Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
Not being able to understand what's being said. Some of the Australian accents are just too thick. I thought it would be one narrator reading the first-hand accounts of the war.
I didn't get that far. I gave up after 30 minutes.
This is the soundtrack of a documentary film. It doesn't work as an audiobook. The survivors' accents are hard to understand. Then some are speaking over sound effects of bombing and shooting - maybe from an underlying film segment - and that only makes it all worse.
The underlying story here is heartbreaking abd compelling. However it is not told very well. The reader doesn't get a real sense of the pain and horror experienced by a child forced into indentured servitude. She claims to have moved on in her life as a survivor yet she is unable to really tell others her story in an honest and indepth manner - just as expected by a still traumatized person suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She wants the world to know of her "bondage" and "slavery" especially in the United States, the poster child for cruel oppression lasting hundreds of years, even more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Hall claims to have gotten her life together and wants to help others by being a police officer or ICE agent. She says that she only sees life and people in "black and white", "good or bad", no gray areas. She states that she believes in God. Yet, she gets pregnant out of wedlock by a guy she only knew about 6 months. Instead of marrying her "baby daddy", they decide the "black and white" thing is to shack up together. What happened to marriage? Sounds awfully "gray" to me.
Don't get me wrong. I feel for what this child suffered, being sold by her parents in Egypt for $20 a month, then being forced to clean house, be a nanny, and live in a closet when brought to the U.S. But she hardly knows what real slavery and bondage means in America. She was not raped or kept in chains. I can't allow her to be the standard bearer for the oppression, slavery, brutality, cruelty that this country is known for. This book reveals nothing that can't be found on Wikipedia or Google. In fact, I read Hall's story in People magazine. I bought this book to get a first-hand feel for what she went through. Instead, we are given a preachy, teachy, prosaic, often naive account that just glides over the facts. Oh, except for an excruciating blow-by-blow chapter of what is involved in becoming an American citizen, complete with parts of the naturalization test questionnaire, required documents, and other minutiae of little interest. I would have liked to know how Hall really feels about the betrayal of her family, her country of origin and the foreigners who smuggled her here. I hope she doesn't hit the wall one day, believing that this tragedy is really behind her. Particularly not with a child to care for. I want to see her ACT on her intent to make sure other children don't suffer from child endangerment, abuse, and smuggling by Egyptian citizens by actually getting a job in law enforcement. Right now all she's doing is talking a big game while not living by the high standards that she claims to revere and expect of others.
This is not a book about slavery and its long-term consequences. At least when Hall was "freed", she could walk down the street as a white citizen without going through decades and decades of racism, depravation, and oppression. This is a true crime story which would have benefited from the experience of a true crime writer. I don't know what Hall's co-author contributed other than, possibly, editing. No research, no background, no NOTHING about child smuggling and modern day indentured servitude. Just a simple memoir, giving nothing of the real essence of the writer. An opportunity missed.
No black American or person of color can read this collection without feeling disgusted, demeaned and revolted. As a black reader, I was totally outraged by this book. I understand why it was originally published in 1965 but I fail to see why Audible would offer this overtly racist collection TODAY!
I would hope that quite a few white people will also be as upset as I am by this author's consistent need to call us "nigger", "low class" and all manner of racist terms. Anyone who has ever read my reviews knows that I'm not at all screamish or hypersensitive by the use of the word "nigger" in literature. In fact, I hate it when white authors feel the need to be politically correct by using the term "n-word" instead or dancing all around the issue when it is mandated in a literary sense. However, this author repeatedly refers to blacks as niggers for absolutely no reason. I get the first story in which he portrays a woman who gets her due after a lifetime of unwarranted racist remarks. What I don't understand is why in another story he thought it was necessary to describe a person's eye color as "blue as the overalls worn by the niggers"! Really?! Not as "blue as the dress of her of the nigger maid at her side" which suggests a gut description or excited utterance caused by the juxtaposition of the 2 like colors. Neither "niggers" or overalls are anywhere in the scene! In fact, up until that point there was no mention of black people at all. In some stories there are no black people ANYWHERE prior to such totally out of context slurs.
I enjoyed the first story because whatever reference to race stayed in keeping with the plot and moral of the short story. But it all became really too much for me by the 7th story. I made it that far by taking a break of as much as 4 to 10 days between listening to this book when I would normally knock it out within a day. Even then I had to stop with this book all together.
