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Mike From Mesa

MikeFromMesa

Member Since 2003

1160
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 125 reviews
  • 202 ratings
  • 1412 titles in library
  • 79 purchased in 2014
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  • FDR

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jean Edward Smith
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (122)

    One of today's premier biographers has written a modern, comprehensive, indeed ultimate book on the epic life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This is a portrait painted in broad strokes and fine details. We see how Roosevelt's restless energy, fierce intellect, personal magnetism, and ability to project effortless grace permitted him to master countless challenges throughout his life.

    Thomas says: "wow-"
    "Interesting but flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mr Smith has written an extremely interesting biography of FDR and, in reading it I have learned things I had not seen in other books. He writes very well and I consider this to be a valuable addition to the other books I have about FDR and the period from 1932 through 1945. I would have liked to have been able to give this book 5 stars but found, to my disappointment, that the book seemed to be missing the objectivity that 60+ years after the events should have imparted. Many events derogatory to FDR were left out and a fair number of statements were made that seem, at best, to be questionable to me.

    Franklin Roosevelt was, in my view, a great President and almost alone among leaders in this country understood the danger posed by Nazi Germany to the Western World and civilization as we in the US understand it. He withstood the waves of isolationism and made plans to help Great Britain when she stood completely alone. This alone, in my view, is enough to elevate him to the status of a great President even without his efforts to overcome the great depression. His stature in history is high enough to acknowledge both his faults and his mistakes. This book rarely mentions either.

    Left undiscussed in this book -

    1) His refusal to help the Hoover administration, in its last days, to ease the suffering of the general public due to the depression. A word from the President elect would have convinced the Democratic majority in Congress to allow passage of relief. This is not even mentioned in the book.

    2) His unwillingness to be honest with the public about the likelihood of war with Germany after 1939. Roosevelt understood that war was coming to the US and did everything he could to help Great Britain within the constraints of the law, but did not try to convince the American public that the war was coming to the US whether we wanted it or not. Leading is what leaders are supposed to do. Roosevelt's efforts to "wage war but not declare war" are covered in detail but no mention is made of the basic dishonesty of knowing war is coming and telling the US that we were going to keep out of it. Each statement that US "boys" were not going to be sent into foreign wars was misleading at best.

    3) His unwillingness to try to help the Jewish refugees about the St Louis when Germany sent it to the US. The ship, packed with Jews, was sent as a propaganda play to prove that nobody wanted Germany's Jews. Roosevelt probably could not have granted them entry to the US due to US entry restrictions but the US had enough influence with Central and South American countries to have gotten them refugee status somewhere. He did nothing to try to get them sanctuary and, although this episode is mentioned in the book, Roosevelt is not taken to task for his failure. All of these poor people were returned to Europe and, with the exception of those granted asylum in the UK, almost all of them died in concentration camps.

    4) There was no discussion about the valid opposition to some of Roosevelt's policies by important politicians in the US. In particular the decision to leave the gold standard and effectively devaluate the dollar and the opposition to the TVA were left completely unmentioned. The people opposing these policies were wrong but they had valid viewpoints and the arguments should have been covered.

    There are other statements in the book that I, personally, found to be questionable. The implication that Roosevelt had a mastery over the communications networks in the country that no other politician since has been able to match left out both John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan each of whom, arguably, was the equal or better of Roosevelt in that regard. The statement that the US Army was "enthusiastic" about running the CCC camps flies in the face of what George Marshall, who had command over part of that effort, had to say about it later. And the statement that Roosevelt would have won the 1932 election even if there had been no depression has no basis in fact that I am aware of.

    None of these issues are serious enough to discredit or even harm this book in any way. The book is first class and is a valuable read but would have been considerably improved, at least in my opinion, by the inclusion of some criticism of FDR beyond his attempts to "pack" the Supreme Count (which is covered in considerable detail). Any book that spends time discussing the flowers at Eleanor Roosevelt's mother's wedding could have included information on these and some other subjects.

    Marc Cashman does a very good job of narration and adds considerably to the book. I recommend this book to anyone interested in FDR's life in spite of the fact that I am only giving it 4 stars.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Charles Spencer
    • Narrated By Tim Bruce
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    January, 1649. After seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain’s history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people.

