As one who is thoroughly fed up with our current political paralysis and small-minded partisanship, I have often wished our politicos shared a common passion for greatness as did the revolutionary generation. This book certainly dispels that notion.
In Founding Brothers Ellis focused on their deep bonds. In American Creation he looks through the opposite lens, describing their competitions and jealousies. In the process he reveals history and stories that will be new to many.
The revolutionaries are commonly faulted for not addressing the two biggest issues which even they recognized would surely put a blot on their legacy and the nation. Most agreed on the need to end slavery and develop a fair accommodation with the American Indian. Despite their agreement on the moral imperatives, however, they failed to avoid sacrificing them to pragmatic decisions as they went about creating the new nation state. This was a failure and in both instances led to exactly where they predicted, civil war and contentious expansion across the continent. Having said all that, it is hard to see how they could have solved the rubric successfully.
Ellis does a good job of giving us the back stories as to why that is the case. From Jefferson’s wager that Napoleon’s plan to occupy New Orleans would never come to fruition, to his and Washington’s belief that demography would in time accomplish what the fledgling nation could not in securing its future through expansion. The book is rich in these stories, bringing to light seldom heard of characters. The courting of Creek Nation chief McGillivray who (almost) always put the security of his nation first; how a slave leader prophesied the defeat of Napoleon’s army when it tried to subdue French slave colonies in the Caribbean, thus thwarting the plan to occupy New Orleans and leading to the Louisiana Purchase; the designs and strategies of France and Spain to leave America with a sliver of the east coast as they contested for the continent and its promise, and a host of other stories.
The stories the author highlights, including the Federalist / Republican divide, the irony of Jefferson's grand exercise of executive power in executing the Louisiana Purchase, and the tension between what the founders believed to be right and the compromises they made are instructive and illustrative of today's quandary. Nothing much has changed, so it seems, other than the time and issue of the moment. Politics is still politics, as they say.
As far as history telling goes this is a good read, but it does not equal Founding Brothers. In that volume Ellis simply told the story, in American Creation there is an undertone of opinion and aloofness that does not serve well. But, it will be an enjoyable journey for the casual fan of history who wants to refresh his or her appreciation for the beginnings of the American story.
Mayer's reading is solid and smooth, if a bit understated at times. It's the history of our national founding, man! Wake up! My way of saying I found it a bit too smooth and understated. But hey, I like a bit more adrenaline in my morning coffee as well.
Possibly the most insightful war story I've ever read, and a masterpiece work at that. Anyone who has ever gone to war will instantly recognize the truth behind this series of vignettes that so accurately describe the experience. Like lies, the best war stories have some truth to them. This book shares the truth of a generation of young men and a nation. With luck we all had an Elroy Berdahl to help us find our own truth and way when we needed it. I know I had mine. I had a Kiowa as well, and lost him as well; yet his life touches mine yet today.
It took me a long time to read this. I'm glad I did.
Cranston does the singular best job I've heard on the reading, hands down. He brings the characters to life, makes them real. It's as if he knows.
If I had listened to this early Reacher before later installments I probably would not have continued the series. That is my way of saying, "hang in there folks, it gets better." While the story is helpful in that it fills in continuity blanks suffered by reading ahead in the series, the poor plot and character development by Child damages the story significantly. This time the bad guys weren't bad enough, smart enough, or tough enough. The story signaled the end at every turn but never dug into the details of the plot (which would have at least added depth), leading to a no surprise ending with no punch.
If you are a stalwart Reacher fan and missed this installment as I did because it was not previously available on Audible.com and want to fill in a couple of gaps then Die Trying may be worth the time. If those gaps don't bother you then move on and enjoy later installments with the Reacher we've come to love.
Maybe the best Corey of them all. Lacks the strategic chess match feel of Lion's Game but has a more base and violent undertone running throughout, which is definitely realized at the end. Parts of the plot were entirely predictable and I think more treatment could have been given to one of the role characters at the end, but in all this is a solid listen.
John Corey is one of those characters, like Harry Bosch, that I simply cannot get enough of. This has the feel, however, of a "close to the end of the line" story. I hope not. If DeMille can keep his (and Corey's) juices flowing this series has a long future. Let's hope he does.
Scott Brick is a master at interpretation and gets a five on this one only because six is not available.
I read Rosenberg's The Twelfth Imam because I was intrigued by the idea of mixing current events, espionage, and end time prophecy in one story. Turns out it was only the start, followed first by The Tehran Initiative and most recently the third volume, Damascus Count Down. All good and taken as a whole an extremely enjoyable series full of details of life inside the Iranian power elite. Rosenberg's obvious familiarity with the current geopolitical scene, his ability to depict world leaders who you will recognize as the current role players by another name add credibility and realism, and well crafted espionage plotting and intrigue put his writing on par with the best.
