Any attention to new evidence and commentary that has come forth in the past 40 odd years would at least have improved Mr. Guinn's credibility with those of us who actually follow this case. When you start a book that states Charles Manson never did a good thing in his life, you know you are about to read a very single dimensional view on a subject. How good a writer or researcher does one have to be to demonize Charles Manson after all?
What annoyed me a lot was Guinn's persistent reference to Manson being a talentless singer and song writer. We HAVE songs and performances by Manson as handy as YouTube. He was a good singer and an interesting song writer. He was certainly as good or better than many professionals making a fortune in the recording industry at that time. All you have to do is listen to these recordings to see that what Bugliosi claimed and Guinn now reiterates lacks foundation in fact.
Mark Lindsay (singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders and Melcher's business partner in 1969) told Ugly Thing magazine in the winter issue 2011 that he and Terry Melcher firmly intended to produce Manson's records and that Manson had every reason to know this. Manson and "the family" were at Melcher's beach house on August 6, 1969 at a large party. They all knew perfectly well where Melcher lived and that he had moved from the 10050 Cielo Drive address.
I didn't go out of my way to find this information. Why didn't Guinn come across it in his research? My conclusion is that it did not fit into his agenda for his book. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson is not a real biography. It is an editorial to sell a mythology that has been eroding every year since Bugliosi made his case.
I'm not claiming that Charles Manson is a great guy. I'm saying that this case was wrongly prosecuted. Many facts were withheld to protect the guilty. The Tate/Labianca murders were murders for hire and Charles Manson himself was no more the ringleader of these crimes than Richard Nixon was.
Anyone researching the Tate and Labinaca murders today CANNOT avoid the statements and testimonies that bear these possibilities. To write a book like this and ignore their existence tells every reader that this author's agenda is not to take a modern look at the case but to sell the same implausible story that was sold to a jury 44 years ago.
The Autobiography of Mark Twain vol. 2
No. I have never to my knowledge heard Mr. Frangione's narration before. I thought he did as good a job as he could have with the material.
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson did clear up the Bugliosi myth of "No Name" Manson. Manson's mother was married at the time of his birth and he was born conventionally and named: Charles Milles Manson, after his grandfather Charles Milles, on his birth certificate.
The book also identified Colonel Scott as Manson's biological father. Unfortunately no interviews with surviving Scott family were included here. The memoirs of Manson's family members, who certainly have much to be bitter about, showed only that side of the story. The idea that Manson was a spoiled child when in fact his mother and uncle were in prison for robbery and his grandparents were unrealistically religious needs further explanation and collaboration than Mr. Guinn offers here.
The so-called Manson Family was a loose knit group of kids who came and went. Guinn, with no verification at all, tries to make "The Family" appear to be a card-carrying organization in which members were selected and rejected according to their usefulness to Manson. Perhaps there were people who did not fit in for whom it seemed that way. Guinn uses only their testimony.
I'm not apologizing for a murderer. I'm questioning whether the man actually did the crimes for which he has been serving time for nearly half a century. There IS evidence that something else was going on which the State of California did not choose to bring forward at trial.
BETTER books on this subject are: Charles Manson Now by Marlin Marynick, The Manson File by Nikolas Shreck and The Myth of Helter Skelter by Susan Atkins Whitehouse. There is also much new information in the film Six Degrees of Helter Skelter which apparently Mr. Guinn has not seen and completely ignores. Anyone who believes his book under discussion is "well-researched" apparently doesn't know what research requires. Talking to a couple of old ladies does not cover it.
The idea that Charles "Tex" Watson, whom even Mr. Guinn identifies as an intermittent "family" acquaintance, was taking order from Charles Manson would be funny if the myth had not been perpetuated for so many years.
No. I bought this book on Whispersync and read it in both formats. Frankly I found Mr. Woody's use of cartoon voices annoying. He's very good at them but this is not a funny book. Making the author of the book who was also the prosecutor in the case sound like Casper the Friendly Ghost was I thought way over the top. I have no problem with suggesting colloquial accents but there are many places where I couldn't understand what the narrator was saying at all. I had to go back to the Kindle version to determine what was going on.
