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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

4293
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 760 reviews
  • 797 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2015
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  • Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By A. G. Grayling
    • Narrated By Kyle Munley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an extraordinarily original thinker, whose influence on twentieth-century thinking far outside the bounds of philosophy alone. In this engaging introduction, A.C. Grayling makes Wittgenstein's thought accessible to the general listener by explaining the nature and impact of Wittgenstein's views. He describes both his early and later philosophy, the differences and connections between them, and gives a fresh assessment of Wittgenstein's continuing influence on contemporary thought.

    Jean says: "Does a good job as a over view of subject"
    "Does a good job as a over view of subject"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grayling provides a brief biography, an analysis of Wittgenstein’s early work, “The Tractatus,” and analysis of his later work mainly the “philosophical Investigations” and lastly a look at Wittgenstein’s influence. As I had little knowledge of Wittgenstein (okay I admit my ignorance) and wanted an overview this book did exactly what I wished for. It provided me a general understanding of what Wittgenstein argued and a brief background of information about him. Wittgenstein’s main concern is with language and how our use of language leads to philosophical problems. If you are like me and wanted a brief overview and understanding this book will do the job. Kyle Munley did a good job narrating the book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Admirals' Game

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By David Donachie
    • Narrated By Peter Wickham
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    1794. Lieutenant John Pearce is caught between a feuding trio of admirals. One puts him in a position of danger while another asks him to undertake a hazardous commission in order to protect his friends, the Pelicans. Meanwhile, Pearce is also trying to construct a perjury case against Admiral Ralph Barclay.

    Jean says: "Engaging"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fifth book in the John Pearce Pelican series. Please note you should read this series in order as each book builds on the next.

    The series is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution in 1794. We learned in prior books that Pearce and a group of men from the Pelican Pub was gang pressed into the Royal Navy by Captain Ralph Barclay. Pearce and the Pelican claim to have been illegally seized in an area that was off limits to press gangs. Pearce due to his ability and bravery was appointed a lieutenant by the King which caused some hostility from officers who have worked their way up the ranks. In this story the British are starting to lose the battle for Toulon as a new commander has taken over the French artillery. Hurrah! I knew Napoleon would be showing up in this battle.

    Pearce’s main assignment in this book is to take a message to Naples, an Italian State ruled by Spanish Bourbons with a Hapsburg Queen (sister of Marie Antoinette), to seek assistance to help the British and the French Royalist hold Toulon.

    As with the prior episodes in the series we have feuding senior naval officers’ striving for political sponsorship and battle honor. Each naval battle is well written and gripping to read. The historical detail is accurate and makes the story absorbing and exciting to read. Donachie’s ability to write realistic and historically accurate naval battle is improving with each book. He is becoming to naval battles what Bernard Cornwell is to land battle scenes. Peter Wickham narrated the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Semper Fi: The Empire's Corps, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (102)

    Two years after the empire abandoned them on Avalon, Colonel Edward Stalker and his marines have established the Commonwealth, a union of worlds intended to take the place of the vanished empire. But now contact has been made with a remnant of the empire, a successor state controlled by a ruthless dictator bent on crushing the Commonwealth and expanding her rule over the entire galaxy.

    Jean says: "Gripping"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book four in the Empire’s Corps series. You really need to read the books in order to fully enjoy the series.

    The Empire has collapsed. On Avalon, Captain Stalker and his Marines have tried to establish a Democratic Republic. Avalon is arming as fast as possible, building modern starships for defense, and the Marines are training a local militia. We even find there is romance budding between Stalker and President Gaby Cracker. We get to renew the relationships with the regular characters in the series such as Jasmine but this book provides us with some new characters chief among them is a villain.

    Commodore Rani Singh had been passed over for promotion. When the Empire collapsed, Singh was in charge of a Fleet Base and had under her control several capitol ships as well as support vessels and a Logistics Base. She sets out to create her own Empire until she tries to conquer Avalon. Stalker’s Marines must stop her. Lt. Jasmine goes into a covert operation to dismantle Singh’s Empire. There is lots of action and suspense in the story.

