Listener Since 2007
This is one of the few Audible books I've downloaded that is Abridged. And boy am I glad it didn't last longer than 6 hours because I just couldn't stop listening until it was finished! This book ended up being a very quick, very informative and very frightening 6 hours.
The story opens with the 2001 anthrax outbreak, but it quickly shifts to Preston's greater concern, smallpox. Unlike anthrax, smallpox is highly infectious. We are led to believe that smallpox was stamped out in the 1970s. Supposedly, the only samples left of the virus were kept frozen in guarded vaults in Atlanta and Moscow. We NOW know that in the 1980s the Soviet Union's military produced the smallpox virus in large quantities, for use in special warheads. That effort is over, however, absolutely NO ONE is SURE how much of the material escaped destruction. Nor does anyone know what unauthorized stocks of the virus are kept by other military forces, and by which nations.
All the information presented by Richard Preston is factual and frightening! James Naughton does a wonderful job with narration. Definitely recommended as a quick and informational listen!
After reading everything written by Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, Brad Thor, David Baldacci, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth and Jeffery Archer - I found this audible book and decided to give Vince Flynn a try. Wow! I was hooked immediately. Okay, I am biased. Seeing that I have served in the military, I probably have a different point of view than the average civilian. So, if you are a left wing, progressive, hand wringing individual who truly wants to do so very much to save the world while doing absolutely nothing or the kind of person who must follow the "rules" at all cost - you will NOT enjoy this book. However, if you are like me and believe that terrorism is a REAL threat, that torture is a viable OPTION in order to save lives and that killing the bad guys is an acceptable SOLUTION - read Vince Flynn's books and dream on.
"Executive Power" by Vince Flynn is the fourth book in his series about the USA's top counter-terrorism agent, Mitch Rapp. The story starts out pretty basic, an American family vacationing in the Philippines is kidnapped by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. Of course, the US government is furious and Filipino government says they are doing their best to find the American family but in reality the highest member of the Filipino military, is being paid off by Abu Sayyaf. Thus, the story speeds up quickly and it is very hard to stop listening to. There are so many PLAUSIBLE twists and turns that this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. By the way, this is the book where Mitch Rapp is shot in the butt!
What I love most of Vince Flynn's books is how he always seems to work in meddling, mealy mouthed, government officials who (sometimes accidentally, many times purposely) screw up the mission plan. The other aspect of Vince Flynn's books that always draws me in is that the hero Mitch Rapp often works in conjunction with the Navy SEALs and that he doesn't always play by the rules. Mitch Rapp always gets the job done and it's a pretty dirty job.
Pure, entertaining, action packed, fast paced fiction. I highly recommend this book when you want to read to escape. To escape into a world where the terrorists are the bad guys and the good guys do whatever it takes to kill them.
Oh! I almost forgot. George Guidall IS the voice of Mitch Rapp. He truly brings Mitch Rapp to life. I do hope that Audible never changes the narrator on these books, they just wouldn't be the same to listen to.
A five star listen because I know I will listen to this book again. Highly Recommended.
If you could read ONLY ONE non-fiction book on Nazi Germany, this has got to be the book that you read!
Firstly, William L. Shirer was NOT a Jew. I have read several postings and critiques of his work on the internet that incorrectly state that he was a Jew - WRONG! Shirer was born in Chicago in 1904 and was raised a Protestant. He attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, graduating in 1925. After which, Shirer worked his way to Europe on a cattle boat to spend the summer there, he ended up remaining in Europe for 15 years.
Shirer was the European correspondent for the Chicago Tribune from 1925 to 1932, where he lived and worked in France. From 1934 to 1940, Shirer lived and worked in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. As such, this book is a product of its times and one must keep in mind that the horror of the Nazi regime was still very fresh in the mind of the author, as well as the minds of the world. This book was first published in 1960 (roughly 15 years after the end of WWII) and is considered the definitive record of the twentieth century’s blackest hours.
This book was and still is the BEST, first attempt at a history of Nazi Germany. Shirer's sources include the personal diaries of several of the highest-ranking Nazis and records from the Nuremberg Trials. He also had plenty of face-to-face time with the men who were the architects of the greatest war in modern history. The detail with which Shirer wrote his book and the unspeakable evil that was Hitler's Germany is at times almost too much to take. Some of the descriptions, particularly towards the end are simply horrifying. Shirer puts the reader in the front row, giving many an explanation as to why so many Germans were so willing to be taken in by Hitler. And even though the book starts out a bit slow, towards the end you won't want to stop reading/listening to this almost unbelievable history. I say almost unbelievable because it DID happen, it had happened previously in ALBANIA, it happened afterwards in BOSNIA and it is most likely to happen AGAIN. Throughout history there has NEVER been a lack of evil perpetrated by man and I personally don't foresee the future being very much different in that aspect.
