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George K.

Riverrunner, Powderhound, Pizzaiolo, Mountainbiker, Fisherman, Dzedo to James

ratings
18
REVIEWS
17
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
30

  • Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (224)

    Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history.

    David says: "An off-read for one of the best!"
    "Master of the Senate in 3 Audible Acts"
    Overall
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    Story
    If you could sum up Master of the Senate in three words, what would they be?

    Tour de force!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of the U.S. Senate that opens this volume.


    Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't think I have listened to another GG narration. But GG was a great choice for this vast undertaking. He's there for the duration and never gets in the way. A real pro.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I think it would be the story of Leland Olds.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1772)
    Performance
    (1016)
    Story
    (1031)

    In 1937, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight", For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    A User says: "The Mountains of Spain"
    "Pushing the Limits in 1940"
    Overall
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    I first read this book in high school in the late 60s. In re reading/listening recently, it came across as very musty and dated. It was published during WWII. EH pushed the limits of what was permissible in terms of writing about sexuality and the use of profanity. (He apparently could more freely write about war and violence.) There's a lot of sex, violence and profanity in the book and none of it seems gratuitous. But the contrivances that EH was forced to employ - these seemed artificial and diminished what is otherwise a very powerful read. FWBT is very strong but is also sappy and chauvinistic. I would recommend it as THE Hemingway book to read in order to glimpse why EH is at once considered one of our most accomplished writers but also one of our most ridiculed. It is not his best book but I know of no other book of his that so well reveals his unique strengths along with his weaknesses. A must read for anyone interested in EH, which is anyone interested in American literature. Finally, Campbell Scott is a very good narrator. Hope he does more audiobooks.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Night

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Elie Wiesel
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2565)
    Performance
    (1285)
    Story
    (1304)

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel offers an unforgettable account of Hitler's horrific reign of terror in Night. This definitive edition features a new translation from the original French by Wiesel's wife and frequent translator, Marion Wiesel.

    Jacobus says: "A quality production of a gripping tradegy"
    "Those who don't know history are ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    destined to repeat it. As a young boy, Wiesel survives the holocaust and lives to write a short, breathtakingly beautiful gem of a book about his experience. Wiesel devoted his life on behalf of memory and against forgetting. If there are "essential" books this is certainly one. Collective denial in face of looming catastrophe has nowhere been more vividly captured and with such gorgeous precision! In Night, Wiesel gifts us the means to remember in the sublime hope that history will not repeat itself. I almost gave Guidall four stars simply because I'm tired of giving him five stars all the time. But he's the best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sabbath's Theater

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By David Dukes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (50)

    Once a scandalously inventive puppeteer, Mickey Sabbath at 64 is an aging, raging powerhouse, defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous. But after the death of his longtime mistress, Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past.

    Joshua says: "A great book by a great writer"
    "Modern Masterpiece by a Spectacular Writer"
    Overall
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    Story

    First, I am a fan of Roth, have read a number of his books and look forward to reading more. Roth was denied the Nobel again in 2014. While reading/listening to this book I felt I better understood why he will likely never win. Nobel's will provides that the prize be given for outstanding work in "an ideal direction". Brilliant as Roth is, there is nothing "ideal" about his work in general or about Sabbath's Theatre in particular. Roth is anti ideal. The antithesis of idealism. He will not uplift your spirit or get you to feel better about what it is to be human. His gaze is unflinchingly honest and his eloquence unsurpassed. Sabbath's Theatre is a high water mark of a great writer in full flight. It is dark. It is challenging. It is graphically sexual (many will find it pornographic). It is depressing. It is also laugh out loud, set the book down, hilarious. It is quite a strong stew. What is Sabbath's Theatre about? It is about loss, how integral to life loss is, and the spiritual consequences of loss. David Dukes narration is pitch perfect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3085)
    Performance
    (2513)
    Story
    (2500)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    james d. thomas says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
    "The Quintessential American Novel Revisited"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The American novel you should read first as an early adolescent, again in your 40s, and finally when, like me, you are older than, well, you'd like to admit. This was my third reading and this time, I also listened to parts of it. I appreciate it more with each reading. The current consensus is that it is a flawed masterpiece. The modern library paperback has an excellent critique by George Saunders which most readers should not read until they first finish the book. It was an especially interesting read this week with all the media attention focused upon Ferguson, Mo. and the Michael Brown grand jury decision and aftermath. Huck and Jim adrift on the mighty Mississippi, into the heart of America and of themselves. The narration by Elijah Wood is excellent as far as Huck and the other younger male characters are concerned. However, there are a number of fantastic characters of various ages and both genders in this book. It struck me that the narration would be improved by employing a full cast of male and female narrators. As I read I contemplated how we might fashion ways to live freely and morally in an American society which, on certain levels, is inclined to such violence and ignorance. While the novel may seem dated and not as enlightened as how we like to think of ourselves, this book was radical in its day and remains highly relevant today. More people should read it. As timeless as anything in American literature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (888)
    Performance
    (743)
    Story
    (733)

