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lanny kaufman

Member Since 2015

  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 861 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2015

  • An American Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Theodore Dreiser
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream.

    beatrice says: "a period piece, still resonant"
    What made the experience of listening to An American Tragedy the most enjoyable?

    This book had me glued to my seat on the subway. I knew what was going to happen, but the transformation of the main character from an easygoing victim of circumstance to a reluctant murderer was fascinating.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Roberta Alden whom I felt sorry for and who epitomized for me the tragedy of this book. Clyde Griffiths was too flawed a character for me to consider tragic.

    Which character ??? as performed by Dan John Miller ??? was your favorite?

    The narrator did a great job with Clyde and Roberta, but also was outstanding with the district attourney and Roberta's father. His voice is able to pinpoint the role of the character. I haven't even finished this book, but so far every character is portrayed with authenticity.

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

    It is too big for one sitting, but whenever I had spare time, my mp3 player was on to this book.

    Any additional comments?

    By all means, buy the book from audible. Dreiser may have some shortcomings with his prose. He is not as elegant as Trollope, but the narrator brings it right to the emotions. My best books in audible are those that get me emotionally stirred whether joyfully or sadly. This is one of those books.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 2

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Bruce Catton
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Terrible Swift Sword (Vol. 2): The dismissal of George McClellan and the rise of Ulysses S. Grant.

    Bryan says: "No Better History of the Civil War"
    "The Civil War gets under way (Shelby Foote)"
    Where does Terrible Swift Sword rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    Catton is a master story teller. This book is right up there with all of the Civil War books. The best is Stillness at Appomattox which I wish Audible would get. I think I heard it a number of years ago from Books on Tape. Of course, Shelby Foote is more thorough, but the military maneuvers in Foote's books are just too compliacated for me. Catton also loses me in some military strategy but he returns to the politial scene often enough. Catton writes extremely well, and if you want more of the same read the Army of the Potomac series, which as I mentioned in passing, Audible should get hold of if they are available. I''ll admit that I am a Civil War buff and have dragged my wife to several battlefields despite her protestations. On a recent car trip I tried to stop at Spottsyvania but was overruled. If you can't get to some of the battlefields listen to audible with these type of books.

    What other book might you compare Terrible Swift Sword to and why?

    Of course it is part of the series with The Coming Fury and Never Call Retreat, and if you liked one you will like the other, though The Coming Fury doesn't have the battle drama, because it is an introduction to the Civil War. Shelby Foote's trilogy is also outstanding and is available on audio, though more lengthy. I also bought Battle Cry of Freedom but didn't have a chance to listen to it yet. I am sure that I will enjoy it. In short, Bruce Catton is a master story teller of the Civil War, so get started and enjoy.

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

    Nelson Runger and Kate Reading are the best narrators that I have ever heard. I love the way Nelson Runger intones his reading. I loved his First American (Franklin) reading and heard him on Books on Tape on Eisenhower and an abridged version of Adams. I wish Audible could get him on The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Every word of his is a delectable morsel. I hope to get his other books on American histroy and biography. Sometimes, I feel a little saturated with American history, but I just can't enough of Runger. I am even going to listen to another Benjamin Franklin biography. Some of you may think he is too slow, but I love his slow intonation which has a little surprise and sarcasm mixed in. Could anyone persuade him to read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? I could then turn into an ancient history scholar at the drop of a hat.

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

    I am always chuckling at the machinations of the Civil War generals, though Shelby Foote is a downright humorist when it comes to this. Of course, I am glad to fight the Civil War in my armchair at the distance of 150 years. Looking back, it is easy to see the mistakes of Maclellan, Burnside and Hooker, but imagine the thousands of lives over which these men were responsible for. As of today I have fought the Civil War about 50 times and can never get tired of the drama, issues, and importance of that conflict. Catton manages to bring it alive for the 50th time for me. Deep down I have to cry for the 600,000 boys who lost their lives both North and South. I wish the slavery question could have been resolved in the times of Franklin and Washington. But alas!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Duke's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, his two sons quickly begin to run up gambling debts.

    Virginia says: "Heaven On A Stick!"
    "Another Trollope Masterpice"
    What made the experience of listening to The Duke's Children the most enjoyable?

    As with the other Trollope novels, I liked the transformation of Silverbridge from the prospective suitor of Lady Mabel to the fiance of Miss Bon Kassen (I hope I spelled that right; This is audible you know). I almost forgot the gradual coming around of the Duke of Omnium to reconcile himself tothe chosen mates of his children. Then, of course there is the steadfastness of Mary to Silverbridge which matches the steadfastness and loyalty of Mary to Frank in Doctor Thorne. There is nothing really new in this novel, though I never get tired of Trollope and his keen insight of human character, male and female.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked Silverbridge the best. He is frank and direct which is a refreshing change from the convolutions of Lady Mabel and the other scheming members of the upper class, especially the females who must catch a titled and wealthy man. On the other hand, I guess Silverbridge is born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth which makes it easy for him to be so honest and forthcoming.

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

    Timothy West goes with Anthony Trollope like cream cheese goes with jelly. By the way, he doesn't imitate female voices which seems to be very awkward for a male voice. Simon Vance is also excellent but I don't like his female voice imitations. West's narrative is smooth and his reading of Silverbridge and the Duke of Omnium would be non existent if I had just read the book. Timothy West is supeb in all his Trollope readings and this is no exception.

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

    I can't say the book was a thriller of that sort. Rather, it was like good wine which I want to sip. I knew the plot from the Masterpiece Palliser series. Like all the Trollope books it stresses characterization and you feel like you are mixing with the cream of English society, though some of them can be scoundrels and liars like Lady Eustace in Lady Eustace's diamonds. For the lower classes you will have to go to Dickens though the heroes and heroines remain in both the upper and lower classes.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • This Sceptred Isle, Volume 1: 55 BC-1087 Julius Caesar to William the Conqueror

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Christopher Lee
    • Narrated By Anna Massey

    Volume 1, covering the years 55BC to 1087, tells the beginning of the story: 400 years of peace for the island of Britannia under the Romans before a plunge into the Dark Ages and the invasion of those who would become the English: Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norwegians.

    lanny kaufman says: "Making history enjoyable"
    "Making history enjoyable"
    Where does This Sceptred Isle, Volume 1 rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This book is very user friendly It tells us the early history of Britain and is very enjoyable to listen to. I am ranking it very highly among the audible history books.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the fact that it stressed two unknown facts for me. One was that the Britons were fighting the Angles and Saxons which helped Norman the Conquerer in his invasion. The second eye opener was that Norman was really an offshoot of the Scandivanians, not the French. Also, the book was addressed to the reader in the 21st century.

    Have you listened to any of Anna Massey???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Anna Massey is great. I listened to Rebecca and she is outstanding here as she was there. She is a born narrator as well as a great actress whom I have seen on the Masterpice Classic Palliser series.

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

    I wouldn't say I laughed or cried, though some of the characters were amusing. I plan to listen to the other books in the series. I felt very informed about not only early English history, but also about what we call the early Middle Ages.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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