If you're not a black person or the rare white person whom feels unspeakably UNCOMFORTABLE from this manner of "racist Tourette's" (i.e., "Hey, John, is it alright - Whoop! Nigger! Soup! - if I borrow your - Yoww! Kike! Mick! - car tonight? - Spick! F**k! Dollar! Screeech!"), overall these stories are interesting. The racist remarks add nothing to the plots - yet detract much. They contain a mentality that should have been outmoded among artists by the time of publication in the 1960s.
I love the Inspector Ian Rutledge series but sometimes Charles Todd drops the ball. That's the case here. Nothing about this story makes any sense. Why would Scotland Yard waste valuable resources by sending one of its best detectives to a small country village at the demand of some guy holding two women hostage? Especially since he's unlikely to hurt one of them because he publicly professes a great love for the married woman? While the book has the usual Todd unexpected plot twists, the whole thing just goes on too long. Rutledge is allowed entry into the house several times, yet he never makes a move to overcome the kidnapper. He even allows food to be delivered after several days instead of starving them out. IF anyone can deal with this improbable story, the book should be abridged since so much of it adds nothing to plot line. Also, narrator Samuel Gilles is no where near as good as Simon Prebble who has done most of the Charles Todd works that I've enjoyed. Gilles' Scottish burr for Rutledge's nemesis, Hamish, is so over the top that half of the time I couldn't understand him, Plus Gilles does nothing with the other characters - they all meld together, sounding alike, making the dialogue hard to follow. Definitely not worth the price of admission.
This is probably a good book EXCEPT it is #2 in a series of 9. Unfortunately I read book #9 first. That is because Audible didn't number the books nor does it indicate anywhere that this is a series. I was confused the whole time in this one by Colin's courtship of Lady Lady Emily when, based on #9, she was already married to him. When the book began referring to Emily being a widow, I thought that somewhere along the line Colin had died, only to discover that she was in mourning for her FIRST husband, whose death unfolded in book #1. The problem is compounded by the fact that only books 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are available on Audible. I was so frustrated and confused that I just gave up. I'll buy this book again once ALL on the books are in audio format and when Audible takes the time to NUMBER books that are part of a series. Grossly negligent!
Bianca Amato is one of my favorite narrators. As usual, she gives a masterful performance. Her voice is so genteel, yet commanding, that the use of different voices for each character is totally unnecessary. She utilizes almost imperceptible nuances to depict females from males, the gentry from the working class.
It was an intelligent take on turn of the 20th century female detectives. There is nothing of the second-class male dominated nature in Lady Emily. She and her husband Colin are "ride or die" partners in marriage and business, like Bonnie and Clyde. Their friends, Cécile and Jeremy, are perfect supporting characters.
I can't say here without spoiling the plot twists and resulting denouement.
That's not really an applicable question for this kind of work. There are no "extremes", per se, only a respect and appreciation for a unique take on this overdone and overworked genre.
Tasha Alexander's research is impeccable. She doesn't waste a lot of effort on creating "atmosphere" with descriptions of period clothing, furniture, lodgings, food, vehicles, or "bon ton" society gathering places such as Almack's or White's. She remains focused on good criminal, psychological and budding forensic investigation, all leading to the resolution of the initial murder and the ancillary crimes. This is my first in this series but it definitely won't be the last!
I'm a HUGE Michael Connelly fan, having purchased all of his audiobooks in the Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller ("Lincoln Lawyer") series. I waited for months for this new book only to be disappointed - once again - by the Audible-created monster: "The Actor As Narrator"!
I've made my opinion on this issue public numerous times. A-list actors suddenly thinking that they can do the same job of top audiobook narrators. It just doesn't work like that. Here, we have some actor I've never even heard of come from the Amazon Prime online show "Bosch" and think he can perform behind such venerable narrators of this series as Dick Hill, Len Cariou, Peter Jay Fernandez and Peter Giles, with Hill and Cariou leading the pack. Who is Titus Welliver anyway? He's not even in the same class of other actors who THOUGHT they could "moonlight" as narrators such as Elliott Gould, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kim Bassinger - and all of them were horrible. Since 1990, this Welliver person has done 1 or 2 episodes of various television shows and a few reoccurring roles, plus a list of movies, most of which I've ever heard of. He certainly didn't carry any of these vehicles as a headliner, so he's had more than enough time in his 25 year acting career to bone up on his narration skills if that's what "he wanted to be when he grew up". Okay, he IS Harry Bosch in the PILOT of the Amazon show but, even in the title role, he's out-acted by his young co-star Jamie Hector ("The Wire") who plays his partner.
