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amazonman

Pleasanton, California, United States | Member Since 2002

121
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 470 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-65

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Michael Beschloss
    • Narrated By Lyndon Johnson, Michael Beschloss
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Reaching for Glory lets us eavesdrop on LBJ's private, often tortured thoughts during the most crucial year of his presidency - when his dreams of being hailed as the equal of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt were destroyed by the war in Vietnam. These original recordings, presented side by side with the stories behind them, offer unprecedented insight into the Johnson presidency.

    Jonah says: "An intimate glimpse into history"
    "Eavesdropping on US History"
    Overall

    Eavesdropping on US History
    Date: Mar 07,2004

    This audiobook is amazing and at times mesmerizing in its content. You feel as though you are eavesdropping on private conversations of historic significance. It enables the listener to almost hear LBJ's inner thoughts as he struggles with some of the most wrenching issues of modern US history, including the Vietnam dilemma and the civil rights movement. LBJ is revealed as a complex figure with myriad dimensions. He seems painfully insecure and almost paranoid in the shadow of Kennedy's legacy--yet visionary in his advocacy of a new America. He is a powerful legislative and personal advocate for the rights of Black Americans, yet marred by his own dark predujices. He is tortured by the ever deteriorating morass of Vietnam, yet unable to summon the will to withdraw in "disgrace." LBJ is revealed as a consummate politician playing every side and manipulating friends and foes for his own agenda. He seems almost a Shakespearean figure paralyzed by Vietnam, his obsession with outside opinion and his own deep personal flaws. At times he is arrogant and seemingly in complete control, at other times he is a worried, depressed, and exhausted wreck, seemingly unequal to the weight of a presidency beset with unending crises at home and abroad. Bechloss does a masterful job of editing what must have been thousands of hours of taped conversations. His ability to put each piece in context makes this fascinating history come alive. The listener hears conversations with some of the most important historical figures of the 1960s, including Martin Luther King, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Macnamara. Excerpts from Lady Bird Johnson's diaries add colorful personal flavor. Don't read this book-- listen to it and the other two volumes on audiobook. It is an incredible experience

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Post-American World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Fareed Zakaria
    • Narrated By Fareed Zakaria
    Overall
    (765)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (138)

    For Fareed Zakaria, the great story of our times is not the decline of America but rather the rise of everyone else - the growth of countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Kenya, and many, many more. This economic growth is generating a new global landscape where power is shifting and wealth and innovation are bubbling up in unexpected places.

    Gus says: "The Rise of Chindia"
    "WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Post-American World again? Why?

    Yes. This is BRILLIANT in the way it presents an "uncomfortable truth" of our time for Americans. But whether you are politically conservative, moderate or liberal-- you will need to listen to the entire book with an open mind. The title of this book is intentionally misleading-- to provoke a response. Dont make the mistake of thinking this book is anti-US or anti-anything. The author is telling it like it is and arguing that America is uniquely positioned to lead in a different way because of a different world reality.

    Generally speaking, Americans need to shift their minset to understand and appreciate what is happening--and recognize this is not a "zero-sum game." This is no longer "America's world" where we can unilaterally set the rules and assume everyone will do it "America's way." The landscape and balance of power has changed. And America can either understand that and deal with reality--or be frustrated in a state of denial, repeating some of the worst mistakes of the British Empire. There are so many critical lessons from history that can and should inform the way we view this nation's unique opportunities and challenges right NOW-- to take into account the fundamental truth that all people want the freedom to define themselves within their own cultures, governments and societies.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author uses compelling examples from the history of past dominant world powers to illustrate exactly what the challenges and opportunities are for the United States today.


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

    At first I felt inclined to dismiss this book as US-bashing based on biased thinking. However, as I listened more and thought about what the message of this book really is, I found most of the content to be persuasive and extremely enlightening. This should be required reading by every forward-thinking American.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1959)
    Performance
    (1111)
    Story
    (1125)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    Marv says: "a masterpiece!"
    "This is a classic for anyone interested in China"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Good Earth?

    Reading a classic like this allows you to experience another culture and another perspective that is akin to time travel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This was the Chinese "Grapes of Wrath" tale that I had always heard about but never read until now. The personal struggles, flaws, trials and triumphs of one family makes it a compelling and unforgettable tale.


    What does Anthony Heald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The reader's ability to speak different roles and voices without forcing the "performance" was impressive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stephen S. Cohen, J. Bradford DeLong
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    At the end of World War II, America had all the money and all the power. Now, after the Great Crash of 2008, America is cash poor. In The End of Influence, world-renowned economists Stephen Cohen and Brad DeLong argue that this loss will have grave consequences for Americas standing in the world, even as it opens up new opportunities for a new multilateralism.

    John R says: "Now I get it!"
    "WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD NOW??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The End of Influence to be better than the print version?

    Pragmatic, unflinching discussion of what is happening NOW in terms of the rise of the rest of the world, especially China and India-- and the implications for the United States. THIS IS NOT A "sky-is-falling" diatribe on the decline of America. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING FOR EVERY AMERICAN AND ESPECIALLY ALL AMERICAN POLITICIANS.


    What other book might you compare The End of Influence to and why?

    America needs to understand that a great source of its vitality has always been new immigrants. Recognize this fact and embrace a worldview that is not a "zero-sum" game. Learn the lessons from the rise and fall of the British Empire.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Brilliant, succint description of what is going on in the world and the opportunities it presents for America.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2036)
    Performance
    (1775)
    Story
    (1775)

    James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

    Melinda says: "Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard"
    "Tragic tale of madness and medical hubris"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Destiny of the Republic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Worthwhile history of a president with great potential who was shot by a lunatic. To add to the strangeness of this tragedy, arrogant medical malfeasance resulted in Garfield's death.


