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J.B.

Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States | Member Since 2009

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 42 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
1

  • Down the Darkest Road: Oak Knoll, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tami Hoag
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (506)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (431)

    Deeper Than the Dead introduced Tami Hoag's millions of fans to Oak Knoll, a small California town that, in the mid-eighties, seemed as idyllic as any . . . until the See-No-Evil killer shattered that notion. It took FBI agent Vince Leone and a new technique called profiling" to put an end to the trauma. Now Hoag returns once more to Oak Knoll for the third installment of this best-selling series.

    caitlyn says: "Not Worth It"
    "All Three Oak Knoll Get the Same Review"
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    All three Oak Knoll stories are good get away from everyday life and loose oneself in a mystery thriller. Not the best mysteries, always about a horrid subject; but Hoag knows how to entertain.

    Book One was very good, Book Two as good, and Book Three was not bad. By the third in one week though, I had enough. Good characters in Books One and Two. Less so in Book Three but the read does not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Federalist Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (65)

    Originally published anonymously, The Federalist Papers first appeared in 1787 as a series of letters to New York newspapers exhorting voters to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States. Still hotly debated and open to often controversial interpretations, the arguments first presented here by three of America's greatest patriots and political theorists were created during a critical moment in our nation's history.

    Raymond says: "Did they have a crystal ball?"
    "Elucidating of Ideas but a Difficult Journey"
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    The Federalist Papers are some 85 essays on behalf of a central federal government and the then pending Constitution, and replacement of the Articles of Confederation. The arguments were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. The articles appeared in popular publications then selling in New York, and were printed one at a time over the course of a year. This is a deep study into political theory; how best to organize and optimize the United States. I remember seeing a full set of the Federalist Papers in my High School Library. They were beautiful and the librarian told me they contain the basis for our style of government. It intrigued me to have the opportunity to read our founding father’s thoughts. Nevertheless it took me decades to get around to the actual read (but in the meantime I studied Political Science in college as my major).

    Read it if you have a commitment to mastering political theory, the history of our government or need to argue before the Supreme Court on a constitutional issue and then expect to read it twice more to begin to master its teaching. It is studious, artful and masterful – we had some brilliant forefathers. Yet it is a dreary read. (You can whispersync your reading by listening to it on Kindle as the words run across the screen. I found that to be a better way to become more involved with the arguments and the very distinct verbiage being used by Hamilton, Madison and Jay.)

    Once read it gives you a looking glass through which you can better understand the reasons for the expansion of the United States, the conflict between the states, the debate on federal needs versus state’s rights, interstate commerce, the place of the Federal Reserve, and generally the issues behind our national debates on politics continuing into today.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shōgun: The Epic Novel of Japan: The Asian Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By James Clavell
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    A bold English adventurer; an invincible Japanese warlord; a beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love - all brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power.

    J.B. says: "A Wonderful Story and A Wonderful Study of Bushido"
    "A Wonderful Story and A Wonderful Study of Bushido"
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    Story

    I first read Shogun about one year after it was originally released, in 1975. I was studying karate at the time (and for many years thereafter) and wanted to know as much as I could about Bushido. Bushidō (武士道?), literally "the way of the warrior", or the way of the samurai. I was taught much about the way of the combatant in the book, but that was merely a setting for the real voyage that the story takes you upon. The book was a constant weighing between cultures – Western European versus Japanese. The complexity of the story’s plot was there merely to present each culture’s élan or perhaps moral underpinnings. The purpose was to give you the reader the opportunity to determine who were the barbarians. The Westerners or the Japanese of the 1600s. I’ll give you a hint as to the author’s conclusion – one society bathed constantly the other – well perhaps never at all. The book does manage ones considerations of who was the beast very well.