This was the second time I have read/listened to this book. The first time I picked it up was in 1979 while living in England. You cannot imagine how much better it is to read this book over thirty years later with a much more mature and discriminating mind. Not to mention that I have had the opportunity over these past 30 years to visit many of the places mentioned in this book and several concentration camps in Germany and Poland. Scholars have been citing this book for over 50 years, and in my opinion this book really stands the test of time. If you have any interest whatsoever in the inner workings of Nazi Germany, read/listen to this book. The detail is mind-blowing and the FACTS still seem incomprehensible. I dare you NOT to be horrified by this incredible non-fiction, history book.
Grover Gardner does an exceptional job at narrating this immense work of historic fact. This book is easily a five star listen, worth every single minute of my time invested and I am sure to listen to it again.
Yes! By all means. "Heart of Darkness" is one of those overrated classics which is forced upon millions of high school students. Fortunately, the book is under 100 pages, consisting of a style of writing which I find quite tedious - dark allegory followed by metaphor upon metaphor, and let's not forget all the symbolism scattered throughout from beginning to end. It is an important story about Imperialism, racism, hypocrisy and the darkness of human soul. After the first couple of well written pages, it becomes ABUNDANTLY clear that it's NOT just about Africa being the "heart of darkness" but about the characters' own "hearts of darkness". The rest of the novel is pretty much more of the same. If you enjoy reading books that you can pick apart at every turn of phrase - you will probably prefer to read this book. However, you you are like me and find this approach to reading tiresome, you will probably enjoy listening to this book.
Africa. Well, it certainly isn't Kurtz or Marlow. Conrad tries so hard at BEING the narrator and so hard at CREATING yet another meaningful metaphor (one that will expose the physical and psychological horrors he encounters) that he ends up sounding cliché, losing the whole point of any kind of symbolism. I do understand that this style of writing was very popular in Conrad's day but nowadays . . . not so much. . . .
Kenneth Branagh made the experience of revisiting this novel, more than worthwhile! In fact, I probably would have stopped listening/reading after the first 20 minutes if it weren't for Branagh's performance. He actually brought this book to life! I wouldn't have thought that possible - it's the first time I truly enjoyed this book.
This audible book is almost 4 hours long. I listened to it in two sittings and the only reason why I returned to finish the novel was because of Branagh's performance! I've read this book many times, so I was surprised to find that I really wanted to listen to the very end.
If you are being obliged to read this book for your literature class, I think you may find that listening to Branagh's performance while reading along with your book, will make the experience far more enjoyable. And if you are a student of English as a Second Language, Kenneth Branagh's pronuciation, diction and overall performance is truly impeccable and will add to your appreciation of the English language.
It wasn't until I was sent to England in early 1978, that I developed a love for history. On the BBC you could still watch WWII documentaries every day and almost all day long in those days. Out of that love for history came a bit of an obsession with WWII and Winston Churchill. The Right Honorable Sir Winston Churchill is regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century. He was also an officer in the British Army, escaping from a POW camp in South Africa during the Second Boer War and participating in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge, at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. Churchill is also a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States (by JFK). Winston Churchill was very fond of the United States and highly regarded his friendship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Firstly, Churchill earned his living as a writer, NOT as a politician. PMs in his day were paid very little and most politicians came from the wealthy upper classes - meaning they could either financially support themselves or were very well educated and had established other means of financial gain. Churchill's income was almost entirely made from writing books and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. He was a prolific writer of books, writing a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, and several histories. The two of his most famous works were his six-volume "Memoirs of The Second World War" and "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples".
"The Second World War: Grand Alliance" is the third part of an unabridged recording of Churchill's condensed volume, broken up into four parts. It stands alone very well, meaning there is no need to read/listen to the two previous volumes nor the last remaining volume. Admittedly, this one is my favorite, I consider it the most fascinating and informative of the four. However, if you enjoy history as much as I do, you will WANT to read/listen to the whole set. Churchill takes unvarnished history and gives it a personal setting, adding plenty of the tiny details that are left out in the broader histories that have been written about WWII. Sometimes you will laugh out loud while at other times you will suffer the anguish over difficult decisions that had to be made, that were made and that cost many lives.
All this being said, perhaps some will consider Churchill's "Memoirs of the Second World War" as being self serving. I just don't see it. Why would a man, who was already seen as a great wartime leader and national hero, have to resort to self aggrandizement? I want to believe that due to his extraordinary intellect and wit, his sense of honor and duty, all mixed in with some truly amazing life experiences, that Churchill had to have had a great respect and reverence for history. Besides, all one has to do is read other author's works on WWII and Churchill and you will quickly see that Churchill did NOT write a self serving book on WWII. Don't take my word for it, download it and listen to it, you will see what I mean here.
