Hodgkins, Illinois | Member Since 2012
Yes. This story of the shooting of President Garfield, and the botching of his subsequent medical care by Gilded Age American Physicians is intensely interesting and told in an engaging way. The author develops James A. Garfield, Charles Guiteau, and Alexander Graham Bell, all as an individuals, opening windows into their personal history for the reader by quoting from primary source material such as diaries and personal correspondence. The author also writes in clear language, which makes the book a pleasure to listen to or read. It is a fascinating look at Gilded Age America, its politics, and its societal change/growth after the Civil War.
This book was a lot like Devil in the White City, in that both authors, who were telling an intricately connected and extraordinary tale, weaved the lives of several different, seemingly unrelated characters together, making the case that they were brought onto life's stage at the same time by fate. Also, both books were set during roughly the same era of American history, and both were written in an engaging style which makes the reader want to continue listening long after their ears hurt.
That would have to be James A. Garfield. Between the change of voice Michael did to incidate Garfield, and the character study of him through his personal papers, diaries, and correspondence, I feel as though I understand him better, both as a politician and a person.
I had to laugh out loud at Garfield's description of the Democrat Party. What he says about the Democrats is well worth the price of this book by itself.
Strangulatus pro republica...Tortured for the Republic.
The book was simply wonderful. Part Indiana Jones action/adventure, part technical study of 19th Century British war and politics, everywhere colored by Churchill's wry wit and candid opinions. This volume pulls back the curtain on the early life of Sir Winston Churchill, and gives the American reader a taste of the British imperial perspective of world events that were to set the stage for the 20th Century.
Anglophiles will love the setting and explanation of English social rules, life, and family and political relationships. Historians will enjoy the way Churchill's candid, though biased and opinionated, recounting of historical events. Though confusing at times to the reader who is not familiar with the inner workings of British politics of the late Victorian era, this is recompensed by the newspaper correspondent-style, and at times breathless, recounting of Churchill's exploits under arms. The story of Churchill's time in South Africa alone is worth the price of the book. The final sentence caused me to laugh out loud.
The narration was excellent, and delivered in a quite natural and amiable style, which did justice to the personality which filled Churchill's prose. There was a slight technical fault near in the final chapters of the book which in no way detracted from the enjoyment of the book.
This was a fascinating and insightful look at the social/political philosophy of progressivism, and how it drove America's first progressive presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - to fundamentally change the US Constitution. Andrew Napolitano cuts right to what he sees as the heart of the issue: Roosevelt and Wilson worked to destroy the federalism built into the US Constitution by the founders primarily through the means of: 1) progressive taxation (the income tax), 2) the expansion of the regulatory state and the scope of the federal government into state and local jurisdictions, 3) the wielding of US military power to influence political events around the globe, 4) federally directed social engineering to "improve" society, 5) the manipulation of US currency and orchestration of monetary policy through a central bank (Federal Reserve System), 6) the direct election of US Senators by popular vote.
Napolitano, a staunch, energetic, and well-spoken libertarian, makes the case that the pressing of these items from the turn-of-the century progressive's agenda by Roosevelt and Wilson sent the US on a path away from the one envisioned by the founders. Instead of limited government power, state's rights, and frugal monetary policy and budgeting, with Roosevelt and Wilson the US started a journey toward a strong and oppressive federal government, weakened state jurisdictions which have increasingly become little more than sub-jurisdictional units of the federal burocracy, an imperial executive, bloated budgets, and reckless fiscal policy. Napolitano makes no bones that his book is not a history of the two progressive administrations or a biography of the men who lead them. It is, instead his brief with which he indicts them in the court of Constitutional Originalism.
Napolitano is well researched and makes his points clearly. Liberals who worship these two giants of early 20th century American politics may be surprised to read many of the things they said and did, and what their reasoning was for pursuing a progressive agenda. Conservatives will be surprised just how much they have also strayed from ideals and mindset of the founding fathers when they compare some of the so-called "conservative" planks in their platforms with progressive ideas that found their beginning in the Roosevelt and/or Wilson administrations. A must read for all those who think they are familiar with Theodore Roosevelt and his character, or those who think they understand what caused America's entrance into The Great War (WWI).
