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Thomas

ratings
9
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rick Atkinson
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (258)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (237)

    It is the 20th century's unrivaled epic: At a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his best-selling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted the history of how the American-led coalition fought its way from North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all - the titanic battle in Western Europe. D-Day marked the commencement of the war's final campaign, and Atkinson's astonishingly fresh account of that enormous gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows.

    David I. Williams says: "Well Written Overview"
    "Pretty close to perfect."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not much to say except it's a great book, performed by a great speaker. I really can't come up with anything but good to say about this book. If you're into history, this is a keeper. The middle book in this trilogy, The Day of Battle, was just as good. I avoided The Army at Dawn because the narrator sounded like he was 80 years old, and that would get on my nerves after a while.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Paul Kennedy
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (14)

    Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won. Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success.

    Thomas says: "Misleading title"
    "Misleading title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not bad, really, but the content is so disappointing relative to what the title promises. I thought we might get some great detailed examples of the engineering challenges of WWII. Instead, we got a general overview of WWII with a glancing, superficial focus on broad engineering issues. The detail is so lacking in this book. Detail in the personalities of engineering is shockingly lacking. Basically for any engineering personality we get a name, a three-sentence biography, a one-paragraph summary of what the person did, and then we go back to the general history of WWII. I'm seriously thinking of returning this book for credit. If the book was advertised as being a general history of WWII with a soft emphasis on engineering, I could almost recommend this book. But as it is, I can't recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Philip Carlo
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (185)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (97)

    Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, the boss of New York's Lucchese crime family, was a Mafia superstar, responsible for more than 50 murders. Currently serving 13 life sentences at a federal prison in Colorado, Casso has given journalist and New York Times best-selling author Philip Carlo the most intimate, personal look into the world of La Cosa Nostra ever seen.

    William says: "The author fails the objectivity test"
    "Interesting, but self-serving and poorly-written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book did provide some colorful insight into the people and processes of the New York Mafia, so it was worth reading. However, the content was so self-serving and self-glorifying that it almost became a joke at certain points. This is what happens when narcissistic psychopaths authorize their own biography. Then came the writing. So many weak and silly metaphors. This book really deserves a C grade. It's not great, it's barely good, it's almost bad, but it's not horrible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

    • UNABRIDGED (66 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (253)

    Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders have known: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of our time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling the Moses story, Caro both opens up to an unprecedented degree the way in which politics really happens - the way things really get done in America's City Halls and Statehouses - and brings to light a bonanza of vital new information.

    jeff says: "AMAZING read"
    "Wow. Just wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How had I gone 51 years of voracious reading and never even heard of this book? Yikes, it's scary what we don't know. Anyway, The Power Broker is right up there with the very best history/biography books I've ever read. I'd place it right up there with William Manchester's "The Last Lion" and "American Caesar, and that's a pretty high standard.

    The book is so great that I won't get into detail on how or why it is great. It's just great.

    A few observations:

    The narrator's voice is fine, it really is, but his voice is right there on the edge where it can be almost annoying. I'm not saying it crosses that line, but it's close. There's such a thing as having too deep and too rich of a voice. The narrator's voice almost sounds like it's on slight slow-motion sometimes. But I got through 61 hours of his voice and there was no point where I even didn't like his voice. But I didn't love it, either.

    One part of the book that surprised me a little was how little Robert Caro got into the deep psychology of Robert Moses. Maybe Caro consciously chose to avoid psychology, thus avoiding a trap common to biographies. But Robert Moses showed such clear and overwhelming signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and I mean a REALLY EXTREME case of NPD.

    And one last thing... I'm glad I listened to all 61 hours of this book, but after having gotten through it, I would love to read an abridged version and see how well all of Caro's main points could have been made in half the pages. This unabridged version does go on and on and on and really makes it's point no matter how long it takes. If Robert Caro wants to make a point, he will front-load it and back it up and fill in the background no matter how long it takes. If it takes 45 minutes to document one seemingly minor point, Caro will take that time. It would be interesting if I could get as much out of this book in half the pages. Maybe I could, and maybe I couldn't, but it would be nice to find out, because this book is a commitment.

    That's about it. If you enjoy history, this book must go to the top of your wish list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1594)
    Performance
    (704)
    Story
    (710)

    Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days, Second Manassas to Antietam, and Perryville in the fall of 1862, but so are the smaller and often equally important engagements on both land and sea: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, Monitor versus Merimac, and Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, to mention only a few.

    Jeanne says: "The best"
    "Audio is a tough format for this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I want so much to love this book, because it is clearly so well written and fascinating. Unfortunately, for me at least, this book just doesn't work in audiobook format.

    Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are so filled with names and dates and places, that it starts to become a blur. There are so many details in this book that I couldn't keep up with the narrative.

    The only way I could appreciate reading Shelby Foote is if I had the text in front of me so I could read at my own pace. With so many details coming at you, it's necessary to be able to slow down and even go back over paragraphs so you can get it all clear. Also I believe it is almost impossible to keep up with the flow of events without a map in front of you.

    I listen to audiobooks mostly during my commute, so maps and slow reading becomes pretty much impossible. It's tough to keep rewinding for 30 seconds at a time to hear a tough passage again.