    The tale itself is about competition between two daimyos or Lords, and each’s competitive efforts to rise to the Shogunate; the all-powerful Lord who would be “effectively” the king but for the existence of the emperor. The emperor though, is only a god on earth to be provided for by the Shogunate. The story is seen through the eyes of an English sailor John Blackthorne, (sailing on behalf of the Dutch) who, after wrecking into the Japanese islands unintentionally takes on Japanese ways and name of Anjin ( a seafaring navigator or"Pilot"). The Anjin becomes Japanese, but not by intent – merely by the drift of life. One of the Lords, Torenaga, manages the Anjin as an asset in the scheming and strategizing to move society in favor of his goal to be the Shogun. Watching Torenaga scheme is the most wonderful part of the book. Of course, there is a grand love affair to assist the Anjin-san in his drift into the Japanese way. The book is enchanting and a wonderful read or listen to and well worth one’s time but – but – but for the reader, Ralph Lister. Mr. Lister reads the story very well. I do not understand though when speaking on behalf of the Anjin-san, he finds it necessary to change to a loud boisterous ignorant rage. He has the Ajin speaking stupidly throughout. I read the book in the 1970s thinking of all in soft consideration. The story was much better that way. Yet, this is still a very worthwhile endeavor. In fact, everything James Clavell wrote was magnificent as a story and study of Oriental beings and their ways. Glad to see Audible is going to finally have his works in its library.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Richard Brown
    Overall
    (592)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (382)

    This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles.

    Andrew says: "Worth it"
    "Dapper, Destined and Determined; Churchill"
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    This volume, “Alone,” of the Manchester series on Winston Churchill, tells the story of his life and its interlacing with the (Second) Boer War, WWI and WWII. This is part of a trilogy of editions of the man, referred to in the series title as, “The Last Lion.” The books are, “Visions of Glory,” “Alone,” and “Defender of the Realm,” a magnificent study of Churchill and the eras. They are though a true history, an effort to acquire knowledge about the man and the wars from a British perspective. Nevertheless, this is a well endeavored read or listen but only for those who are history buffs. That is not to say it isn’t a page turner, and hard to let it sit on the bed table. It is such a well done analysis of the epic failures of what lead to the rise of the Nazis and the oncoming of WWII. The book is an artistic compilation of history in the nature of Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War,” although the House of Commons fights are not as dramatic as the Civil War confrontations.

    The same subject, as this title, Alone, can also be read in a more scintillating series by Winston Churchill himself, his four part series the Second World War. That was a more exciting tale. Yes, Churchill has a way not only with governing, giving speeches but writing as well.

    This volume, Alone, is the most complete study into Neville Chamberlain, and the popular British post WWI concept of Appeasement, I have ever come across. I have seen the Newsreel film of Chamberlain holding the treaty in his hand and waiving to cheering crowds in triumph and because I have the advantage of hindsight knew Chamberlain was a fool, and a fool to Hitler. I had no idea how dominant a postulate non-violence was for our forefathers in the 1930s. This book does teach its malfeasance demonstratively well – a probable results of the horrors of WWI’s trench warfare according to this study. Manchester reveals appeasement, at least on the part of Chamberlain, and his predecessor Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, to be a factor of their dedication to capitalism; the appeasers were actually more concerned with unfettered commerce than the growth of the Nazis and the horrors and enslavement National Socialism cast onto others. The continuation of commerce was all the appeasers were concerned with. Thus, how vile the appeasers truly were.

    There has been a lot of criticism about Richard Brown’s reading. (The super great Frederick Davidson read the Visions of Glory telling of the early life of Churchill.) Actually, Brown is a very good reader. His depiction of Churchill though is awful. I remember hearing Churchill in the original (on Newsreels) and his voice was most distinctive. Brown’s depiction doesn’t come close and is actually dreadful. (Unfortunately for Brown, Davidson’s re-depiction was magnificent.)

    . . . and yes I will be listening to the final series, Visions of Glory (which was completed by Paul Reid, as Manchester passed before he completed the war years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3987)
    Performance
    (2582)
    Story
    (2569)

    Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work.