But those characteristics can be found in many books by many authors. What sets Rosenberg apart is his knowledgeable exploration of Islamic and Christian world views and end time prophecy, and the unabashed evangelistic tone and purpose of the stories. It does not hurt that he has a penchant (is that really all it is?) for prophesying in his own right (see The Last Jihad for one notable example). Let's hope his latest is not as accurate.
Good stuff here. Well crafted and written with a unique purpose. An eye opener for those who believe men alone decide their fate.
I picked this book because it tells a part of the WWII story that is seldom told and it happened in a place I have some familiarity with from my own experiences. Having read Unbroken and Ghost Soldiers I was expecting a history of similar grit, something I think the story deserves and for which there was ample material. Hornfischer, however, tells a gentler kind of tale; one that touches the surface of a lot but rarely digs deep. That said, I learned a lot about the east Asia campaign (and came away with a particularly poor image of the Dutch performance).
In this instance the reader was a poor choice in my opinion. The book deserves a certain edge, not Dean's flat reading. That definitely affected my experience, but I do not believe it affected my evaluation of the content.
I am addicted to Harry Bosch. I like his character, his style, his purpose, and his integrity. Connelly's work is pure escape artfully crafted and delivered - normally. Not so on this installment.
The story is okay, not one of Connelly's best but good never the less. The new characters lack depth but that can come with time. This listen suffers from one tragic flaw - the narration is horrid. Horrid! I cannot say that often or loud enough. Delivered in a flat monotone throughout with such poor character voices that I sometimes had to stop and ask which one was speaking, it is a chore to stick with it to the end. I'm not saying it is bad, I'm saying it is horrible. It absolutely sucks the life out of the story and the enjoyment out of the listening.
I've been listening to Audible books for five years and I've only put one book on the shelf before finishing it. If I wasn't so committed to Bosch this would have been number two.
I don't know where Len Cariou ran off to, but please find him quick. Send a plane, send a train, send a boat. Heck, send Harry to find him, but get him back!
A little escapism is good for all of us on occasion, and listening to Jonathan Graves' exploits certainly fills the bill. Translated: I like the series. Not so much on this one, however.
The story seems to drift from scene to scene without the kind of detail that enriches. Characters we know well don't seem to know each other at times; and while I appreciate the differing moral perspectives of Jonathan and Gail and how these conflicts leverage their relationship, I do not believe the themes are well developed. We are only shown shadows of what should be a major sub-plot that enriches the entire series.
That and a poorly constructed and rushed finale bothered me. Basil Sands, however, managed to irritate me from beginning to end. His voice does not have the timber this assignment calls for, and his characterizations (especially that of Boxer) are laughable. They are simplistic, sometimes crude, and poorly done. This fact alone robs the story of appeal. Add the weak story development and I rate this one low. I debated a 3 but just couldn't do it.
This is an excellent treatise on the life of a giant, and at the same time serves as a cautionary tale. It happened once, it can happen again. Only principled people living principled lives of courage stand in the way. In Bonhoeffer we are given a template to model. Few will have his intellect but all have the capacity to live their beliefs with integrity.
I must admit that I did not know much about Bonhoeffer going in, but what I did know intrigued me. On a personal quest to answer nagging questions about God's grace in our lives I decided to read this biography of the author of Costly Grace. To say that Bonhoeffer reached across the decades of history to rock my world puts it mildly.
My entire life I have wondered how German Christian's could have allowed Hitler to happen. Now I know, at least in part. For my entire life I have wondered why Christians did not stand against Evil. Now I know that some did.
The volume also does much to describe life in Germany during the war, something that is not all that common. I found it interesting as a view into the psyche of the German people of the time, albeit with a focus on the elite of German society owing to the Bonhoeffer family's position and influence.
All of that is interesting from a historical perspective, but this volume's most memorable impact is much deeper in my own experience. As a Christian I have of late been challenged by the common definition of Grace, and that has caused me to question my own security. In the end I cannot deny the pure simple logic and wisdom of Bonhoeffer's philosophy of Costly Grace. In it I find challenge, truth, inspiration, and confidence. In it I find purity of thought that resonates. In him I find a light that projects The Light through the darkness of time.
My first book by this author. I found it interesting and informative, but not necessarily compelling. Lots of anecdotes and tales of egotism and competition among the Allies, and fairly blunt descriptions of Allied shortcomings. All I can say is, thank goodness Hitler trusted his own counsel.
Looking at other reviews of Beevor I see he is highly respected and this is not rated as the top of his game. I will give one of his more definitive books a read and form a final opinion then.
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