    Mike From Mesa says: "The Vengeance Of The King"
    "The Vengeance Of The King"
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    It is easiest to think of this book as containing two parts. The first part, an overview of the English Civil War, covers the period from just before the start of the First English Civil War through the Restoration of Charles II and, of necessity, mentions some Royalist and some Parliamentarian victories, the capture, incarceration and trial of the King, the seizure of power by the Army, the formation of the Rump Parliament, the Commonwealth and the Restoration of Charles II after the death of Cromwell. All of this is necessary so as to set the stage for the real tale of this book - the fate of those who most involved with the trial and death of Charles I and especially those whose names were on the King’s Death Warrant and those directly involved with his beheading. Thus this book becomes very personal in regards to what happened to the people referred to as the “Regicides”.

    All Civil Wars are full of tragedies but in this book we see those tragedies through the fates of those most heavily involved in the events, both Royalist and Parliamentarian as well as by those scrambling to save their lives by betraying their friends, colleagues and acquaintances. As an American I was not familiar with most of the names of those involved and worried that I would lose track of who was who, who did what and who fought for which side but Mr Spencer was always prepared to let the reader know who each person was whenever it was necessary. While the book is wonderfully written and filled in a large blank space in my knowledge of English history, some parts of it were difficult to listen to. Many of those involved were Hung, Drawn and Quartered and Mr Spencer is, at times I believe, a bit too complete in his descriptions.

    Some things shine clearly in this book. One was the perfidy of some of the Parliamentarians who backed the war against the King and, when the Commonwealth became unpopular, not only agitated for the Restoration of Charles II, but sat in judgement of those who did their bidding during the war. Another was the willingness of the Army to decide for itself who should and who should not sit in Parliament. And still others were the thirst for revenge by Charles II and the Royalists upon those who they said “murdered” the King, even to the point of tracking them down both in Europe and in the Colonies, the willingness of those in power to violate the law and their promised word concerning amnesty as well as to browbeat those who sat in the Juries judging the defendants and, of course, the shameful tale of Cromwell’s corpse. In the end what sticks in my mind are the small victories of some of the “Regicides” who managed, in the end, to escape the hunters and assassins and those in Switzerland and the American Colonies who ignored the large promised rewards and helped to protect the fugitives, many of whom were, after all, only guilty of following Parliament’s orders. If you are a fan of Oliver Cromwell this book may not be to your liking.

    Mr Spencer has written a very good book which will stick with me for a long time and my view of the entire English Civil War, Commonwealth and Restoration has changed due to the excellent writing and splendid narration of Tim Bruce. If you are interested in British history this book is a welcome addition to that subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Cut: A Brit in the FBI, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Catherine Coulter, J. T. Ellison
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman, MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (396)

    Scotland Yard’s new chief inspector Nicholas Drummond is on the first flight to New York when he learns his colleague, Elaine York, the "minder" of the Crown Jewels for the "Jewel of the Lion" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was found murdered. Then the centerpiece of the exhibit, the infamous Koh-i-Noor Diamond, is stolen from the Queen Mother’s crown. Drummond, American-born but raised in the UK, is a dark, dangerous, fast-rising star in the Yard who never backs down. And this case is no exception.

    Ronda says: "A very good beginning for a new series!"
    "Yawn ..."
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    Story

    I don’t know precisely what I expected when I bought this book - perhaps the story of an investigation involving different approaches with the British and American methods at odds creating some tension, perhaps conflict between the supervisory government branches of the FBI and Scotland Yard, perhaps something else. What I did not expect is what I got. One dimensional characters who belong in comic books, not in written novels.

    We are asked to believe a lot in this book. We have a Scotland Yard investigator who ignores the orders of his superiors with impunity, who has logical and investigative leaps that would make Sherlock Holmes look like a beginner and who apparently can read minds, an FBI agent who can look at a room after a crime has been committed and know what happened and how the crime took place and various other assorted investigators who can break into secure computer facilities without any trouble, sophisticated criminals who don’t bother to secure their computer information and miraculous escapes from bullets, explosions and the like. It is a wonder that, with all of the talents of the investigators in this book, the crime was not solved by the third paragraph.

    This story might make a good comic book or, as I believe they are now called, a decent graphic novel, but I cannot recommend it as a serious or even light criminal novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Book of Souls

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Glenn Cooper
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (552)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (245)

    Former FBI Special Agent Will Piper solved and survived the "Doomsday Killer" case, and his reward was a forced early retirement. But the shattering truths he learned about the government's most covert operations won't let him rest and now he's on the trail of a mysterious volume that's been lost for six centuries.

