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Stephen

New Smyrna Beach, FL, United States | Member Since 2004

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 204 ratings
  • 292 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • City of Women

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By David R. Gillham
    • Narrated By Suzanne Bertish
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (253)

    It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model soldier's wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover.

    Susianna says: "Just Fine But My High Expectations? Foiled Again!"
    "Stunning realism in tale of wartime Berlin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    David Gillham's moving and true words, in the hands of Suzanne Bertish's uncanny voicing of these flawed and damaged characters, left me in a continual state of anticipation, wonder, and concern for the characters. One cannot help being amazed at the depth of research necessary to convey the sense of realism that had me peering over my shoulder for signs of trouble from time to time in "the German glance."
    Like all good fiction, Gillham's story never betrays the reader's sense of trust in the trueness of the story and characterizations in a moving portrayal of how ordinary people react bravely or cowardly in the face of government evil. I found City of Women a completely surprising and thrilling performance. Bravo!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Ari Shavit
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (267)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (236)

    Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts.

    Chaim says: "Important book; unfortunate narration"
    "Repetitive, mostly fictional, an opera in disguise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was expecting an historical account of the founding and first years of the new state of Israel, but Shavit delivered instead repetitive and mostly fictional stories reimagined from historical documents, with an extremely over-dramatic reading by Paul Boehmer (great with the Hebraic words) that left me mostly uneducated about Israel's start. What little analysis Shavit posits is confusing. For example, he considers the West Bank settlements a defining mistake, but offers no suggestions for change. I recommend listening only to the Introduction and last chapter, at most.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (507)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (274)

    Håkan von Enke, a retired naval officer, disappears during a walk in a forest near Stockholm. Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation, but he is personally affected—von Enke is his daughter’s father-in-law—and Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility. He is confounded by the information he uncovers, which hints at elaborate Cold War espionage.

    Rebecca says: "I'd expect nothing less..."
    "Bravura failure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In none of his 9 preceding mysteries has Inspector Kurt Wallander been less discerning or quick-witted. We are tempted at several points to shout hints to him about clues he has seemingly missed until hours later and just kick him on the ankles to get him moving out of his constant funk. The story is a good one, both well suited to our political fears in these days of slipping back into Cold War jitters, and also befitting Mankell's considerable skills. The telling, however, is marred (for me, ruined) by Wallander's fixation on how old he's become (he's 60, for gosh sake's, not 90!). OK, Mankell needs to be sure we don't expect an 11th Wallander mystery, but surely he did not have to immerse the real mystery of The Troubled Man (not a reference to Wallander, by the way, although it might as well be) into this back story. On the plus side, a wonderful reading by Robin Sachs, who is responsible for 1-1/2 of my stars. Reach for an earlier Wallander book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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