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T. F. Plona


Phoenix, AZ | Member Since 2004

  • 18 reviews
  • 347 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014

  • True Compass: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Edward M. Kennedy
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this historic memoir, the late Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him. For the first time, he describes his heartbreak and years of struggle in the wake of their deaths. Through it all, he describes his work in the Senate on the major issues of our time - civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, the quest for peace in Northern Ireland - and the cause of his life: improved health care for all Americans

    Mark says: "A Walk through the 20th Century"
    "An interesting but skewed read"

    An interesting historical read. Starting from the late 30's to just this last Spring. Kennedy covers events from WWII to the Presidential elections of 1960, 1968, Chappaquiddick, 1972, 1976, Carter, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004. A good insight. My only cautionary comment is that the book is exactly what it is, it is a story as told by Kennedy himself, it is quite skewed (as expected) to his view on things.

    Overall an interesting read.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
    "A wonderful surprise - Who would have thought?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Fall and Rise of China the most enjoyable?

    This was my first listen to a course serries on Audible. I was unsure what to expect. The author/professor's depth of knowledge and ability to provide details and nuanced meaning of the historical events were invigorating to the topic.

    What other book might you compare The Fall and Rise of China to and why?

    I am a fan of Barbara Tuchman and this narration seemed similar to me.

    Any additional comments?

    great insight into China is today and how they got there. Much ground work is covered to establish what makes the Chinese tick. Wonderful insights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson
    • Narrated By Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Two sisters. Two voices. One Heart.

    The mystery of "Magic Man." The wicked riff of "Barracuda." The sadness and beauty of "Alone." The raw energy of "Crazy On You." These songs, and so many more, are part of the fabric of American music. Heart, fronted by Ann and Nancy Wilson, has given fans everywhere classic, raw, and pure badass rock and roll for more than three decades. As the only sisters in rock who write their own music and play their own instruments, Ann and Nancy have always stood apart - certainly from their male counterparts but also from their female peers.

    Kathy says: "Good Behind-The-Scenes Look At "Heart""
    "A joyful find for a fan"
    If you could sum up Kicking and Dreaming in three words, what would they be?

    I good clear assessment of who they are, where they wre, and how they got to where they wanted to go.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Kicking and Dreaming?

    For me, the dicussion about their work in the mid 80's was memorable. It was the time when I started to tune them out, the book helped explain how it all happened.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    I really enjoyed hearing about the various records and songs. I often paused the book to relisten to an old album or song to tie it well with the book.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Ann's complete honesty about weight, drugs and relationships along the way was quite moving. She was open and frank and honest. Very refreshing to find someone willing to be so open. As I 37 year fan I appreciate the trust she shared with me, the reader.

    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book and read through it quite quickly (for me). I found the way that some rather dark areas of the history were shared honestly and reflectively. When certain details came out that could hav ebeen exploited, I found their approach rather clear, frank and honest. This was no gossip rag biography.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Suzanne says: "The scare is in the human nature under stress."
    "Not nearly his best writing"
    What made the experience of listening to Under the Dome the most enjoyable?

    The main story idea of a gorup of people trapped from the rest of the world under a dome was interesting. I especially found the idea that when consequences were removed (no outsider could affect a person's bad decisions or misdeeds) what people would be willing to do or not do.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen King? Why or why not?

    I have read over 20 books by mr. King over the years. I am a huge fan of the Dark Tower and the Stand. I will read his books again.

    Which character – as performed by Raul Esparza – was your favorite?

    James "Big Jim" Rennie , I really found the breathing and pacing of his voice to work well with this character.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, I laughed at a few points, no tears though.

    Any additional comments?

    I have to say that I was impressed with how much disdain the author must have for Chrisitians. The hate and vitriol seemed to be pervasive throughout the story. While I have read over 20 books by King, it was most evident to me in this story. It was not a simple side bar to the story to have one Chrisitian kook in the story, it was throughout the story. It had seemed to me that there was an axe to grind or that somehow Stephen King had been greatly crossed or offended by the whole religion (regardless of the sect or denomination).

    The Chrisitan bashing was so great in the beginning that I almost stopped reading the story. I stuck with it and did finsih the book, even though the bashind was incessant.

    Lastly, I found the moral conclusion to the story too contrived and childlike. Too Twilight Zone like. A bit too simple for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Andrew Wheatcroft
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1683, an Ottoman army that stretched from horizon to horizon set out to seize the "Golden Apple", as Turks referred to Vienna. The ensuing siege pitted battle-hardened Janissaries wielding 17th-century grenades against Habsburg armies, widely feared for their savagery. The walls of Vienna bristled with guns as the besieging Ottoman host launched bombs, fired cannons, and showered the populace with arrows during the battle for Christianity's bulwark.

    Shaun says: "Excellent work"
    "Interesting tale with a few asides..."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Somewhat well spent. I got the feel in the book that the author was a bit over zealous in his effort to try to be balanced in presenting the two combantants as morally equally corrupt. I often would hear additional negative adjectives tied to the armies of the west and less often with the turks. Almost as though he often over compensated.

    The lead up to the battle of Vienna itself was a bit drier than the rest of the book. I considered stopping about 2 hours in. But I held out and enjoyed the rest of the book.

