Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 

You no longer follow Robert

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Robert

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Robert

GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
22
REVIEWS
12
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
25

  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13271)
    Performance
    (5701)
    Story
    (5773)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "Channeling Franklin W. Dixon"
    Overall

    Imagine, for a moment that the author of the Hardy Boys chose another pen name and wrote a book about a young man who joins the circus and finds true love. Although I did manage to finish the book (I wouldn't make that choice again), I am surprised by the high ratings this title has received. Be warned; I'm hanging the red lantern on this circus train. The protagonist does everything but say 'aw shucks'. He is practically forced into sex by women who unzip him, thus escaping all responsibility. And the writing includes such gems as "solid as an oblisk; viscous as water". Viscous as water? Given the ratings, there must be a good audience for this kind of book.... but I'm not it.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–1941

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (141)

    By the acclaimed journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this day-by-day eyewitness account of the momentous events leading up to World War II in Europe is the private, personal, utterly revealing journal of a great foreign correspondent.

    Sandy says: "Rivetting listening experience"
    "The Real Rise and Fall"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you found "Rise and Fall" to be a gripping book, as I did, then I think you will find "Berlin Diaries" to be a wonderful listen. Here you learn all the thoughts of a witness to an amazing place and time. Particularly striking is the insanity of what Shirer is and is not allowed to report. The world was turned upside-down and Shirer tells you about it as if you were having a drink at the press club. Wonderful insights into easy things that the British might have done better... for example, bombing doesn't need to be massive to be effective, Shirer explains that even small bombings during the night in Berlin have the effect of keeping everyone awake and dramatically affecting war production, not to mention jangling nerves. You see Shirer becoming more and more cynical as the war begins to go badly and his access to real news vs. propaganda is limited. The book leaves you wanting to learn a lot more about his wife Tess who seems like a very interesting character in her own right. Shirer explains so clearly successes of the Third Reich early in the war; you understand what it means to build a war machine, to consider all the technical details, to keep all your aircraft hidden a short distance from the airfields so that the bombing of an airfield produces limited damage. Shirer explains Hitler's misperception of British attitudes. I found the book truly fascinating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peony: A Novel of China

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (79)

    Young Peony is sold into a rich Chinese household as a bondmaid - an awkward role in which she is more a servant, but less a daughter. As she grows into a lovely, provocative young woman, Peony falls in love with the family's only son. However, tradition forbids them to wed. How she resolves her love for him and her devotion to her adoptive family unfolds in this profound tale, based on true events in China over a century ago.

    Amazon Customer says: "This was as good as "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck"
    "A Fascinating Chapter in Jewish - Chinese History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel is perhaps not as strong as The Good Earth or Pavilion of Women but the story chronicles a fascinating chapter in both Jewish and Chinese history; the final years of a distinct Jewish presence in Kaifeng. A warning; some Jews may be offended by Buck's views on why Jews have been historically persecuted. The book includes a wonderfully informative epilogue by a scholar of Sino-Judaica which provides a historical context for the novel. It affirms the accuracy of much of what Buck writes and points out specific places where Buck has taken literary license. For Buck fans, like me, you will want to listen, and for those who want to learn more about the Jewish culture in China, you will also want to listen. For centuries, China was a safe haven for Jews who came to China via the silk road. In the years leading up to the Holocaust, Shanghai welcomed Jews when countries around the world denied them entry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon Seed

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Pearl S Buck
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    To the Chinese the dragon is not an evil creature, but is a god and the friend of men who worship him. He "holds in his power prosperity and peace." Ruling the waters and the winds, he sends the good rain, is hence the symbol of fecundity. In the Hsia dynasty two dragons fought a great duel until both disappeared, leaving only a fertile foam from which were born the descendants of the Hsia. Thus, the dragons came to be looked upon as the ancestors of a race of heroes. This is the story of China at War.

    Robert says: "More Relevant Today than Ever"
    "More Relevant Today than Ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has very much the feeling of The Good Earth (first book of the Good Earth trilogy) but set in the period of World War II. It describes how a family in the countryside deals with the tragedy and upheaval of the Japanese occupation of eastern China. Buck delivers stylized language that perfectly captures the feeling of Chinese speech and culture. For example, when the eldest son finds a Chinese woman rather than a Japanese man in the trap he has set, his first question after he pulls her out is "have you eaten?". This will ring true to anyone who has visited China. Buck is a treasure, perhaps an undervalued treasure. How many American writers grew up in China, living among relatively poor people, speaking as a native, and later writing in English. In spite of winning the Nobel prize, she does not get the recognition she deserves. A style every bit as strong as Hemingway and perhaps more substance and political awareness.

    The book is so relevant today, when China is the country that America loves to hate and when Japan is looking at re-interpreting its constitution to allow the development of a military. This book will remind Western readers that China was ravaged by Japan (after having been ravaged by Britain). It was interesting to learn that Japan, like Britain, used opium as a tool to destroy China. A wonderful story and a good performance by the narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Garden of Evening Mists

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Tan Twan Eng
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (154)

    Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp.

    Susan says: "The best"
    "An artfully told tale, beautifully narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Garden of Evening Mists?

