Yep! I said it! At least that’s sort of how I read it. A parallel between a baseball player in the steroid era and the US Secretary of Defense? Let me explain.
Don’t get me wrong, this was an excellent book! From cover to cover, the book had my ear, and will enlighten the reader on what really happens behind closed doors of the White House, Pentagon, and The Central Intelligence Agency. When “Juiced”, written by Jose’ Conseco came out reviewers ripped the content and cried foul on Conseco for telling a tale that certainly couldn’t be true. And he was chastised for spilling the dirt and telling his side of what was going on in the Major Leagues when he was playing. He was cast out as a liar and then…It all seemed to be true!
Not to say that Gates rips into the US Government and tells nasty detailed stories of the Presidents he served under and the cabinets he worked with, but he does state his side of 30+ years serving our Government and I’ve heard and read a few comments and reviews about his views in the book by the media asking “Why would he say such a thing about Hillary Clinton?”, or “Why does he paint Obama or Biden in such a dim light?" The fact of the matter is these people see what you and I don’t and this book does an excellent job in conveying that reality. Do yourself a favor and watch the documentary “The Fog of War” highlighting the service of McCarthy before, during, and following the Cuban Missile crisis, and the Vietnam Conflict. McCarthy was called a war monger and yet, he makes it clear in that film that “You didn’t know what I knew!” I assume the same for “Duty”
Gates gives a clear account of how he came to the office he served and the events that shaped both his legacy and those of Bush and Obama. He dishes on what his opinions of our military leaders and he doesn’t hold back on comments made by other key political figures. He gives his account of what happened and what the media actually reports. And he provides insight into his long, long days serving our military and the decisions, back-lashes, leaks and outcomes of many of the events from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that (may have) been portrayed differently in newsprint.
There was also plenty of pomp and bravado though sincere to a degree. After all, they are his thoughts and his ever-stated commitment to US troops does seem at times to be re-iterated as an agenda rather than genuine. Maybe not. This book is justifiably a topic of discussion at political roundtables and well worth the 25+ hours it will take to listen and confirm.
Most of what I read and study about the Civil War has to do with the western theater. To me, Sherman’s Army always had a certain romance to it, which I could never find in reading about the army of the Potomac. Even after countless visits to Gettysburg and Antietam, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg, I just didn’t see the fascination. It was Sherman’s Webfeet who won the war, not a bunch of paper-collar feather beds, whom found themselves in winter quarters each autumn only to emerge no less refreshed the following spring. This book helped me in that regard. It helped me understand how 1864 was so pivotal for the armies in the east and how Grant brought it all together. So, I guess I never gave Grant enough credit.
If you’re a student of the war like I am you’ll find this an excellent read, and even if you’re a history buff, you might find yourself immersed. There is almost a Bruce Catton tone to Bloody Spring, which lends to the authenticity though I always found Catton to be too romantic. There are times when I feel the book bogs you down with “Battles and Leaders” type dialog but Wheelen does an excellent job of keeping you engaged by citing accounts and anecdotes from soldiers in both armies. You will not be bored.
I also have been finding myself selecting books that are read by Grover Gardner. Not all but it seems the last several anyway. I like how he reads and I like the sound of his voice. The tone and manner in which he tells the story keeps my interest and will not disappoint. Now, if he could only take over for the Wall Street Journal Morning Read.
Do yourself a favor and put this one in your library. And follow up with Jay Winik’s April, 1865 (I didn’t see on Audible though I have in my collection). It will help bridge your desire for closure and the end of the war when this one is complete because ending the book 5 months short doesn’t do the reader, or the author justice.
Don't waste your time. This was recommended to me by a colleague. As early as the first chapter proved that this was nothing more than a regurgitation of philosophies taught by many, many better known, and higher regarded teachers.
I was disappointed to say the least.
This review has been a long time coming. I remember seeing this book on the shelf in Barnes and noble 2-3 years before the HBO mini-Series came out and I opted for Ambrose's D-Day. Not a bad choice, but hind sight told me that I chose...Poorly!
We as Americans, and I as a veteran owe these men a great deal. These ordinary men, came from all walks of life to defeat Hitler's Army, and did so as humbly as one could, without a parade, without accolades of any sort until their story came to the forefront 60+ years later. Far later than it should have.
I cannot go into detail nor can I paraphrase the countless acts of valor and heroism, without in some way discounting someone. Pick this one up if you haven't already. It's well worth the time, money, effort and whatever else. You'll be doing both yourself a favor as an amateur historian, and you'll be doing these men a service by again, hearing the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne.