In this book, Welliver has lost all of the grittiness of Connelly's writing with his bland boring delivery. Bosch is known as a modern "square jawed", hard drinking, conflicted detective who often works outside of the box. Welliver reads him like a 1st grader trying to color inside the line! He has the charisma of a flower pot and seems like he's bored with the whole thing. I know he bored me so much that I stopped listening after 30 minutes to warn other potential buyers. I didn't heed the reviews about the narration because I thought that Connelly and Harry Bosch could counter such criticism. Well, I was sooooo wrong!
Absolutely awful! And to have us wait and pre-order this mess is unconscionable! I have purchased over 2,000 books from Audible but I'm no longer paying for substandard works - not as expensive as audiobooks are these days. I'm asking for a refund. If everyone disappointed by this book would do the same, then maybe Audible will be more selective and exercise some quality control over its product. But if we keep paying for books like this, we will continue to be as upset as I am right now. Next stop: Audible Customer Service to get my purchase price back! Anyone?
Overall, this is probably the best researched account of post-John Gotti Mafia history that I've ever read. Talk about learning "where all the bodies are buried"!!! That's the easy part. This book tells us about murders that no one even knew had occurred! Along with all manner of criminal acts - some of which I'd never even heard of. When I was attending law school at UC-Davis, in Criminal Law class we were given the acronym "MR (and) MRS LAMB" to help us remember the 9 felonies derived from English common law: Murder, Rape, Manslaughter, Robbery, Sodomy, Larceny, Arson, Mayhem, Burglary. But, to keep up with Mafia, the legal system would need to use the entire English alphabet from A to Z and throw in some Chinese and Arabic characters! The scope of acts perpetrated by a bunch of Italian, Irish and Jewish hoodlum is unbelievable. And this is during the DECLINE and subsequent fall of the hold that the Cosa Nostra has had on the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. Based on this massive account, it seemed like more crimes were committed AFTER the 5 Mafia families had ceased to have America in its murderous clutches. The sheer amount of crimes and the brutality involved can be a bit much, making this book too long and rather exhausting. However, if you like true crime, this is the book for you!
This book is supposed to about two NYPD detectives who are the most corrupt officers ever on the force! Or, at least, the worst that have been caught! However, the author went far and beyond the investigation, arrest, and trial of NYPD Detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. Maybe because one of the authors, former NYPD Organized Crime Det. William Oldham, spent years and years building a meticulous case in order to exact some kind of Justice for the families of the 8
victims murdered by men who had taken an oath "protect and serve".
That said, I have to let it be known that this story really ticked me off. This book is less of an indictment against two corrupt cops than it is on the New York Police Department, City of New York, State of New York, FBI, DEA, ATF, Department of Justice, numerous Attorneys General, and several Presidents who allowed crime on such a massive and overt level to exist for DECADES without doing a damn thing! And I don't want to hear any excuses about cops being overworked and underpaid! Especially since it was the same NYPD (with the backing of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program) that created, maintained, and shared with other jurisdictions a 500 page "Hip-Hop Dossier" on rap artists and executives like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Cam'ron, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Eve - AND EVERY ARTIST WHO EVER RELEASED A RAP RECORD! (Eminem was included only because he hangs out with black people, making money on an art form that WE created. I have nothing against Em since I helped break his debut album.). The file was so comprehensive that it included not only the names of hundreds of black artists but also their Social Security numbers, home addresses, car makes and models, drivers license numbers, auto tag numbers, spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, friends of friends, where they ate, partied, shopped, and even the names and tag numbers of anyone who parked outside the house! For what? For being a black American multi-millionaire who RAPS and MAKE MUSIC? Yet the city let Italian-Americans RAPE, ROB and MAKE MURDER for decades! With the assistance of dirty cops whom the city paid a salary, decorated with awards, and then let them retire in Vegas with a pension of $70,000 a year! C'mon, America! This book exposed the sad fact that this country co-signed on the wholesale murders of hundreds of people - many of them law-abiding citizens - by the Mafia in the 1980s and 90s, then we discover around 2005 that the NYPD has been using tax dollars for round-the-clock surveillance on rap businessmen like Jay-Z, a black man on Forbes' list of the richest men in America - on the justification that since he raps about growing up around violence he is predisposed to shooting someone in the back of the head and leaving the body in the truck of the car with a canary in its mouth! "Racial profiling" isn't even close to the egregious level of harassment perpetrated by the NYPD! And former white NYPD cops like the ridiculous Lou Savilla still believe that this form of violating a person's Constitutional rights is justified for "those people", when the truth is that "them cops" aren't good enough to carry Diddy's luggage! Having worked in the music industry for 45 years, 25 in rap and hip-hop, and the mother of a police officer, I am appalled by the waste of resources used on musicians while REAL organized crime and rogue NYPD cops were given a license to kill by the state.
