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Rory

Member Since 2013

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 248 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
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  • The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas E. Ricks
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (257)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (214)

    A widening gulf between performance and accountability has caused history to be kinder to the American generals of World War II than to those of later wars. In The Generals we meet leaders from World War II to the present who rose to the occasion - and those who failed.

    Arnold says: "Explains much about US military commanders"
    "Interesting theory, great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read Clay Blair's Forgotten War while in high school and two points stuck with me since I read it--1. the tragedy of Task Force smith and the actions of Louis Johnson and Truman that led to it, and 2. The stunning pace of changeover in command at all levels of the US Army.

    Thomas Ricks covers this turnover in command from WWII to the present, his thesis being that as we progressed from WWII, when generals were likely to be removed without stigma (and subsequently rehabilitated) over the years top generals became more ensconced and less likely to be removed other than for non-military reasons, despite obvious military failures. Coincidentally I was listening to this book right when the Petraeus scandal broke.

    While I believe book over-simplistic, clearly biased against certain modern generals, and filled with lost opportunities to expound, the book is a still a very fun read for those into military history and issues of command.
    The narrator is never boring.
    I would love to see more in-depth coverage of Rick's thesis as it raises very valid concerns for the future of how we grade command, and these questions and lessons carry over into the business world. In Breakthrough Imperative, it was said the modern CEO has at most 18 months to make positive impact. Ron Johnson is clear case in point--when should the JCP board have pulled the plug on him--were they not patient enough or did they wait too long and the harm he caused irreparable? Ricks argues this case with several generals. What is missed is that often the generals are replacing those deemed at best as "mediocre" before them--just as when Ron Johnson replaced Ullman there was a grass is greener mentality that made matters worse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Mercedes Lackey, Steve Libbey, Cody Martin, and others
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (341)

    The world had become used to the metahumans - people sometimes perfectly ordinary, but sometimes quite extraordinary in appearance - who mostly worked with their governments as high-powered peace officers, fighting crime, and sometimes fighting rogue metahumans who had become super-criminals. Then that comfortable world ended in just one terrifying day.

    Amazon Customer says: "It's ...okay."
    "An audible comic book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Literary masterpiece? Nah---just the audible equivalent of a popcorn action flick. Sit back and enjoy. Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The American Civil War

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Gary W. Gallagher
    • Narrated By Professor Gary W. Gallagher
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (143)

    Between 1861 and 1865, the clash of the greatest armies the Western hemisphere had ever seen turned small towns, little-known streams, and obscure meadows in the American countryside into names we will always remember. In those great battles, those streams ran red with blood-and the United States was truly born.

    C. Telfair says: "Welcome to Audible, Great Courses!"
    "Need more Gallagher!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ok, so he doesn't smash watermelons during the lectures...but Prof Gallagher rocks!
    Like his series on Lee & his generals, Prof Gallagher can be dry when he is doing straight recitation of history, but when he adds his color and analysis it is really good.
    Something for Audible/Great Courses to consider--do a roundtable discussion with Professor Gallagher and others on the American Civil War.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solo: A Memoir of Hope

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Hope Solo
    • Narrated By Christina Delaine
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Hope Solo is the face of the modern female athlete. She is fearless, outspoken, and the best in the world at what she does: protecting the goal of the U.S. women's soccer team. Her outsized talent has led her to the pinnacle of her sport - the Olympics and the World Cup - and made her into an international celebrity who is just as likely to appear on ABC's Dancing with the Stars as she is on the covers of Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, and Vogue.

    Rory says: "What a complex athlete!"
    "What a complex athlete!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, I purchased the book because my son plays keeper, and we both enjoy watching Hope Solo play--she is arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, male or female.
    I had hope for some inside tips--special tricks of the trade, a glimpse of a Michael Phelps type diet, a great drill that helped form her amazing reaction to the ball. Nope, not a word and you could probably substitute basketball or volleyball for soccer and still have same story. .
    This isn't that type of book--if you want good book to improve your child's game, try Dan Blank(soon to be on audible!). Even more amazing is that a sports writer assisted with the writing as the game scenes are as thrilling as the ingredients on a can of green beans

    So why read this? Well----sports always have characters, people who have not just awesome talent but a knack for garnering as many headlines off the field as on the field.Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Michael Phelps, etc. They add the entertainment value to the sport. This is a fascinating inside glimpse of a such an athlete, and will leave you a better understanding of the pressures that they go through to get to the top of their specialty and what helps to keep them grounded.

    You should listen this book for four main reasons;:
    1. This is a love letter to her father, a man by her own admission she barely knew. At points I felt that at points this is her image of her father and possibly not a completely factual narrative. Either way the man had a major impact on her life and influenced her actions.

    2. She almost relishes in not being a team player in one of the most team-oriented sports out there. For her the most dramatic moment of her life wasn't winning Olympic gold or some amazing game, but when she was suspended in 2007. I barely remembered the incident, and she clearly exaggerates the impact of this, but still her explanation still smacks of the spoiled brat athlete, ala Johnny Manziel, yet I have to admit I did sympathize with her

    3. I had picked up Kevin Long's book for tips for hitting, which he included, but was pleasantly surprised at the mini bio about how tough being a minor league player is. Similarly, Hope touches on the ups and downs of the women's professional soccer after college. Most of the female soccer leagues are jokes compared to baseball minor league teams, and if you aren't on the national team it is surprisingly difficult for the players to make a living. I do wish she had expounded more here and offered her ideas on how to improve both audience engagement as well as better situation for the players.

    4. Hope's family is not the Brady bunch--they are more like a soap opera, full of fights and love. Every major event in Hope's life, whether up or down, the various family members(usually hating each other) still come out to support her. Even her on again, off again, BFF Adrian** is there. Here is where you gain most respect for Hope--her love for her family and friends abounds in this book.