I live locally to the areas mentioned and was completely caught up in the theory that Lenny Paradiso was a serial killer. I accepted it pretty quickly because of the narrative descriptions of the crimes. Only after I'd finished the book and started to research the case personally did I discover that this entire theory is VERY controversial in Boston. I guess there is not much doubt that Paradiso raped Connie Porter. There is a great deal of question however on the streets of Boston about his being the perpetrator in the Iannuzzi homicide and there is no proof or probability that he had anything to do with the disappearance of Joan Webster.
That Mr. Burke makes no mention of the fact that both George and Terry Webster worked in the intelligence community and that their daughter's murder may stem from a much more complex and sinister motive. Many people I've talked to in Revere Massachusetts think that Mr. Burke, knowingly or not, was engaged in a cover-up regarding what really happened to Joan Webster. Framing Paradiso for the Iannuzzi murder and then laying nearly every unsolved homicide of a woman in Boston at his door including and most significantly the Webster homicide is not justice if it isn't true. No one I talked to thinks Lenny Paradiso is a "good guy." He's a scam artist and rapist. If he's just being used to stop the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Joan Webster, I'm afraid it's not going to work over the long run. There are a lot of Bostonians completely dissatisfied with Mr. Burke's theory.
As I said, Mr. Woody has an entire arsenal of character voices from President Richard Nixon (defense attorney Rappaport) to Marge Simpson (Candace Weyant). I found these voices in a very serious crime analysis distracting. This is a chilling book. Mr. Woody's narration undermines this fact considerably.
I couldn't put it down. When I wasn't listening to it I continued reading it on Kindle. I finished it in less than two days.
Sure, but Jason Sullivan has to do research when he reads a book the subject of which he knows nothing about. There have to be conservatively 12 documentaries about organized crime and Las Vegas he could watch to get the right pronunciation of proper names.
Mr. Moe could eliminate all his sarcasm with benefit. It is not especially amusing to the reader and serves mainly to undermine the journalistic integrity of his prose. I would also like to see a source bibliography. For example Al Moe appears to take it for granted that the urban legend that Joseph Kennedy was a "bootlegger" has substance. Kennedy passed the senate Republicans vetting exam twice when he became Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and again when he became Ambassador to Great Britain. There is no way those Republicans would have signed off on him had there been even a suggestion that he was involved in the manufacturing or distribution of illegal alcohol during prohibition. Where does Mr. Moe verify his statements and how does he think Kennedy got around those Republican senators? THAT would be a story!
I learned a lot about the history of Ben Binion and his criminal associates. This is also the first time I learned how ineffective Howard Hughes was in rebuilding Las Vegas.
Mr. Sullivan has a pleasant enough voice and is a good reader. Unfortunately he apparently believes he can get away with guessing at the pronunciations. Kefauver is pronounced KEEF-offer, NOT kifever. Meyer Lansky's first name is pronounced MY-yor NOT Mayor. Raymond Patriarca's last name is pronounced Pat-ri-AR-ka, NOT Patricka. The mispronunciation of Kefauver made me cringe every time he did it and he did it a lot.
Hopefully it does not. Only time can tell us this.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It fit in well with other books I've read about these people.
Beyond Capote's light yet vivid scenes and characters, Hall's narration adds a sense of mystery and longing completely appropriate to the theme of the story.
The narrator's initial meeting with OJ Berman in Holly's living room is not what the listener expects and therefore very amusing and beautifully described.
I'm familiar with Mr. Hall's work on the TV show, Dexter, the primary reason I got this audio book. I've read the book at least twice before and was just curious to see what Hall would do with it. Breakfast at Tiffany's was in my view an unusual choice for Mr. Hall to read. Frankly I was blown away by it. I was aware of the charisma in Hall's voice from his TV work. Add to that Capote's exquisite description and characterizations and this was my treat for last week. I will listen to this again.
Never love a wild thing.
I hope Mr. Hall will have time in his schedule to read more books. Rest assured I'll be listening to them.
It seems as though Kent Hartman learned to write by composing blurbs for paperbacks. His alliterative metaphors double up on each other. This "look at me" style of writing is really annoying especially when you hear it read aloud. Just one typical example, he refers to Phil Spector as "The elfin emperor." Perhaps that doesn't sound like a big deal but four or five of these things per page it really begins to grate on the listener after a while.