This one peaked my interest because of a few reasons. I lived in San Diego for many years and knew the history of Doug Harvey, I mean heck! He is in the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. And the fact that I umpired for many years making my way up to the college ranks, so I have sort of soft spot for Umpires. I was looking forward to this biography.
I struggled a bit with the over emphasis on how good Mr. Harvey said he was. Yes, he is in the BHOF, but a little bit of humble pie might make this story easier to stomach. Other than that, it was interesting to learn how Doug Harvey was brought up, how he got started, and how he lasted so many years in the Big Leagues. People like him often amaze me.
The oration was excellent! Robert Brown did a great job conveying the passion of the writer into the ears of the listener. It was enjoyable and easy to stay focused.
I recommend this book to any baseball fan or Umpire looking to get an inside view of what it might be like behind the mask, or better yet, what it is like working as an umpire and dealing with all the personalities on and off the field as well as on the home front. I think to get a better sense in that regard, one might pick up "As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travels in the Land of the Umpires." A much better book I thought which explains not only the history of umpiring, but how an umpire is made, and what life is actually like on the road in the low minor leagues.
I was drawn to this title simply put, because I'm a baseball fan and was looking for something to kick-start the 2014 season. I just finished "56" and can only say...I was underwhelmed! Reading about 'Joltin' Joe just didn't do it for me. Where Nobody Knows your name peaked my interest because I've always been fascinated by the minor leagues having done my very best as a younger man to get there myself.
I'f you're not a baseball fan or have never played the game at a competitive level, you'll never know what boys will do to make it in the game and to keep the dream alive. And I'm not just talking about the players. I was an NCAA umpire for many years. In 2009 I made a trip to Tucson for Umpire camp where I had the privilege of meeting Umpire Mark Lollo, one of the people featured in the book. He was an excellent instructor and always had time to explain what he knew about officiating. You could really tell he loved the game. Feinstein does an excellent job sharing this insight along with the countless others (players) featured inside.
Though I never played nor umpired professionally, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many of those who have. A few were really good, and some, not so. But they all had the same drive to do what they had to do to stay in the game and make the dream of playing a kids game for money last as long as possible. The author is able to keep the reader turning pages with the countless anecdotes of those fortunate few. And he does a great job in narrating too!
If you are like me and are looking for a way to start the season off or you just want a very good book about the side of baseball where every player starts, but is rarely written about, then don't hesitate in adding this title to your library. Enjoy the season!
This one kind of caught me off guard and I'm pleased to say, was very surprising and refreshing. It in fact is NOT another novel about Gettysburg but rather the aftermath and then the arguments about when and how the Gettysburg Address was written and delivered by Lincoln. For me, a Civil War enthusiast, learning about the aftermath, and how the townspeople dealt with the cleanup from the battle was remarkable and captivating and the author does an excellent job of conveying the feeling of the citizens and their depth of their despair to the reader.
When I saw the title I was a bit nervous. I mean, how many different ways can you slice and dissect the battle? Moreover, how many countless stories does one must read about Lincoln to get the gist of what happened in Pennsylvania in 1863? It was huge relief to learn what the author had to share without being bored. There were a few moments when he almost lost me but by and large the book had my attention. And the narrator, Kramer does a great job in telling the story which adds to the enjoyment of this title.
If you're a Civil War buff like me, interested in Lincoln, or history as a whole and want to learn something different about Gettysburg, the people, and the speech made by Lincoln for the cemetery dedication now inscribed on his Washington Memorial, then don't hesitate in picking this one up. It's well worth the time.
It goes without saying by any baseball fan or sports historian that "56" needs no explanation. You don't have to be a Yankee fan to understand the significance of the streak, and what it would take to break it and you don't have to be a baseball fan to understand that there is little if anything in any other sport that mirrors this accomplishment. It's awe-inspiring! It humbles the average man and probably every ball player past and present to think of how magnificent this total really is.
There are a few numbers, at least for me, that need no explanation. .402, 756, 61 (yes, still the records in my mind), and of course 56. But of all those marks, 56 is the one that stands out. That is the mark that will most likely never be broken, at least in my life time and will always evoke some sort of passion among baseball fans even if they didn't personally witness any part of it being made. I didn't but still know what it means to baseball. And to think what it take to get there is astounding. The author does a very good job throughout the text drawing comparisons between former and current players and among other athletes. He also does and excellent job of showing the math behind the streak, showing the reader exactly how improbable it really was.