I clearly remember reading this book for the first time many years ago in a library in Cambridge (I couldn't afford the book at the time). I am now the proud owner of the hard cover book and this audible book. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to the audible version, I read along with my book. Christian Rodska does an exceptional job at narration! This is not easy material to read, listen to or digest, so you will find yourself listening to it in portions. I am absolutely certain that I will listen to this book again. Truly a five star listen, worth every credit and every single minute of my time.
Prior to reading my opinion of this audible book, one must know that I'm a Very Conservative Republican Atheist. Thus, my opinion is going to be biased. There are SO very many people who literally hate this man SO very much, that I will assume many of you may just want to skip my critique about this extremely interesting, informative and historic, audible book.
That being said, I DID NOT and still DO NOT agree with many of President Bush's decisions. HOWEVER, they were decisions, many of which were made during an extremely difficult time in our history. Not to mention that many of his decisions were made while a great deal of venom, hate, vitriol and mass media hysteria was fired directly at him (on a daily basis) - and that's not EVEN mentioning all the loathing coming from the Democrats and Hollywood!
Although, this was and I believe will be, remembered as a time in US history when the majority of US citizens STOPPED believing and relying on the mass media for their daily news, information and propaganda.
Upon reading and listening to this book - I HAVE A NEW FOUND RESPECT FOR THIS PRESIDENT. Just to name a few of the chapters included in his book; Quiting Drinking, Running for office, Personnel decisions, Stem Cells, 9/11, Leadership, Katrina, The Surge in Iraq, Focus on Freedom and The Financial Crisis. So as you can see, the chapters are broken down into the major points of his personal life and Presidency. And he does go into detail involving all of these issues. The President also admits to having made mistakes on the one hand, while demonstrating his stubbornness on the other hand. I found this book to be a very sincere account of his Presidency. I was pleasantly surprised and perhaps a bit shocked, seeing that I was led to believe that this man was a secretive and manipulative, talking idiot.
Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, he presided over one of the worst times in US history. This book will make you laugh, think and cry. And this coming from a person who DOES NOT tolerate hand-wringing, overwrought sentimentality!
One must also keep in mind that President Bush has a unique perspective that only one other person has had, that of being the son of a former president. President Bush has been involved with the workings of the US for a very long time. For this reason alone, this book offers a tremendous amount of insight, stories and eye witness accounts of world wide events. I don't know how anyone could consider themselves a history buff or a lover of biographies if they haven't read and/or listened to this exceptional book! I thoroughly enjoyed BOTH reading (more detail) and listening (abridged) to this book.
Even if you hated President Bush, you may find reason to change your opinion upon listening to this book. The President did an incredible job narrating his work! And one must admit that it is SPECIAL to hear history told by the one who actually played a key role in its making.
On the other hand, if like me, you respected the President and his leadership through trying times, this book will cement those feelings forever!
This book is in my top 10 list of Audible Books. Highly Recommended!
I started reading Michael Connelly novels when he was virtually unknown. I became hooked with his very first Harry Bosch novel, "The Black Echo". And I continued to follow Harry Bosch through quite a few more novels with "The Concrete Blond" and "The Poet" being two of my favorites. Nobody can successfully create such a wide variety of unique, believable and genuinely likable or despicable characters like Connelly can. Well, at least I can't think of anyone.
So here we are with another new character in "The Lincoln Lawyer". Mickey Haller is a rather unsuccessful, divorced, criminal defense attorney who is unabashedly in it for the money. He plies his trade in the fruitful LA area, which supplies him with a steady stream of clients who provide just enough of a living for him to keep gas in his Lincoln. I found that this lead character drew me into the novel, especially seeing that I'm NOT terribly fond of legal thrillers, such as those written by Grisham. Although Mickey Haller is not beyond bending the rules to get his clients off, he does have a conscience. In fact, his worst paying clients are the ones who you know are innocent and whose cases he cannot lose for fear of seeing an innocent person sent to prison. Haller finally obtains a client which may put him back on the gravy train. His bread and butter client is as guilty as sin and wealthy. This novel isn’t a “whodunnit” so much as a "how is he going to get caught", especially since it’s the narrator’s job to make sure he gets off.
This is a legal thriller, which departs both in character and genre from Connelly's crime-fiction series of Harry Bosch novels. As it turns out, Bosch and Haller are half brothers. Which one must admit is an awfully convenient device to link the novel to Connelly's popular series. In my opinion, Connelly paints a convincingly shady world of flawed heroes, prostitutes, drug dealers, and cops, while delving into legal ethics and court procedures.
Adam Grupper does a wonderful job narrating. It's an enjoyable and unpredictable ride. Worth every minute of listening time invested! Can't wait to see the film one of these days.