    The book is well written and fairly fast paced. In many ways it is a typical military sci-fi story. Overall the story makes a good fun relaxing read. Jeffrey Kafer has narrated the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Women Who Could...and Did: Lives of 26 Exemplary Artists and Scientists

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Karma Kitaj, Ph.D.
    • Narrated By Paige Allison
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The author conceived of this project while a visiting research scholar at Wellesley Centers for Women in the 1990s. The stories were so compelling that she decided they must be made available to the general public rather than merely to an academic audience. The book is based on extensive interviews with highly successful women scientists and artists who were ages 65 to 95 when the author met them.

    Jean says: "Engrossing"
    "Engrossing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Karma Kitaj chose twenty-six successful women who made their mark in the early twentieth century when the roles of women in most fields were more limited than they are today. She writes about the factors that contributed to their success and the hurdles they had to overcome. These women were all prominent in their fields of science, art, music, education. I was most interested in the science women particularly the two in physics and the physician that won the Nobel Prize.

    The book is well written and informative. I enjoy learning how people over come challenges and use their gifts to success in their professions and Kitaj provided me with interesting examples.

    I understand Kitaj turn her academic studies into work readable by the average reader. The book is narrated by Paige Allison.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8740)
    Performance
    (7327)
    Story
    (7333)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    Paula says: "Mind Boggling Thrilling Mystery! Don't Miss It!"
    "Curious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I understand this is the first book for the author and she did manage to come up with a different idea for the book. It is interesting that I find myself able to observe this book in the manner I think the author had intended and find the author’s approach to the book interesting. As a reader, I did not feel the book pulled me in nor did I become involved in the story; I stayed an observer of the story. I am not sure why I could not become involved in the story but I am sure it’s me, not the author’s fault.

    The girl on the train is Rachel. She is divorced, an alcoholic, and unemployed. Her daily commute into London on the commuter train is a sham. The train passes through the neighborhood where her ex-husband lives with his new wife Anna.

    One day Rachel sees a glamorous young couple in a house a few doors from Anna’s home. She creates a fantasy about them to help compensate for her own life. One day she sees something. Megan is the young women she is fantasizing about. The question the reader needs to solve, is did she really see what she thought she saw or was it an alcoholic hallucination or was she so drunk she confused what she saw.

    The book is well written and ingeniously constructed. The first person narration goes between the three main female characters Rachel, Anna and Megan. The book uses three different women narrators to enhance the effect; they are Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher.

    The portrait of Rachel as a chronic drunk who just might save herself by playing detective is intriguing. The ending had a twist which could catch one off guard. The book dragged at times but the suspense kept me reading. The book did have some profanity which I was not aware from other book reviews or from the publisher. I normally avoid books with profanity. Otherwise I found the book quite interesting and a nice break from reading non-fiction.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation: Great Lakes Books Series

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charles K. Hyde
    • Narrated By Dave K. Lawson
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The book covers Walter P. Chrysler's life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925, when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation.

    Jean says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have always had a fascination with cars. Back in the fifties I use to think the car’s looked beautiful but now they all look the same. I remember in High School I was furious because the administration would not allow me to take auto shop, they said only boys could take the course. I do enjoy reading about automobiles planes and ships and now no one call tell I cannot read the book.

    Americans are a nation of car cultures, plural. Automobile racing is a popular spectator sport. The early adoption of the automobile for private transportation and the restoration of old cars to the making of street rods are popular.

    It is surprising that there are few authoritative scholarly histories of automobile companies written. Last year I read the biography of Henry Ford and found it most interesting. So when I saw this book on Chrysler displayed on Audible, I bought it.

    Hyde tells the story behind Chrysler- its products, people and performance over time with particular focus on the company’s management including Lee Iacocca. The author begins with the story of Walter P Chrysler in 1925 and ends with the merger of Chrysler and Daimler-Benz in 1998. I was hoping this was a biography of the Chrysler brothers but it is primarily a business history book. Hyde discusses assembly line production and the architecture of automobile plants and their management. Hyde is an economic historian and an industrial archaeologist. He is a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1974.

    The book is balanced and Hyde does not shy away from making critical observations. I found the book an interesting story of the smaller component of the big three American auto companies. Dave K. Lawson narrated the book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Obsession in Death: In Death, Book 40

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By J. D. Robb
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    Overall
    (840)
    Performance
    (749)
    Story
    (745)

    Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She - and her billionaire husband - are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation. But now Eve has become the object of one person's obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her - again and again....