    In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.

    George K. says: "A Walk through the Valley of the Shadow"
    "A Walk through the Valley of the Shadow"
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    A masterpiece of medical journalism. It is not an easy listen. Parts are unbearably sad. Contemplation of one's mortality in preparation for the inevitable, is something that most of us would just as soon put off thinking about until close to the end. This book is most recommended for those confronting life threatening illness, and for those with loved ones or family members doing so. It is also for those interested in first rate writing regardless of topic. This is that rare work that addresses life's most painful subjects with utmost lucidity, objectivity and sensitivity. It is a book that you come away from feeling as though you are, for reading it, better prepared to cope with the approaching end of life. It makes you feel as though you are better equipped to support loved ones. It is a masterful critique of contemporary medical practice and its approach to aging and dying. It offers a new vision of what medicine can and should offer the aged and the terminally ill. The patient narratives are gripping and yet painful to read and to contemplate. What would you do in similar circumstances? The narration is also first class.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1821)
    Performance
    (1610)
    Story
    (1593)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Scientology-The Inside Scoop"
    Overall
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    This is first rate reportage specifically about Scientology but generally also about faith based belief by one of our best investigative journalists. Is Scientology a religion? a cult? a commercial enterprise? What is the difference? What is the role of religion and celebrity in contemporary American life? These are central questions in this excellent book. There's a lot of Hollywood gossip packed in it too which makes for an easy read/listen. The wacky underpinnings of Scientology are explored and juxtaposed against more conventional faith based creeds and the listener is left to question how, and to what extent, Scientology is any wackier than traditional (conventional) religious forms. The Scientology leadership comes across as lacking all credibility, which is not to say that the reportage is biased. In fact, Wright goes out of his way to give Scientology a fair shake. He reveals the extent to which Scientology has recruited many intelligent, sincere and accomplished believers. He also reveals that the system has helped more than a few people live better lives. Yet he does not shy away from revealing Scientology's dark side which he convincingly derides as a "prison of belief" which has led to the subjugation of many of its less celebrated adherents. Tom Cruise figures prominently in the book. His symbiotic relationship with Scientology is revealed at great length. Given Scientology's propensity to sue and its history of intimidation, Wright, Knopf and the New Yorker deserve Kudos for publishing this important work. I thought that Sellers' narration was good but nothing exceptional.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (865)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (562)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
    "What's the point?"
    Overall
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    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Of course we all know what a great writer Joyce is and how great this book is. We all know what it meant for literature and freedom of speech and all of that. Joyce himself is supposed to have said that he would rather be read by one reader a million times than a million readers one time each. Or words to that effect. That about sizes it up for me. For professionals and dedicated amateurs only. Others need not apply.


    Has Ulysses turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Absolutely not. I enjoy a lot of the classics. But I need any book that I chose to read/listen to be, at least, accessible. I couldn't do it, and I've tried several times, because I'm always told how important and essential this book is. If this makes me illiterate, so be it.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The only scene I could sort of access was the opening scene with Stephen and Buck and the milk lady. Sandymount strand! Forget about it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Pretty much perpetual confusion.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought Jim Norton did a great job. Just not for me. Got a couple hundred pages into it and then came up against what I always come up to whenever I have tried to read this book. Life is too short!. And what's the point? That, in the course of our humdrum day, we all have countless wondering impressions and imaginings? The common man as Ulysses? There's got to be more to it than that. This book doesn't even make me want to go to Dublin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patrimony: A True Story

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    This deeply affecting memoir focuses on the time in the author's life when he learned of his father's terminal brain cancer. A remarkable portrait of a father and son, this work confronts death and fear, and, ultimately, extracts the truth of what it means to love and be loved.