    Interestingly, what I loved best is the performance. The author gives us characters from a variety of countries speaking English in distinctive accents. Ms. Bentinck's performance brings these voices to life so beautifully that, at times, you find yourself not caring so much about the slowly unfolding story as you are captivated by the sound of the characters. And while the story does build slowly, it builds very surely. The author has you firmly in his grip.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is a gripping story filled with moral ambiguities and interesting surprises. It is beautifully constructed, like the artwork described within the story. The author uses language in many beautiful ways.


    Any additional comments?

    Just beautiful; a great read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • House to House: An Epic Memoir of War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (422)
    Performance
    (245)
    Story
    (245)

    In one of the most compelling combat narratives ever written, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, an Army infantry platoon leader in Iraq, gives a teeth-rattling, first-hand account of 11 straight days of heavy house-to-house fighting during the climactic second battle of Fallujah. His actions in the firefight, which included killing five insurgents in hand-to-hand combat, earned Bellavia the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and New York state's highest military honor, the Conspicuous Service Cross.

    Robert says: "As raw as it gets"
    "Simply an Awful Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Clearly, most Audible listeners would enjoy it more as the book got good reviews.


    What was most disappointing about Staff Sergeant David Bellavia and John Bruning ’s story?

    Much of the book is dialog on speed; constantly frantic; very difficult to listen to. I have to accept that people spoke like this in the Iraq deployment since I wasn't there. To me, it sounds like the ravings of adolescents who have overdosed on steroids. I was not at all persuaded that this is the bearing of a skilled and professional soldier. Given that the US infantry was outfitted with night vision glasses, multiparty communications, and the most modern weapons systems, it appears they made a lot of mistakes; perhaps some due to raging egos. The sergeant constantly demonstrated an 'attitude' towards officers. He sounded downright insubordinate. In his own descriptions he appears mentally unstable. Again, I wasn't there, but it seems unlikely that the results would warrant keeping a person like this in a sensitive position in the military (fighting house-to-house).

    The book seems to assume that readers would agree that Iraq was a just war fought for the Iraqis. The writer appears committed to the importance of the the US involvement in Iraq, but there should be at least some mention of the widely held belief that the war was sparked by government claims of WMDs.

    By the time I reached the end of the book (the epilogue is interminable), I wanted to wash my hands to cleanse myself of the awful way in which this man treated his family. If you are a fan of intelligent non-fiction about war, try William Shirer, Rick Atkinson, or Cornelius Ryan, not this poorly written book which sounds like an action movie without video.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stamboul Train

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Michael Maloney
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Aboard the Orient Express as it heads across Europe towards Constantinople, a relationship develops between Carleton Myatt and Coral Musker, a naive English chorus girl. Around them a web of espionage, murder and lies twist in this spy thriller.

    Darwin8u says: "Poignance and Power on the Orient Express"
    "Not Exactly a Whodunit"
    Overall

    I love reading (listening to) Greene. This is not really a 'spy thriller' as suggested by the "Publisher's Summary". It is a story about characters ranged on a spectrum of moral ambiguity; how they think and behave; and the consequences. The mystery is trying to guess where on the spectrum each character lies. Greene ties all strands as expected, but not, I think, as the reader might have chosen.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (1670)
    Performance
    (712)
    Story
    (725)

    Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

    Katherine says: "Great With One Exception"
    "Like Escher in Audio"
    Overall

    The author takes you through a mystery in a world that bends in on itself; where all roads out take you back in. where things you should have expected are unexpected. Wonderful use of language. At times, I felt that the narrator lied to me a bit... but I forgive him.

    Katherine of Maryland is certainly correct that the music in the audio version is extremely distracting. I often hear audiobooks that have music at the beginning and ending. Sometime you get a bit of music at the end of chapters. None of this works well. But, in this case, the music seems to pop up all the time. It is loud and it is distracting. I would urge that this audio be re-issued with the music track removed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Columbine

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dave Cullen
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1809)
    Performance
    (839)
    Story
    (850)

    Over the course of this gripping narrative, Dave Cullen approaches his subjects with unrivaled care and insight. What emerges are shattering portraits of the killers, the victims, and the community that suffered one of the greatest - and most socially and historically important - shooting tragedies of the 20th century.

    Book reader says: "Truth and heartache"
    "Not Bedtime Reading"
    Overall

    The author makes the case that what you know about Columbine is probably wrong. I found his arguments persuasive. The extent of the cover-up by Jefferson County officials was new information to me. The author also delivers on the promise to provide insight into the motivations of the killers. The book is difficult to put down. I suggest not reading it at night as it will very likely disturb your sleep. I did find that the narrative went a bit off-track during the long discussion of psychopathy, but it manages to find the way back.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The End of the Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Michael Kitchen
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (45)

    The novelist Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his best friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London. One day, without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. It seemed impossible that there could be a rival for her heart.

    Jacqueline says: "The difinitive reading of Greene's work"
    "Earlier Reviewer Said It Well"
    Overall

    Graham Greene is a wonderful listen even when not at his best. The first half of the book promises more than the second half delivers. An earlier reviewer 'Vered' described exactly what I felt about this book; the religous issues are clearly something that the author was wrestling with, but they overpower the story in the end. The narrator does a good job.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.