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