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TM

TJM

ratings
40
REVIEWS
30
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
11

  • Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Gene Kranz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (279)

    Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race.

    Jeffrey Schwartz says: "A different perspective but..."
    "Dry Insights in to the Space Program"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was hoping to love this book and it does give an interesting inside look at many aspects of the Mercury and Apollo missions, but what made Gene Kranz a great Nasa mission controller does not make him an engaging author.

    The stories are full of interesting facts, but there is little-to-no drama in the writing, even when recounting the most dramatic of events, such as the Apollo 13 mission. All NASA folk seem to be well trained in handling the media. Everything is upbeat, succinct and politically correct. This is very important to NASA's success, but this mind-set has carried in to this book. So it is rather unemotional and dry.

    Worth a listen for NASA fans, but certainly not enthralling.

    By the way it is clear that Gene Kranz was a vital player in the space program's success and I think we should all be grateful to him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jeff Ryan
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (294)

    Nintendo has continually set the standard for video game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.

    Steve says: "Great read! Very informative."
    "Not Exciting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Ray Porter is my favorite narrator and his reading can make an average book feel great. I think this might be why this book gets such good reviews. Either that, or die-hard Nintendo fans love hearing lists of the gazillions of variations on all the Mario games.

    What I got from this book was that Nintendo found a formula that worked and were careful to not change things too much and milk that baby for all they could get out of it.

    Don't get me wrong - I like Nintendo. I like that their devices and games are usually high quality, family friendly and I especially liked the Wii with its introduction of less sedentary gaming.

    But after the first hour the book, it became less of a personal story and entrepreneurial success story and more like a high level chronology of a corporation's product rollouts.

    Still, Ray Porter can make the ingredients list on a packet of peach rings sound enthralling :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Halperin, John Heilemann
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (436)
    Story
    (440)

    Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier.

    Tony says: "Game Change 2.0"
    "Devoured!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Firstly, pitch perfect narration by Robert Fass.

    As for the book itself, perhaps not as exciting as "Game Change", but only because the 2012 election was in itself less exciting. Rather than an explosive new candidate in a no-incumbent election (2008), this book is about the re-election of a struggling president vs. the election of a previously failed presidential candidate we were all pretty familiar with.

    That said, the writing is thoroughly engaging and I devoured it!

    It probably helps that I followed both elections fairly closely. Getting the inside perspective on moments that from the outside seemed unbelievable, had me rolling around in hysterics - think Clint Eastwood and the chair - hilarious!

    One gripe was the cheesy overuse of the title (and tagline) Double Down, but just being picky.

    Very enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (877)
    Performance
    (489)
    Story
    (497)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "Exhaustive but Dry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book was written from the perspective of laying out all possible evidence from Oppenheimer's earliest days to his final ones to answer the questions regarding his associations with Communism. Obviously this issue would eventually become what he was famous for and it needed to be addressed, but every aspect of his life, even the production of the A-bomb was seen through this lens - who he met with, what he is recorded to have said to this person, what the FBI were investigating etc.

    I was hoping the book would include a narrative of his life, perhaps an exciting one. A narrative that perhaps would include the inside story of the manhattan project or other scientific discoveries.

    But it was a rather dry, but seemingly thoroughly researched book that addressed only readers who wanted to know that answer to the questions of his political motivations and associations. Again, whilst an important part of a biography of the man, it should only have been part, rather than the hole focus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2554)
    Performance
    (2320)
    Story
    (2334)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Enjoyable - Different from the Show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    First off, the book is quite a bit different from the Netflix show. It is much less sexual and less comedic (although there are funny bits).

    It was well written and engaging and it was a worthwhile inside look at life in a Federal women's prison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Othello

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Emma Fielding, Hugh Quarshie, Anton Lesser
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    This widely studied play is one of the "best sellers" of the Shakespeare canon. This production is the sixth Shakespeare play in the series undertaken by Naxos AudioBooks in conjunction with Cambridge University Press.

    TM says: "Great Performances - Classy Production"
    "Great Performances - Classy Production"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a high quality performance of Othello that I found worked well as an Audiobook. It would probably help to read up a little bit on the overall plot before listening.

    Well worth the purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1091)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (936)

    Internationally best-selling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it.

    Grant says: "Fighting through procrastination."
    "Resistance as a Character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    As a metaphor on the nature of the creative struggle I found it illuminating.

    But it wanders off in to magical thinking and ideas such as suggesting the stifling of passions being the possible cause of cancer....

    Well I don't think Steve Jobs stifled his passions and alas he is no longer with us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Colin Woodard
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (430)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (389)

    North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory. In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent....

    Theo Horesh says: "One of a Kind Masterpiece"
    "Thought Provoking Ideas - Dry Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The author proposes that many of the cultural rifts in modern America (, Mexico and Canada) can be traced back to the collective mindsets of the original European settlers.

    I was pretty much convinced by his arguments - in that there is at least a historical influence along the lines of what he describes.

    It is at the very least a substantial book with much food for thought.

    Walter Dixon's narration is very clear, but a bit dry for my tastes. I understand that the material is academic, but having seen the author speak I think he might have added a bit more color if he had narrated it himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Miller
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (386)

    In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning.

    Phillip says: "Most Informative Book on the AT"
    "A Well-Written Insightful Account"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    For anyone remotely interested in adventure, hiking, the Appalachian Trail or escaping the 9-5, this is an insightful and well-written account of one man's journey.

    Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (280)
    Story
    (285)

    Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.

    Michael says: "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
    "But still it seems no-one will act"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    First off, if I could give 6 stars for Ray Porter's performance I would. He is by far my favorite narrator - his reading of "Ghost in the Wires" was also excellent.

    So, is this book a lefty attack on Wall Street and the Well-To-Do and a bleeding heart account of how the Poor are mistreated in this country? You bet yer hind-quarters it is!

    But it is NOT just a rehash of political rhetoric and talking points. I found it to be a very valuable juxtaposing of two irreconcilable realities.

    The lack of criminal prosecutions for white-collar crimes versus the over prosecution of harmless and sometimes unheard of crimes (holding up pedestrian traffic anyone?).

    A purely political book would not call out the Clinton and Obama administrations for poor policy decisions and hyper-politically-sensistive decision making.

    A purely political book would not examine arguments from the opposing perspective - perhaps not to the same degree, but counterpoints are raised and generally fairly addressed.

    But even if you were to surgically remove the anecdotes that favor the author's positions. Even if you were to toss out the grey areas that are open to debate.

    Even then you cannot read/listen to this book and not have to acknowledge that the divide exists, that it is growing, and that to fair minded people it is just plain wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WW II

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (441)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (387)

    Chester Nez, the only surviving member of the original twenty-nine Navajo code talkers, shares the fascinating inside story of his life and service during World War II.

    Roxane says: "Interesting Listen for WWII Buffs"
    "An Important Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A window in to the Navajo lifestyle and culture at the time. An epic story of a marine in combat during the pacific theater of the second world war. An inside look at the cultural difficulties of a man respected and accepted during his time in the military, but not so on his return to the America he served.

    It is certainly an important story and America should be very grateful to these Navajo men who chose to serve their country even as She treated them poorly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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