    Margaret says: "Addicted in Death"
    "stimulating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is amazing that J. D. Robb still has some fresh ideas for the 40th book in the Death series. Most authors have burned out before ever reaching this many books in a series.

    In this book Lt. Eve Dallas and Officer Peabody are investigating the murder of Leanore Bastwich a well known criminal defense attorney. Bastwich appeared in prior issues in this series. There is a message written on the wall to Dallas by the killer and signed “your true and loyal friend.” Then Ledo an illegal substance dealer and pool player is killed, poked to death with a pool cue in his chest, and there is another message for Dallas. Then the killer fails to kill the next victim providing Dallas with more clues. The Killer decides to focus on Dallas’s friends trying to decide which one to kill, will it be Charlotte Mira, M.D. or Nadine Furst.

    The killer’s obsession with Dallas is a different plot than the other books in the series. The book has lots of futuristic tech along with suspense, there is less mystery involved in this story. Robb’s plots and characters are larger than life. They provide melodrama, snappy dialogue to the plot. I find I enjoy Robb’s short tight sentence, fast pace, and gripping style of writing; it works great in the audio format. Susan Ericksen is the narrator for the series.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • William McKinley

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Kevin Phillips, Arthur M. Schlesinger
    • Narrated By Richard Rohan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    By any serious measurement, best-selling historian Kevin Phillips argues, William McKinley was a major American president. It was during his administration that the United States made its diplomatic and military debut as a world power. McKinley was one of eight presidents who, either in the White House or on the battlefield, stood as principals in successful wars, and he was among the six or seven to take office in what became recognized as a major realignment of the U.S. party system.

    Jean says: "Thought-provoking"
    "Thought-provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    William McKinley (1843-1901) was president from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. He was the twenty-five president of the United States. McKinley was a strong governor of Ohio and a decisive president whose stern looks hid a thoughtful and gentle man. William McKinley was a Civil war veteran and a Lincoln Republican.

    Phillip details how McKinley presided over the emergence of the United States as a world power in the Spanish-American war. McKinley’s election in 1890 ushered in approximately forty years of Republican political dominance.

    Phillip points out that McKinley was one of eight presidents, who either in the White House or on the battlefield, led the nation in successful Wars; and he was among the six or seven to take office in what become recognized as a major realignment of the United States’ party system. McKinley was among the sixteen United States presidents elected to two terms, and avoided the tarnish of major scandal.

    The author points out that McKinley was a “hinge president,” whose first term ushered in the 20th century, and who ‘presided over the fruition of the Northern or Yankee version of U.S. expansionism, a commercial manifest destiny tied to increasing American exports.’
    In 1901 McKinley was assassinated by a deranged anarchist’. McKinley’s vice president Theodore Roosevelt took over the presidency and carried on McKinley’s moderate platform. Roosevelt’s charisma overshadowed McKinley over historical time.

    This book is more of a political analysis of William McKinley rather than a biography as Phillips tell what other historians have written about McKinley and argues with many of them. The book is narrated by Richard Rohan.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Intrepid: Kris Longknife, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    Overall
    (455)
    Performance
    (304)
    Story
    (308)

    Kris Longknife has been assigned to The Wasp, the best warship beyond the Rim of Human Space. But while hunting for pirates, Kris stumbles upon something. It's a plan to kill one of the members of the aristocratic Peterwald family - and the would-be killers are setting her up as the assassin.

    Cameron says: "Great Series "I Want More"!!"
    "Back to the Rim"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book 6 in the Longknife series. It is advisable to read this series in order or else it is easy to be lost. At the end of the last book Kris was being returned to the Rim of Homan Space to her former command; to the ship she had acquired as a prize by capturing the pirates that had her. Kris re-equipped the ship and re-named it the Wasp. Kris is back to hunting for pirates and exploring space as a science ship. In this story Kris comes across a plan to assassinate a member of the Peterwald family and blame Kris. Shepherd has the relationship between Victoria Peterwald and Kris changing.

