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.
Extremely well written, thoroughly informative and often utterly hilarious.
I understand that sounds weird to say, given that it is a book of nuclear disasters (and I do feel uneasy saying it), but the way in which these stories are told, and the fact that that most of these disasters seems to be down to a human being having a Laurel and Hardy moment with one of humanity's most dangerous scientific discovery turns out to be quite effective at tickling my funny bone.
I came away thinking that if we could just learn to harness this genie in a bottle it would solve all our energy needs. But I know I wouldn't want to live near something that is a human blunder away from "prompt critical".
The Jerk is one of my favorite films and I've enjoyed many of his other films, but Steve Martin strikes me as a man who is somewhat embarrassed by his best work and wants to be taken much more seriously.
In the book we learn that his father seemed uncomfortable with his son's less than cerebral visual comedy and perhaps thats why Mr. Martin seems to overcompensate in interviews and in this short autobiography. Whilst there is much of interest for those looking for an inside view of the world of stand-up comedy, there is also much dry and serious analysis of how philosophy, art and cultural forces informed the many average jokes he proceeds to recite (out of character).
To me Steve Martin was funny mostly for the characters he created and his physical performance. Not for his word-play, stories, or zingers.
Not once did I guffaw, nor even chortle. This is not a funny book. Extracting jokes from their context and discussing them, sap all of the magic and joy from them.
I did smile once in a while reflecting on the comedy-acting masterpieces captured in The Jerk and on SNL. But it seems Mr. Martin is determined to demonstrate his intellectual chops rather than entertain his readers.
I still love him for giving me some of the funniest moments of movie/television magic I have known.
This audiobook is now in my top 5!
I'm pretty well versed with World War 2 from the European perspective and somewhat familiar with the US parts of the war in the Pacific, but this was my first exposure to the Australian perspective.
One of the great things about this book is how well written it is. The author zooms in to heart-wrenching accounts of individual experiences and the costs of war, zooms out to the international politics of the allied forces, and then back in again to the tactical decision making of the officers. All done effortlessly and captivatingly.
Narrator has a clear, solid voice and deliver the material effortlessly. I am very pleased the narrator is Australian. This is such a quintessentially Australian story with quintessentially Australian characters. Nothing else would do.
There were a great many. A few examples....
The pastor who decided to bury a killed soldier in mid combat as the bullets flew, and that both sides stopped and waited until he had completed his task.
The brothers singing together in camp, with one trying to shake off the sick feeling that his brother would soon be dead.
The soldier who after being shot badly in the belly, asks himself "Is this real, am I really going to die? Is there no way out?".
You'd be a fool to pass this one up!
Walter Isaacson is, in my experience a pretty rigorous biographer and I suppose techno-historian. I have read (listened) to other works of his including Steve Jobs.
However, I find there is always a little something missing. The magic, the excitement, the passion. The moments of discovery. The colliding personalities. So much grist for engaging your readership. But alas, such books are not the author's style.
Certainly interesting and worth the read, but as a big fan of "Entrepreneur" stories like Masters of Doom, iWoz, I'm Feeling Lucky, this book leaves me a little underwhelmed.
A good account of an amazing period in human history, but know what your getting.
Given the condescending and overly simplistic tone of pretty much every American TV news person, I was a bit worried this book would be a well polished empty vessel. However, I trusted the Audible community's reviews and was well rewarded.
Dan Harris the author is more honest, open and relatable than I expected and whilst his journey of discovery may be more a narrative tool than absolute truth, his tale of "contemporary mindset meets ancient wisdoms" connected with me.
I found myself writing down factoids and quotes and have (a month or so on) found I still mentally refer to bits and pieces and am continuing to meditate.
Nicely done Dan Harris for turning a professional nightmare in to a teachable moment.
Thanks also for not promising the world as so many self-help books do. 10% happier and gaining.
That works for me!
Just to be clear these are the words of Quintus Tullius Cicero, the younger brother of the famous Marcus Tullius Cicero. So if you're looking for the well known historical figure's words of wisdom, these are not them, but they are close.
Close, because they are a list of political insights that mostly hold true to this day and are worthy of a listen for anyone interested in bringing history to life and discovering how little things have changed.
If you are largely ignorant of Islamic history and culture I can't imagine a more comprehensive whilst still approachable book on the subject.
I particularly liked the wry humor of the author which comes across beautifully in his narration of his own work.
Thanks Mr. Ansary for helping to bridge the cultural gap.
The only memorable nugget I got from this book....
"Make a start".
If you're procrastinating, just say that to yourself. It helped me a little, but as with most self-help books this one delivers a few bullets worth of content wrapped in blurb. At least it is short and sweet.
You only need to have little bit of common sense to see that monocultures are a bad idea. You only need a little bit of compassion to feel that the way modern farming practices treat animals is wrong.
You only need a little bit of conviction to change your grocery shopping habits, just a little at first, then perhaps snowballing in to finding yourself buying mostly local, mostly organic, mostly plant-based, and so on.
Start the journey and see where it takes you. I feel good because the food I eat is healthier AND because the food-systems I support with my purchases makes the world a bit happier.
Listen to this book if you want a catalyst for making the change.
I try not to buy in to conspiracy theories and I only bought this audiobook because it was on sale and the reviews here and on other websites were pretty good, but wow!
I kinda found it very believable.
Certainly without doing my own research I have to take the author's facts at face value. But even if only 50% of the facts are accurate, LBJ certainly seemed like a man of massive ego and hugely questionable morals who certainly had the power, connections and motive to clear the way for his own presidency.
It was certainly a very ugly period in US history and there are so many theories, so many movies, books and documentaries about the events, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. But this book read fresh and rigorous and I was left feeling uneasy and that he should have been at least a leading suspect in any true investigation.
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