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

    Gives a reader insights into a president largely forgotten by history.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By Jeffrey DeMunn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (154)

    The very young men who flew the B24s over Germany in World War II against terrible odds were an exemplary band of brothers. In The Wild Blue, Stephen Ambrose recounts their extraordinary brand of heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship. Stephen Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and chose those few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war.

    jud says: "Terrific book."
    "Basically: Biography of George McGovern's Service"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    This book had it moments, but it just did not captivate me as I had expected.


    If you’ve listened to books by Stephen E. Ambrose before, how does this one compare?

    This is not one of Ambrose's best efforts in my humble opinion. He personally must have been fascinated by McGovern's military service-- and it comes across that way. A "nice" biography and some important insights into the sacrifices of the men who flew bombers in WWII. They are all heroes. Given the material, I think the author certainly could have done a more heroic job of writing about them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1917)
    Performance
    (883)
    Story
    (896)

    At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

    Stephen says: "River of Doubt"
    "RIVETING. DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The River of Doubt again? Why?

    If you have any interest whatsoever in Theodore Roosevelt and the Amazon region, this book will inform and amaze you.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1939)
    Performance
    (883)
    Story
    (894)

    McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale, an audiobook about politics, war, and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

    Davis says: "An outstanding biography"
    "The Forgotten Founder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does John Adams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Epic biography. Brilliantly crafted. Among the best biographies I have ever read.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    See the DVD of this as well. It is on a par with the book, if not better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Barbara Demick
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (1614)
    Performance
    (1025)
    Story
    (1031)

    Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape never before seen, Demick brings to life what it means to be an average Korean citizen, living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today.

    Gohar says: "The man who wants to be GOD"
    "Fascinating Window into the Lives of North Koreans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Nothing to Envy the most enjoyable?

    The author approached this heart-rending modern tragedy from a human point of view. She traces the lives of a few of the rare escapees from the oppressive confines of self-diefied dictator's prison-state that has a physical and mental stranglehold on millions of people who have been isolated from the rest of the free world for more than 60 years.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a true story that is stranger than fiction. A 21st Century reality show that makes Orwell's 1984 seem like a historical treatise.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Among my favorite moments in this book was the description of the poignant love story between two North Koreans who finally escaped in different ways and different times, completely independent of one another. Because of the risks involved, neither confided in the other about plans to escape to a better life.


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

    My heart breaks for the people of North Korea who continue to suffer needlessly under the militaristic fist of such a bizarre regime that fabricates threats from "foreign enemies" in order to maintain its control . The conditions of North Korea today are even more de-humanizing than anything that happened behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany or the the depravaity of Mao's "Cultural Revolution" in China many decades ago.


    Any additional comments?

    All politics aside, from the standpoint of basic human rights alone, the Korean pennisula represents one of our generation's most important history lessons. Do American's really understand what is happening? The contrast in the conditions of the people living in today's South Korea and North Korea could not be more stark. While any war is terrible beyond words, America's role in helping to fight for and preserve the freedom of South Korea has proven to be one of the greatest and most courageous humanitarian achievements in modern history. The results speak for themselves in full view of the world. Millons of South Koreas are living in a free and prosperous country, while millions more in the North are not. Especially coming so soon after the end of WWII, it is a testament to America's commitment to the cause of freedom that the US fought in Korea. South Koreans know this and are among America's most grateful and staunch allies. The Korean War is still not well understood by most Americans and is aptly referred to as "The Forgotten War." Meanwhile, the sad truth is that the South's brothers and sisters in the North continue in isloated desperation to fall further behind without access to the information and freedoms the rest of the world takes for granted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12399)
    Performance
    (8313)
    Story
    (8354)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Annie M. says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "AMAZING STORY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Get this book. Forget Fiction. This book is a true story that is beyond belief.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Question of God: CS Lewis & Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Armand Nicholi
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Renowned psychiatrist and educator Armand Nicholi presents a fascinating comparison of the beliefs of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. For all the variety of specific religious beliefs, there are fundamentally only two kinds of people: believers and nonbelievers.

    Mindy says: "A perfect argument"
    "FOR THINKERS ONLY"
    Overall

    This is an excellent and interesting comparison of two of the most influential thinkers of modern times. Anyone who thinks this is dry is simply not adept at thinking. The author makes no pretense about his own world view and does not present a scientific treatise. The lives of Freud and Lewis are revealed as evidence of the fruits of their thinking. Freud is exposed as being arrogant enough to think that there is no truth or knowledge beyond his own finite ability to comprehend. Ironically, many of his theories are more twisted and preposterous than anything found in the Bible. Lewis was open-minded enough to consider man's limitations. His own journey from atheist to reknown proponent of reason-based faith is fascinating. Each famous thinker in some ways represents the tension in every thinking person who has ever lived. Part of everyone wants to believe they don't need anything or anybody--including God. At the same time, part of everyone wants to believe there is a guiding power who loves them and has a plan for the creation of all things. This is the "Question of God." As the lives of Freud and Lewis demonstrated, one path leads to hope. The other to hopelessness. Lewis' words ring true: "God cannot give us peace and happiness apart from himself--because it isn't there." Brilliant as he may have been, Freud never discovered this truth during his lifetime. Like billions before and after him, he must have been shocked and dramatically more enlightened after he drew his last breath.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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