The best part of this book is the afterword. In this section Beck gives a brief history of the all-too-real United Nations action plan called Agenda 21. In the afterword Beck traces the evolution of what would eventually become Agenda 21 from the early 1970's through its present day implementation by local governments across the US. Beck also connects specific initiaves and goals from Agenda 21, citing chapter and verse from the action plan, with elements with the seemingly far-fetched elements of the story. Reading the novel by itself, a person who does not immerse themselves in the strange goings-on of the leftist environmental crusaders at the United Nations would never for a second think that this story was based on anything other than the author's vivid (and possibly warped) imagination. Unfortunately, the thing that makes this 1984-goes-green novel come to life is the afterword, which points the reader to the theories and documents in which it is grounded.
I would most definetly listen to more books from Glenn Beck. With Glenn Beck you know what you are getting - a right-wing conservative who opposes socialism and champions capitalism. He is quite upfront regarding who he is ideologically, and what his purpose is. Knowing that, one is able to focus what Beck says and writes through the prizm of his conservatism, doing appropriate research to determine whether or not questionable things that Beck says, which challenge the reader's paradigm, are true. One may not always agree with Beck's ideas or assertions, but one cannot say that he is not documented in all he writes, or that he does not do his research. This type of transparency is refreshing in the media, when so many journalists and pundits claim to be "fair and balanced", or "perfectly impartial observers", when, in fact, they all have their own biased presuppositions.
January LaVoy's narration was expressive and her voice was pleasant. While the production was not dramatized, neither was it simply a sterile reading of text. LaVoy was intuitive in her performance, and her use of emotion was appropriate.
This book reminded me a lot of Orwell's 1984, in that no real mention is made of how the world reached its dystopian state. Also, the indispensable afterword was, to me, reminicent of the Brotherhood's Manifesto, which is featured prominently in 1984. I would have liked for the author to have spent a little more time explaining how the changes from the "before time" happened to bring society to its present place. Without more of that transition explanation, I'm not sure the connection between the setting of the novel (the societal make-up and organization of the Republic) and Agenda 21 would be as clear as it could be to someone who is only casually interested in these issues, or politics in general. At any rate, it is imperative to dig in to the actual UN Agenda 21, which is readily available on the internet. Only after doing so will the truly terrifying nature of this work be driven home to the reader.
Ann Coulter refutes the myth that Republicans are racist, and the Republican party, is the party of racism. She does this by recounting much of the actual history of the civil rights movement in America, from Reconstruction through the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Coulter's thesis is that, far from being the party of racism and bigotry, the Republicans are responsible for the advancement of civil rights for Blacks in America since the Civil War. It was only after the Democrat party realized that losing the Black vote would consign them to irrelevance that they moved from their position of opposition and obstruction to civil rights legislation, to embracing it, beginning with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Coulter makes the case that, because Republican Barry Goldwater voted against the 1964 legislation (on purely progressive grounds, having supported prior civil rights bills), Democrats were able to seize on that opposition and spend the next 30 years painting the Republican party as the party of racism. She goes on to make that case that the Democrat party has always been the party of institutionalized racism, and makes a lucid, compelling, well-documented case for her thesis. The history is there, and verifiable, but largely unknown by the general public, who seems to only be able to digest 30 second sound bytes. Of course, fans of Ann Coulter will cheer when they hear her make her case using the sharp tongue and cutting jabs for which she is known. Coulter also narrates the book herself, and her argument is therefore delivered in a natural and convincing style, as opposed to previous Coulter audiobooks, which sounded less authentic because of their use of a professional narrator. Love her or hate her, if you are a person who will investigate facts apart from your biases presuppositions, Mugged gives lots of facts to investigate.
I have listened to this book several times, and will continue to return to it in the future. In this work, Hawking gives the listener the foundational information regarding the development of modern physics. It is by no means comprehensive, but it certainly seems to take more than one reading/listening to digest it all properly. The mathematical concepts, and other ideas such as light cones, were difficult to grasp (for me) without the visual aid of diagrams. This book, however, puts the language of theoretical physics in one’s head, and the way in which Hawking presents the material, it seems to remain. Religious people may initially be put-off by Hawking's suggestion that physicists may discover that God, if he exists, did not have much choice in how He created the universe, due to physical laws. Hawking includes interesting historical and biographical information for physicists and other scientists throughout the book. His summary biographies of Einstein, Galileo, and Newton at the end of the book are concise, witty, and even poignant. If one is interested in the broad history of scientific thought, and moving on to the more recent developments in cosmology and theoretical physics, this is an excellent "100 level" course.
Michael Jackson is an excellent narrator with a smooth and engaging delivery. The production values, however, were merely average. Page turns were audible, and sound levels fluctuated several times so much that one will need to adjust the volume. This is a minor annoyance, though, and does not distract significantly from the book itself.
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