The author started with a great thesis- namely the decline of the Army Leadership by the Generals who have led the US both during and since World War II. He then did an excellent job supporting his position by offering great insight into all of the wars in which the army has been deployed- from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. Portraits of all of the American Generals who commanded the US Army in these- Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, McArthur, Ridgeway, Taylor, Westmoreland, Abrams, Schwartzkopf, Powell, Franks, Petraeus, Sanchez, McCrystal are laid out here for the listener, as well as how each contribted to the success or failure of the army high command during these wars.
George Catlett Marshall- whom quite frankly not many people know enough about and appreciate today. Ricks portrays him as the father of what was great in the army during World War II- namely the ability to select men of high intelligence, energy and affability to lead the US forces- and to remove from command those generals who did not win battles. I became so fascinated by Ricks' portrait of Marshall that after listening to this recording I actually purchased and am reading a biography of Marshall from Amazon (Ed Cray's book entitled "General Of The Army"- which happens to be a great read so far) . Not many people actually realize it but Marshall wanted to command the Allied Invasion at Normandy in 1944- and it was at Franklin Roosevelt's request that he did not agree to become the commander and instead appointed Eisenhower- who as we all know won enough accolade and fame to eventually be elected President of the US.
All were decently portrayed
While I did not have an extreme reaction to the book, I must admit that I came away with the feeling that the current US Army command leadership structure needs to be reformed and new blood infused into that institution if the army is to be a relevant force in protecting the interests of our country. I believe that the author's recommendations on how to bring about and implement this change are well laid out in the epilogue to the book
I am glad that I purchased and listened to the book. While another reviewer has aptly pointed out that there is only theme to this book and that the author constantly reiterates it- I believe that book is well written and well narrated and worth the listen.
This book read like a great spy novel- except all of it is a true story and not fiction (as others have pointed out in their reviews). The story was riveting and I thought that Adam Grupper did an incredible job with the narration- especially with his English, French and Russian accent for all of the characters. Well worth the listen. I really believe that this should be made into a motion picture and hopefully some producer will purchase the rights to the book and proceed with the project. I would recommend that as you listen to the book think of who should be cast in the various roles in the story.
I am an avid student of history, especially relating to the First World War and the period of time preceding the war and subsequent to it. I also an avid student of the Russian Revolution, Russian Civil War and period following it. This book was extremely well written and it probably one of the finest biographies I have read about Stalin. That being said, there are two issues that one should consider before purchasing this book.
First- as has been pointed out by other reviewers, the narration is not as good as it could and should be. While I did not mind the narrator's pace and tone, it bothered me greatly and detracted from my enjoyment of the book that he could not correctly pronounce the Russian names of the historical figures in the book. It seems logical to me that if you are going to narrate a book with non-English character names, you need to do a good job with the pronunciations. That was not the case with this narration.
Secondly- the book does a phenomenal job of sketching the time frame in Russian history which Stalin was a part of and the book went into great details about Lenin, Trotsky, Stolypin, Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky as well as the other Russian historical figures of the period. While this was great for me in that it added greatly to my understanding of Stalin, for the first time reader of a Stalin biography, this can detract from his/her enjoyment of the book because not enough time is spent on Stalin's life. Therefore, if you have never read or listened to a biography of Stalin, I would not listen to this book as the first book on the subject. Instead consider first listening to the Stalin biographies written by Simon Sebag Montfiore (only covers Young Stalin), Robert Conqeust and/or Edward Radzinsky (all three books are available from Audible) and then consider listening to this one. I believe that by following this course of action, the listener will enjoy this book more and learn more about Stalin from it.