    In this episode Shepherd has Kris fail. That is a nice touch and makes her human, it is very well done. The book has lots of action both space and ground pounding action with the marines to save a world of independent farmers. I note that the enemies are becoming more nebulous and changeable. It is obvious this book is setting up some important relationships for the future episodes. I am fascinated with Kris’s computer “Nellie.” The book is well written and keeps the banter going between characters along with the humor. I cannot wait to start the next book. Dina Pearlman narrates the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ernest J. Gaines
    • Narrated By Lynne Thigpen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman has sold over a million copies nationwide since its publication in 1971, making the fictional character of Miss Jane so real many people don’t know she exists only in the imagination of Louisiana-born author Ernest J. Gaines. Miss Jane is 100 years old when she is interviewed by an area high school teacher looking to teach his students more about plantation society in the Deep South. Her story is not only a vivid picture of the South before the dawn of the civil rights era, but also a story of one woman’s survival against overwhelming odds.

    Jean says: "From Civil War to Civil Rights"
    "From Civil War to Civil Rights"
    Overall
    Performance
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    February is Black History Month. I usually attempt to read a book about black history or read a book written by a black author or both. This year I decided to read a novel I read back in 1971 when the book first came out. Since then the book has become a classic. A movie was made in 1974 starring Cicely Tyson. I sort of remember the movie was good. I think I shall check to see if Amazon has the movie and will watch it after I finish the book.

    The book is fiction but is written in the style of oral history. The author’s brilliantly crafted book interweaves historical references and recollections into an overall framework of the life of a woman born into slavery who survived to the point of the beginning of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The story is told as seen through the eyes of a 110 year old woman who had lived though it all; with simplicity and immense dignity Jane Pittman speaks of the Reconstruction period in the deep South, with its struggles for black self determination and betterment. The constant terror of the Ku Klux Klan to thwart those efforts, and the legacy of racism that white Americans use right up to the present day.

    Gaines’s description of the plantation is authentic and spellbinding. The story gripped my attention right from the beginning and kept it throughout the story. This is a book that I enjoyed the first time I read it and have enjoyed it even more on the second reading. Gaines was born on a Louisiana Plantation but was educated at San Francisco State and Stanford University. This is a must read book for everyone. Lynne Thigpen did an excellent job narrating the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By H.W. Brands
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    The most famous American of his time, Andrew Jackson is a seminal figure in American history. The first "common man" to rise to the presidency, Jackson embodied the spirit and the vision of the emerging American nation; the term "Jacksonian democracy" is embedded in our national lexicon. With the sweep, passion, and attention to detail that made The First American a Pulitzer Prize finalist, historian H.W. Brands shapes a historical narrative that's as fast-paced and compelling as the best fiction.

    Eric says: "Very Thorough"
    "Engrossing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read several biographies about Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) over the years. Jackson was such a controversial and complex man that I thought I would read this new biography by historian H. W. Brands.

    Jackson was born into poverty and orphaned at an early age; Jackson was a fighter since he was a preteen. Jackson’s courage under fire was an inspiration to those who fought under him, particularly at the Battle of New Orleans. When Jackson was elected to the presidency he had less education than the prior six presidents and many considered he had less manners also. Jackson received a sporadic education. He read the law for two years and became a lawyer in Tennessee. His legal education was scanty but he knew enough to be a country lawyer on the frontier.

    Brands states that Jackson was the first man elected from Tennessee to the House of Representatives. He served briefly in the Senate. Jackson had been active in forming the state of Tennessee; he helped write the State’s constitution and he gave the State its name after the Indians in the area. The author tells about Jackson’s time as a circuit Judge and head of the Tennessee Militia where he was elected Major General.

    The author does a wonderful job explaining political concepts that easily could be dull. Jackson’s military success coupled with his love for American augured well in his political aspiration. He was called “the man of the people.” Jackson was the first president to be elect by the popular vote. Jackson was the first president to invite the public to attend the White House ball honoring his first inauguration. Brands makes Jackson come to life with a combination of action-packed heroics and an easy to read style. The author points out that Jackson vetoed more bills than all six of his predecessors combined, the sort of trivia information that I love.

    Brands meticulously revels Jackson’s life, his ugly massacres of Indians as well as his triumphs, with unflinching detail. The author shows the brass-knuckles politics of Jackson time. Brands discusses Jackson’s belief that the common man should elect and have a direct voice in government. He was the founder of the Democratic Party. The newsmen and his enemies called him a jackass so he took that as the symbol of his Democratic Party. The book is well written and meticulously researched, it is also unbiased. Brands is a professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin. The book is narrated by John H. Mayer.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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