My two favorite genres of books and movies are Sci-fi and Baseball, albeit not together but that might be interesting as well. Field of Dreams has always been a favorite movie of mine and didn't know that it was based on a book until I re-watched the movie recently and saw that it was based on a book of a different title. This one really touches on that '1, 2 combination punch' described above, but not too fantastical.
It wasn't with hesitation that I picked this book up, but is so with my recommendation for it. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because the story is amazing. Yes you get that from the movie, and yes it's much better in film. However I always like the original and seeing where Hollywood departs from the writer.
Again, the movie really is so much better, but there is a sweet little gem in the book that is a departure from the film that I became enchanted with and have learned additional information separately about 'JDS' and his WWII Veteran status. This alone makes the book worth the time.
Also, I didn't enjoy the narrator and continuously longed to here Kevin Costner's voice.
An atypical CIA Autobiography, where the author's purpose isn't to tell us how "bad ass" he/she is and the reader/listener never knowing where the embellishment starts and ends.
Mr. Crumpton may have other than altruistic motivations in writing this book, but reading this work makes you feel like he has genuine concern for the future of his organization as well as the rest of the Intelligence Community. He introduces us to the complexities of source development and, most importantly, the time, effort and money that it takes to find reliable and high producing assets.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support his justification for writing this book, which was primarily to inform the masses about how the intelligence cycle works and is usurped by ignorant policy makers. Mr. Crumpton writes a scathing report on policy makers in general and has legitimate criticism of Bush and company, but also delves plenty out to the current executive administration.
It does seem like he's painting a picture of infallibility of the agency ("hey we were 100% on Bin Laden before 9/11 and highly critical of the Iraq Invasion") when the reality was that, despite Mr. Crumpton's version, the CIA as a whole was not %100 on Bin Laden (see The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright) nor were they highly critical of the Iraq Invasion, which was a CIA source validation failure (see Curveball by Bob Drugin). His book, his prerogative, but understand going in that he may not have an overt political agenda, he does have a CIA agenda.
Thank you for your service to this country and sharing with us Mr. Crumpton.
This should really be the third book in a series; "Understanding Islamists: Who they are and Where they came from." The first being, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright (beginnings of Osama and Al-Qaeda), followed by Curveball (the false pretense of our Iraq war entry and pertinent to understanding the relation between Al-Qaeda, AQI, and ultimately ISIS), by Bob Drogin.
ISIS: The State of Terror, describes what really is a culminating piece of what was inevitably going to happen based on Islamic History and Belief followed by Al-Qaeda and then the US entry and exit from Iraq.
Mr. Drogin presents a non-partisan review of the US involvement in Iraq and again, inevitably (albeit barely skimming the "Curveball" reason for our entry), what was going to occur after we left prematurely. He also gives an excellent brief account of Islamic History, specifically focusing on the divisions and subsequent fight for legitimacy and reign between the two major sects of Islam.
This work is obviously important based solely off the paucity of information we have about ISIS. There have been a few other works, and there will definitely be more, but the timing of this one is inimitable (i.e., right as we're making plans to counter the mislabeled "JV team").
As Kurt Vonnegut states in an interview, "...and I regard anybody who is a soldier in any army that is at war as a brother of mine." As a Soldier myself, I wholeheartedly agree, as only another Soldier could understand. However, that's probably where Kurt's political and philosophical opinions start and stop. In fact, the only reason I chose to listen to this book was another book's reference to him as a Soldier during the Battle of the Bulge.
To me the acclaim of this book is more for the political opining by the protagonist than any real literary work of art. This was my first and most likely my last book by Vonnegut. It is not a science fiction book by any stretch of the imagination. Just mentioning time travel and aliens does not establish the genre.
The writing style is not awful, but as previously mentioned, nothing novel. Sadly, like movie reviews and awards, the groups political leaning and moral philosophy have more to do with the review than the actual work of art.
In the end, I'm glad I read it (as I am most books) but seriously, such a let down with all the hype.
I only discovered this book after someone shared a short article about Moe Berg and I decided I wanted to know "Moe".
Another review complained about the incessant interruption of baseball statistics, but I found that to be pertinent in describing Berg's career ups and downs. Plus, I love statistics as any real fan does. But, honestly, they are neither a distraction nor overwhelming for even a novice fan of the game.