    Tom says: "Is Connelly the Best Crime Writer Or What?"
    "A little Connelly, a Little Poe, and Dual Stories"
    Overall
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    The Poet tells one tale of an FBI search for a pedophile infanticide; which then morphs into a second story of deception and trust. In the first, one might say the good guys get their man, but not without loss of life and virtue. In the second story, the lack of blind trust in love is the genesis of the tributary tragedy. The book is a page turner as is any Michael Connelly novel. Michael Connelly does not hesitate to bring one to the edge of horror, but thankfully does it with literary panache rather than putrid descriptions. Connelly’s style is the more effective. An extra added excitement in the tale is the interlacing short references to Edgar Allan Poe’s work. Not much, but enough to give the story additional depth, found memories of prior readings of Poe’s poems and stories, and an essential carry through theme between the two tiers of stories. If one wants to be entertained, one can certainly find it in The Poet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Oedipus the King

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 40 mins)
    • By Sophocles
    • Narrated By Michael Sheen, full cast
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (28)

    In the hands of Sophocles, the master dramatist, the anguished tale of a man fated to kill his father and marry his mother retains its power to shock and move beyond any Freudian reference.

    Aaron says: "Crackles with Fire"
    "Sophicles - Why Didn't G-d Keep You Hear Forever?"
    Overall
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    A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus accidentally fulfilled his prophecy received from the gods. At an early age he learned, that he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby bring disaster on his city and his family. He decided to alter his life to cheat his way out of his fate. Despite his efforts, in fact, as a result of his efforts, he met his Democlean destiny.

    This play was written in or about 429 B.C. This story was conceived, created, played and revered by audiences in the gap between the bronze and iron ages. (Wish our society today was as sophisticated as the Greeks were or should have been given the thinking this play generates.)

    Imagine this the Greeks of 429 B.C. had a settled concept of making our living selves distinct from the non-human animals. No longer were we equivalent to any common animal. We had developed an understanding of humanity - the quality of compassion or consideration for others. The play reminds us though, that our assimilation into mortality; comes with a higher degree of horrifics. With increased knowledge we have increased agony. Because we can see deeper we can bleed more vociferously. And just how calamitously will one scream when one learns he is seeding through yourr own mother?

    The given horror and how it torments Oedipus is the makeup of the great play. The audio’s acoustics are bad, the acting is not always great. The story, as difficult as one might believe, is a travel one should not miss out on in his/her life – the voyage through the play not its contents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (913)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (578)

    Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the 20th century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time.

    Wolfpacker says: "Superb - Review of Both Volume I & Volume II"
    "Churchill: the Man of the Last Century"
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    The Last Lion: It seems impossible that so many pieces of historical minutia, every little dribble of Winston Churchill’s life, from birth to 1932 can so deeply capture one's attention. Not a single iota of data – bored me? No, in fact I waded through this history with eager élan to hear more and more and more.

    I had no idea Churchill’s life was such a struggle from parent neglect to constant antagonism from his House of Common party members, and of course, the opposition. I did not know he was such a war lord, and warrior in many theaters of conflict including the trenches in World War I. Nor did I have an adequate understanding how sharp a mind he had, and how caring he was for the downtrodden, as long as they respected their place alongside but not ahead of the British upper class. In fact, he had prejudices; although there was merely a distinction between peoples, but not a derogation of their humanity. Nevertheless, a prejudice. It was interesting to learn of his disgust of the Mahatma Gandhi – which was nothing compared to disgust at Bolshevism. Nor had I known how he financed his life, or how prolific of a writer he was – Darn! - His productivity makes me jealous. If one wants to learn how to be a real 19th century man; read this book. In short, as paraphrased towards the end of the book from his adversaries: Churchill does not debate, he orates, and he was always sure of his point of view and does not want to hear yours. That would be an indictment, but for the fact that Churchill was almost always correct.

    I have recently read Churchill’s four book series on World War II. He is a very enjoyable writer, balanced but proud of who he was and what he accomplished. He was such a distinct human being it seems an easy task to now add another 137 hours (the length of this Manchester series on his life) to my reading/listening leisure time. Of course, reading a William Manchester biography – makes it easy. (Manchester died before completing the work and Paul Reid, finished the story – to equally great reviews.)

    Finally, at least this first book was narrated by Frederick Davidson. He can read the ingredients on a can of beans and I would enjoy the delivered information. Now just a little more on Davidson. He always sounds too haughty, as though he is over affected with himself, for the first few pages. But no; he masters each topic and delivers with just the right effect, and in relatively good distinct voices – even though he never loses his haughtiness. So far Book One, a great read. I go on from here.

