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Jeff

Charlotte, N.C. | Listener Since 2010

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 171 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Gorky Park

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Martin Cruz Smith
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier
    Overall
    (544)
    Performance
    (365)
    Story
    (368)

    At first, the case of the bodies found in a Moscow park looked straightforward: a "troika", probably three on a bottle, drunk together and then frozen to death together in the brutal Russian night. But Chief Homicide Investigator Arkady Renko hits a sharp and complicated turn with the arrival of the KGB's Pribluda. Suddenly, his access to a routine investigation is blocked. Why?

    IVAL says: "Still the BEST"
    "Okay but Smith needs to refine his writing style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I liked "Gorky Park" and stayed with it through the end but gave up on "Polar Star". Rented the "Gorky Park" movie, bought the T shirt, and both were just okay (as you can see I am a toughie). The problem the author has is a writing style that leads the reader from one more or less unpredictable moment to another. I found myself saying after a while, "who cares". Both books really could have used a much more ruthless editor (phone the copy desk).

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jang Jin-sung
    • Narrated By Daniel York
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (231)

    As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

    David says: "Stop browsing and get this Book"
    "A Book Worth Listening To"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dear Leader to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well, after listening to "Escape From Camp 14" I was prepared for most anything, and that preparation served me well. No one denies that the poor, enslaved souls of North Korea live under a regime second only to Stalin and his Gulag Archipelago (have we forgotten that he murdered almost twice as many people as Herr Hitler?). From that vantage point this book reinforces the notion that the torture of these people is one of the most heinous crimes of this and the last century.

    With that in mind we find ourselves at "Mr. Jin-sung's" book. Does it stand as fiction, the truth, or on ground somewhere in between. I say the latter and for the following reasons:
    1) The circumstances of his escape are too incredible to be believed. His month long journey at times rings impossible and leaves the listener in a state of bewilderment. Maybe it was written as it was for good reasons, but it is hard to believe that his trip occurred as he would have us believe;
    2) The grammar and sometimes use of Western phrases raises the suspicion that his ghost writer (and I surely do believe there was one) added a Western tone that I found obvious and disturbing;
    3) The author comes off as too naive by half. He wants the listener to believe that at the tender age of 27 he worked his way into the very CLOSEST circles of Dear Leader, I mean among the top ten, if not five, confidants, and yet when he is in China he finds the culture and "wealth" there incomprehensible. For a man whose job partially included the task of learning to think like a South Korean by learning everything he could about them this unending litany of shock over encountering a culture in northern China-not far removed from South Korea-as a bit much.

    Okay, even with those flaws I recommend the listen. The description of how North Korea and its "government" worked in the 1990s and early 2000s (which I chose in the main to take at face value) leaves one speechless.


    Did Daniel York do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    OK but that is not a reason to listen to the book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Only as set out above.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hitler: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ian Kershaw
    • Narrated By Alan Robertson
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (74)

    Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in the 20th century.

    Christopher says: "Superb, well crafted and well narrated."
    "For people who seek an in-depth look at the man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hitler to be better than the print version?

    Don't know, have not read the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The specificity


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Spare me, in a history that covers fifty years?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    For those history buffs who want a very close look at this brilliant lunatic. Hitler's triumph was based on virtually all of the pieces surrounding his life falling into place, and his manipulation of them once presented, in ways that defy one's imagination ... until the end of course. The author presents that history to the listener in ways that make the listen hard to turn off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Carl Sandburg
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (67)

    Originally published in six volumes, which sold more than one million copies, Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln was praised as the most noteworthy historical biography of Sandburg’s generation. He later distilled this monumental work into one volume that critics and readers alike consider his greatest work of nonfiction, as well as the most distinguished, authoritative biography of Lincoln ever published.

    Growing up in an Illinois prairie town, Sandburg listened to stories of old-timers who had known Lincoln. By the time this single-volume edition was competed, he had spent a lifetime studying, researching, and writing about our 16th president.

    Joseph says: "No Spoiler Alert"
    "Listen to the Book, period!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Abraham Lincoln?

    All of it


    What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?