    Brian says: "Must Read!"
    "Interesting concept, but a warning ..."
    Overall
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    Story

    I picked this book up as a Daily Deal and found, much to my surprise, that there was an interesting plot with good writing and very well done narration. Ex-FBI agent must find the history of a mysterious book by following clues hidden in a mysterious poem. It might sound familiar, but what make this plot different are what the mysterious book is, when it was written, what information it contains and how that information could possibly have been known when the book was written. That is what makes the plot both intriguing and worth following.

    The writing is quite good and the plot (or at least the object for the search) is unique and about a quarter of the way through I was interested enough to look up other books by this author thinking that they might also be entertaining light reading. My first disappointment was finding that this is actually the second book in a series (the first, on Audible, is Secret Of The Seventh Son), although it is not marked as such on Audible, and the entire plot of the previous book is described as the characters in this book go through the process of finding the information they are seeking. Once you have read this book you will almost certainly have no interest in the previous book since all of the mystery will be gone. And, because finding the secret is the core of interest my feeling is that the previous book would have been more interesting than this one.

    The second disappointment is that the main character, a seasoned, although retired, FBI agent, suddenly starts doing stupid things. While I do not wish to give any of the plot away it seems clear that an ex-FBI agent should know better than to talk on open phones when he believes that he is being followed by government agents who will do anything to stop him. It could not have been more odd if he had hung signs in the windows saying what he just found and what he was going to do next. The concept was so strange that I really lost interest from the second or third (of tenth) time he acted like a naive civilian.

    Still, the plot is unique (or, at least, unique-ish) because of the contents of the book, the writing is good and the narration is first class. Still, had I the chance to do it over again, I would have read the first book in the series first since the telling of the events of the first book in the second lets some of the air out of the suspense.

    So, a decent read with those two caveats.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Trafalgar Gambit: Ark Royal, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (280)
    Performance
    (263)
    Story
    (264)

    Humanity is losing the war. The once-mighty space navies have been crippled, officers and crew have been stretched to the limit and Earth herself has come under heavy attack. The end cannot be long delayed. For Admiral Smith and the crew of HMS Ark Royal, the stakes have never been so high. The one hope is to make contact with alien factions that might oppose the war.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable trilogy"
    "Great end to a great book."
    Overall
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    Story

    When I reviewed the first book in this series I said that I wondered why I enjoyed it so much and decided that it was because of the wonderful character development along with an interesting and believable storyline. The second book in the series introduced new characters but the essential “whole-ness” of the story and of the characters remained with the new characters integrating seamlessly into the narrative and with one of them becoming a new main character. As with the first two books most of the story was character development and storyline, not battles.

    The last book in the series picks up at the cliff-hanger of the end of the second book and is fully the equal of the other two books in the series in all of those particulars that made the first two books such a great pleasure to listen to. The characters are three dimensional and real, the story introduces us to the aliens and to their society as well as to some of the seamier side of humanity, all of the events that occur are reasonable and I found the story so enjoyable that I was reluctant to listen to too much at a time because I did not want to reach the end.

    I have listened to quite a few first and second books in a series in this genre but few have been as interesting and none has enticed me into the story as much as this one. Somewhere after the finishing the second book in the series I started to look for other books by the same author feeling that if he could do this well with this series perhaps another series by him would be well worth listening to. I loved this trilogy and I ended up caring about the people, glad for their triumphs and sorry for their failures. The characters and society of the book are British with all of the traditions of the Royal Navy and, for me, that just added to the overall flavor and taste of the book.

    All three books were narrated by Ralph Lister who did a consistently good job. Names and pronunciations were constant throughout all three books which added to the pleasure of listening. Highly recommended for anyone interested in stories of first contact, human and alien understanding and misunderstanding and of the unfortunate results of mistaken actions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • George Marshall: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Debi Unger, Irwin Unger
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    A major historical biography of George C. Marshall - the general who ran the U.S. campaign during the Second World War, the Secretary of State who oversaw the successful rebuilding of post-war Europe, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - and the first to offer a complete picture of his life.

