to generate controversy and drive debate. He then puts these voices into conversation, tracing how prominent leaders and thinkers of one generation have commented upon the core texts of another, and invites listeners to join in.

    Douglas says: "A nice collection of important American works"
    "A nice collection of important American works"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of those instances that anyone who buys audio books has had from time to time where the book didn't turn out to be anything like what I expected. I thought the book was going to be about how America's religious beliefs came to be what they are today. In actuality, the phrase "American Bible" refers to a collection of the famous works (speeches, books, judicial rulings, articles of government, etc) that make up the American canon so to speak. This isn't a typical non-fiction work. Prothero has come up with a number of the important works in American history and they are reproduced in the book either in their entirety or through excerpts. Prothero gives a brief introduction to each work and why it is important, and following the reading of that work, he includes a number of references that have been made concerning that work over the years. It took a while for me to get into it but after a while I started to find it enjoyable and interesting. I thought Prothero's device of using a book from the bible to categorize each group of writings was very clever, although at times there didn't seem to be an obvious reason why he listed a certain work under a particular bible book. The narrator is blah.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Adrian Raine
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (49)

    A leading criminologist who specializes in the neuroscience behind criminal behavior, Adrian Raine introduces a wide range of new scientific research into the origins and nature of violence and criminal behavior. He explains how impairments to areas of the brain that control our ability to experience fear, make decisions, and feel empathy can make us more likely to engage in criminal behavior. He applies this new understanding of the criminal mind to some of the most well-known criminals in history. And he clearly delineates the pressing considerations this research demands.

    Sires says: "Interesting Book the Roots of Abnormal Behavior"
    "Fascinating; Will challenge your thinking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was everything I expected and more. It was very interesting and educational. I really appreciated that the author did not shy away from providing the controversial conclusions that he came to through his years of studying violence and the brain. The fact that Raine actually conducted many of the studies he cited made it easier to put faith in what he said. I was engaged for nearly the entirety of the book. Towards the end, Raine spends quite a bit of time ruminating over a hypothetical future in which society is able to accurately predict how likely it is that an individual will become a violent offender. I found this to be a pointless exercise and it was the only portion of the work that I found to be uninteresting. The narrator doesn't add much but his accent is actually perfect for this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (595)
    Performance
    (367)
    Story
    (379)

    First published in 1865, these endearing tales of an imaginative child's dream world by Lewis Carroll, pen name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, are written with charming simplicity. While delighting children with a heroine who represents their own thoughts and feelings about growing up, the tale is appreciated by adults as a gentle satire on education, politics, literature, and Victorian life in general.

    Steve says: "Awesome!!!!!"
    "Very Special"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting experience for me. I adored the animated Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. I watched it as a child, and then when my little brother was a child and I was a teen I discovered it again and it became one of my favorite things. I've always loved Alice in Wonderland imagery and art.

    Recently I was looking for an inexpensive fiction audiobook on audible and it occurred to me that somehow I had never read the real stories of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Making this all the more surprising is the fact that I got my degree in English (and it took me a LONG time to graduate so I took quite a few classes). Sure, I'd covered the Jabberwocky and some of the other poems or scenes in school, but somehow I just never had the opportunity to read these wonderful books all the way through. So while I was familiar with these stories, I was finally getting to experience "the real thing," or at least the original thing.

    I think my favorite aspect of the stories is the character of Alice herself. I love the personality that Carroll created for her and the way she talks and thinks. It's easy to appreciate all the little nonsensical twists and jokes that Carroll came up with to explain things being upside down and backward. There's quite a bit of humor in the stories and at some points I definitely laughed audibly.

    Something that I never realized was that the Disney film "Alice in Wonderland" is not a film version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" but a new story altogether. It is a combination of "Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." I never knew how much of "Looking Glass" was incorporated into the animated film.

    However, it isn't just a combination in the sense that there are parts of both stories in the film. I always assumed that much of the original work was left out of the story told by the film. What I never realized was that much of the movie plot is very different from the way things happen in the book. I found it interesting that the screen play writers took little bits from some scenes of the book and used them in different ways in their movie.

    For example, The Queen in the animated film is really a combination of "The Queen of Hearts" from "Adventures in Wonderland" and "The Red Queen" from "Looking Glass." The "Unbirthday" joke appears as a part of the Tea Party scene in the film, but it occurs in a totally different part of the story in the book. In the book, it is Alice who can't remember the poem about the Busy Bee and instead recites a version about the Little Crocodile. In the animated version it is the Caterpillar that comes up with that new version.

    One aspect of the books that really confused me was when characters referred to as "The Hatter" and "The Hare" appear in "Looking Glass" during the Lion and Unicorn scenes. They don't seem to remember seeing her before. That could be explained away by the fact that things are so weird in the imaginary land. However, Alice doesn't seem to recognize them either, and that's a bit more puzzling. In fact, so far as I could perceive, there's no evidence given that these actually are the same characters seen in "Wonderland" referred to as "The Mad Hatter" and "The March Hare." Perhaps they are completely different characters, but it's hard to understand why Carroll would have done that.

    While I loved the books about as much as I expected, I think a lot of that had to do with being familiar with the characters and the stories from the animated film and from the art work. I have to admit that there were a few times that I thought to myself that if I had never seen the movie I'm not sure I would have found this or that scene or this or that character at all interesting.

