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Scott

Scarborough, ON, Canada | Member Since 2013

156
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 97 reviews
  • 198 ratings
  • 469 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
12

  • American Spies: Espionage Against the United States from the Cold War to the Present

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sulick
    • Narrated By Robert J. Eckrich
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Sulick reveals six fundamental elements of espionage in these stories: the motivations that drove them to spy; their access and the secrets they betrayed; their tradecraft, i.e., the techniques of concealing their espionage; their exposure; their punishment; and, finally, the damage they inflicted on America's national security.

    troy says: "Very good"
    "A fascinating history of infamy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Enjoyable, always interesting history of the most (in)famous spies of the past seventy years. Sulick breaks the book into chapters delving into various historical periods, e.g. Cold War Soviet spies, Viet Nam era, 1980's, military spies, age of terrorism, etc. and this helps frame common themes the perpetrators tended to have in common (e.g ideology, greed, corporate espionage, sense of grievance etc). The end result? Not only an absorbing recounting of the perpetrators, their crimes and the influences that shaped them, but also the challenges law enforcement faced in catching them. Engrossing stuff. I liked as well that the author frequently cited sources which is a bit unusual for this genre IMO. This book had me captivated from beginning to end. My only gripe was that major cases were given the same level of detail/treatment as more minor, obscure cases.


    What about Robert J. Eckrich’s performance did you like?

    Far from dry. Managed to imbue a sense of drama in the narration without being overdone.


    Any additional comments?

    For lovers of spy genre fiction, this would make a useful companion reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2509)
    Performance
    (2025)
    Story
    (2024)

    The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues.

    Robert says: "Interesting but wandering"
    "Illuminating while being far from heavy handed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Psychopath Test?

    Ronson’s investigation into the shadowy world of psychopaths has his usual mixture of self-deprecating humor, man on the street reporting, and tongue in cheek sleuthing. At the heart of the book is the question of what is a psychopath, can we reliably identify and diagnose it, and if so, what is to be done anyway. Robert Hare, arguably one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, serves as Ronson’s guide slash mentor and their interchanges are often amusing. Ronson also interviews incarcerated psychopaths, as well as one former CEO of a major corporation among others. Their dialogues with Ronson are expertly self-revealing and chilling. I found the parts of the book that focused solely on psychopathy interesting and illuminating; other parts that digress away from the topic (e.g. a mysterious manuscript sent to Neurologists, the dubious over-prescribing of medications to children among others) felt out of place. As usual, Ronson makes an excellent narrator of his own work, conveying the anxiety, uncertainty, and exasperation these investigations seem to bring out in him (love his bits on iatrogenic illness) Though The Psychopath Test isn’t Ronson’s best work, it is still an amusing and worthy read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Seth G. Jones
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Following September 11, the United States successfully overthrew the Taliban regime. It established security throughout the country, and Afghanistan finally began to emerge from more than two decades of conflict. But Jones argues that, as early as 2001, planning for the Iraq War siphoned off resources and talented personnel, undermining the gains that had been made. After eight years, the United States had pushed al-Qaeda’s headquarters about one hundred miles across the border into Pakistan.

    Curt says: "Interesting Book but- Worst Narrator Ever"
    "Concise and persuasive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a tidy examination of Afghanistan with particular emphasis on 1) its history from the 1970’s through 2000’s and 2) the U.S. led war and counter insurgency efforts post-9/11. The book is critical of what might be characterized as waning US commitment once the Taliban had been displaced and the Iraq war commenced but the author’s arguments are rational rather than ideological which imparts a certain gravitas. Having been written in 2009 the book is somewhat dated but still resonant with the benefit of the intervening years affording the listener hindsight and a greater opportunity to form their own conclusions. In the end, this audiobook is a good overview of the perils of foreign adventurism in Afghanistan.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Them: Adventures with Extremists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (677)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (611)

    Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and more.

    aaron says: "Dated but VERY Good... and FUNNY!"
    "Quickly becomes tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Ronson’s foray into the worldview of extremists has its charms and moments of humor but soon becomes, like its subjects, tedious. Ronson’s journalistic shtick is to more or less ingratiate himself among his subjects, get them to open up, and report on the results in what amounts to narrative transcripts with a bit of commentary thrown in on the side. Kudos for his bravery, ingenuity and chutzpah. Still, like anyone who has ever been trapped at a party by a droning bore, the listener’s initial amusement soon gives way to tedium. Are any of the extremists in this book interesting? Not so much, unless you are perhaps a fellow traveler. Does this book shed any light on why Ronson’s subjects have adopted such beyond the mainstream worldviews? Not really, apart from the obvious. Are his repeated attempts to validate suspicions about the highly secret Bilderberg group compelling? No. I like Ronson as a journalist, as a narrator of his audiobooks, and for his humor but Them is an audiobook I don’t recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (340)

    From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

    Megan says: "You'll never look at public shaming the same way"
    "The Scarlet Letter for the Internet age"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    More entertaining than perhaps enlightening, what you have here are the experiences of a collection of individuals who have all experienced public shaming, most of whom, ironically, the typical reader has probably never heard of. Ronson has a knack for highlighting the issue without lapsing into cultural critique or self-help condescension. Are we living in a shameless society, as Ronson quotes one commentator, or an overcharged infocentric era where internet social media places every user under the scrutiny of countless, anonymous eyes (and commentators)? Ronson doesn’t really say, but the experiences of his subjects – who come across as neither loathsome or pitiable but instead, rather banal - leaves little doubt. In the end, I found this audiobook a worthwhile, enjoyable listen as well as a cautionary tale for anyone who has ever hit the send button on an e-mail, Facebook posting, or Twitter feed perhaps a little too quickly as well as for those who are apt to pin an electronic scarlet letter on someone without giving much thought to the consequences. The narration, by Ronson himself, is emotionally charged and first-rate.

    2 of 2 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
    (98)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (84)

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • H Is for Hawk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Helen Macdonald
    • Narrated By Helen Macdonald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (114)

    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.

    Sara says: "Mabel The Hawk--The Fire That Burned The Hurts Away"
    "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


    3 of 6 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
    (144)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (112)

    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.


    1 of 1 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
    (933)
    Performance
    (774)
    Story
    (771)

    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
    (698)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (627)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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