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harriet schwab

voracious reader


  • The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Edward Ball
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer

    One hundred and thirty years ago Eadweard Muybridge invented stop-motion photography, anticipating and making possible motion pictures. He was the first to capture time and play it back for an audience, giving birth to visual media and screen entertainments of all kinds. Yet the artist and inventor Muybridge was also a murderer who killed coolly and meticulously, and his trial is one of the early instances of a media sensation.

    Andy says: "a challenge to listen to"
    "Long time to get started,then the history took ov"
    What did you like best about The Inventor and the Tycoon? What did you like least?

    Best: the history of the building of the railroad, the history of photography and specifically the history as it related to California and Yosemite. The least: the entire beginning and set up. Contrived.

    Do you think The Inventor and the Tycoon needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It needs an illustrated version. Cries out for not only Muybridge's photographs but also the paintings mentioned and the other photographers

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Bill Browder
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper

    Red Notice is a searing expose of the wholesale whitewash by Russian authorities of Magnitsky's imprisonment and murder, slicing deep into the shadowy heart of the Kremlin to uncover its sordid truths.

    DS says: "An Investment Banker with a moral compass"
    "a financial and political brilliant blockbuster"
    Where does Red Notice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great, profoundly readable memoir. I am not the first to say that life is stranger than fiction but how rare it is, particularly when a story is so complex--covering intimately so many almost incomprehensible disciplines over so many parts of the world—that a memoir written so brilliantly, so accessibly makes the unbelievable, believable and rivetingly readable. An ovation is what Bill Browder deserves.

    Perhaps, if I were an insider – a financial trader, a Russian oligarch, a British spy, an American politician running the foreign relations committee, I wouldn’t be so surprised or stunned.

    But, this rollercoaster of a memoir is a blockbuster beyond blockbusters because it is not only a page-turner, it actually matters. Bill Browder matures, over twenty-five years, from young capitalist to major human rights activist. He has every opportunity to take the money and run but he stands instead against corruption, torture and murder. Not only does he stand but goes wildly beyond the call of any version of duty in his response. He takes everyone on. He never steps back. Could this be a global, financially brilliant Jack Reacher? Reality is, this time, more exhilarating than a crime novel.
    This book is a financial and political thriller taking you into the underbelly of Russian justice, UK justice and American justice where you absorb endless lessons about modern Russia and the brutality that governs it; the emerging financial markets of the early 1990’s well into the 21st century; American and British politics until finally, you are stopped dead in your tracks as the horrific personal consequences—not just fear and flight across borders in the darkness of night, not just the cost of body guards or even torture but the reality of murder– clarify the mission.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The stunning beauty of this book is that you are lucky enough to be in the passenger seat of this racecar, wishing to be him, to rise, as he does, to every battle, not always successfully but always with his own real intelligence, tenacity, morality and heart. He does not know and nor do you that his desire to be a successful trader (and he succeeds beyond his wildest dreams) will lead him to circumstances where life and decency come to matter more than anything.

    Which character – as performed by Adam Grupper – was your favorite?

    I think Adam Grupper did brilliantly as well. Bill Browder is the main character but Grupper did the Brits, the Russians, the Americans -- all beautifully.

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

    A true story of high finance, politics, murder and one man's fight for justice.

    Any additional comments?

    I have rarely read a memoir so informative, so riveting and so powerful. I want to go to work for this man. He is brave. He has morality and he's one hell of a storyteller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Darling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Russell Banks
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison.

    Ellen says: "Complex and compelling"
    "utterly without emotion"
    What would have made The Darling better?

    A protagonist that you understood. Nothing about her life explained her utter lack of feeling for anything or anyone. Even the supposed commitment she had to her Dreamers -- the chimpanzees she cared for in Liberia -- were described and never felt. The only upside was learning a bit of 20th century Liberian history although nothing could undo the unexplainably pathological leading protagonist whose actions suited the novelist and the history he wanted to impart but whose actions never grew organically from the character he described.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Russell Banks again?

    No, his inability to get inside of this woman is a downfall. His endless distractions which keep you, as a reader, from moving forward are equally frustrating rather than enlightening.

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    A warmer reader might have mitigated the coldness of Hannah Musgrave.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Darling?

    I would have cut everything in America except what she fled from and then would have concentrated, from her earliest days in Liberia, on the chimps and what she endured, and they endured, during her time there.

    Any additional comments?

    He should never, never think for a moment that he understands a woman although no man comes alive in this book, either. Everyone is playing a role in servitude of his version (probably correct) of this period in Liberia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "brillant as usual but slight and rushed."
    What did you love best about Boomerang?

    The idea of different countries having different cultural identities each bringing them to the same catastrophic place from different roads. Everyone is an addict but some have food compulsions, others heroin. Loved particularly how 11 million Greeks with no interest in paying taxes and little interest in fiscal responsibility, seduced Germany into loaning them so much money that they have the power to bring down the European Common Market.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Boomerang?

    The understanding that California's political system is making it impossible to recover. How will our inability to overcome our pension commitments play out across America. It doesn't look good for us.

    What does Dylan Baker bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    He is clear and focused.

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

    You have to both laugh and cry. The situation is horrendous and by no means over but, truly, if you don't laugh, you are in big trouble.

    Any additional comments?

    Lewis is brilliant but this book is rushed. Like a puzzle with a number of pieces on the board but many more to go. How will China play a role? What happens when the US moves to shore up Europe but is without its own resources? Lewis needs to write a new chapter every month and Audible needs to offer it. Everyone would buy a subscription, I promise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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