    Jean says: "Disappointing"
    "Adequate but not inspired."
    Overall
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    George Marshall, as Chief Of Staff of the US Army during World War 2, was central to the planning, coordination and scheduling of the activities of not only the US military but also, in coordination with the British General Staff, to that of the British and, having read a great deal on the war, I was interested in knowing more about both him and his actions prior to, during and after the war. In particular I was interested in knowing how he, a relatively little known officer in the early 1930s, came to be picked as Army Chief Of Staff over his colleagues, more information about his reputed “little black book” listing the names of those officers he thought both competent and incompetent, his relationship with the British Army General Staff and the Russian political leadership and his actions as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense after the war. Having read a great deal on the war itself I was familiar with most of his actions during the war and was thus more interested in the periods immediately preceding and following the war.

    General Marshall’s life and early military career are covered, although not in much detail. Marshall’s life was full considering his rise through the military, his actions to prepare the US for the war, his actives during the war and his public life after the war and this book, at only 15 1/2 hours, is really too short to give much detail. Eisenhower’s recent biography is more than 28 hours, McArthur’s more than 31 hours, William Manchester’s 3 volume Churchill biography is more than 130 hours and FDR’s is more than 32 hours. By comparison this is a short biography and so can not cover much in detail.

    In particular I was disappointed in the book's coverage of the period prior to US entry into the war since it did not go into much detail and I did not get most of my questions answered. The book is more complete in its coverage of General Marshall’s actions during the war and very informative about his actions as Secretary of State and of Defense and gives a great deal of information on his thoughts and actions during the Berlin Airlift, the declaration of independence of Israel, the start of the Korean War and other important events.

    Although some of the details in the book are inaccurate or, at least, misleading (General McArthur was ordered out of the Philippines by the President, he did not “abandon” his men, Hitler had no treaty obligation to declare war on the US after Pearl Harbor and I have never seen any other author speak of the French Foreign Legion soldiers as being 2nd or 3rd class troops. John Keegan, in his book on World War 2, refers to them as some of the few first class troops in the Western armies.) I generally found the book to be interesting, if a bit short of detail. Some parts, like the discussions of his family and life long friends, were reasonably complete. Other parts, like his rise through the officer ranks, his interactions with those he later appointed to high position and why he rose in rank so quickly in the late 1930s left a great deal to be desired.

    So, in general, I found the coverage of the book to be spotty. Marshall’s early Army life is not covered in much detail, there is a great deal of detail about his participation in World War 2, but that coverage is mostly duplicated in any book covering US participation in the war and his time serving as Secretary of State and, later, of Defense, covers his participation in highly public events and was very informative. Johnny Heller’s narration is adequate although his gravelly voice is, at times, a bit annoying. On the whole 3.5 stars.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Roman Hat Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ellery Queen
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    Despite the dismal Broadway season, Gunplay continues to draw crowds. A gangland spectacle, it's packed to the gills with action, explosions, and gunfire. In fact, Gunplay is so loud that no one notices the killing of Monte Field. In a sold-out theater, Field is found dead partway through the second act, surrounded by empty seats. The police hold the crowd and call for the one man who can untangle this daring murder: Inspector Richard Queen.

    Kathi says: "Wonderful "logic puzzle"--great listen, great fun!"
    "An old fashioned whodunit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this based on my fond memories of the Ellery Queen mysteries on TV. I always thought they were intelligently written, reasonably well scripted and smartly done and hoped that the books would be the same.

    There were two things that struck me about this book in particular. One was that the language and social attitudes were very dated with both words and ideas that are now considered at the very least archaic if not something worse. The second is that the mystery itself was as well constructed as I remembered the TV shows to be with all of the needed hints provided along with a lot of red herrings. All in all it was fun although at times a bit tiring trying to deal with the old language.

    While I was able to guess what was going on and who, in general, was the villain, the mystery was deep enough to make me stop and think about who it might be for some time before I came to a reasonable conclusion.

    The book is well read and I enjoyed it, but I do not believe I will buy any more. One was enough to satisfy my curiosity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs)
    • By Rick Perlstein
    • Narrated By David de Vries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    In January of 1973 Richard Nixon announced the end of the Vietnam War and prepared for a triumphant second term - until televised Watergate hearings revealed his White House as little better than a mafia den. The next president declared upon Nixon’s resignation “our long national nightmare is over” - but then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government rendered moot the sacrifice of some 58,000 American lives.