I enjoyed most of the dialog though I'm not a Yankee fan by any stretch and after reading the countless other stories about DiMaggio and how he acted toward others both in and around baseball rubbed me the wrong way. He's always seemed like sort of a jerk, plain and simple.
The oration was atrocious! Kevin Collins does a horrible job of pretending to be Ken Burns with his over-emphasis on every syllable and his over-worked effort to make the story sound more dramatic than it actually is. 56! I get it! Lose the inflection and read the book! Sorry, painful is all I can think to describe his reading. If you want a better read on the subject which captures the entirety of 1941, take a look at "Real Grass, Real Heroes".
I liked the story and will never get enough of the subject so I recommend the book to any baseball or sports fan who wants to compare what "Joltin' Joe" did. It is well worth the credit if you can get past the painful narration.
I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in US history, Military History, or anyone looking to learn about the Vietnam War, the Hanoi Hilton, and the Americans who would call it home for 8+ years. What a read!
From the start, this book had my attention. I couldn’t put it down! This is the comprehensive history of POW servicemen during the Vietnam War and how they endured thru torture and mistreatment, eventually returning home as (mentally) strong and courageous as they were when they were taken prisoner. Each one of these men and their wives who were stalwart fixtures on the home front should be honored as heroes and patriots, and should be saluted by each American. They’ve earned it!
When captured, provide only your name, rank, and service number. That’s what these men did only to be tortured and beaten beyond human endurance. And even after the many beatings and deprivation, each one of them was able to endure solitary confinement (for some, as many as 8 years) without giving in to their Vietnam captors, defiant to the end. And in that time they were able deceive the camp authorities by creating a form of communication “Tap Code”, which allowed them to keep up with one another while in confinement.
After I completed the book I went online and was able to view a couple of YouTube videos from some of the veterans who survived as POW’s in Vietnam and the dialog was just as fascinating. To actually see the “Tap Code” being performed, and then to comprehend that another could easily decipher what was being said will floor you! This innovation is just another way of defining the resilience of American servicemen in captivity during the Vietnam War.
The orator did a good job with voice inflection and accents and was able to keep me listening. This is an excellent book, cover to cover and will give a mere glimpse of what these men went thru while the government took their time in gaining their release. Do yourself a favor and add this to your library. You will not be disappointed!
Where do I start on this one? Recently I have found myself watching American Greed on MSNBC which shows some pretty interesting tales about scammers and con-men, making a living off the hard work of others retirements, investment portfolios and cold hard cash. It’s interesting to me because I still wonder how people get duped like they do when there is so much out there on investing and retirement which would lead me to believe that even a high school graduate should be safe from these predators. Maybe not. People like Bernie Madoff are professional con-men because they’ve honed their craft after years of manipulation and confidence in their victims. Social class has no boundary for these professionals and the evidence in Madoff’s $60+ Billion scam is clear.
A few years back I read a book about the real Ponzi (Charles) written by Mitchell Zuckoff whom outlined the story behind the moniker. In his case, he genuinely started out straight as an arrow, trying to make money by buying and selling Postage overseas and selling it back in the United States. When it didn’t work, well, he had to do something and the scheme was born. Many years later Madoff, following a similar code of ethic, shocked the world when his billion-dollar scheme unfolded.
The story was interesting but it seemed the entire tale could have been told in the first and last chapter of the book. The story opens with a decent outline of what was happening and how he turned himself into a crook and then how he decides to turn himself in. And the last 1-2 chapters talks about him, his family and friends, and how they all cope(d) with the ordeal. It was really quite interesting. The 10 or so hours of dialog in middle which seems to go on and on about who was affected and who wasn’t, who was fighting the schemes involvement and who wasn’t, and who should get paid from the proceeds of Madoff assets and who didn’t was mind numbing at times. It just kept going on and on. And it didn’t help to have a reader sounding more like a scorned lecturer than anything, driving home points from the story in her condescending voice which was very taxing at times. Maybe that was just me.
The book was OK and I’m not disappointed I took a chance on it. I would recommend the title only if you have the patience to get thru the hours of minutia that make up the bulk of the background story. Oh sure, there will always be another con man and there will always be people who would rather place their money with them than in a name like Fidelity or Vanguard. But there will never be another $60 billion scam artist like Madoff or will there?
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.