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Scott

Scarborough, ON, Canada | Member Since 2013

146
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 93 reviews
  • 194 ratings
  • 454 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
11

  • Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter Baker
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (139)

    Theirs was the most captivating American political partnership since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger: a bold and untested president and his seasoned, relentless vice president. Confronted by one crisis after another, they struggled to protect the country, remake the world, and define their own relationship along the way. In Days of Fire, Peter Baker chronicles the history of the most consequential presidency in modern times through the prism of its two most compelling characters, capturing the elusive and shifting alliance of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney as no historian has done before.

    Scott says: "A balanced account of the W and Cheney White House"
    "A balanced account of the W and Cheney White House"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    First off, I'll admit I was no fan of George W Bush yet still the man intrigued me. Could he really be as dumb, arrogant, and stubborn as his persona suggests? Well, according to this well written account of his White House years, the answer is yes and no. This is a nicely nuanced portrait of the Bush and Cheney partnership that really only lasted he first term of the presidency. All of Bush's failings are in display here and the author links these in subtle ways with W's character flaws. At the same time, this is hardly a hatchet job. Undeniably the Bush presidency was a time of monumental challenges, some of Bush and Cheney's own making, some not. The influence of each man on the other is depicted in an almost Shakespearian tragic way as initial successes lead to epic failures and estrangement. A compelling read that will likely not satisfy hard core Bush apologists or detractors, this is well worth the read for anyone seeking a better understanding of he partner ship that made he White House tick.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Helen Thorpe
    • Narrated By Donna Postel
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (63)

    Soldier Girls follows the lives of three women on their paths to the military. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home.

    Constance says: "Healing and Insightful"
    "Engrossing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Soldier Girls the most enjoyable?

    This audiobook documents the lives of three women enrolled in the National Guard, from pre-9/11 through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the women – Desma, Debbie, and Michelle - share many commonalities and experiences, their motivations and ultimately, outcomes and views on their service diverge. With bravery and candor, the women have seemingly provided Thorpe access to their diaries, records, and innermost thoughts and experiences. The result is at times uplifting, horrifying, and sad but always compelling. In short, I was engrossed. To her credit, Thorpe skillfully lets the women’s voices and experiences drive the narrative and by doing so, their stories offer much to say about the National Guard, the role and treatment of women in the armed forces, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and how as a society we re-integrate our veterans back into civilian life. The narration is competent. Though this book is a good listen for anyone to enjoy, I would say this should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking of enlisting in the National Guard or armed forces as well as those who are already serving.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • H Is for Hawk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Helen Macdonald
    • Narrated By Helen Macdonald
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    When Helen MacDonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored her own.

    Scott says: "Genre defying"
    "Genre defying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about H Is for Hawk?

    What to make of this book? Guide to taming your hawk? Check? Mournful eulogy to a dead father? Check. Biography of T.H. White? Check. In whatever genre you may wish to pigeonhole H is for Hawk, I found this audiobook enthralling and this has mostly to do with MacDonald’s brave “bare your soul” honesty as well as her adept, fictionesque turn of phrasing. Grieving the sudden and unexpected death of her father, MacDonald retreats into two worlds: the solitary taming of a young goshawk she names Mabel and the life of tortured author (and one time goshawk trainer) T.H. White, with whom MacDonald obviously senses a kinship on several levels. Through both, MacDonald loses and then reclaims herself from the grief for her father. This is a moving, elegiac memoir that connects the listener intimately with MacDonald, her father, White, and Mabel (whose personality is slowly and fascinatingly revealed). For those without much knowledge of falconry there are lots of interesting historical, cultural and taming tidbits that left me wanting more. The parts about White I found less compelling but certainly understood MacDonald’s fascination with him. This book had me at every page and I honestly didn’t know where it would end up. The only criticism I had was the narration, by the author herself, which I found a bit leaden. Nevertheless, I will look forward eagerly to her next book


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Matt Ridley
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (109)

    Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers - questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Matt Ridley here probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome.

