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stpal001

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 202 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Craig Nelson
    • Narrated By Richard McGonagle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (220)

    A richly detailed and dramatic account of one of the greatest achievements of humankind. At 9:32 A.M. on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 rocket launched in the presence of more than a million spectators who had gathered to witness a truly historic event. It carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins to the last frontier of human imagination: the moon.

    Joseph says: "DeJavous"
    "The final chapter made the whole book."
    Overall

    Interestingly, the best parts of this book were not about Apollo 11. The chapter on von Braun was outstanding. The chapter on the Soviets was so good, it came across as far too short. But the final chapter, what would otherwise be an overly-long post script, was one of the best and most inspiring pieces I have ever read (or listened to). If you find yourself bored, then you just don't "get it, and the final chapter explains that point well. Nelson's observations about how NASA set itself up for post-Apollo malaise by not putting the moon landings into the context of a larger plan were dead on. McGonagle was a perfect choice as narrator. His authoritative style fit perfectly with the story line. My only complaint was Nelson's repeated assertion that the X-15 was "towed" into the air. This glaring factual error caused me, at points, to doubt everything else in the story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Garry Wills
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In Bomb Power, Garry Wills reveals how the atomic bomb transformed our nation down to its deepest constitutional roots - by dramatically increasing the power of the modern presidency and redefining the government as a national security state---in ways still felt today. A masterful reckoning from one of America's preeminent historians, Bomb Power draws a direct line from the Manhattan Project to the usurpations of George W. Bush.

    stpal001 says: "Origins of the national security state"
    "Origins of the national security state"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bomb Power to be better than the print version?

    I have no way of knowing since I have not seen the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bomb Power?

    Irrelevant question given the subject matter.


    Any additional comments?

    The new forced review format does not allow for a meaningful review. As a political science tome, this was an outstanding read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7095)
    Performance
    (4119)
    Story
    (4150)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Erica says: "Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever"
    "What a ride!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Daemon the most enjoyable?

    Must be read with the sequel. A great thriller. On par with Ken Follet's best works.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Daemon?

    The unnecessary and graphic sexual content at the beginning of the book could easily be removed. It added nothing to the story and prevents me from recommending this book to work colleagues. Gross. Get past that and it is a first-rate eye-opening warning about modern society.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Annie Jacobsen
    • Narrated By Annie Jacobsen
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (63)

    Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including papers made available to her by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and lost dossiers discovered at the National Archives and Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into one of the most complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secrets of the 20th century.

    Jean says: "The Osenberg list"
    "The truth is out there"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Operation Paperclip the most enjoyable?

    Outstanding research packed with newly declassified material. I thought I understood Operation Paperclip very well. I did not know it at all. But I do now.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom (TM)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5107)
    Performance
    (3078)
    Story
    (3095)

    In a world of conflicted loyalties, rapidly diminishing human power, and the possibility that anyone can be a spy, what's at stake is nothing less than human freedom's last hope to survive the technology revolution.

    James says: "wow - a must read"
    "Suarez is my new favorite thriller maker"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Freedom (TM) the most enjoyable?

    Must tie this review to Daemon. Taken together this was a superb action thriller with a dash of Ayn Rand social commentary thrown in.


    What other book might you compare Freedom (TM) to and why?

    Eye of the Needle is the only thing that comes to mind. Raw, sweeping and unrelenting.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Merrit's avatar appeared.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7520)
    Performance
    (7153)
    Story
    (7165)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Simply outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Geek heaven with techno babble everywhere. The initially smart ass protagonist turned into a lovable, if dry, teddy bear. The tension level was almost unbearable. I was mentally exhausted halfway through the book and it didn't let up until the last page.


    What other book might you compare The Martian to and why?

    Vaguely reminiscent of Lucifer's Hammer, Silent Running and similar survival tomes.


    What does R. C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The emotions of the characters were superb. Venkat in particular.


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

    Alive


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 1812: The Navy's War

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George C. Daughan
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (272)
    Performance
    (234)
    Story
    (236)

    At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America's prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean but America's war fleet, only 20 ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war.