    Just be prepared as she is vindictive and does not hold back against any of those who "hurt" her, going all the way back to high school!

    **PS I thought Adrian was "code" for man she married(Jerramy Stevens)---but alas Adrian is real. Hope's dating and marriage happened a few months after book released. Hard to comment on a relationship I know little about, but I am writing this right after both were in headlines again(leading to her most recent suspension). Can't help but wonder what would have happened if she had married Adrian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (484)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (401)

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A very interesting book with some shortcomings."
    "British Take"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know, general histories of the whole of WWII are usually just too shallow to be enjoyable. Drink deep at history's fountain or not all.
    But still like a moth to fire, I always read them, and as a result know where an author is going or when they repeat common myths, or make minor mistakes, like here, mixing up the Heer and the Wehrmacht. Still, I liked Robert's book as he focuses more on areas that typically receive little coverage---CBI theater, fighting near Antwerp, etc.
    Nothing new, just different focus and good way to waste hours of a dreary commute!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Renegade History of the United States

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thaddeus Russell
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (82)

    American history was driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires---the "respectable" versus the "degenerate", the moral versus the immoral. The more that "bad" people existed, resisted, and won, the greater was our common good. In A Renegade History of the United States, Russell introduces us to the origins of our nation's identity as we have never known them before.

    Douglas says: "Interesting/Entertaining Revision of History"
    "One of those books...that cause brain freeze!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the books that are filled with a bits of trivia, and I learned quite a bit listening to this book. Yet, just me personally, I listen to this in small bursts. It is one of those books, not sure if is better used as coffee table reference. There are constant tidbits of info without much of a central theme or narrative means too much at once. Like drinking a slurpee too fast after a job---brain freeze!
    Love the book and the tidbits, though, and narrator is fun to listen to as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jeff Shaara
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (156)

    As the war in Europe winds down in the wake of the Normandy invasion, the United States has turned its vast military resources toward an all-out effort against the Japanese. In the spring of 1945, Japan’s empire has been pressed slowly back toward its home islands, and the Americans mount a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan itself - the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire war, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered than experience the shame of surrender.

    Rune says: "How can he keep it up"
    "Good coverage of unknown battle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Since I first read it at 12, I've been huge fan of Michael Shaara's Killer Angels. I've had a much harder time getting into his son's books, as I find the pace much slower.
    That being said, with my daughter and new son-in-law in Okinawa, I enjoyed reading about a topic I had only cursory studied before.
    Narrator was horrible with the Japanese accent, something out of a really bad 1940's war picture. While I appreciate a good narrator that can do different voices for the various characters, I found this one very, well, insulting. I haven't read the book, so maybe to be fair the written dialogue comes off same way. Even so, I found the Japanese characters would have been more interesting to the story if narrator had handled their parts better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael B. Oren
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (863)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (460)

    In Israel and the West, it is called the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is known as the June War or, simply, as "the Setback". Never has a conflict so short, unforeseen, and largely unwanted by both sides so transformed the world. The Yom Kippur War, the war in Lebanon, the Camp David accords, the controversy over Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the intifada, and the rise of Palestinian terror are all part of the outcome of those six days.

    Patrick says: "Great overview of Middle East troubles"
    "Good listen but as one-sided as actual conflict!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd been looking forward to this book as I had heard it was a balanced account. Well, book is good, but author's bias sways as much toward the Israeli favor as did the war itself. Nothing at all wrong with that, as many good histories are a bit one sided, but he states in beginning his goal was to be objective.
    While he does spend an inordinate amount of time on the pre-war diplomacy, once the action starts the book moves fast--unfortunately, too fast. My only criticism is that I had hoped the battle scenes would have been fleshed out more.
    Again, while clearly showing a bias, he does examine various reasons why the Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians were so caught unaware.
    A better idea for a book would be a side by side comparison of the surprise in 1967 and why Israel did so well, versus the 1973 attack that caught the Israelis comparatively off-guard, yet did not garner the same success for the Arab countries that Israel had in 1967 against them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Full Cast
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    This acclaimed World War II psychological court room drama was the sensation of 1954. The play portrays a mutiny of naval officers aboard the U.S.S. Caine. Their suspicions concerning their captain's sanity lead to their rebellion and a subsequent court-martial.

    Jean says: "A modern day mutiny"
    "Get the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not sure what it was, but I loved the movie, and liked the audible of the book but this radio dramatization(based on the book) didn't work for me. Get the movie--and Mr. Roberts while you are at it.
    And for great audible of Herman Wouk, get Winds of War and War&Remembrance, you won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By William Manchester
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (163)

    Virtually all Americans above a certain age hold strong opinions about Douglas MacArthur. They either worship him or despise him. Now, in this superb book, one of our most outstanding writers, after a meticulous three-year examination of the record, presents his startling insights about the man. The narrative is gripping, because the general's life was fascinating. It is moving, because he was a man of vision. It ends, finally, in tragedy, because his character, though majestic, was tragically flawed.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great material. Well read."
    "One of the Essential Audibles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grab this one. Manchester is an incredbile author and does a great warts and all bio of a fascinating subject.
    It is slightly longwinded at times, but he captures the essence of the man from childhood through his "fading away".
    The narrator didn't stand out like Humphrey Bower or Kevin Pariseau, but he keeps story moving.
    Complaints below were that Manchester is too pro-Macarthur. While he may not be as critical of Macarthur, he doesn't put him on a pedestal. The man comes across as brilliant, arrogant, egotistical, yet a true family man.And his handling of the Truman issue was very fair-handed, rapping both for the issues.

    I would love to see Manchester's book on Krupp next on audible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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