    Tad Davis says: "Brilliant"
    "Don't expect balance"
    Overall
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    Although I read a lot of histories I try to not read anything written by someone who is highly political unless I believe that sufficient time has passed to allow passions to cool so that I can get a reasonable view of the events and the reasons for those events. So, although I knew Mr Perlstein was, as one article said, A Man Of The Left, I decided that the 40 or so years that had passed since the events covered by his book was surely enough that I would not be reading some political screed or hit book. Shame on me for making that assumption.

    I was both an adult and paying attention during the 1970s and it became clear to me fairly quickly that Mr Perlstein’s views of this period were highly partisan and the world he described seemed to quiver with the highly charged emotions of the period in spite of the passage of years.

    In the author’s view:

    1) those captured POWs who tried to prevent their use by the North Vietnamese for propaganda and chose to resist the torture they suffered are referred to with the derogatory term “spit and polish” soldiers. Among others this apparently includes John McCain who was tortured so badly that he can no longer raise his arms above his head,

    2) Richard Nixon had no right to try to manage the optics of the POW’s return. This seems like an odd view since all modern Presidents try to control the optics of everything surrounding their term in office,

    3) parents who are concerned about what their children are taught in Public Schools are fit subjects to be mocked. In the author’s view parent’s religious views are worthy of derision,

    4) Ronald Reagan, who grew up with an alcoholic father, but managed to survive the experience and form a positive view of the world needed a psychiatrist to convince him how wrong he was in that view. In my experience children who survive that sort of childhood and have learned to be positive are called optimists and are to be admired, not mocked with the phrase “everything always works out in the end - gloriously”. Indeed, that phrase is used throughout the book as the author’s signature comment concerning Ronald Reagan.

    These are but a few examples of the world view of this book and I could, but will not, list more but will only say that I found this book to be so partisan that I was only able to finish the first half. I had come across so many snide comments, half-truths and twisted facts that I was no longer able to continue trying to get through it. However, in fairness, I should mention that part of this book covers the entire Watergate scandal from its first notice in the news to the resignation of Richard Nixon and that coverage was complete and engrossing. It seems a shame that Mr Perlstein was unable to disassociate his dislike of Ronald Reagan from his writing of this book and description of the events leading to the fall of Richard Nixon and the rise of Ronald Reagan.

    The book is well narrated but even Mr de Vries cannot rescue this book. While I gave the narration 5 stars the best I felt I could rate this book was 3 stars, given its extreme partisanship. If you believe that Ronald Reagan was duplicitous, untrustworthy and an empty suit and that the 60% of the voting population that gave him their vote for his second term were made up of ignorant and bigoted people, then this is your book. Otherwise, not so much.





    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Ark Royal

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (916)
    Performance
    (852)
    Story
    (858)

    Seventy years ago, the interstellar supercarrier Ark Royal was the pride of the Royal Navy. But now, her weapons are outdated and her solid-state armour nothing more than a burden on her colossal hull. She floats in permanent orbit near Earth, a dumping ground for the officers and crew the Royal Navy wishes to keep out of the public eye. But when a deadly alien threat appears, the modern starships built by humanity are no match for the powerful alien weapons.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Riveting military sci-fi"
    "Real human beings in space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I finished this book I wondered why I enjoyed it so much. There are none of those common sci-fi gimmicks - no time travel, no super heros, no mind control, no super computers bent on wrecking havoc on the world. Instead what we have is a group of normal men and women assigned to an aging and obsolescent space ship who are thrust into the breach to try to hit back at an alien invasion. All of the characters are flawed in one way or another, one an alcoholic old Captain, one a promotion seeking aristocrat, one a reserve flying office with a dysfunctional family and so on. Basically a cross-section of humanity - real people with real problems.

    And that seems to be the key to what makes this book so engrossing. The character development in this book is just wonderful. All of the characters are fighting their own real-life demons and trying to function as a crew, trying to devise a strategy to defeat the aliens or, at least, to come home alive. This story, of people and how they are dealing with life and death decisions, makes this book so engrossing that when I finished I regretted that I did not already have the second volume to continue the story.

    The author is British, the ship and crew are British, as is the narrator and his performance is the only issue I had with this book. While the narrator’s voice is relatively easy to understand he has a tendency to raise and lower his speaking voice enough that I found the volume had to be relatively high to hear parts of the book while other parts, sometimes only separated by a couple of seconds, were then too loud to hear comfortably without the volume being turned back down. So, great book, good, but not great, narration. Now, on to part 2 …

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Half Past Midnight

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jeff Brackett
    • Narrated By Corey M. Snow
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (136)

    The Doomsday Clock gauges the threat of nuclear war. Currently, the clock is set at six minutes before midnight. What happens after the hands reach midnight? Survivalist Leeland Dawcett finds out when he and his family are plunged into the nightmare of their country returned to a third-world state. No phones. No computers. No television. At first, Leeland thinks basic survival is the answer. Until he crosses the path of the wrong guy…Someone who wants to do more than just survive...