    It’s a tedium but it’s a read well worth endeavoring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What It Is Like to Go to War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (417)

    In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience.

    Lynn says: "Destined to become a Classic"
    "War - Made Subject to Deep Considerations"
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    A philosophy of going to war. Where Sun Tzu teaches how to wage the strategies and tactics of war, Carl Marlantes teaches how to achieve the best state of mind to wage war and, after war how to bring our troops home to be productive members of society. How we need to care for our warriors before, going into, during and coming out of war.

    George W. Bush, please do not read this book, it will make it difficult to swallow. Dick Cheney, don’t worry, you probably won’t care to grasp its logic; it may be antithetic to your perceptions.

    Presuming philosophy means a methodology of addressing problems by critical, systematic and rational argument - this book is a philosophical analysis of the only circumstance in which we may cause violence to achieve a more secure world. (That last statement reminds me of the logic of one of the posters in the Rock Opera “Hair,” “Warring for peace is like f***ing for chastity.”) Marlantis though, sets down a logical path for the former part of the inconsistent syllogisms, while keeping an eye on the veracity of the second deductive synthesis, the chastity part.

    I think, I hope, Marlantes has laid before us a much better way of caring for the men and woman of our armed forces. I think, I hope his theories prove to be justifiable. If so, I think, I hope his thoughts will have everlasting effect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Chris Anderson
    • Narrated By Christopher Nissley
    Overall
    (840)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (174)

    Our world is being transformed by the Internet and the near limitless choice that it provides to consumers; tomorrow's markets belong to those who can take advantage of this. The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance, an entirely new model for business that is just starting to show its power as unlimited selection reveals new truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it.

    Jim says: "Good Book, Flawed by Repition"
    "A Long (but worthy) Tale, About a Long Tail."
    Overall
    Performance
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    Provides a new component to business analysis; in that the tradition factors of marketing no longer provide a full market view. Sale of limited or unique market products can now be readily presented and supplied alongside dominant market products. Each having equal opportunity to reach and be purchased by other distributors and end market purchasers. The study further demonstrates “tail” products in mass can equal and surpass the dominant market products when conglomerated. Think Amazon.

    A little dated, a little too redundant and a little too long but an essential understanding to anyone who seeks to market in today's arena; and especially marketing via the web. Don’t let my ratings discourage those who need to consider how to sell a product in today's electronic world. It is not necessarily a fun read, but it is an educational read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To Have and Have Not

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (116)

    To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.

    Marsha says: "Nostalgic read."
    "Move Over Dostoyevsky, You Have a Comrade:"
    Overall
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    Your New Comrade Though Just Writes a Little More to the Point.

    Where have I been? I have read at least six Hemingway novels, and not until “To Have and Have Not” did I ever consider him an existentialist. Harry Morgan suffers through his Hemingway given chores (Morgan’s thoughts and actions in carrying out the story) being totally disorientated by all the absurd and harmful threats the world throws at him. Yet, in an unrelentingly vicious manner he reacts and responds. It is those four or five episodes of Harry Morgan’s venal acts – he will do anything to servive and to provide for his Depression suffering family - that make this novel a bewildering but memorable tale. And yes, there is the Hemingway style of writing. Simplistically poignant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21285)
    Performance
    (15899)
    Story
    (15962)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Janice says: "Indescribable"
    "Previously Unknown, Now Unforgettable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is about an unusually unique man, Louis Zamperini, his internal drive and how that matches up against life, troubles and the horrors of the Japanese prisoner of war system during World War II. It is almost frustrating to read. No fault of Laura Hillenbrand. Wrongs occur and in the end she proves life, even virtuous life, does not balance out.

    Zamperinin suffers more wrongs than good fortunes, and we learn one must live with that imbalance. It is very much a worthwhile read, as it encapsulates you into Zamperini’s life immediately and never lets your interest in hearing more of the story wane. Never once. Cannot imagine a writer doing a better job explaining personalities than Hillenbrand does here. I have not read her prior book, Seabiscuit (only saw the movie), but I will now. . . . and yes, like other readers, I wonder now how I had never heard of Louis Zamperini before?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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