Starting a book about several disparate people describing events that seemed important to them was I though very hokey and not at all enlightening: Hal Blaine caught in a circus fire, Glenn Campbell getting a whipping... come on!
The other thing is when you're writing a book about musicians who do you imagine is going to buy it and read it? People who are very interested in music and how musicians develop their chops, that's who and that's what they want to know. Most of us who read these books have inadvertently done as much research on this subject as the author has. Therefore we expect the author to know that Bertha Spector until the day she died referred to her son by his REAL name, Harvey, NEVER as Phil. If I know that and Mr. Hartman doesn't, what else did he get wrong? My guess is plenty.
So much is glossed over. He tells a very interesting story about how Don Peake conned his way into an important gig by being able to play Be Bop A Lula, one of three songs he knew on guitar. The thing is, after it was discovered that he really couldn't play guitar, he was kept on and the other band members PAID FOR HIS GUITAR LESSONS! Hartman acts as though this is typical musician behavior. It is not. Why did they do this for Peake? This is the story we'd like to know and he writes as though it was self-explanatory. There are many of these instances in this book.
As far as I know The Wrecking Crew is the only book Kent Hartman has ever written.
I thought the tragic story of Jim Gordon was well-told and of great interest.
I thought the angst of the Monkeys, the Byrds, etc not being allowed to play their own instruments on recordings attributed to them was interesting and ironic. They were getting paid, weren't they? Would they rather drive a taxi?
Mr. Hartman seems to think that fans were fooled by these prefabricated groups. We were not. One of the most impressive things about the Beatles was that they played their own instruments. We were used to "singing" groups and the Beach Boys, for example, was a singing group. When they became competitive with the Beatles and started claiming they too played their own instruments, they fooled no one. Many of us knew the names, Glenn Campbell, Hal Blaine, Barney Kessel, James Burton etc. If they were a 'secret,' they were a poorly kept secret.
There is much that is interesting in The Wrecking Crew. There is a continent of information however that is glossed over and left out. The evolution of Barney Kessel is never described nor his mentoring of young Phil Spector. Mac Rebennack I don't think is mentioned once. Leon Russell is glossed over. James Burton, Nino Tempo are footnotes. Much more could be written on this subject in greater detail.
The Swamp Birds are never mentioned as such. Steve Cropper and Duane Allman are name drops.
More in-depth Audible books on this subject are, Mick Brown's Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Tommy James and Martin Fitzpatrick's Me, The Mob and the Music, Life by Keith Richards, and Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce.
I'd highly recommend The Moon and Sixpence to anyone, particularly those struggling with the dichotomy between great art produced by a less-than-great human being.
Maugham uses a journalistic tone in The Moon and Sixpence to create the idea that the story happened to him just as he tells it. It is not only beautifully written but very convincing. If I didn't know that the story was based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin and that Maugham did not actually know the artist, I'd believe this is a true story.
My favorite scene was probably Maugham's confrontation with Strickland in his rundown Paris hotel. Maugham goes there full of preconceived notions about what Strickland is doing and finds that not one of them is true. The reality is much worse!
There are so many great scenes, when Stroeve does his utmost to convince his wife to allow him to bring the deathly ill Strickland home to their house. The death of Blanche Stroeve is another powerful scene. The scene when the landlady convinces Strickland to take a native wife. The description by the doctor of Strickland's destroyed masterpiece on the walls of his death hut. And the last scene when Mrs. Strickland and her children discuss the responsibilities of being related to a genius. Very ironic.
Why fool with the title of a masterpiece?
Robert Hardy does a SPECTACULAR job on bringing this powerful and thought provoking novel to life. His characterizations are masterful.
Beautifully and evocatively written, this is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and her family. It is told through the eyes of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. King Henry appears to be a narcissistic psychopath, a problem if not caused by, certainly exacerbated by his lofty all-powerful political position.
Cromwell, on the other hand, is perfectly aware that what he is doing on the King's behalf is morally and legally wrong. He is simply doing his best to avoid being executed himself. If he takes a deadly revenge for verbal slights along the way he pretends not to enjoy it. At the beginning of this novel, Thomas Moore and Cardinal Wolsey, intimate advisers to the King, have already been publicly humiliated and executed. There is no benefit that would allow a shrewd person to get close to this monarch. He is dangerously paranoid and kills everyone he loves.