    The two major examples of this for me were the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat. In the original story, the Caterpillar scene is fairly brief and doesn't have any of the same feel as the scene as depicted in the movie. As for the Cheshire Cat, his original character is similar to the one from the film, but he isn't very mischievous and his brief reappearance at the croquet match has little impact on the action. I came to the conclusion that the illustrations that were included in the books must have had a major influence on the book's popularity.

    Michael Page does a great job as narrator. Obviously, the story can only be told by a narrator with an old-time British accent. His done and rhythm are perfect. He also does a very impressive job coming up with clearly distinguishable and consistent voices for the many different characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
    • Narrated By Richard Burnip
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (268)

    From the best-selling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.

    smarmer says: "Detailed review of 1882 to 1914"
    "Excellent; Necessary Read for History Enthusiasts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very well written. I appreciated the connections the author made to future and current events. This is a good book for anyone looking to learn about the histories of the nations involved in the Great War and what their interests were at the time. In her epilogue, MacMillan does a nice job filling the reader in on what happened to each main character and each nation during and after the war. There are parts of the book that are a bit dry, but that's to be expected when you consider the book is about the build up to the war and not the war itself. Burnip's British accent is perfect for this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815 - 1848

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Daniel Walker Howe
    • Narrated By Patrick Cullen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (535)
    Performance
    (326)
    Story
    (322)

    In this addition to the esteemed Oxford History of the United States series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated America's expansion and prompted the rise of mass political parties.

    Amazon Customer says: "Excellent"
    "Neglected but Important Period of American History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I came across this book I knew I had to read it because it covered a period in American History that I wasn't well versed in. However, I was kind of dreading it because I figured it would be pretty boring. I was totally wrong. Howe does a magnificent job of making a seemingly dry period of history interesting and entertaining. He covers all the major political happenings while also including things like culture, technology, race/gender relations, etc. Patrick Cullen isn't special but his voice and tone are perfect for this book. After a while the listener will feel as if Cullen's voice and the author's voice are one and the same. This is a very detailed, thorough, and enjoyable book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1120)
    Performance
    (981)
    Story
    (987)

    Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.

    Alan says: "My Choice for Frank Muller's Best"
    "Beautiful and Tragic: Required Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read this book when I was 18. I'm 33 now and listening to it as an audio book I felt like I was reading it for the first time.

    It's one of the most wonderfully written books of the last century. The language is beautiful and the translation loses nothing (or if something is lost it remains gorgeous and powerful).

    It may take a while to get used to Muller's style of narration but once the reader does get adjusted he's perfect.

    This should be required reading in public schools: once in middle school and again in high school. It should be one of the books we are most familiar with. When everyone is in the mood for war, this book should be remembered. There's a reason Hitler had it burned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Guns of August

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1408)
    Performance
    (824)
    Story
    (813)

    In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Wonderful"
    "Fascinating; Exciting; Great work of History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the sort of book that I hope for every time I download an audio book. Barbara Tuchman is a pretty safe bet. She's one of the great history writers.

    As always, Nadia May is perfect in this role. I still wind up forgetting that the author herself is not the narrator. That's how well May's voice and style fit Tuchman's writing.

    The great thing about Tuchman's work is that she gives detailed and educational histories that are also entertaining and even exciting. Guns of August is no exception. This isn't an audio book that you'll just turn on in the car because you're sick of the songs on your iPod. You get swept up in the story and immersed in it.

    That's what's so great about Tuchman's work. It satisfies those of us who want to spend reading time educating ourselves, while also giving us the same pleasure that a novel would. Guns of August is tremendous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirty Years War

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By C. V. Wedgwood
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (120)
    Story
    (119)

    Initially, the Thirty Years War was precipitated in 1618 by religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. But the conflict soon spread beyond religion to encompass the internal politics and balance of power within the Empire, and then later to the other European powers. By the end, it became simply a dynastic struggle between Bourbon France and Habsburg Spain. And almost all of it was fought out in Germany. Entire regions were depopulated and destroyed.

    Judith A. Weller says: "One of the World's Great History Books."
    "Thorough and Well Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only rated this 3-stars despite giving the performance 5 and the story 4. The reason for this--and I've had this problem several times with exhaustive military histories--is that I probably only managed to get 75% of this book. It was just really difficult to keep up with all the unfamiliar names and titles and countries and territories. And you're learning about the complex foreign policies of all of these different entities. I think if you're familiar with the Thirty Years War this book would have to be a 5-star. But if, like me, you have no previous knowledge of the Thirty Years War, it may be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it was very well written and entertaining. Extremely informative. And the narrator absolutely crushes this thing. At first he may seem a touch over-dramatic but you'll soon get used to it and appreciate it. Griffin's style of narration is absolutely perfect for this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Forever War

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Dexter Filkins
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (90)

    Through the eyes of Dexter Filkins, we witness the chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continued with the attacks of 9/11, and moved on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Forever War allows us a visceral understanding of today's battlefields and of the experiences of the people on the ground, warriors and innocents alike. It is a brilliant, fearless work, not just about America's wars after 9/11, but ultimately about the nature of war itself.

    Terry says: "A memorable "read""
    "Spectacular; Exciting, Enlightening, Balanced."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of the best books I've read in sometime. Filkins was actually in the wars in the ME for over a decade. Perhaps this is why he has such a rational view of it all. It was great to hear from a balanced voice: he doesn't demonize either side. He points out the negatives and the positives of both sides. Filkins must be one of the great writers living today. From the introduction to the epilogue this story is dramatic and engaging. You get the feeling Filkins could write the story of your life and it would be a best seller. As always, Robertson Dean is perfect for a book such as this. Hard to imagine how this could have been done any better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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