Fairbanks, AK, United States | Member Since 2012
A Higher Call is one of those inspiring stories that makes you want to be a better person. World War II brought about some of the most unthinkable actions of pure evil mankind has ever seen - and yet amongst such atrocities, decency and valor and good will still shone through in the actions of men from both sides of the war. This is one of those stories.
This book brought tears to my eyes. And for a man's man who stinks at showing emotion like me - that's saying something. Phenomenal book.
This book is raw, and sadly very real. The thought of some of the things described in this book makes me cringe, and yet I would not hesitate to recommend this book as required reading for everyone. It reminds us of what men are capable of doing and the undying strength of the human spirit.
The book is a history of one mans (then a boy) journey into Auschwitz-Birkenau. A journey that VERY few lived to tell about. Elie Wiesel has lived an inspirational life (he's still alive) and has written several other books. I encourage anyone who has the time to take a minute and Google him - he's truly an amazing man.
After finishing the book, I told my wife some of the things I had learned. She stopped me before I could finish - it was too graphic. And it is graphic, and it is real. But it's my opinion that we need to realize that this really happened. We all know that millions of people were killed in these concentration camps, but what we sometimes forget is that these were real life people, each an individual with a story of their own. It's books like this that bring some of those individuals back to life.
I stumbled upon this book because I'm a fan of Bronson Pinchot - the narrator - and I'm happy I did. This book has all of the action, suspense, character development, tragedy, and .... you get the point.
The story builds slowly. It is based in post war Ukraine, the story of a war veteran who, after a gruesome discovery, is taken on a brutal journey across the steppe to find his kidnapped niece. What evolves is a game of cat and mouse set against the dramatic political background that enveloped the blood lands after WWII. It is the story of how good men can do bad things; and how bad men can also do much good.
My wife thought the book was too slow, and in parts, that might be true. But the story has depth, as good books often do.
Secondly, Bronson Pinchot was amazing. He does narrate the book in a heavy Ukrainian accent and is soft spoken, almost in the way I would imagine a weathered, battle scarred veteran of this time and place might have spoken. It took a few minutes to get used to, but was masterfully done.
As everyone has said, this is the fantastic story of a rogue Russian submarine commander attempting to defect his nation's newest and most advanced submarine, the Red October, to the Americans. Top notch book and a great movie, to boot!
But the narrator J. Charles botches his reading about a thousand times during the course of the book. As someone mentioned, he makes every Russian character sound like Count Dracula and every American commander sound like a backwoods hillbilly. It was beyond ridiculous. And I'm not usually very nitpicky about pronunciation, but Charles mispronounces such common words that the narration almost became comical. Simple words like "known" are pronounced "know-when", or FLIR (forward looking infrared - usually pronounced "fleer") was pronounced "fluur" throughout the entire book. The list could go on.
Suffice it to say this is a great book with sub-par narration.
My favorite thing about Sebastian Junger's book "The Perfect Storm" was that it wasn't fictionalized in any way, which can make the task of reconstructing the last few days of six men on a fishing vessel very difficult. But through a thoughtful examination of the events on and off of the Andrea Gail, Junger recreates the gripping story of what happened in late October 1991. It was known as the Perfect Storm - a freak meteorological marriage of two weather events that culminated in wave heights over 100 feet, sustained winds of 75mph, and over $200 million in damage along the eastern seaboard.
Great narration and an interesting, hair-raising story.
I want to start by saying that Paul Michael is one heck of a narrator. By the end of the book, I could audibly distinguish between characters just by the various accents spoken by the narrator. How anyone can keep two dozen different character accents clear and consistent throughout a 25hr storytelling is beyond me. Five stars!!
The book was great. A few commenters complained about the fact that the novel doesn't concentrate on one character - that it is too broad of a narrative and not enough of a story. But the book wasn't written to be about one or two men. It covers the North African campaigns and the plights of several key figures from that period, and judged in that light, Shaara wrote an amazing novel. From the frustrations of Rommel to the brashness of Patton, to the as yet untested Eisenhower trying to make the coalition function - it's all there.