I'd particularly recommend this book to people who think capital punishment is a valid legal exercise and that public shaming serves some useful purpose. At one point Cromwell is asked by his son if he believes the queen and her "lovers" are guilty. He says, "They're guilty but not as charged." I have to wonder if, even in our own day, people are wrongfully convicted of crimes and even executed just to get them out of the way.
This is a book teeming with great characters. Nonetheless I became most interested in Thomas Cromwell the protagonist. His thinking is obtuse. His decisions as sly at Machiavelli's. His ability to see three moves ahead in this dangerous and hypocritical court lifestyle raised him from a blacksmith's abused son to The Earle of Essex.
I have and Simon Vance is one of the finest readers of audio books we have currently. His work is consistently engaging and well-researched. His pronunciation is nearly flawless.
Honestly I'd be apprehensive about getting close to anyone in this scenario. I don't think my life would be worth the price of the dinner. That said I'd probably enjoy a conversation with the Princess Elizabeth even at her young age in this story. She was the one who survived and to some extent lifted England out of the depression of these dark days. She did not survive because she had so many supporters. She survived because she knew when to hold back and when to push forward.
Beautifully written, suspenseful, loaded with both physical and mental action. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this.
This is a very silly and improbable thriller that makes itself absurd by repeatedly going off on pseudo philosophical tangents. Travis McGee is a large, sentimental, narcissistic, violent, sociopath who makes one poor decision after another but still manages to spin things in his mind so he feels like he's "helped" someone. If he would just LISTEN to people in the first place instead of trying to manipulate them to do what HE thinks they should do, he might be of some benefit instead of getting them all killed.His attitude about women is hilarious. Of course every woman who meets him aggressively wants to take him to bed at least to hear him tell it. He on the other hand is very judgmental. Oh he takes advantage of casual encounters one after the other, but he's bound to make some eviscerating comment about her low self esteem or her intelligence after he's thoroughly used her for everything she's got. There is one term that sums this guy up and it is a crude allusion to a bodily orifice.
If the story was better plotted and the characters less stereotypical it would be a better book.
That said I disliked McGee from the beginning. His friend Sam Taggart calls to say he's in trouble and needs help. McGee changes the subject and gets him talking about a love affair Taggart skipped out on three years before. Clearly McGee himself had designs on Taggart's ex and lays this absurd guilt trip which Taggart falls right into. McGee goes to the woman in the case, takes her to dinner and gets her all worked up about seeing her old beau again. They go over to the motel Taggart is staying in only to find him knifed to death. At that point both McGee and the woman, a boutique owner, swear to avenge their fallen lover and comrade. Irresponsibly McGee takes this woman to Mexico on a search for Aztec gold which apparently got Taggart killed, and McGee gets her killed too!
Over the course of this story McGee beats and tortures three women (all of whom want to sleep with him afterwards), kills a dog, and an elderly (albeit scummy) TV producer. McGee's behavior is the cause of at least ten violent deaths in this book alone. In the long run however McGee determines his friend Taggart thoroughly deserved to be knifed and the people who actually did it are allowed to walk away.
The main thing I think John D. MacDonald could do to improve his work is to see a psychiatrist.
Petkoff was the reason I kept listening to this book. His voices are terrific. I particularly liked the Boston art expert who appeared twice while McGee negotiated his blood money.
I would probably watch it on Netfix. I would not pay to see this story dramatized in a theater. It is quite funny in the fact that it takes itself so seriously.
I doubt I will read anymore of this series. These books came highly recommended by people whose intelligence I previously took as a given. I am reassessing this point. I am a long-time lover of Ian Fleming's novels and have also read all of Micky Spillane's work. At one point in this book McGee has the temerity to comment "It's easy for Mike Hammer." Well, Travis, in every Spillane book Mike Hammer is beaten to a bloody pulp. In your story you sprained your wrist. I'd say it was easy for you.
The most exciting element to Mr. Pynchon's work is always his insights:
"Those who repeat 'Ground Zero' over and over do so without shame or concern for etymology." (He explains what he means here.)
"Look at them. An army of the clueless who think they own 11 September. Hey, why shouldn't they? They bought it from you. We all did."