    Teresa says: "Excellent book about Surviving an Apocalypse"
    "Yawn."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book had all of the elements of a good yarn. An “end of the world as we know it” nuclear war, good guys, bad guys and the struggle to survive the horror. It should have been a good listening experience but somehow fell through badly enough that I had to struggle to finish the book.

    Perhaps I have read too many of this kind of book and have become jaded, but I just never really cared about the characters or what happened to them. In addition the story line was fairly predictable with the main bad guy showing up early in the story and the reader knowing, without any doubt, that he was going to be trouble for the main characters in the end. I never got the feeling that the main character was real, that his family was real or that any of the situations were real. When thinking about “end of the world” novels I usually end up comparing them to wonderful books like Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer and William Forstchen’s One Second After and, for me, this book just did not measure up.

    The narration was mostly flat but not terrible, but Mr Snow did not have a great story to work with. All in all, a disappointment for me.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (74)

    At the center of the debate over American intervention in World War II stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America's isolationists emerged as the president's most formidable adversary. Their contest of wills personified the divisions within the country at large, and Lynne Olson makes masterly use of their dramatic personal stories to create a poignant and riveting narrative.

    C. Telfair says: "Incivility in Politics - A Real Shocker!"
    "US prelude to World War II"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lynne Olson has given us a very interesting and comprehensive study of the political “conversation” that went on in the US in the last couple of years prior to America’s entry into World War II. Her book takes us behind both the scenes and the public face of the organizations involved in trying to influence political opinion and decisions in the US and the story has all of the interest of current events. The main characters in the story are not only the high political figures in the US, Britain and Germany but also important figures in the US and foreign military, the US press and the general public. She describes in great detail the efforts both to drag the US into the war and the efforts of those opposed, not only to US entry into the war, but also to US help for Britain prior to Pearl Harbor.

    The current myth concerning the run-up to the entry of the US into World War II is that Franklin Roosevelt led the US into understanding the need to help the British and his leadership in providing that help. Ms Olsons books shows a very different President - one extremely reluctant to get ahead of public opinion, making promises about help and then doing nothing to implement those promises, telling people he would do one thing and then changing his mind and always, always looking at the public polls before taking any actions. This book shows a President being dragged into providing help by the public which was always far ahead of him. This is not a new view of the pre-war years and Joseph Lash, in his 1975 book Roosevelt and Churchill, made the same point. But it is a point worth repeating because the facts belie the myth. This is not an anti-Roosevelt book and Ms Olson is anything but a conservative author but this book will be uncomfortable for some readers.

    The tableau that the book covers include many of those involved in the “conversation” - Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harold Ickes, Burton Wheeler, Hamilton Fish, Gerald Nye, John McCormick, Frank Knox, Henry Stimson, George Marshall, Hap Arnold, Lord Lothian, Albert Wedemeyer, Joachim von Ribbentrop, J Edgar Hoover, William Donovan, William Stevenson, Charles Lindbergh and many others - and the story of their efforts to draw the US into the war, keep the US out of the war or try to straddle a middle course during the turbulent times, forms the core of the book and thus provides an extraordinarily helpful addition to understanding the period prior to US entry into the war. While there may not be much that is new here, the book is unique in that its subject is not the war nor the efforts to provide help to the allies, but rather the political and social arguments that took place leading up to the war that ended up providing that help. In that, this book provides a great service to understanding the period and hence the decisions.

    The book also serves to dispel other existing myths. America First was founded by young student leftists, not by conservative politicians. Lindbergh was against US entry into the war because he believed we were unprepared, would likely be defeated and would lose our liberties at home. He was not a Nazi sympathizer nor did he want them to win. General Wedemeyer was not the officer who leaked the Victory Program papers to the Senate isolationist. And others.

    Robert Fass’ narration is well done, although a bit show, and I did not hear any production problems with the recording. I did, however, have to play the book at 1.25 x speed to avoid the slow pace of speech. Once that was done the book flowed well with no problems.

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