    What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

    Fine even reading, was not a distraction or a highlight.

    Was The Enemy at the Gate worth the listening time?

    ultimately, it was not time wasted. Just not the overwhelming success I have had with other reads (Try Barbara Tuckman!).

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation's History and Future

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Newt Gingrich
    • Narrated By Newt Gingrich, Callista Gingrich

    A simple walk through Washington, D.C. began a profound journey of personal discovery and renewal for Newt Gingrich, one of America's most influential politicians and commentators. At the National Archives, the immortal words from the Declaration of Independence that we "are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights," jumped off the page and into his heart with the simple truth that from day one in our country's history, the Author of freedom was not the state nor even the Founding Fathers. Our basic human rights and freedoms were -and are - "Creator-endowed."

    T. F. Plona says: "Great content - would have been better in DC"
    "Great content - would have been better in DC"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Sure, time well spent for the content. But it will be much better when I get to listen to it while doing the actuall walking tour in DC. From my point of view, the fact that it is a walking tour book was not clear.

    Having said that, I look forward to listening again in DC, following the map and walking the tour.

    Was Rediscovering God in America worth the listening time?

    Sure, tons of content in a short burst.

    Any additional comments?

    It is a walking tour, I listened while driving in Europe and had regretted not knowing that it would help to actually see what he was describing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Edible History of Humanity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Tom Standage
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes---caused, enabled, or influenced by food---has helped to shape and transform societies around the world.

    Eric says: "A big heaping feast of history"
    "An enjoyable bite of history"
    Where does An Edible History of Humanity rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Of all the books I have listened to, this is average. But I would like to think that I have listened to some rather good books over the years.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the entwining of food into history. The book touched on many of my favorite reading topics, history, culture, politics, science and economics. It tied in many diciplines rather well.

    What about George K. Wilson’s performance did you like?

    Consistent and unobtrusive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Kimberly says: "Good book, poor editing ..."
    "Wonderful sad tale - horrible recording"

    I found the narrative from Philbrick quite an wonderful book to read (listen). I felt that in this book I was able to very quickly delve into the history, life and lore of the Nantucket Whaling community. The story is quickly told and apparently well documented. So far I have read two books by Philbrick (this one and Mayflower), both have been very good reads and I will mostly likely get a 3rd soon. This was one of those books that I ended up sitting in the car, having arrived at my destination, just to listen to a few more minutes of this riveting tale.

    My only complaint is with the recording. It is choppy at places, the pitch of the narrator changes from high to higher at many places in the recoring. May be the lowest quality of more than 100 books I have listened to. Note - it was sill listenable, just the worse I have ever heard.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Eric Metaxas
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

    Alan says: "Very Moving"
    "A perfect Nexus"

    Wow, I just finished the book and have to say it was one of the most enjoyable reads ("listens") I have had in a while. A thoroughly rewarding experience. The wonderful narrator did a wonderful job of leading me through a fine book that manages to balance history, theology, politics, love story and martydom into a fine nexus of a book.

    At no point was I distracted or overwhelmed by the content. Each aspect of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was well represented. Not overly deep in detail on any one topic, but enough to leave me wanting to investigate more at a later time. A wonderful way to present so many aspects of a single man who made such an impact.

    The book will be on my list of books to give to others, as is Metaxes' other book on William Wilberforce.

    Please read this book to ensure that the things that Bonhoeffer stood up for have meaning even today.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Decision Points

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By George W. Bush
    • Narrated By George W. Bush

    In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings listeners inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America's most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for numerous historic and controversial decisions.

    Shirley says: "straight forward"
    "A Limlted but necessary memoir"

    The book is a limited memoir focusing on key decisions that President Bush made while in the White House. It is not a full memoir or complete history of his presidency or how he got there. I had for more day to day, behind the scenes insight. While I did not fully get what I was looking for, the book has its merits.

    For insight into specific decision points (middle east peace, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, financial crisis, etc.) it is refreshing to get some insight from the central figure in those events. For this I found the book intriguing. A fine example of this is the handling of the Katrina aftermath. I learned some things from the book that were not readily made known by the media.

    Ultimately, I believe that historians will be kinder to President's Bush's presidency than the popular media was in 2009. I believe he will have his renaissance, just as Truman, Nixon and Reagan did. This book is the first salvo to that end.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael B. Oren
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Israel and the West, it is called the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is known as the June War or, simply, as "the Setback". Never has a conflict so short, unforeseen, and largely unwanted by both sides so transformed the world. The Yom Kippur War, the war in Lebanon, the Camp David accords, the controversy over Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the intifada, and the rise of Palestinian terror are all part of the outcome of those six days.

    Patrick says: "Great overview of Middle East troubles"
    "A wonderful retelling"

    I loved the level of detail and readability of this book. As I am a big fan of the Barbara Tuchman approach to writing history I found the Oren's approach educational and enjoyable.

    Of course there will be some that will say his writing is biased, but I found that he was very even handed in exposing errors and mistakes by all parties envolved. I did not come away thinking I was hoodwinked by a biased analysis.

    I am sure one day I will relisten to this book. The narrator was excellent as usual.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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