This book #13 in the Women’s Murder Club series is different than the others in the series. The group usually works together to figure about a case. This time, they all had their own cases to worry about. The exception was Claire she was working with Boxer. There are three different storylines that are all intertwined and affected each partly differently. Lindsay Boxer is trying to balance her work with her home life with new child Julie. She and Conklin are assigned to a case of people being blown up randomly by “belly Bombs.” Yuki and Brady were married and are off on their honeymoon. The cruise ship they are on was taken over by pirates. The pirates are killing some passengers every hour until the cruise line pays them ransom. Cindy is after Mackie Morales, you will remember her as a psychopath that got away in a prior book in the series. Morales is on the FBI most wanted list. Cindy finds out that Morales is back in San Francisco and she believes she is after Lindsay. Cindy has been unable to warn Lindsay so Cindy sets out to track Morales. All these stores are developed well and kept me listening wanting to know what would happen in each of them next. One of the stories gets a rather short climax as a result of trying to cram so much into the novel. This book is like reading three separate novellas rather than one unified book. Maxine Paetro and James Patterson should have published three separate books, rather than jamming them together. January LaVoy does a good job narrating the book.
Kaplan starts the book with some basic economics, geography and history of East Asia. Robert Kaplan says the Pacific will become unstable, but he does not think this must lead to war. Kaplan has found a niche writing books that are a cross between journalism and policy issues. Comparison of Asia to the Europe of 1914 is part of a bigger question about whether China just wants to be a benign regional hegemon, or if it has expansionist aims. Kaplan argues that comparisons to 1914 are overblown. He claims the big difference is Europe is a landscape; East Asia is a seascape and the oceans will act as a barrier against aggression. The author suggests the better comparison is America’s 19th century approach to the Caribbean. He says China is seeking an Asian version of the Monroe Doctrine.
One reason he is sanguine is the absence of a great ideological struggle. Kaplan insists that the Communist party will not necessarily bully abroad because it bullies at home. I say do not forget the brutality of Leninist Chinese Party State. The book suffers from largely ignoring the East China Sea and the relationship with Japan, which I think could be much more important.
Asia is far more complicated than Kaplan reveals. If oil is discovered in the China Sea it will only become more complicated. The China Sea is on the way to becoming the most contested body of water in the world. Kaplan said that a Singaporean said they did not wish to be Finlandized or to replace American’s embrace with China’s. The Singaporean went on to say “At the end of the day it is all about military force and naval presence—it is not about passionate and well-meaning talk”. We must remember China is building an enormous Navy and Air Force and the rise of China is now challenging the stability of the area as America’s naval dominance of the Western pacific fades.
Kaplan ends the book with a quote of a Vietnamese proverb. “Distant water cannot put out a nearby fire.” Michael Prichard did a good job narrating the book.
This is book one of the Clandestine Operation Series. It appears Griffin is launching this series off the Argentine or Honor Bound Series. Griffin’s sketch of the immediate post-WWII bureaucratic territorial clashes has purpose; it’s an outline of how the demobilized OSS hot-war heroes become CIA cold warriors. The main Character is James D. Cronley Jr. In the book the lead characters have to fight the FBI, the Russians and other to get their job done. Cronley and his men are OSS waiting to be transferred to the newly created CIA. Captain Cronley is in charge of obtaining the German Spies that were in Russia away from being captured by the Russian KBG and turn them into working for the CIA.
General Reinhardt Gehian, Chief of Eastern Front intelligence was a Wehrmacht General, Gehian and his men started to work for the OSS near the end of the war. He later became Chief of West German Intelligence in the 1950s. This is what I like about W.E.B. Griffin books; he places his fictional people into the real history he is writing about.
Cronley has General Gehian and his men in an isolated Bavarian monastery while a new facility is being built for the CIA. The narrative’s ripe with meetings, confrontations, lies, subterfuge rather than fighting and gunplay, a change from the usual Griffin story. The dialogue is classic Griffin. The story is fast-paced, lots of interesting plot twists.
I did not particularly care for the narrator Alexander Cendese. He pronounced some of the Spanish words incorrectly. I am not as familiar with German to know how he did with those words. The majority of Griffins books have been narrated by three great narrators of action books, Scott Brick, Dick Hill and David Colacci. I hope the publisher will return to one of these narrators for future books in this series.