    Great


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This is The definitive history of Abraham Lincoln written as writers used to write and by a master. No matter how familiar you are with the life and times of Lincoln, listen to/read this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Allen C. Guelzo
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (121)

    From the acclaimed Civil War historian, a brilliant new history–the most intimate and richly readable account we have had–of the climactic three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), which draws the reader into the heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary soldier, and depicts the combination of personalities and circumstances that produced the greatest battle of the Civil War, and one of the greatest in human history.

    W. F. Rucker says: "A Fresh Look at a Famous Battle"
    "Great, great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Gettysburg in three words, what would they be?

    Even if you think you know about that crucible you don't unless you've read this book.


    What other book might you compare Gettysburg to and why?

    Surprising in so many differing ways. The South did not lose that war the first day or at little Round Top or certainly Pickets' charge. It lost the battle and arguably the war during the afternoon of the second day, as a result of Lee's philosophy of command, and Professor Guelzo does an outstanding job of allowing the listener in on this "secret".


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

    No I have not but I will be looking for him.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This is so much better than "The Killer Angels" and it, not that text, should have been made into a movie. I doubt if Hollywood will but it by God it should. Better yet, a short TV series not unlike "Band of Brothers".


    Any additional comments?

    The book is very specific, probably best suited for use as a manual at West Point. What could be attempted are computerized graphics inserted in the text like "Berlin 1961, The Most Dangerous Place In the World" (title probably wrong but I read it sometime ago, clearly the future of eBooks).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ulysses S. Grant
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    Among the autobiographies of great military figures, Ulysses S. Grant’s is certainly one of the finest, and it is arguably the most notable literary achievement of any American president: a lucid, compelling, and brutally honest chronicle of triumph and failure. From his frontier boyhood, to his heroics in battle, to the grinding poverty from which the Civil War ironically rescued him, these memoirs are a mesmerizing, deeply moving account of a brilliant man told with great courage.

    Robert says: "What makes a great commander?? Read this book"
    "Better listen than I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I gravitate toward detail when it comes to military histories. So this was right up my alley. However, if you don't stay away. I found it very helpful to go to Google Earth to keep up with deployments, battles, etc. The narration was spot on.

    On substance, Grant does not go into any detail about losses but does so with victories. I had to continually remind myself this book was written in the 1880s and that might have passed muster then, but not now. Even with that drawback I found myself liking Grant as a person more as chapter followed chapter. He comes off as a decent human being notwithstanding the ghastly horrors of which he was part, especially in the final two years of the war.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Michael Shaara
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1204)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (638)

    After 30 years and with three million copies in print, Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The Killer Angels, remains as vivid and powerful as the day it was originally published.

    Gene says: "Almost a Perfect Audiobook"
    "Watch out here. The performance is very bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I really can't recommend the audible effort of what might otherwise be a commendable historical novel. The performance is very bad and in my mind continually attempts to assert itself over the content of the novel with regrettable consequences. Buy the written version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Bill O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3999)
    Performance
    (3559)
    Story
    (3581)

    The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices are not appeased....

    Daniel says: "History Made Interesting"
    "A good listen but, Bill, hang it up 4 awhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I read "Killing Kennedy" first and my comments about that effort are there. This book is written and narrated in very much the same style. To any passing student of history there is little here that is "shocking". However, the authors do credible work tying together the widely separated events surrounding this historical tragedy into credible, if not also pop, history. Most troubling to me was the fate of Mary Surratt. There was reasonable doubt (at least as it pertains to the death penalty) but of course those times did not allow for such things and she was hanged with men much more intimately involved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2177)
    Performance
    (1314)
    Story
    (1310)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
    "This is a listen of a lifetime"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Once one accepts the fact that the story line of this book is about pedophilia (a curse we all condemn including its author) you are in for an experience that for me was breathtaking. Jeremy Irons is so masterful in his narration that it oft overshadows the writing which is even more masterful. What can you say about an artistic effort that you simply do not want to miss, no matter what.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Uncommon Reader

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Alan Bennett
    • Narrated By Alan Bennett
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (66)

    When the queen chases a straying corgi through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, she happens upon the City of Westminster travelling library, and begins a journey of discovery.

    Angus says: "Poignant and full of wit."
    "Alan Bennett is a world treasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I say don't miss anything written and narrated by this man. He is less material than a beam of light that will touch your soul. I am writing this to describe my reaction to "Uncommon Reader" but it goes for almost everything I have read by him. DO NOT PASS THIS OR HIS OTHER BOOKS BY.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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