First, it is a disappointment that Fareed Zakaria doesn't read this--he has an engaging voice. Regardless, this is an important, rich, thoughful and nuanced work. About the best quick preparation for understanding the roots of democracies and republics and the challenges we face on a global scale in making the case for 'our' form of government. Fascinating history, too!
Langella is a masterful narrator, to be expected of an actor I suppose, but still this is first rate. The writing is clever and smart and, necessarily, catty, mean, score-settling but...revealing of the actors craft: skill, rehearsals, the ruined family life, the travel, the rarified circle of friends and acquaintances. And the detailed memories of well-know people! This audiobook doesn't sound like People magazine, more like Insecure People magazine. George C. Scott, Liz Taylor, Paul Newman mix pathos with talent. Langella spares no one and certainly not himself. He sounds like he was a horse's ass of a young talent. Richard Burton comes off as a total ass no matter his age. Loved this audiobook.
A devastating, blistering, painful and brutal tragedy. A train wreck of a main character who blithely bruises and ruins the lives of those he touches as he stumbles like an oaf through adulthood no more aware of his impact than a blind bull. A cutting look at men, marriage and meaning --- pretty timeless in its tale and painful to listen to. Superb narration. An unforgettable book that haunts me long afterward. One of the best Audible listens. I could not stop listening and looked forward to this book like few others.
A lot of friends recommended this book. For me, a mixed bag: narrator was over dramatic even for a book of such dramatic events. Despite evidence of class bias, anti-Semitism, politics and business interests, it still it not clear exactly why the US was so reluctant, blind or naive to Hitler's Nazi advance. Ambassador Dodd, a true student of history, could not come to terms with the facts before him until late in his tenure. In the end, a frustrating book and one that certainly marks the US and its allies as fools or, at worse, complicit in the advance of Nazis. What is stunning is how much murder and horror was afoot as early as 1934, many years before the US was directly involved in the fight. Dodd's daughter slept her way through the men of the early Reich and it is her story that is really..a story.
This is a remarkable story of courage and grit in WW2. Nancy Wake is, or was, a real war hero. The audiobook is fair...maybe 20% too long, but that is a problem with the book. Not especially well written. The narration was about average. It was another time--an individual like this could really make a difference. Yes, these people really did exist.
You have to be really be interested in corporate intrigue and the entire creative/business process to stick with this title. But for me, it was fascinating. How did three of the most recent TV hits --Desperate Housewives, American Idol and Lost -- ever get created? And how did highly paid executives MISS these hits in the development phase? Dean Olsher (confession, a former colleague) does a fine narration job. TV is an odd business of luck, talent, egos and score settling. Not a bad idea for a TV show...oops, it already exists on NBC!
There's such a thing as too little knowledge. This particular SparkNotes guide like some others I have heard is just too brief. If this were half again as long, there would be more room to breathe, more room for nuance and pacing, more detail. As it is this production like the others follows a predictable and not very creative format. A Tale of Two Cities really cannot be distilled into 25 breathless minutes with any hope of retention.
I could smell movie all over this. The epilogue of notes should come first, because it really fleshes out some of the SF stuff in the complex story. Richard Clarke has written a better novel than his first thriller. The characters are cookie cutter but the plot pulls on all the sort of things he did as a top DC official: terrorism, military stuff, computer and internet security, etc. A great audio book for a long drive. The narration was very good. Made me want to look into the concepts Clarke weaves thru the story.
The narration of <i>After</i> is excellent and the story--one you think you <i>might</i> know--comes across as fresh, personal, gripping and ultimately frustrating. Hindsight is 20/20 after all, and I gritted my teeth hearing how unprepared and blind we were to the attacks heading our way. The detailed background of the INS screw ups, the creation of the TSA and the machinations in the Oval Office and on Capitol Hill are all very interesting. Brill's conclusions, though, are full of holes and inconsistencies. He ruins his own story by ending on what sounds like a naive civics lesson.
One of the delights of this audiobook is the clever and deft writing. For a guy who claims he is not an investigative reporter, he sure fooled me. This audiobook is full of "Really!" moments--and it does offer a good, critical evaluation of claims, counterclaims and explanations about intelligence gathering. The narration is wonderful and even those reasonably familiar with Elint and Sigint will find a LOT here of value. You'll be recommending this audiobook to friends!
This is a terrifying audiobook. Gruesome--and it isn't just the gore and behavior of the killers that made me at times take a pause in the reading. Clearly, the author has restrained herself. But the real terror comes in some of the conclusions she has reached after a career of studying these people: serial killers kill without motive; they have no developed personality structure; they can ACT like healthy people; serial murder for them is an addiction. That being said, the author has some very strong opinions about these people and how to regard them: not as retarded, not as monsters per se, but as very complex puzzles to be understood---not out of academic interest but becuase we might better respond to serial killers in the future.Her most controversial statements have to do with whether nature or nurture creates serial killers---and she comes down firmly and totally on biology. "The serial killer is created before conception..."---she believes the role of DNA is key. And, this audiobook touches on the ethical implications of knowing that early whether a child has a propensity for serial murder. This audiobook would have been better if it had spent more time on those issues.
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