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Sioux Falls, SD, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 14 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 226 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant: Part 1: The Early Years, West Point, Mexico

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ulysses S. Grant
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson

    Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and commander of the Union forces in the Civil War, tells the story of his life in his own words. In this opening volume, Grant covers his early years, including his time at the U.S. military academy at West Point and his service during the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor. Grant wrote his memoirs in order to rescue his family from debt and they were published as he lay dying of throat cancer. Today, they are an American classic.

    Robert W. Gillespie says: "U.S Grant: A Man of Intelligence and Dignity"
    "A good overview of Grant's war"

    Grant's memoirs are considered the most readable, concise and approachable war memoirs ever published in any era. I'm finding this to be true. His language is surprisingly modern, and Grant has a habit of reminding you who people are when they are re-introduced several pages later -- it makes the overall feel of the book one of a narrative rather than a history.

    The narrator, though somewhat bland, suits his source material rather well, and doesn't distract much from the book.

    I'm disappointed that they've broken up Grant's memoirs into three separate audiobooks, but I can live with that thanks to my subscription. If you want excruciating detail about the Civil War, buy Foote's histories. For a broader overview of Grant's war, with the perspective of the commanding General, read these memoirs.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Robert Leckie
    • Narrated By John Allen Nelson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In Helmet for My Pillow, we follow his odyssey, from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war's fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the horrors and sacrifices of war.

    Sean says: "A classic narrative of the Pacific War"
    "A classic narrative of the Pacific War"

    Leckie and Sledge have written the two classic tales of the 1st Marine Division in WWII. Helmet for my Pillow and With The Old Breed are both highly recommended.

    That said, Leckie is a bit of an oddity in enlisted-man war memoir authors, quoting Homer, Herodotus, and St. Thomas Aquinas, and eschewing the profanities that he heard and likely used every day in uniform. Given when he wrote this book, that's not all that surprising. Leckie also uses pseudonyms for his fellow Marines, which is annoying, but it is what it is.

    This book is longer on personal narrative and less about the graphic and gory details of what combat in the Pacific was like. For that, see Sledge.

    Other reviewers are correct about the narrator: he takes a bit to get used to, and I can see where he'd turn some people off. I went with it, and soon it didn't bother me.

    If you're into reading about the Pacific War from a worms-eye view, this book is essential reading.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Red Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Robert A` Heinlein
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Jim Marlowe's Martian pet, Willis, seems like nothing more than an adorable ball of fur.

    But Jim's devotion to the little creature will soon lead him and his pal Frank into a death-defying trek across Mars.

    Robert says: "Another good story by one of the great SF authors"

    A childishly dramatic reading. I couldn't get more than 10 minutes in before giving up, despite being a Heinlein fan.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Bill Irwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Just why do humpback whales sing? That's the question that has marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his crew poking, charting, recording, and photographing very big, wet, gray marine mammals - until the extraordinary day when a whale lifts its tail into the air to display a cryptic message spelled out in foot-high letters: Bite Me.

    Jill says: "Entertaining story, as usual!"
    "One of the weaker Moore books"

    I love Christopher Moore, generally.

    I'd rate this book as his 2nd weakest of those I've read so far, with Fool being the only one I've liked less.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Nick Reding
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Crystal methamphetamine is widely considered to be the most dangerous drug in the world, and nowhere is that more true than in the small towns of the American heartland. Methland tells the story of Oelwein, Iowa (pop. 6,159), which, like thousands of other small towns across the country, has been left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy, and an out-migration of people.

    Sean says: "Interesting, then not."
    "Interesting, then not."

    An interesting subject that attempts to chronicle the effects of Meth on a small town.

    Then it's about the loss of union jobs. Then the Mexican cartels. Then the town again. Then Big Agra. Then the prosecutor's inability to settle down with the love of his life. Then illegal immigrants.

    Great subject material in dire need of a good editor.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Blum
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Poisoner's Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

    Aaron - Audible says: "CSI eat your heart out"
    "Fascinating subject; uneven narration"

    I found myself completely fascinated by this book, and couldn't wait to get back in my car to hear the next section.

    Minus one star for the narration, which was a bit stilted and awkward in several places. That's the fault of the editor or producer rather than the reader, though; it should have merited a re-take.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Chelsea Handler
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You've either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend's irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.

    Kathryn says: "Chelsea, You are HYSTERICAL!"
    "Sometimes funny; always pathetic"

    Ms Handler makes her way from meaningless hookup to meaningless hookup throughout her early adult life, sometimes finding herself in some truly funny situations. The thought occurs to me over and over again while listening that she seems quite unhappy, and it's largely because of the unnecessary lies she's told for her own amusement while pursuing these disposable relationships; any chance of a connection is gone because of how she got to where she did. Her cynicism shines through loud and clear, though, talking about how she doesn't want to waste her "first marriage" on a gay man, for instance.

    It's no spoiler to say that she hits bottom (a couple of times) and starts thinking about settling down by the end of the book. I wonder, though: who would have her after reading this?

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Fool: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of...well...stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

    Michael says: "Mr Moore does it again."
    "Not your average Christopher Moore book"

    I'm on a Christopher Moore kick lately, having listened to and enjoyed Practical Demonkeeping, A Dirty Job and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun in the past couple of months.

    Fool is, different. Different in tone. Different in character development. Different in style.

    That's fine for what it is, and Fool was enjoyable, mostly, but if I'd bought it first, I probably wouldn't have continued through Moore's stuff.

    I have to wonder if I made it through this book only because I'd read King Lear in the past couple of years. A friend of mine who's never read Lear, gave up because he tired of feeling lost.
    I'm not giving up on Moore, though. "You Suck" is being downloaded as I write this.

    Overall, I wouldn't recommend this audiobook.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lyn Smith
    • Narrated By Andrew Sachs

    Following the success of Forgotten Voices of the Great War, the series now chronicles one of human histories darkest hours. The author comes to the project following her significant work in recording the experiences of Holocaust survivors for the Imperial War Museum sound archive, one of the most important archives of its kind in the world. The intertwined moving and revealing interviews reveal the sheer complexity and horror of the Holocaust.

    Sean says: "A bit short, but very compelling"
    "A bit short, but very compelling"

    I read and listen to a lot of WWII history. Every time I think I'm beyond being shocked at the atrocities of the war, I'm proven wrong. 9 times out of 10 it's a story from the Holocaust that gets me.

    This audiobook, told in the first person by the actual people involved, is no exception. The tone tends to be matter-of-fact, rather than emotional, but that adds to the impact of what you're hearing. One of the stories hit so close to home that I broke down and wept at one point, and that's not the sort of thing I do often.

    My only complaint is that the work was too short, skipped too many parts of Europe, and skipped over large sections of the war. It's entirely possible that I wouldn't have been satisfied until they'd made a 100 hour compilation.

    I highly recommend this audiobook, as well as the other Forgotten Voices books to have come out of the Imperial War Museum. This one, however, is not for the faint of heart. The soldier's war was much different than what was experienced in the ghettos, concentration camps and hideouts throughout Europe. This is an unblinking chronicle of some of the worst things humans have done to one another in recorded history.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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