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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2009

  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 143 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Chris says: "Frightening, Powerful, Deeply Thought-provoking."
    "compelling father-daughter story"

    Very nicely read, this book makes for compelling listening. The book covers a period (1933-37) in which the monster that was Germany grew into something truly awful. William Dodd, the American ambassador in Berlin is nicely drawn. He’s a kind and decent man. We are told he is witty, although the evidence is scanty. If this is true, then the book is quite tragic as it traces a man’s descent from a joyful state into one of stress, ending with major job dissatisfaction and depression. He ends up a sad old drudge, but along the way he runs into some of German history’s strange cast. In fact, the book’s best bits are on the Night of the Long Knives. His daughter, Martha, is a piece of work. She’s a combination of fun-loving, manipulative, sensual and self-righteous that seems to drive all sorts of men to distraction. And she does go through a lot of men. Eventually, she goes off in a direction that would have deeply saddened her ambassador father, I imagine. From Mata Hari to Stalinist in three easy years. The Dodd family members, who are as different as can be, seem to get along very well with one another during a difficult time. It’s a very memorable book.

    46 of 49 people found this review helpful
  • Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Milton
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin

    Paradise Lost, along with its companion piece, Paradise Regained, remain the most successful attempts at Greco-Roman style epic poetry in the English language. Remarkably enough, they were written near the end of John Milton's amazing life, a bold testimonial to his mental powers in old age. And, since he had gone completely blind in 1652, 15 years prior to Paradise Lost, he dictated it and all his other works to his daughter.

    "Hard work"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    A person who doesn't mind Charlton Griffin's delivery.

    What other book might you compare Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained to and why?

    By comparison, Homer's Odyssey read by Ian McKellan was a far, far better reading. Actually, that one was superbly read.

    How could the performance have been better?

    It was such a strange way to read the lines. At first I went along with it, but by the time Paradise Lost came to the end, I had to chuck in the towel. I never got to Paradise Regained as the reading just got in the way. And I'll listen to nearly anything. I would have been better off reading the book.

    What character would you cut from Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained?

    It is what it is, written by the Puritan's Dante.

    Any additional comments?

    Avoid Charlton Griffin's readings. He does make the occasional howler of a mispronunciation, which is probably forgivable given the challenge (although Reading is a town in England and not pronounced like poetry reading). It just wears you down.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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