"These are people who believe the Invisible Hand of the Market runs everything. They fight holy wars against competing religions like Marxism. Against all evidence that the world is finite, this blind faith that resources will never run out, profits will go on increasing forever, just like the world's population--more cheap labor, more addicted consumers."
With Bleeding Edge I used, and strongly suggest, the Whispersync option
Pynchon takes rumor, speculation, news and commentary around the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks in New York City, adds humor and irony and comes out with the first important book on the subject by anyone. As he put it: "Paranoia is the garlic in life's kitchen. You can never have too much."
Almost anyone. The idea of listening to a 477 page novel read by someone who sounds like Truman Capote is taking a joke much too far.
This is a Pynchon novel. All his characters are memorable. Maxine Tarnow is in many respects Oedipa Maas from The Crying of Lot 49 all grown up. She ran a private fraud investigation company in Manhattan in the summer of 2001. Her spook contact, Nicholas Windust, ties fraud to international espionage. Marvin is her Rastafarian bike messenger who brings things Maxine never ordered but soon badly needs. March Kelleher is Maxine's best friend since childhood and mother-in-law to the illusive Gabriel Ice, former high school nerd now CEO of hashslingerz, a computer security firm that is accessing the information they are paid to keep secret. DeepArcher, the evolving open-source website and Misha and Grisha ubiquitous Russian twins. I haven't scratched the surface of the characters in Bleeding Edge.
Bleeding Edge is the first serious, sarcastic, ironic, completely unsentimental examination of the 9/11 attacks, the events prior to and the ramifications of, by an American author. At this writing perhaps I should say THE American author.
When I first heard of Amanda Knox or Foxy Knoxy, the name that stuck in my mind and the collective consciousness of the world, I thought she must be a type of female Charles Manson. I've read a lot about this type of criminal personality and I have to say from the beginning something didn't seem right. There have been such women, Judith Ann Neelley for example. But they are abused and neglected children whose criminal behavior starts early and goes from bad to worse culminating in murder. The ideas that Amanda Knox, a college exchange student, one evening, fueled by marijuana (a substance the effects of which I have a more than a passing familiarity) got a couple of guys together and murdered her roommate for a sexual thrill simply did not ring true. The drug was wrong, the perpetrator's background was entirely wrong. But why would Italy, a modern nation and the cradle of Euro/American civilization railroad a young American woman for a brutal crime? Amanda Knox's book is the eleventh book I've read on this case and the answer to that question is still speculative.
I've waited six years to hear Amanda Knox tell her story and she certainly does here in harrowing detail. She is brutally honest and self-critical about her early behavior in Europe. That said, she was a much better behaved young adult than I ever was. There but for fortune... Her analysis of her ordeal in the questura which produced her false confession and named her former employer as the murderer is so vivid and so carefully thought through it was easy for me to understand what was done to her. Her short-lived but dramatic relationship with Raphaele Sollecito, her co-defendant, is carefully explained and detailed. Knox is a journalist in the sense that, like Anaïs Nin, she keeps journals, so the specifics of her experiences is much more vivid than most other memoirs I've read. Her recap of the three years and eleven months almost to the day she spent in Capanne Prison, her contemplation of suicide, her efforts to keep herself busy and sane, those who intimidated her and tried to undermine her perfect record of cooperation, and those who succored and encouraged her are equally given their due in these pages.
The murder of Meredith Kercher is not the focus of this book. As Knox notes they were friends for a few weeks and their relationship was evolving when Kercher was murdered. Although Knox frequently expresses grief and anger at Kercher's fate, the focus of the book is the unusual ordeal of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student who, based on hypothetical logic and intuition was accused and then convicted of murder in arguably the oldest civilization in Europe. The crime as described by the prosecution never made sense, but when it shredded rather than admitting 'mea culpa' they literally conjured evidence which also easily unraveled in the face of modern forensic science. All of this is described from Knox's point of view. It is a vivid and evocative picture.
The pleasure of hearing the author tell the story in her own words added greatly to my enjoyment. Knox has a pleasant speaking voice and her inflections sometimes say more than an entire paragraph. I waited a long time to hear this and the results are everything I could have hoped for. I wish her health, wealth and happiness.
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