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Francis J DiBona

Member Since 2008

  • 7 reviews
  • 96 ratings
  • 613 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey

    We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

    Francis J DiBona says: "Violence is decreasing everywhere. Who knew?"
    "Violence is decreasing everywhere. Who knew?"

    Steven Pinker is an intellectual of the first order. Yet all of his book are readily accessible to an educated reader (well, maybe not The Stuff of Thought, which was difficult "stuff").

    The premise of this book is that violence is decreasing throughout the world. That includes all kinds of violence: murder, rape, war, genocide and even terrorism! And the decrease is evident over all time scales. Over the last 10,000 years the chances of being a victim of violence has declined dramatically. This is true for the last 1000 years, last 100 years and even the last 10 years. You might think that this is absurd from reading the headlines and listening to TV news but Pinker presents exhaustive data to prove his point. He gives us FBI reports, WHO data, government studies and scholarly studies. He also tries in every case to explain the "why" of the decrease. We have become more and more civilized over time. We also have become more sensitive to the lives and feelings of others.

    Pinker is a wizard of making the difficult so easy to undersand. He not only alludes to the classics, The Bible, and academic studies, but also to pop culture. He frequently uses scenes from popular movies, TV shows, books and songs to make his point.

    The reading is superb. It is neither dull nor overly dramatic. Within minutes I forgot that there was a reader and my mind was focused in on Steven Pinker's mind.

    I would also highly recommend Pinker's previous tour-de-force, The Blank Slate.

    35 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "What a ride!"

    I have read the first half of many of Stephen King's books. I stop reading when they turned too weird. I love his writing but not his horror and gruesome tales. This book was different. More lie a Sci Fi novel, i made it all the way thru and was sad when it was over.

    Now "I'm not a crying man", to quote the narrator, Jake, but I must admit I had moist eyes at the end. King credits his son for coming up with the ending it is wonderful. I don/t want to give it away so I will not say more about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lonesome Dove

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Larry McMurtry
    • Narrated By Lee Horsley

    Larry McMurtry's American epic, set in the late 19th century, tells the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, a drive that represents not only a daring foolhardy adventure, but a part of the American Dream for everyone involved.

    A. Wright says: "Inspired reading of a great book"
    "Better than the mini-series"

    Terrific story. This is not my usual genre so I was a little skeptical about downloading this one. But it enthralled me the whole way through. I love the notion of the cowboy philosopher. The narrator was superb. He sounded just like he belonged on that cattle drive himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hour I First Believed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Wally Lamb
    • Narrated By George Guidall

    When high-school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.

    G. says: "excellent all around yarn"
    "The Hour I First Believed"

    I have listened to both this book and "I Know This Much Is True" and I'm not sure which I like the most. The writing is so clear and beautiful. The stories are fascinating. Some might complain that the novel contains 3 or 4 separate stories and that each could have been a novella itself. But I enjoyed every minute and did not lose track of what was happening. The narration was so good I kept forgetting that this was not Wally Lamb telling his own story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the American People

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By Nadia May

    Johnson's monumental history of the United States, from the first settlers to the Clinton administration, covers every aspect of American culture: politics, business, art, literature, science, society and customs, complex traditions, and religious beliefs. The story is told in terms of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A British conservative's view of American history."
    "American History"

    Paul Johnson always seems to have an optimistic view of our history. He writes with the pride of a new immigrant. Of course we have had some low moments, look at slavery or McCarthyism, but he looks at these as issues we have worked our way through. The narrator is a little annoying (or I would have given it 5 stars) but I found I could ignore her voice and concentrate on what she was saying

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Undaunted Courage

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener

    In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River, across the forbidding Rockies, and - by way of the Snake and the Columbia rivers - down to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, endured incredible hardships and witnessed astounding sights. With great perseverance, they worked their way into an unexplored West. When they returned two years later, they had long since been given up for dead.

    Christopher says: "Great detail about this historical event..."
    "Undaunted Literature"

    What a great book. The story is so much more detailed and interesting than I had ever imagined. It makes you want to trace out the trail for yourself. The narration is perfect for this kind of book. It is clear, easy to understand, and there is enough infection to get the points across but not so much to make it sound like a production.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

    Karl says: "An education and inspiration"
    "Terrific story"

    This is a heart warming story. The narration is clear and not overly dramatic. The writing of the story is not exactly poetry. It did seem strange that Mortenson is the first author but the book is written in the third person. In spite of some awkward writing I still feel that this is a story well worth listening to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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