    I'm writing not so much to criticize the book, but to let others know that it can be difficult to keep up without the text and maps in front of you. I'm sure many can keep up with the pace without aids, but I'm not one of those people. I suffered through Volume 1, and ended up returning Volume 2. Thank you Audible for your liberal return policy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Enemy

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2267)
    Performance
    (1539)
    Story
    (1537)

    New Year's Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina "hot-sheets" motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can't be controlled.

    Corinne says: "Made me really admire Reacher"
    "A good story hurt badly by the narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, this is not one of Lee Child's best books in the Reacher series. In fact, it may be the weakest so far. Still, it's Reacher, and it's Lee Child, so there's really no missing it for me.

    Any fan of the Reacher series knows that you REALLY have to suspend your disbelief to wade through some of the truly incredible plot developments and character motivations in these novels. We know Reacher is going to sleep with at least one of the main female characters. We know Reacher has superhuman physical capabilities (literally), as well as superhuman psychic powers. That's all part of the show.

    So it's Reacher, and most of us know what we're getting into.

    What I didn't know I was getting into was this narrator. This was my first fiction book on Audible, and I didn't know what to think of the narration. It sounded horrible to me, but I thought that was just how things are done. I actually decided early on in this novel that I would stick with non-fiction in Audible, because I couldn't handle being jarred out of the story by the crazy choices of the narrator.

    Now that I have a few other Audible fiction books under my belt, I can say that no, it was just this narrator who was so bad. The most glaring flaw of this narrator is that he uses a ridiculous falsetto when he does female voices. Imaging using the worst, most ham-handed impression of a man doing a female voice, and that's what you get here. It almost sounded like a joke to me at first.

    After a few more Audible fiction books, I know that men can do female voices just fine without sounding silly.

    Another weirdness of this narrator is that he has to give each and every character a distinct dialect. Each person is either southern, or New Yahwk, or Bahhhston, or doing a Dan Akroyd Chicagoan impression from Saturday Night Live.

    Do you get the idea I didn't like this narrator? Good.

    If this same narrator is doing any of the other Audible Reacher books, I'll stick with the Kindle version.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3557)
    Performance
    (2164)
    Story
    (2184)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "The first half is excellent; the second half..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first half is a fine history of Ghengis Khan and the birth and development of the Mongol empire. The second half of the book takes place after Genghis' death, and covers the Mongol empire's rise and fall.

    So we get half a book of perfectly good history and biography, and half a book of sometimes disjointed and murky history and biography.

    It isn't just the subject matter that changes at the half-way point; it's the style and the detail that fall off abruptly. The first half is full of specific detail explained clearly, and the second half is full of specific detail that isn't told well or explained well at all. This leads to long sections of details and place names and people's names that don't seem connected to any theme or purpose.

    One of the main points of the book is how the Mongol Empire set the tone and structure for so much in the modern world. But this point is really only made in the final few chapters, and the point is not made so well. The impact of the Mongol empire on the modern world is not a theme woven throughout the book, but is instead presented as a summary at the end.

    I picked up this book on one of Audible's sales, and I'd say it was worth the $6 I think I paid for it. But it wouldn't be worth any more than that to me. A good book, but not great.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4606)
    Performance
    (3868)
    Story
    (3877)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Jimmy says: "Epic, Remarkable, Easy & Enjoyable!"
    "Very good, but not Follett's best, either."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Winter of the World is classic Follett. His control of narrative, here, is as strong as ever. Unfortunately, the material is not as strong as that of Fall of Empires, the preceding book in this trilogy.

    And when the narrative is so tightly controlled, the weakness of the story-line becomes more obvious. There are many arcs and themes in Winter of the World that make me want to fast forward through certain scenes, and that's rare for me when it comes to Ken Follett.

    Winter of the World sometimes seems pedantic in the way that Follett is so clearly trying to educate us. In Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, the story-lines and the characters were so strong that the history just blended seamlessly with the narrative.

    In Winter of the World, the history-telling sometimes overtakes the story-line, and I feel I'm being instructed, rather than immersed in a fictional world.

    Still, though, this is great writing, and I'm always eager to get back to my iPod to hear more. Winter of the World may not be Follett's best, but it's still better than most historical fiction out there. I still recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6681)
    Performance
    (2497)
    Story
    (2507)

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
    "I should have listened to the other reviews"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did read the couple of reviews that said this book focuses more on the personalities of scientists than on science itself, but I went ahead and downloaded the book anyway. Like my headline says, I should have listened.

    The first several chapters start out well enough, with some interesting descriptions of science in detail. But soon enough, we're hearing one anecdote after another about the quirky personalities of 18th- and 19th-century scientists. Obscure name after obscure name, anecdote after anecdote. It becomes dizzying and somehow disorienting.

    About a third of the way through the book, I found myself getting too irritated to continue. The book becomes 80% biography to 20% science. What science we do get isn't very in-depth or even satisfyingly informative. But then again, the same applies to the biographies. It all just begins to run together.

    The author's many stabs at humor are also okay in the beginning, but at some point I began asking myself why the author couldn't have focused more on substance rather than going for laughs with cute wordplay and admittedly well-turned phrases.

    Now it's very possible that many people like this style of writing. I just thought I'd write this review so other people can know what they're getting into when they download this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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