When I was in school I primarily took courses in science. Now that I am retired I thought I might look into areas I neglected in my life such as poetry. I chose this Great Course on The Life and Writings of John Milton as a way to obtain a lot of concise information so I would have a good understanding of Milton. Professor Seth Lerer is a professor at Comparative Literature at Stanford.
John Milton (1608-1674) is considered one of the great writers in the history of English literature. This lecture series exams Milton’s life and his poems. Lerer goes a bit into 17th century English life and culture to show its impact on Milton’s writings. Milton wrote in a time of religious flux and political upheaval. Lerer points out that Milton wrote in English, Latin, Greek and Italian. Milton achieved international renown within his lifetime and is famous for his poem “Areopagitica” (1644). Lerer points out that it was written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship. It is considered one of the most impassioned defense of free speech and freedom of the Press. Lerer covered in-depth the epic poem “Paradise Lost” (1667)
In listening to Lerer discuss and read parts of Milton’s poems, I thought the ideal person to read Milton’s poems would be Richard Burton. This is an ideal introduction to John Milton in an easy to listen to lecture format.
The Nathan McBride novels are written from the soldier’s perspective, with the kind of detail that keeps you in the action. “Ready to Kill” has a lots of sniper psychology in the content of the story. The book is well-written, action packed with lots of suspense.
The CIA Director, Rebecca Cantrell, request Nathan and Harv go on a covert mission to Nicaragua. No mission will test Nathan like this one. Nathan is asked to return to the area he was tortured and almost died. He has spent years fight the demons of that ordeal. This assignment will test Nathan further and harder than ever before. Nathan and Harv have to hunt down and stop a sniper turned killer. This is a man that Harv and Nathan had trained when they had previously been in Nicaragua.
The author provided as background a review of the history of gold mining in Nicaragua. I always enjoy it when the author tosses in some real history or information into a fictional story. Dick Hill has been the narrator of the entire series. He is great at narrating this type of book.
Max Arax and Rick Wartzman tell the story of a family that combined hard work, farming wisdom and political maneuvering to build a farming empire in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This is a well-written and well researched story of the largest privately owned farming operation in the United States. In my opinion the authors appear to have a negative opinion regarding large industrial style of farming.
Jim Boswell moved to California from Georgia where the family had long been cotton growers. The boll weevil drove him out of Georgia to find land where cotton could grow. He worked as a cotton broker, until he saw the land of the southern San Joaquin Valley in California. He started buying land to farm, and then built Gin’s to process the cotton. He ruthlessly went after all the water rights he could obtain. As he grew into one of the largest farms his wife died. About 11 years after the death of his first wife Boswell married Ruth Chandler, Harry Chandler’s daughter. The Chandler owned the Los Angeles times, large tracks of land in the San Fernando Valley, Tejon Ranch and other properties.
The authors tell how Boswell bought land and drained Tulare Lake and started growing crops and buying more land. The Primary crops included Pima Cotton ( used by LL Bean, Hanes Co. Etc.) alfalfa hay, tomatoes, onions, wheat, safflower, then later almonds, and other varieties of nuts. The Boswells specialized in the long thread Pima cotton that is highly sought after. The company was established in Corcoran California in 1921. They ginned their own cotton and built processing plants to extract cotton oil and for all their crops. The book discusses the problems of the various varieties of migrant farm workers over the years. The migrant workers ranged from the dust bowl refugees, to German POW during the war, Chinese, Filipinos, to the Mexican. Arax and Wartzman go into depth about the movement of black cotton pickers and the treatment of these workers. The book goes into the various attempts to unionize the workers over the years and the various labor strikes.
In 80 years the family gained control of acres of farmland ranging from the San Diego area to San Joaquin Valley to Arizona and Colorado. The company now is also in Australia. Jim G. Boswell II took over at the death of J.G. Boswell and James W. Boswell is now the current CEO. Each one has increased the value and lands of the company. The book also goes into the inner family dynamics. The family is famous for their philanthropy and is a major supporter of the California Institute of Technology and the Claremont McKenna College. Anyone interested in California history, California agriculture history would enjoy this book. I found the book interesting as I know many of the people and issues the book covers. Sort of a trip down memory lane. James Patrick Cronin did a good job narrating the book.
