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H. Segal

Cornell Faculty

Ithaca | Member Since 2014

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 129 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jonathan Fenby
    • Narrated By Robin Bloodworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    No leader of modern times was more uniquely patriotic than Charles de Gaulle. As founder and first president of the Fifth Republic, General de Gaulle saw himself as "carrying France on [his] shoulders." In his 20s, he fought for France in the trenches and at the epic battle of Verdun. In the 1930s, he waged a lonely battle to enable France to better resist Hitler's Germany. Thereafter, he twice rescued the nation from defeat and decline by extraordinary displays of leadership, political acumen, daring, and bluff, heading off civil war and leaving a heritage adopted by his successors of right and left.

    marigoyle says: "Book Great Read. Narrator Horrible-slow dead voice"
    "Slavishly written, Unreflective but Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The General? What did you like least?

    it's a comprehensive biography, and since De Gaulle dedicated himself to France (as a version of himself) it's a good account of France in the aftermath of WWII and the occupation. De Gaulle was a remarkable figure - principled, politically brilliant, rigid and narcissistic. Fenby gets you all the facts, but rarely reflects or interprets the history he presents. Ultimately, the life of De Gaulle becomes a bit of a blur, even though I listened to all 16 hours.


    Would you recommend The General to your friends? Why or why not?

    I don't think so. I listened to it following Charles Glass' book on Americans in Paris during the occupation, and for that book De Gaulle is an intriguing absent presence -- we only hear of him when broadcasting from London on the BBC. This book provided me with more history, but I found it a bit of slog.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Robin Bloodworth?

    No ... although he has a fine French accent, he narrates so slowly I had to listen to the book on 1.25x, something I've never had to do before.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (422)

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Stacy says: "gah!"
    "Haunting and Hopeful - A Post-Apocalypse Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a subtle novel about the way the world's population responds to a devastating flu by following a small group of people who lived before and after the pandemic wiped out 95% of people on earth. Emily Mandel writes with a light yet honest touch, approaching the spectrum of human selfishness, violence and generosity. The Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and actor who perform Shakespeare in these new times, remind us of the importance of art and the endurance of human-created beauty. Kirsten Potter reads well and lets the cadence of the prose inform her delivery. I was especially moved by the way she performed the last chapter of the novel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dick Cavett
    • Narrated By Dick Cavett
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    Dick Cavett is back, sharing his reflections and reminiscences about Hollywood legends, American cultural icons, and the absurdities of everyday life. In Brief Encounters, the legendary talk show host Dick Cavett introduces us to the fascinating characters who have crossed his path, from James Gandolfini and John Lennon to Mel Brooks and Nora Ephron, enhancing our appreciation of their talent, their personalities, and their place in the pantheon.

    Harold says: "Cavett at his best"
    "Profound, Engaging, and Relentlessly Charming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Brief Encounters rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Dick Cavett reads this collection of his NYT columns with such perfect delivery that you almost forget that he is a master of the spoken word. Every chapter is engaging, and Cavett manages to teach you about some much without even seeming to. A must listen!


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick, William L. Simon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3771)
    Performance
    (3356)
    Story
    (3370)

    Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies—and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable.

    Mikeyxote says: "Great listen for tech fans"
    "Fun with an Unreliable Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It was interesting to hear about Kevin's rise from phone freak to (in)famous hacker. It was well narrated - Porter makes you believe he really is Kevin - but it was also difficult to tolerate Mitnick's tremendous lack of self-insight. He apologizes over and over to his family for his persistent hacking, but can't explain why it was compulsive or even guess about it. Still, a nice piece of late twentieth century history.


    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
    (1007)
    Performance
    (883)
    Story
    (887)

    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"
    "A Classic Novel - Beautifully Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely - a harrowing but moving experience of World War I by a gifted novelist.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (631)
    Performance
    (538)
    Story
    (537)

    Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

    Cathi says: "Good book, not crazy about the narrator"
    "A bit thin on details and poorly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Walter Isaacson and/or Nelson Runger?

    It was good to hear the magical life of Ben Franklin, and to discover his selfish as well as generous sides, but Isaacson tends to repeat his formulaic read on Franklin over and over, while clearly hiding some of Franklin's more illicit behaviors in Europe. I found Nelson Runger's reading too slow and, even more irritating, he put on a "folksy" voice any time he quotes Franklin's letters or writings. Might be better to read this volume or find a better biography altogether.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4821)
    Performance
    (4419)
    Story
    (4419)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    KarenLee says: "Stick with Cuckoo's Calling"
    "J.K.Rowling Can Do Anything - including Mysteries"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Silkworm rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Silkworm, written by Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith, is a fine sequel to Cucko's Calling, where we first meet Cormoran Strike and his charming Watson, Robin. Very impressed by A Casual Vacancy, Rowling's first outing post-Harry Potter, I find this series showcases her uncanny talent for taking an established genre and making it her own. The book is both funny and suspenseful, and Robert Glenister is the perfect narrator - a "must hear"!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4083)
    Performance
    (3626)
    Story
    (3635)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Sandra says: "Be prepared to love the characters."
    "A Wonderful, Old-Fashioned Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

    This is a compelling novel that follows two children as they grow up in the midst of WWII. Doerr has respect and compassion for his characters, though he clearly loves Marie best, the blind daughter of the locksmith from the Paris Museum of Natural History. The narrative moves forward and backward in time, always vivid, never heavy-handed.

    Zach Appelman does a fine job reading the novel. His subtlety is a good match for the novel, perhaps a challenge to most actors but not for him.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crossing to Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Wallace Stegner
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (332)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (259)

    One of the finest American authors of the 20th century, Wallace Stegner compiled an impressive collection of accolades during his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a National Book Award, and three O. Henry Awards. His final novel, Crossing to Safety is the quiet yet stirring tale of two couples that meet during the Great Depression and form a lifelong bond.

    Melissa says: "This is life"
    "A Tour de Force from a Master"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Crossing to Safety?

    It's a beautifully written novel, psychological and reflective, that follows a friendship between two couples over forty years. Richard Poe's reading is as close to perfect as it can be.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Weather in Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ward Just
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    On a whim, aging director Dixon Greenhouse accepted the three month fellowship in Berlin, with a promise that nothing would be required of him but an interview about his moviemaking career. Thirty years have passed since he directed his greatest film, a cult classic called Summer, about a group of German artists between the wars.

    Book Dad says: "Unfortunately"
    "A Wonderful Novel, Beautifully Narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Weather in Berlin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is certainly one of the best I've listened to in the past year. This was the first work by Ward Just that I've come across, and I'm surprised that I had never heard of him ... none of my friends are familiar with him, either. What a loss for us all, since his is one of the more powerful American voices of the past generation. Although he cites Henry James as a major influence - and certainly the subtle ways that we enter the minds of the characters is Jamesian -- his prose reminds me of F Scott Fitzgerald who appears in the novel briefly in a story told by the narrator's father. Ward Just was a journalist in the 1960s and left the newspaper business to write novels and short stories. This book centers on an aging film director, Dixon Greenwood, spending three months at a humanities colony in Berlin, not too far from where he directed his best film some thirty years earlier. What happens during his stay, and what he remembers, is what the book is about. Greenwood is a wonderful character, compelling as much as for what he does and says as for what he holds back.


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

    Given the subject matter, Dean's voice, who here sounds a good deal like Orson Wells, is perfectly suited. His performance is powerfully convincing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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