I'll definitely be ordering the next book in the trilogy.
Like many listeners, I have been waiting for Ken Follett to release this book for a few years now. I am a huge fan of some of his other works, particularly his first two books in the Century Trilogy. But let me join the crowd by saying that this book, in my opinion, was a dud.
First off, its easy to tell that Mr. Follett is a devoted liberal. He talks quite often in his books about liberal causes and the "evils" of those that oppose those causes - which is completely fine since everyone has their viewpoint. But The Edge of Eternity was a 36 hour preachers sermon on liberal topics and demonizing the "idiot" conservatives. Again, in any novel, the author's opinion obviously shows through, but I felt this novel went over the top to the point of being annoying. Follett went out of his way to attack anything conservative.
Secondly, I don't think that Follett is inaccurate in his research, he is just incomplete. He paints only a small part of the picture that he wants to paint, which I suppose is his right as an author to do, but its pretty obvious to the listener. It frustrated me while listening to the story, and I was tempted to return the book a couple of times.Anyway, if you're set on completing the trilogy and finishing Follett's trilogy, then purchasing this book might be a good idea. Otherwise, I would save the credit and avoid the 36 hour selective history lesson.
For me, reading the Old Testament is...difficult. I have a tough time piecing together the major events while navigating the "so and so begat so and so" chapters. And as a consequence - I don't know much about the Old Testament.
Lynn Austin brings the Bible to life by piecing together scripture and filling in the gaps. Like all good historical fiction writers, Austin uses the facts where available and sews them together with a plausible and interesting storyline. This was my first Lynn Austin listen and I have since completed several more books in this series. They're all interesting and they're all beautifully written.
This book covers the early life of Hezekiah, future King of Judah. This youngster will eventually change the course of history and this book leads up to that. So if you're like me and sometimes struggle reading scripture, give Lynn Austin a listen. You'll enjoy the story and find out that you're learning along the way.
I can't say anything about this book that hasn't already been said. It was fantastic and horrifying, tragic and redemptive. It was men and women of true merit and courage that overcame the unspeakable evil of Nazi Germany, and books like that bring them to life.
What can I say about this book and it's author that haven't already been said?
The North and South series is fantastic. It's the story of two families intertwined by friendship, love, and marriage; separated by being "northerners" and "southerners", and ultimately by civil war.
I couldn't help but love the characters. They are well developed and intertwined, but not in such a way that would make the book confusing. John Jakes is the PG-13 version of Ken Follett - just enough to keep the story interesting, but not enough to make it pornographic. Those who have read both authors know what I'm talking about.
Its hard to imagine what life would have been like living during the civil war period. Your friends - and even some of your family - suddenly your "enemies", all because of the evil ideology of slavery, corrupted power structures, culture, and simple geography. The veins of slavery ran deep enough to turn a nation against itself, resulting in hundreds of thousands dead. It's books like this that help you see the victims on both sides.
After listening to several of Ken Follett's novels - or more accurately, tomes - I've come to expect a few things. First, the book will likely contain several graphic rape and sex scenes. (Some of them graphic enough to make a sailor blush). And while some of this can make you love or hate a character, I felt like the continued graphic element in this book detracted a bit from the narrative - every ten minutes there was mention of this and that body part. Secondly, the story will be rich in detail and it will usually end up being very interesting. And finally, it will be at least 40 hours long and read by John Lee (who is a fantastic narrator by the way).
Overall I enjoyed the book. Good character development and some unexpected twists and turns. I've never listened to a book detailing this period of history, so learning of the times and politics of the early Christian church was informative. There was one character that reminded me of a cheap action movie villain that seems to survive every un-survivable situation imaginable. He's a constant thorn in your side that never goes away.
Not Follett's best, but worth your listen.
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