Where the other review did get the book right was the later half. Although I didn't stop listening nor was I tempted, the entire last half of the book focused on the rest of Berg's life; the part that wasn't about Baseball or Espionage. Berg lived a life of a Vagabond after WWII, living off the good will of others who thoroughly enjoyed his company and stories. However, the book becomes rather dull, much like Berg's repetitious stories that became tiresome after hearing it over and over again. For that, the story received a four star rating from me.
The first half of the book is really the heart and soul of this story. Regardless of the veracity of Moe's anecdotes as well as his proficiency as a baseball player, this is an inimitable tale of an eccentric, yet interesting person.
This is a nice summary of Crichton's motivations in writing this book. Short and sweet.
... So often the claim by partisans who are more interested in their party than the nation. Mr. Drogin's inimitable research encapsulates the failures that led to the US invasion in Iraq. While the Bush administration is not innocent, Drogin's narrative really clears the air on where the fault should be... the ego-centric culture of the CIA.
Being someone in the know, I'm disgusted by the entire thing, but empathetic to how it happened. I think the community has addressed many of the 9-11 and Iraq war Intelligence errors, but only time will tell.
This account is a non-partisan examination of all the key players. Liberals should read this so they don't sound so stupid and partisan when they try to smear W. Conservatives should read this to realize that W's administration created the culture in which the intel was allowed to fail. In short everyone can learn something from this, if only they get beyond their preconceptions and biases... the very lesson of the book.
Easily the best of all of the "Killing" books.
I really enjoyed this one and enjoy even more telling others about this book. While the assassinations' of Kennedy and Lincoln are part of modern school curriculum, I'm amazed how much I didn't know about Patton's death.
The book is a good overview of the march toward Berlin, but delves more into the Geopolitical Chess game being played than the strategy of the fighting. Great insight into the mind of Patton and his motivations.
I only rated this book so high because of its historical factor and its significance to the genre. Otherwise, this book is a waste of time. Seriously, hard to follow (and not just because of the narrator as others have critiqued), and just not that interesting. The story, in its time, was probably magical, but there are so many other options for the genre that I suggest only reading this if you want to read everything in this field; but only if you've read everything else.
As to the other commentators' critique of the narrator, they are accurate in regard to the pause, but listening at 3X speed, it is barely noticeable.
I picked this book up, only by chance during an audible sale. I had just finished 'The Beginning of the End: Apocalypse Z' so I was still in a mood for post apocalyptic chaos, but what I got was a thoroughly researched book on how to survive the immediate aftermath.
The majority genre of end of the world scenarios paint a romanticized version of a dystopia, but 'The Disaster Diaries' (title insinuates an epistolary fiction similar to the aforementioned) is about 95% legitimate survival information and techniques and only 5% story telling (used to combine each scenario together).
The author focuses on key areas of potential doom (e.g., personal fitness, shooting, infection, water, knife fighting) that if overlooked is a silly way to die if you already beat the odds and survived an Extinction Level Event.
Get this book if you're a self-proclaimed prepper, or even if you want to be able to live through a temporary local disaster. Save yourself, save your family.
This is quite and exciting mystery and worth your time, if only for the overview of the story. If you haven't read the premise, it's simple: Soviet Students going for an advanced hiking rating by climbing an ominously named peak (translated from Russian as 'Dead Mountain') in 1959. The hikers don't return and the subsequent search party discovered some odd details surrounding their camp site, the disposition of the hiker's bodies, and the paucity of any other evidence. Fast forward some 50 years when American documentary maker stumbles across the story and decides someone needs to investigate; why not him?
The book has two parts written intermittently: the mystery, retold by hikers' journals and those involved with the search, and the author's investigation. The latter concludes with the author's presumptive but somewhat convincing answer to the mystery. Although highly speculative, nothing else seems to make sense. However, there are points the author brings up during his investigation that aren't answered by his theory e.g., radiation found on clothes and exact similar reactions by each hiker to the stated cause.
A great, real-life mystery that may have finally given some closure to the families of the hikers, albeit 50 years after the fact. The narrator, also the author, gets only three stars for performance. Although I prefer non-fiction to be read by the author, it seems like Donnie didn't even bother to take a class on audio book presentation, rather he speaks throughout the book as if he's narrating a animal dissection for high school biology
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