    Gary says: "Still useful today."
    "Interesting but wish it were more up to date"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    Equal parts fascinating and informative, Ridley offers a tour of the human genome with each chapter focusing on a different gene(s) within one of 22 chromosome (the 23rd sex linked chromosomes are omitted). Thankfully, rather than an exhaustive A to Z treatment that would have been numbing, Ridley chose wisely to focus on a sample representative not only of the traits and qualities that define us as humans but also illustrate the vast promise and hidden shortfalls of genetics, heritability, disease and at the end, free will. I found this very intriguing and the arguments/science are well laid out. A few caveats though: this is a step above an introductory/layperson guide so at least a general familiarity with genetics will make this much more understandable (and enjoyable) listen; secondly, the author’s foray into behaviourism, Freudian psychology and some arguments about free will and determinism were a little shaky and perhaps out of place here; and finally, the book was written in 1999 which may as well have been a millennia ago given the pace of genetic research. Though I wouldn’t say this disqualifies the book, I was left yearning perhaps for a second edition that might be more current. Still, the themes of the book remain relevant and I found it a very worthwhile and enjoyable read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My War Gone By, I Miss It So

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Anthony Loyd
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    With elegance and unsparing honesty, special correspondent for The Times of London, Anthony Loyd records this harrowing account of modern war. My War Gone By, I Miss It So exposes the unspeakable terror, visceral thrill of combat, and countless lives laid waste in Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II. Unsatisfied by a brief stint in the British army and driven by the despair of drug dependence, the author was searching for excitement when he set out for Bosnia in 1993.

    Scott says: "Grim"
    "Grim"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Was My War Gone By, I Miss It So worth the listening time?

    Loyd’s memoir of his time as a war journalist in Bosnia and Chechnya in the 1990”s is an odd mix of war story, addiction tell all, and biography of a troubled upbringing. To Loyd’s credit, he interweaves the three threads in a back and forth timeline that works better than if the whole had been told in a linear fashion. But overall I found this audiobook grim and not terribly enlightening. There is extensive, vivid recounting of battlefield scenes of viscera and horror that loses all shock effect after awhile. Is this supposed to be the true confession of an adrenaline junkie, war fetishist, drug addict or all of the above? In the end, I wasn’t sure. Though Loyd is undoubtedly brave, both in his exploits and in his willingness to bare all on the page, I found myself unable to relate to the person or the plight. For those who want a journalist’s unblemished view of the horrors of war, then this may be the audiobook for you, but it left me cold and frankly, slightly repelled.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (923)
    Performance
    (765)
    Story
    (762)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "Latest volume a worthy edition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Passage of Power?

    This fourth volume in Caro’s expansive biography of LBJ covers the period of 1958 through early 1964. It traces LBJ’s ascension from dithering presidential candidate, to the powerless office of the VP, and concludes with his transition to the Presidency in the two months following JFKs assassination. This is a well researched and crafted biography of the man, his times, and the people around him. There are many fascinating details that deal with LBJ’s ambitions and insecurities, his relationship with the Kennedys, and the oft forgotten craftsmanship with which he assumed the mantel of the presidency during a difficult period. Caro is not one to skimp on details and for those who might be put off by the length of the book, there is an elegance and precision to Caro’s writing that keeps the narrative flowing. I should also say that I don’t think it is necessary to have read Caro’s other volumes in order to enjoy/follow Passage of Power as Caro briefly recaps details from the earlier works where it is necessary to add context. I found the narration brisk and competent. In short, this is a monumental work of biography about one of America’s more conflicted Presidents, one to whom history has perhaps been unfairly unkind. I am eagerly looking forward to the release of the final volume in the next few years.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Hampton Sides
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (627)
    Performance
    (564)
    Story
    (563)

    In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: The North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship.

    Dennis Hinkamp says: "Great found story"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a worthy entry in the latest line of doomed Arctic exploration slash survival tales. Sides has a knack for infusing history with drama and does a good job here of putting the listener into the protagonist's shoes. The various characters are well drawn which makes their ordeal all the more riveting. Though there aren't many twists and turns, I truly had no sense throughout the audiobook how the tale would end. The narration is understated and rightly lets the events and the men's heroicism speak for themselves. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bowie: The Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Wendy Leigh
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    Discover the man behind the myth in this new biography of one of the most pioneering and influential performers of our time - David Bowie. David Bowie - the iconic superstar of rock, fashion, art, design, and the quintessential sexual liberator - is a living legend. However, for the past five decades, he has managed to retain his Hollywood star mystique. Now, New York Times bestselling author Wendy Leigh reveals the real man behind the mythology. Through

    Madeira Darling says: "More Like This, PLEASE"
    "Trashy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was most disappointing about Wendy Leigh’s story?