As a student of history and as a former New Yorker who grew up in NY at the end of Rockefeller's tenure as governor, I thought that the author of this book penned an extremely well written thorough and very fair biography about a wealthy man who led the liberal wing of the Republican Party before the GOP became the conservative party of Reagan and Goldwater that it remains to this day. I must admit that I did not know how complex an individual Nelson Rockefeller truly was nor that he actually served in the presidential administrations of FDR, Truman and Eisenhower before launching himself into his own political career as governor of the Empire State. It is hard to believe that Rockefeller's wing of the GOP (Rockefeller Republicans) stood for government regulation and intervention in almost all key aspects of the economy based on the belief that government spending and involvement brings the most good to the public. The author did a superb job in describing how while this vision initially worked, it began to weaken with Rockefeller's defeat by Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco (great description of Rockefeller's speech to the convention and the jeering reaction he received) and it came crashing to earth with the huge deficits in the NY State budget in the early 1970's when revenue sharing with the federal government began to ebb. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book focused on the Attica prison riot and Rockefeller's conduct during all phases of the revolt- including its brutal suppression of the prisoners and the slaughter of some of the hostages. The author also did a great job weaving in some of the great historical figures of Rockefeller's life including his grandfather (the original John D. Rockefeller), Henry Kissinger (whom Rockefeller developed and promoted), FDR, Eisenhower, Cordell Hull, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford (Rockefeller was his VP) and Donald Rumsfeld (with whom he feuded). The narration was very good. The only drawback to the book is that one feels overwhelmed by the number of different people who played a part in Rockefeller's life and career. Otherwise it is a phenomenal book and well worth the listen.
This is the first Sherlock Holmes audio book that I have ever listened to. While I was very familiar with the story (saw the movie which starrted Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce), I believe that what made this recording superb was Simon Prebble's narration. He did a phenomonal (and probably the best) job that I have ever heard changing his voice to match the characters in the book (best exemplified by his voice characterizations of Holmes vs. Dr. Watson (with different English Accents and tones) as well as inserting an American/Canadian dialectic tone for Sir. Henry Baskerville). I recommend this as a great listen and I am actually thinking of purchasing the entire Holmes collection that is available on Audible (and is also narrated by Prebble)
This biography was well written. Cotter Smith did a great job with the narration. While like all biographies, its primary focus was on the life of one man- Jackson- I enjoyed the fact that it also brought into focus some of the other Civil War soldiers who had a major impact on Jackson's life as a commander- namely George McClellan, Joseph Johnston, PGT Beauregard, Robert E. Lee as well as some of the other not so known characters such as Nathanial "Commisary" Banks, John Pope, Richard Ewell, AP Hill, Turner Ashby and the unfortunately maligned Richard B. Garnett. The biography is presented in a non-chronological format. It starts out focusing on Jackson's initial command in the Civil War and then folds back into his service in the Mexican War and his VMI teaching career. We are never really understand how Jackson receives his appointment to West Point until about midway through the book. In listening to the book, I feel as if I have a better understanding of Jackson than I did before- but I still feel as if there are aspects of his life (his mercurial behavior) that I will never understand and probably no one ever will since there is not a plethora of information available. Nevertheless I believe that this is an excellent book and well worth the listen
I thought that this was an excellent book and was well narrated. I thought that the authors did an excellent job describing the events surrounding the assasination of Lincoln. Although it could have been excluded, the description of the battles covering the fall of Petersburg to Lee's surrender at Appomatox Courthouse was very good. The only problem that causes me some pause to the quality of the book are some historical errors- the most important to me being the one describing Edwin Stanton. The authors incorrectly state that Stanton's first appointment to Lincoln's cabinet was to the post of Attorney General and that he later was appointed Secretary of War. Stanton, a lifelong Democrat, was Attorney General during the last months of the Buchanon Administration and was appointed by Lincoln as Secretary of War in 1862 following the Lincoln's dismissal of Simon Cameron from the position. I recognize that this is a samll error- but when listening to a book such as this one- in which the authors state that all of the facts presented are absolutely true- this error causes me to doubt the accuracy of the rest of the book. Nevertheless it is a good book and worthy of purchase
As someone who is very much interested in history and the First World War and the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, I found this book to be an extremely interesting introduction to the four daughters of Nicholas II and Alexandra- who are often ignored or given only brief notice in books covering the fall of the dynasty. Through the review and translation of their diaries and tthe correspondence and diaries of individuals who interacted with them, Ms. Rappaport has made a great contribution to the story of these four wormen. She has painted them as proper Victorian women raised in a family that walled itself off from imperial society- mostly because of the illness of the Tsarevich and their mother's ill health. The Grand Duchesses are presented as young women who had a strong devotion to their family but also had the same interests and desires that most teenagers have despite their being royalty. The one flaw that I find in the book is that it does not adequately discuss their interaction with Rasputin, the starets who domincated the last two decades of Imperial Russia. This may intentional on the author's part or it might also be that the Grand Duchesses had very limited interaction with him. Karen Cass did an excellent job with the narration transitioning between an English and American English accent when dealing with characters of different nationalities. If you are interested in learning something about Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters, this would be a great place to start.
