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John

Austin, TX, United States | Member Since 2006

41
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 163 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1237)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (520)

    This is a sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans, and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

    John says: "Riveting... Sobering... Chilling..."
    "first rate all around"
    Overall

    I really enjoyed this one, got thru it much faster than usual. Found myself extending my drives and walks to hear more. Wright has obviously done his homework here, as evidenced by the Pulitzer. It's extremely well researched and thought-provoking. The book focuses primarily on the backgrounds and actions of Bin Laden, Zawahiri and John O'Neill and really gets you into the minds of these men. It's sad to hear how stymied the FBI agents were by "The Wall" and CIA in-fighting. Everyone knows how it ends of course, but the journey there was fascinating for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Barbara Demick
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1650)
    Performance
    (1056)
    Story
    (1062)

    Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.

    Gohar says: "The man who wants to be GOD"
    "one of the best I've heard on Audible"
    Overall

    I knew little about N. Korea prior to reading this book, just the usual inch deep news coverage and an occasional 60 Minutes or 20/20 story that went a little deeper. Those stories usually include pictures of giant celebrations for Kim Jong Il put on by brainwashed citizens. They almost make you pity the gullible N. Koreans. This book, on the other hand, tells the human stories behind the propaganda and the untold truth and knowledge that is known to all of those supposedly brainwashed people. I found myself quickly fascinated by the lives of the families chronicled. The book takes place mostly after Kim Il Sung's death and relays the impact of the rapid spiral downward the country takes after the fall of communism. While tragic at times, the book doesn't focus on tragedy to be exploitative, it just tells the stories as they happened from the mouths of the survivors. It humanizes the people behind the evil regime and what happens to them once they leave N. Korea into modern society. Fascinating, well written and informative, I highly recommend this book. The author reminds me a little of Jon Krakauer in the way she's able to craft non-fiction into a compelling narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lucifer's Hammer

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3393)
    Performance
    (2011)
    Story
    (2031)

    The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known....

    DJM says: "Good story from front to back"
    "credit worthy listen, don't be put off by reviews"
    Overall

    I read the reviews and was a little hesitant. I went in thinking I'd get a good '70's Irwin Allen style disaster story. It's that but better, more philosophical that I thought it would be. For those decrying the dated references to telegrams and the like, get over it! It does nothing to the story and I found it interesting and quaint. And once the comet hits, the dated technology is no longer relevant. It reminded me a little of "One Second After", which I also enjoyed. Check out the newly released on Audible "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse" if you like this genre.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Wroblewski
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2892)
    Performance
    (795)
    Story
    (802)

    Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents and an unusual breed of dogs on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. But when tragedy strikes the Sawtelle family, Edgar flees to the surrounding wilderness. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him.

    Ella says: "Just OK"
    "loved it until the end"
    Overall

    This is a tough call - the writing is beautiful and I really got into the characters. Highly recommended for dog lovers. The author has a knack for descriptions and I actually liked the way he tells the story from different perspectives, even the dogs, which is unique. It's definitely not predictable, I was guessing all the way. The ending is a shocker, doesn't seem to match up to the measured, careful setup throughout the rest of the book. Maybe it's over my head, but I really can't figure out why he's end it that way. Still recommended ...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Child 44

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tom Rob Smith
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1833)
    Performance
    (712)
    Story
    (711)

    It is a society that is, officially, a paradise. Superior to the decadent West, Stalin's Soviet Union is a haven for its citizens, providing for all of their needs: education, health care, security. In exchange, all that is required is their hard work, and their loyalty and faith to the Soviet State. But now a murderer is on the loose.

    Melvin says: "Terror from all sides."
    "unique setting - very satisfying"
    Overall

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one, one of my favorites on Audible so far. The paranoia of Stalin era USSR is well conveyed and the story is good to boot. Leo is a complex and interesting protagonist and the book sets up a sequel and series quite nicely. Can't wait for the next one, call me a Tom Rob Smith fan!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (5536)
    Performance
    (3788)
    Story
    (3798)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

    Steve says: "Good but Too Short!"
    "Excellent, exciting and compelling"
    Overall

    Loved it, would have been 5 stars if unabridged, I left wanting more. Really enjoyed the listen, it takes you from the insanity of the dead rising to the day-to-day logistics and reality of what would happen if they did. Very realistic and believable, would make an excellent series.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

    • ABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (193)

    Polls reveal that 85 percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. Some even believe Oswald was entirely innocent. In this encyclopedic, absorbing audiobook, Vincent Bugliosi shows how the public has come to believe such lies about the day that changed the course of history. Bugliosi has devoted almost 20 years of his life to this project, and is determined to show that, despite the overwhelming popular perception, Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone.

    Lawrence D. Clayton says: "On an equal footing with Helter Skelter"
    "riveting"
    Overall

    After listening to this first rate analysis of the assassination and various conspiracies you'll be hard pressed not to laugh in anyone's face that thinks Oswald didn't do it alone. Some say Bugliosi is too smarmy in his deflections, but honestly, after the nonsense has persisted for this long, I don't blame him. Great listen, download it now and put this case to rest for good.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13226)
    Performance
    (5561)
    Story
    (5604)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "one of my favorites"
    Overall

    Definitely one of the best audiobooks I've heard on Audible. The story is compelling, lots of twists, turns and schemes. The characters are well drawn and the villians are especially malevolent. Gives you a good feel for life in the 12th century and how the two powers (church and monarchy) rule the lives of ordinary people. The narrator is first rate too, I can't wait to hear the sequel!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Robert Kurson
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2126)
    Performance
    (599)
    Story
    (601)

    In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew.

    Douglas says: "GRIPPING!"
    "one of the best audiobooks out there"
    Overall

    First rate adventure, I especially appreciated the extended epilogue with the author and main players. Prichard is solid as always.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Against the Day: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (88)

    This novel spans the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I. With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

    Rebecca Lindroos says: "brilliant!"
    "mind-boggling"
    Overall

    Quite an investment in time, but worth the effort in my judgement. I downloaded this book Jan 30th and didn't finish until June 8th! 53 hours and 38 mins later, I'm still a little confused on some of the plotlines. Nevertheless, the concepts I did understand are brilliant and the character names are like Dickens on steroids. Pynchon has a knack for presenting ideas or observations in a couple of pages that other authors would use to fill an entire book. The wit is very smart, all sorts of sly allusions to history and pop culture abound. Worth the effort for me but, as the WSJ and NYT said in their reviews, this book isn't for everyone. There were times when I thought it might not be for me either, but I persevered and am glad I did. The narrator was excellent, it's got to be quite a challenge to deal with this many characters, the sheer size and all of the mathematical terms, scientific jargon and strange locales.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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