This is a novella about Butch Dixon before he met and married Joanne Brady. J. A. Jance is an excellent writer and this short story is fast paced but also full of detail. Butch inherited a bar and grill from his Grandmother on her death. She had trained him how to operate that type of business in the several years he lived with her before her death. It is called the Roundhouse Bar and Grill in Peoria Arizona. Butch had lost everything when he wife divorced him and ran off with his best friend and business manager. He was depressed, angry and went to live with his grandmother who helped turn him around.
One day two Las Vegas detectives show up at the business, telling him he is a suspect in the murder of his ex-wife. Problem is Butch was in Las Vegas the weekend of the murder. Butch contacts his grandmother’s best friend Tim, a retired police officer. Tim sends another retired police officer to do some investigating. He finds Butch is being framed for the murder. Tim calls in an elderly criminal defense attorney to represent Butch. Along with two more retired detectives they set out to prove Butch is innocent.
I enjoyed the “old blue line” working on the case with such gusto. This was an enjoyable story. It was fun to watch the oldies to their magic. I hope that Jance writes more stories about this elderly blue line. James Eckhouse did a good job narrating the book.
In 1945, Operation Overcast (renamed Operation Paperclip for the paperclips attached to the dossiers of the scientist) began. More than 1600 German scientist were secretly recruited to work for the United States. There was a race between the United States and the U.S.S. R. to obtain these scientists. At the time Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rabbi Steven Wise publically opposed the program.
In 1998 President Clinton signed the Nazi War Crimes disclosure Act, which pushed through the declassification of American’s intelligence records, including F.B. I., Army Intelligence and C.I.A. files of German agents, scientists and war criminals. Jacobsen accessed these documents, along with her research in various special collections, interviews with former intelligence personnel and relatives of the scientists. This makes Jacobsen’s account the most in-depth to date. The author tracked 21 of these Nazi scientists. Eight of her subjects worked directly with the upper echelon of the Nazi government. Some of these are Werner Von Braun, Hubertus Strughold, Walter Dornberger, and Arthur Rudolph, Fritz Hoffman. The author described in detail the hunt for the Nazi secret chemical and biological warfare sites and the hunt for the scientist.
Jacobsen focuses mostly on biologists, chemists and physicians. She said the rocket scientist had already been widely written about.
The author painstakingly covers the various scientist works for the Nazis; I wish she would have equally covered their work in American. We know the benefit of the work by the rocket scientist in developing the Saturn rocket. German Chemist Fritz Hoffman was assigned by the U.S. to research toxic agents for military use. He is credited with the development of Agent Orange. It was used to defoliate trees in Vietnam. Hoffman died in 1967. Other German scientist worked in the area of aeronautical medicine, research into diabetes, neurological disease and also developing equipment. I believe one of them developed the ear thermometer. The book is an achievement of investigative reporting and historical writing. I would have preferred Jacobsen provide us with enough information about the works preformed in America to help us answer the question ----was our deal with the devil worth it? The author narrated the book.
There has been a mass murder at a high school. L.A. prosecutor Rachel Knight has been called to the scene by L. A. detective Bailey Keller. At first it is thought the two killers killed each other but soon the police realize they may have two or more killers on the loose and threatening to commit even more mass killings.
The book is well written, intelligent, and it kept me reading late into the night. The story comes right out of the headlines. Clark does a good job with various plots threads, keeping suspense high. Every time I think I know how this will end Clark sends me down another path. The author tends to focus more on the psychology behind a mass shooting with Keller and Knight in frequent meetings with the two consulting police psychologist.
I know I have made this comment in the other books in this series, but I question why the prosecutor is acting as a detective. I do realize the Marcia Clarke was a well known prosecutor and knows the job. But in real life, does the prosecutor perform the detective role to this extent? If you enjoy a good mystery this is a book for you. January LaVoy does a good job narrating the book.
The Military should create a medal for bravery and valor above and beyond duty such as the bronze and silver star for the animals in the service. Also an equivalent of the Medal of Honor should be created and Sgt. Reckless its first recipient. It is obvious this book was well researched. The author interviewed hundreds of Marines and other people whose lives were touched by Reckless and incorporated the wonderful stories into this book. Sgt. Reckless had a unique personality that attracted the Marines to her and she bonded with each member of her unit (75 mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines, First Marine Division. Robin Hutton’s passion for this little horse/pony and her story is evident in the details, not just about Sgt. Reckless, but in laying the groundwork for the Military action that Sgt. Reckless participated in. Hutton tells Reckless’s story from birth to her life at Camp Pendleton.