Generally, I avoid overly promoted books on the New York Times Best Seller list - horribly overrated in my humble opinion. However, I was stuck on a most boring holiday, sitting in a hotel room distractedly searching Audible for "something different" to break up the monotony. I took a chance and downloaded "Gone Girl", which turned out to be exactly what I was looking for - pure escapism!
This book starts out on the day of Nick and Amy's five year wedding anniversary. Nick comes home to find the door ajar, the iron on, but no Amy. Amy's anniversary gift to Nick includes a treasure hunt (which Nick had always hated participating in) with small personal messages to help lead him to the next location and finally to his gift. Upon this premise Flynn develops an intricate build-up of purposeful misdirection to a resolution that perhaps wasn't the most surprising but I found it to be quite satisfactory. I really don't want to give anything away, so I'll just leave it at that.
I truly enjoyed listening to this book, so much so that I downloaded Gillian Flynn's other two books available at Audible. This is not serious literature, just delightful pulp fiction with plenty of twists and turns. It must also be stated that Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne did an exceptional job in narrating this book. In fact, I'm not so sure that reading this book would be as enjoyable as listening to it!
Without a doubt, this is a very interesting read, especially from a historical point of view. Well written and from what I understand thoroughly researched. However, I agree with some of the reviewers around the internet that find many of its conclusions suspect. And I even began to wonder if perhaps this is exactly what top CIA officials would like us to think of the CIA. I guess you can label me incredulous when it comes to this book.
Oh come on, you have to wonder, if the CIA was such a clumsy, inept, and irrational institution, then why weren't we at the complete and utter mercy of other countries' intelligence agencies? Especially when most of them, according to Tim Weiner, were so much better than ours!
The author also does a lot of complaining in this book about the things that the CIA has done without Congress's knowledge or approval. Which is rather puerile and sophomoric, to say the least. A real intelligence operation can only survive in the shadows. And I'm pretty sure the United States has a real intelligence agency, it just might not be the CIA.
And then there is the author's bellyaching about mistakes which were made. Mistakes will always be made when dealing with information. Information is dynamic, always changing, it can't be contained for long and secrets are much harder to keep than most people want to believe. So there's an incredible amount of disinformation intentionally put out there, which I'm certain some of which made its way into this book. And of course, it's always easier to be the armchair quarterback.
My sentiments upon finishing this book . . . . Well, I'd like to know why the United States is STILL the political and military leader of the free world. Why, despite what the author claims, guided by an incompetent intelligence agency that has hardly had any success in its 60 year history, and that has caused a great deal more harm than good to the country, we are still considered the ONE to take down!
This book is definitely worthwhile, just add plenty of skepticism and prudence while listening to it. Oh, and Stefan Rudnicki does a great job at narration!
Can anyone pick up a Christopher Hitchens' work and NOT learn something NEW? Do I agree with everything written by Hitchens, of course not. But, do I believe it extremely important that Hitchens' ideas and opinions are made available and read by as many people as humanly possible, yes! An incomplete list of the intellectual and philosophical tidbits addressed in this incredible book;
(1) Hume: He takes the idea of miracles to task.
(2) Mill: Rationally explains his lack of faith.
(3) Marx: Ever wondered what the "opium of the people" really means?
(4) Mencken: A witty memorial service to all the "dead" gods.
(5) Einstein: Always one of the best when it comes to collecting eloquent and humorous short quotes.
(6) Russell: Puts superstition to task.
(7) Mackie: Discusses possible consequences of adopting atheism.
(8) Shermer: Excellent parody of what one would have to believe if one wishes to reconcile what we know scientifically today with the teachings of the Bible.
(9) Dawkins: Probably the best presented argument for the unlikelihood of the existence of God, and a good refutation of some of the most powerful objections of theists. His book, "The God Delusion", is a more complete explanation. Also available at Audible and highly recommended.
(10) Stenger: The best attack on the cosmological arguments for God.
(11) Anderson: Wonderful summary of the type of moral things God does in the Bible, tells others to do, or simply permits. The bottom line: clearly no truly good moral person should look to the Bible exclusively for guidance.
(12) Weinberg: Another cosmological discussion, but he is more sympathetic to religion.
(13) Warraq: A long but devastating attack on the Quran. Also good for those that do not really understand the type of things actually written in Islamic religious doctrine (or for that matter, how these religious books came about).
(14) Vatican: Admits that Limbo does NOT exist. Insists that condoms are worse than AIDS.
(15) W. Hannaford Brown: On The Nature of Things by Lucretius.
Thought provoking for the philosophical at heart, while NOT dwelling too much on the Abyss. Not to mention the fact that Nicholas Ball's narration is impeccable. Highly Recommended!
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