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Steven

San Leandro, CA, USA | Member Since 2004

ratings
3
REVIEWS
3
FOLLOWING
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HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • Washington's Crossing

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Hackett Fischer
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (595)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (217)

    This New York Times best seller is a thrilling account of one of the most pivotal moments in United States history. Six months after the Declaration of Independence, America was nearly defeated. Then on Christmas night, George Washington led his men across the Delaware River to destroy the Hessians at Trenton. A week later Americans held off a counterattack, and in a brilliant tactical move, Washington crept behind the British army to win another victory. The momentum had reversed.

    William says: "Particularly Good Military History"
    "Exciting History"
    Overall

    I read a lot of historical fiction and since discovering audio books, I have time to listen to historical nonfiction. Now I'll be able to compare fact with fiction! Fischer manages to write a riveting account of Washington crossing the Delaware, and the narrator is superb. The crossing and the ensuing Battle of Trenton take up the middle portion of the book. The first part provides interesting background about the American and English armies, and the Hessian mercenaries (did you know that Germans made up about one-third of the English army? I didn't). In the last part, Fischer describes the game of cat and mouse immediately following the small but important American victory. Fischer's analysis and comments on Leutze's famous painting are also fascinating and informative - Washington was likely standing in the boat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Joanne Whalley, Martin Jarvis, Dennis Boutsikaris, and others
    Overall
    (763)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (115)

    Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor", and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of: a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    John S. Atherton says: "I give the book a five but I won't buy it..."
    "Deadpan story"
    Overall

    This is Kostova's debut, and she labored ten years writing it. I want to be kind, so I will say that I hope her next effort is better. The style is an odd mixture of insipid melodrama. There are no less than three passionate romances. Even with all the danger and horror, none of the academic historians suffer from a single cowardly moment. The story is filled with amazing and ridiculous coincidences, as well as lunatic behavior from otherwise rational characters. For example, Helen, a main character, decides to abandon her husband and young daughter for almost twenty years because she had jumped from a cliff to escape certain capture by Dracula. Why did she not return to them? Because she felt that the shame of jumping and perhaps dying made her unworthy of her family. The writing and dialogue are juvenile. Kostova even manages to emasculate Dracula, but I can't tell you how without giving too much away. To add insult to injury, the voice of Paul, a main character, is annoyingly deadpan itself. He might as well be reading a children's bedtime story than a horror story.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Alexander Hamilton

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1128)
    Performance
    (377)
    Story
    (375)

    Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades", now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.

    Robert says: "Captivating & Fluid Bio Unique American immigrant"
    "Wonderful Biography"
    Overall

    I read a lot of historical fiction and since discovering audio books, I have time to listen to historical nonfiction. Now I'll be able to compare fact with fiction! Chernow's Alexander Hamilton is a wonderfully written and narrated biography; sometimes as personal and compelling as fiction. As nonfiction it's long and detailed, but my interest never lagged. I felt surprised at the mysteries surrounding the fatal duel; Chernow speculates between two extremes: that Hamilton may have felt depressed and resigned to death, or that he may have expected a harmless ritual in the routine defense of honor. Other than that loose end, for which there may be no definitive answer, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book and learning about the man who had such a great hand in shaping the government of the new United States.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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