Reckless went through “hoof camp” where she was trained to step over communication lines, barb wire, ignore battle sounds and get down when incoming fire arrived. She only had to be shown once or sometimes twice and she learned the lesson. She was a 13 hand Mongolian mare, chestnut in color with white blaze down her face and three white stockings. She only weighted 900 pounds. Her job was to take ammunition (200 to 300 lbs. per load) to the men and carry the wounded back. Reckless amazingly did this on her own, men loaded her with the ammunitions, and she went alone to deliver it to the men and came back alone with the wounded on her back. She was named Reckless by the Platoon because that was their call sign.
The book goes into detail about the bloody battle of “Outpost Vegas” in March 1953. On one day Reckless made 51 round trips up and down steep terrain that no man could travel carrying nearly 5 tons of ammunitions to various gun sites and returning carrying the wounded. Incoming artillery was exploding at the rate of 500 rounds per minute, through this Reckless covered over 35 miles that day and she did all this solo. She was wounded twice in this battle. Once on her left flank and over her eye. Plus her ears where cut from barbwire. She was promoted to Sergeant by the Marines for her valor in this battle. She was the only true NCO in the Marines; those strips meant something to her men. Sgt. Major James E. Babbitt stated, “It’s difficult to describe the elation and boost in morale that little white faced mare gave Marines as she outfoxed the enemy bringing vitally needed ammunitions up the mountain.”
Reckless was discharged as Staff Sergeant. Medals awarded are as follows: Two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with Star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation and the French Foarragere. She wore them proudly on her red and gold blanket whenever she was paraded around at official function.
Robin Hutton led a campaign to have Sgt. Reckless recognized by a monument. A Statue of the Mongolian mare, Sgt. Reckless, was dedicated at the National Museum of the Marine Corp, in Triangle Virginia on July 26, 2013. The statue was sculpted by Joycelyn Russell. A second monument is at Camp Pendleton where Reckless lived out her days and is buried. She was the first female Marine in Combat. The Marines just say, “ she was a Marine.” This is a captivating story of the most noble of creatures. If you are interested in history or just a horse lover you will enjoy this book. Susan Boyce did an excellent job narrating the book.
University of Maryland law professor Larry S. Gibson highlights the formative years of the African-American civil rights attorney and Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993). Professor Gibson was the first African-American law professor at the University of Virginia in 1972. Most of the biographers of Marshall covered Marshall’s professional life. Gibson, by contrast, focused solely on the first thirty years of Thurgood life.
Gibson traces Marshall’s family background and academic path, and goes into detail of his early professional life. Marshall faced segregated schools, bars on admittance to professional schools, low pay for blacks and justice system that provided little justice for blacks. Marshall came from a family of high achievers and of unusual names. His uncle Fearless Williams was personal assistant to the president of the B&O Railroad. His grandfathers Isaiah Olive Branch Williams and Thorney Good Marshall were successful Baltimore grocers. His Mother’s father was born free in rural Maryland joined the Union Navy and served on Union vessels during the Civil War. His paternal grandfather had been a slave, a Union volunteer and a Buffalo soldier. Thorney changed his name to Thoroughgood when he joined the Union Army. Marshall named after his grandfather changed his name from Thoroughgood to Thurgood.
Marshall’s mother was a teacher and was determined her two sons obtain a college degree and become professionals. William Audrey became a physician and Thurgood an attorney. Marshall graduated from Lincoln University cum laude in 1930. Lincoln was the “Black Princeton” founded in 1854 and was the first degree granting college for Blacks. Thurgood graduated cum laude from Howard University Law School in 1933. Howard University was a leading Black University in those days. Trained to debate by his father, Thurgood developed a considerable command of language and research skill on his high school debate team but this was further refined serving on his college varsity debating team. I noted that a number of the Supreme Court Justice were successful debaters on their University debating teams.
Gibson wrote a well documented book. He used interviews, documents and personal papers rarely shared by the family. Thurgood Marshall Jr. wrote the opening of the book. Marshall was the attorney for the NAACP during the years of the Civil Rights battles. He was chief counsel for the plaintiff in the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case “Brown V Board of Education”, in which schools segregation was declared unconstitutional. He was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Vince Bailey narrated the book.
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