    K. Winters says: "Fantastic, if complicated, account of the war"
    "Good but not Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Without a doubt this is a very comprehensive overview of the War of 1812. Despite the subtitle, much of this piece is about the land war around the great lakes. The performance left me feeling like I was being lectured to. The story, while detailed, seemed to jump around needlessly; no doubt due to the decision to keep each chapter focused on one specific topic. If you are a fan of the Master and Commander series, you will enjoy this a lot. The author assumes a deep understanding of sailing fighting ships and their tactics. The personality sub-plots, of which there are several, are not particularly illuminating. Madison is an imbecile. Decatur a caricature. Tecumseh, a paper doll. It was worth the time reading and will also appeal to political and economic interests. In the end, there was no regret it was over, and the message remained somewhat obscure.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1681)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (926)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "Real Title: Bodily Functions in Space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There was some new history and a lot of what I would delicately describe as "things that do not add to the betterment of humnanity". This is primarily a book about Human Factors, Excrement Engineering, and Space Physiology. For some reason I was expecting a book about long-term human exposure to the space environment. Still, it was a decent read and NOT time wasted. But it does suffer from the bane of "why use 10,000 words to tell a story when you accomplish the same thing with 100,000". It did get tedious towards the end and I contemplated (but did not act on) a desire to just hit the STOP button and move along to my next book. So for me, it had JUST enough interest to make it to the end. But seriously, there was little new material after about the 2/3rds point. On the other hand, if you have spent your life wondering about how astronauts deficate/have sex/eat dinner, etc. then this will be at the top of your list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2942)
    Performance
    (2115)
    Story
    (2123)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Lynn says: "A Rip Snorting Story"
    "Worth more than you think"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started this book only mildly interested and ended with an example of how to build a new world. I could have used a lot more detail on the technical aspects of this story: page rank, server clusters, etc.; and less of the internal politics and business models. But the message which was repeated throughout this story was "change the world for the better and let the algorithms do the heavy lifting". It is almost curious that such a bunch of technonerds could make such a profound humanitarian statement, but that is Steven Levy's genius for detail as much as anything purposely done of the principals in this story. Ganser did a superb narration job. If we are lucky this will be the first volume with another installment in 20 or so years. Spolier Alert: Paleonerds will really enjoy this tale. For all others, proceed with caution.

    1 of 1 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
    (3704)
    Performance
    (2293)
    Story
    (2310)

    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."
    "Slow motion cultural roller coaster"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story started off well enough but left me bewildered when the namesake of the story died barely two hours into the telling. But what turns out to be the main body of the tale followed; a compelling revelation of the changes which tumbled out onto the world from Genghis Khan's too-short life. Change the title to "The Rise and Fall of Mongol Civilization?" (with a deliberate and intentional terminating question mark) and you'll go into the book with a much more realistic set of expectations. After a slow start and a creeping but unrelenting acceleration into the future, you find yourself arriving in the modern world with a newfound connection to the traditionally obscure Mongol Empire. But be prepared for some ear candy after the book is over. A chapter-length epilog reveals that much of what you just heard derives from long-lost but newly rediscovered ancient manuscripts. Surprisingly (to me), it turns out that Weatherford played a personal role in this rediscovery and he does not hide his rah-rah admiration for the great Khan. Though I try very hard to be cynical, I cannot help but be infected by some of the author's profoundly-emotional admiration for the grand results which arose from a simple man living in a simple (barely Bronze Age) culture. I could argue strongly with the quizzical nature of how the book was put together, but not at all with the overall result, a magnificent revelation which is certain to rewrite our own perceptions of the modern world. And, by the way, Davis does an outstanding narration job parsing this material out over a full 800 years of human history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (441)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (370)

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A very interesting book with some shortcomings."
    "Almost didn't buy this book..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I almost didn't buy this book. I have read dozens of WWII histories and this seemed like it would be just another. I was wrong. Insightful analysis and an intelligent explanation of the 1939-1947 time period made me a believer. I say 1947 because it is clear from this story that WWII could easily have spanned that time period, and beyond. It is fair to say that this book turned around my entire thinking about what WWII meant to the world at the time and the world we live in today. On the surface, much of this books dwells on parts of WWII few others have discussed (e.g. Burma, Italy, etc.). But on a deeper level, it is a 21st century retrospective on what it all meant to us, the living today.Rodska's delivery is riveting. Robert's analsysis is dead on, tack sharp, and downright scary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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