Thank you, Det. Oldham, for exposing the NYPD for the racist hypocrites that they are. I respect you for writing this book in spite of your "brothers in blue" who tried to ostracize you and hush this thing up when all you wanted from your investigation was JUSTICE. A job well done! And I'm glad you were smart enough to get a book deal to tell this amazing story since New York and the government refused to send those killer cops to jail.
I'm addicted to this series! (I almost stopped writing reviews because of 2 "Audible Haters" who have systematically gone through all of my submissions and marking them "Not Helpful" for no reason other than spite. But last week, I reported the harassment so the website reps are investigating to find out WHO the perpetrators are.)
Although this series can be a bit inconsistent, overall most of the novels are worth the rare miss. The characters are finely drawn and the added detail about Venice makes the listener feel as if we are really there. Narrator David Colacci is perfect. Not so much a thriller than a great detective mystery, the slower pace is worth the plot twists and turns which always keep you guessing.
The narrator sounds like a 12 year-old child - young and naive by current standards but of marriageable age during the era portrayed here. The story begins with The early life of Eleanor of Acquitane and the vocalization works for her.. However, the "Teen Queen" depictstion in the actual third- party accounts dust don't work,
I regret to say that I didn't get more than an hour into the book and eventually threw in the towel, the whole experience was more like listening to a fairy tale told by a neighborhood reader who has yet to learn the skill and nuances required by audiobooks.
I'm always open to give authors and narrators a second ride around the park. My criticism is not about Katie Scarfe's life repertoire - just that this a mismatched pairing.
I'm a great fan of Eleanor of Aquitaine, having read or listened to dozens. But this book did not have enough "oomph" to engage me more than an hour. Beyond that, I found myself "zoning out" during major passages.
This is yet another example to the problemd that I have with audiobook producers and directors- no quality control, questionable production and directorial shills. The audio format of books are terribly expensive so it is of paramount importance that the production, casting, recording, continuity and, of course, the performance be of the first quality and running on ALL cylinders! This book is a case-book example of an "opportunity wasted". I am wayyyy past buying books, only to find them substandard, then keeping them in my Library. There are those who will like this book - I, for one, am not one of these people! REFUND!
Not really. It's way to long, repetitive, and doesn't really get to the meat of the real Alfred Hitchcock - The Man. Since the Hitchcock family didn't authorize this biography and refused to open up any personal insight or documents, this is just a well-researched book on public information.
If Spoto had refrained from merging his 1976 book "The Art of Alfred Hitchcock" into what is supposed to be a biography. That book is a comprehensive analysis of every Hitchcock film over 50 years. Here, Spoto just interjects his take on every tiny bit of each film, giving the reader more about the films than the the life of director. I had it when Spoto named every actress who read for "Rebecca" - THIRTY-THREE of them! Really? What did that have to do with the "dark genius" behind Hitchcock?
He was rather boring. But what was really appalling is his mispronounciation of common words. At first, I gave him a pass on words with 4 syllables, but then he pronounced "banal" wrong. The clincher was the kid game "Blind Man's Bluff" which he called "Blind Man's BUFF" - not once, but four times!
Nothing since this book is supposed to be about ALFRED HITCHCOCK!
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