    Charles says: "GREAT AND MOVING BOOK"
    "Roth and Guidall - the perfect audiobook marriage"
    Overall
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    Would you listen to Patrimony again? Why?

    Yes. Text by Roth. Performance by Guidall. This is one of the best marriages of author/reader/subject out there in audiobook land.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a book about the relationship between a loving middle aged son (Philip Roth who was in his late 50s at the time) and his aging widowed father. I read a lot of Roth and I understand why some people would think he's self obsessed, narcissistic and self absorbed. I don't see him that way. This book is one of the reasons I don't. To write this well, unflichingly, sensitively and lovingly about one's father is something quite rare. Who else?


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Guidall delivers the goods! He doesn't do impersonations. What he does is very subtle. He suggests characters by intonation and pace. He is an entertaining reader but does not allow his reading to usurp or occupy center stage. It is always in the service of the story.


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

    You could do that. But the writing and reading is of such high quality that I wanted to savor it.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a middle aged person who has aging parents or someone close to you then this is a book that I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benito Cereno

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    This is the epic sea adventure, a harrowing tale of slavery and revolt aboard a Spanish ship, is often regarded as Melville's finest short story. The balance of forces is complete, the atmosphere one of epic significance, the light cast upon the hero intense to the highest degree, the realization of the human soul profound, and the telling of the story orchestrated like a great symphony.

    George K. says: "Timeless Meditation on Racial Hatred"
    "Timeless Meditation on Racial Hatred"
    Overall
    Performance
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    Would you consider the audio edition of Benito Cereno to be better than the print version?

    The audio version enhances reading this 19th Century masterpiece. It is not a substitute. I did both read and listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is Melville. While he is not a character in the book, it is his language-so baroque and atmospheric- that perfectly imparts his tale of mystery and fog and remote Chilean seacoasts. Impending violence is swimming just under the surface. Just as in the big book he wrote about a sea captain and a whale.


    Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favorite?

    The American sea captain. I thought SR artfully hinted at the captain's developing suspicions and how those suspicions had to be sorted out in the face of the Captain's observations and his essentially generous and kind nature.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It didn't make me laugh or cry. But it did remind that the events we read about in our post 911 era are not so different than even 19th century challenges.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book you can (and probably should) read/listen in one sitting. It is one of Melville's best and is not a huge commitment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (954)
    Performance
    (578)
    Story
    (580)

    In The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan put the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl at the center of a rich history, told through characters he brought to indelible life. Now he performs the same alchemy with The Big Burn, the largest-ever forest fire in America, a tragedy that cemented Teddy Roosevelt's legacy.

    P. Bergh says: "A fascinating history of early Forest Service"
    "Great listen when splitting firewood"
    Overall
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    Where does The Big Burn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I learned a lot . Lots of history about the establishment of the National Forest and Western wildfire. I live next to a National Forest and recreate routinely on the forest. It was right up my alley. Good thing to listen to when you are laying in firewood for winter.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are many well drawn characters in this book. Teddy Roosevelt. Ed Polaski. This is a strength of the book. My favorite character was Gifford Pinchot . He is a man in large part forgotten but a founding father of the American conservation movement . His partnership/friendship with Teddy R has shaped modern conservation for more than a century. Even Teddy thought GP radical in his day. A hundred years later more of us need to appreciate and realize the importance of what Pinchot advocated and accomplished against powerful interests.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    RD has a big, deep voice, and is a serious pro, but he isn't necessarily one of my favorites.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Idaho Burning!


    Any additional comments?

    Timothy Egan is one of my favorite narrative nonfiction writers. Everything I have read of his is meticulously researched and fired with a strong narrative. Makes him a very easy read and/or listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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