I found this to be a well narrated and written book on the history of the making of the modern day Middle East. The book commences with the period just prior to World War I and takes the listener through World War I into the carving up of the former Ottoman Empire territories of Syria, Arabia, Palestine, Lebannon, Jordan and to a lesser extent Egypt (which was Ottoman territory but administered by the British prior to the War). The book covers the history through the eyes of four individuals- TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Curt Prufer (a German Diplomat), Aaron Aaronsohn (a Palestinian Jewish Scientist originally born in Europe) and WIlliam Yale (an American employed by Standard Oil of NY). Through their experiences (Lawrence being the most famous), one acquires a greater understanding of how France and Britain carved up the former Ottoman Empire between them, which eventually led to the circumstances the word now confronts in that area of the world. Historical events begin to unfold through their eyes and one is introduced to many of the people who were made famous by the war (Allenby, Kitchner, Faisal, Ibn Saud, Mark Sykes and David Lloyd George to name a few). Of the four characters, the portrait of Lawrence is the most remarkable (as one would expect) and the author does a great job contrasting Lawrence's real life from what is presented in Lawrence's book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and David Lean's 1962 movie Lawrence In Arabia. The narration was excellent and I must admit I learned more about the Middle East that I knew prior to reading the book. If you are interested in learning more about the making of the Modern Middle East and conflict in that part of the world today, this would be a great book to start with. As has been pointed out in several other reviews (Amazon as well as Audible), if you wish to learn even more about the making of the Modern Middle East, consider purhcasing a copy of David Framkin's book, "A Peace To End All Peace", which covers the more than this book does (unfortunately it is not available on Audible).
I found this course to be well taught and fascinating. The Professor was excellent. Although I may not agree with all of the battles selected by the Professor as being the most important in world history (especially some of the ancient ones)- I did enjoy the manner in which he described his methodology for choosing the battles and I learned a great deal about some historical events that I really knew nothing about. The biggest complaint that I have with this course is the lack of maps for each battle. You really cannot understand strategy, movement and terrain withoug some form of visual display. I really think that Audible should contract with the Great Corses to add a pdf file of the maps for each battle. Otherwise I would recommend that one purchase this course directly from the Teaching Company
As a student of history I found this biography to be an excellent book about a man whose career spanned two different period in US History- the period leading up to and including the Civil War and the Guilded Age that covered the development of America up to the Progressive Era prior to World War One. The author does an excellent job of covering the details of not just John Hay's life but the historical events (including the assasination of three presidents, the Spanish American War, The Boxer Rebellion, the Panama Canal land acquisition, and the Russo Japanese War) that were an integral part in US development into an imperial power. Great nuggets were also included (such as the fact that Hay's granddaughter was actually the first owner of the NY Mets baseball franchise).The narration was also excellent and I learned a great deal about a period of history of which I thought I had a good knowledge. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of America from the American Civil War through 1905.
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