    This bio has lots of sex, some drugs, and precious little rock and roll. While you would never expect a bio of David Bowie to be G-rated, this trashy bit of work does a hatchet job on an arguably music and entertainment pioneer. The author seems to have based much of her material on the recollections of groupies and hangers on with the result being lots of details on Bowie’s sex life but comparatively little on his music and its impact. In particular, she seems to have a lurid fixation on the size of Bowie’s genitalia and she comes back to this topic ad nauseum. The narration – delivered in dry, Queen’s English, couldn’t be more at odd’s with the subject matter and brings to mind the John Cleese sex ed teacher bit from The Meaning of Life. If you are looking to find out about Bowie the musician, his influences and impact, you won’t find it here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt
    • Narrated By Jane Jacobs
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    In this groundbreaking, accessible book, Dr. Frances E. Jensen, a mother, teacher, researcher, and internationally known expert in neurology, introduces us to the mystery and magic of the teen brain. One of the first books to focus exclusively on the neurological development of adolescents, The Teenage Brain presents new findings, dispels widespread myths, and provides practical suggestions for negotiating this difficult and dynamic life stage for both adults and adolescents.

    phoneman says: "technical"
    "Useful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I found lots to like about this audiobook – the folksy prose, the scientific research underpinning its claims, the author’s willingness to share her experiences raising two teenage sons. This is a useful primer for any parent seeking to better understand the teenage mind and also a handy how to manual for raising teenagers in the modern world. Once you come to grips with the notion that teenagers are not hormone addled children nor are they merely inexperienced adults, the rest of the book’s claims hardly seem earth shattering and indeed, the book tends to repeat a handful of core ideas over and over again. Nevertheless, the book is entertaining, easy to read, has lots of fascinating insights into the still developing mind of a teenager, and to its credit, offers no easy bromides or false promises that if you do x as a parent everything will be okay. Rather, this is the thinking person’s parenting guide, a sort of What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Teenager and as such, should probably be required reading for any parent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Bryan Stevenson
    • Narrated By Bryan Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (162)

    Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.

    Jean says: "Thought Provoking"
    "Admirable but sterile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Just Mercy? What did you like least?

    There is a lot to admire about the subject matter of this audiobook: the dedication and selfless determination of Bryan Stevenson, the work he and his fellow lawyers have done to help those on death row who were wrongly convicted, his advocacy for equal justice and legal reform. All of this is chronicled mostly through the case experiences of a half dozen or so different clients with a particular focus on one, Walter, whose tragic story weaves throughout the narrative. The sum is an informative and damning indictment of the justice system in the deep south. Still, I found the narrative engaged the intellect more than the heart, which seems counterintuitive given the David vs. Goliath subject matter. Part of my problem with the book was its broad scope and lack of “in the weeds” details, both of which are essential for the reader to put themselves in Stevenson’s and his client’s shoes. Rather, the story meanders through different cases, with only a slightly better than cursory overview of the people, legal arguments and courtroom maneuvering that went on in each case. Granted, you don’t expect Just Mercy to be a John Grisham novel, but perhaps if it had focused on just one or two cases and what it took to expose their injustices and right the wrongs it would have been a more compelling and engaging book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kolbert
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (556)
    Performance
    (498)
    Story
    (494)

    A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    Male Perspective says: "Better than expected! Great Book!"
    "Compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I found this to be an utterly fascinating audiobook, a chronicle of the often deleterious effects that humanity/civilization has had on the diversity of living organisms with whom we share the planet. This isn’t really a book about climate change per se, though it certainly appears in the narrative. Rather, this is an in depth examination of the so called anthropocene, the most recent ecological era characterized by humanity’s purposeful altering of the Earth’s biosphere. Kolbert expertly chronicles this by focusing on a dozen or so past and present species – from coral reefs, Auks, Mastadons, cave dwelling bats, and Neanderthals to name a few – and how humanity, purposefully but also at times unintentionally, has caused their extinction or brought them to the brink. Though this might sound like depressing stuff, Kolbert smartly keeps the focus on the science and scientists, avoids moralizing, and for the most part lets the listener draw their own conclusions. The end result is a sharp, thoughtful, and at times humorous book that is part forensic detective story, part elegy and full bore wake up call to what we are doing to the biodiversity of this planet. A worthwhile and entertaining read for tree huggers and skeptics alike.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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