At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew A. Rozell tracks down over 30 survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. The book resurrects firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war.
I will be returning this book. Not only does the narrator make no attempt to convey when they are reading a quote or when a break in the text appears, in just the first few minutes there is mention of the “1947 battle of Iwo Jima” and that the USS Oklahoma dated “from World War 2” when it built in 1910.
While it would definitely be a better read than a listen with this narrator, I’m not willing to listen long enough to find out what other facts are wrong.
Above and Beyond is the incredible true story of Frank Luke Jr., the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor. When America entered the First World War in 1917, Luke became a fighter pilot in the newly formed US Army Air Service and was soon serving with a combat squadron in France. Above and Beyond chronicles Luke's most daring mission of all on September 29, 1918, which cost him his life, and for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Any additional comments?
While a short book, it achieves what I assume to be its main goals of telling an important story, and engaging the reader/listener. The author spends about 15 minutes on Frank Luke Jr.'s childhood, as well as some time on his entrance into flying and some relevant aspects of the war itself so that the main story does not sit alone in a vacuum.
It's very clear that as much research as possible was done, and the author mentions when facts are not known for certain or there are differing versions of the same event. Because of this, there's not much detail in the 'battle scenes' of the book - aerial victories are most "he shot down the enemy," missing the blow-by-blow accounts that a memoir would have - though I prefer this approach over the author having invented his own version of events.
Occasionally the wording of the book sounds like it's trying a bit hard to be dramatic, and the author frequently changes between referring to Frank Luke Jr. as "Frank" or "Luke" without any consistency that I could tell.
The narrator does a good job, with the audio being clear and constant volume. Occasionally a foreign word was mis-pronounced, but most were not, and comma pauses are longer than I'm comfortable with - but the sample provided is accurate to the rest of the book for buyers to decide for themselves.
Despite minor gripes, this was definitely a book that I didn't want to pause or put down. Chapters vary from 6-23 minutes and line up with the book chapters, making it easy to know when your next break is coming.
I was provided this audiobook at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
In this riveting personal account, an authentic American hero relives the perils and triumphs of eight harrowing patrols aboard one of America's most successful World War II submarines. Courageous deeds and terror-filled moments - as well as the endless hard work of maintaining and operating a combat sub - are vividly recalled in Calvert's candid portrait.
Any additional comments?
An excellent memoir only marred by slight technical imperfections.
Story wise the author tells the war from his point of view and nearly exclusively from his memories (historical facts learned later in life are only occasionally included as footnotes). What this means is the memorable parts of his war are what's told, resulting in lots of action and interesting moments, without being slowed down by any tedious minutia of detail or re-capping of well known war operations.
The author also gives some explanation on the operations of the submarines, certainly enough for someone without prior knowledge to understand and envision the goings on. Along with his time at sea, he also tells some of the rest periods between patrols giving a candid look at the emotions that war brings to the fighters - but again, not bogging the story down with unnecessary details.
Narration wise the reader does a fine job, often employing just a little bit of relevant emotion into the reading. Save for the last chapter, he also avoids using any accents or caricatures when reading quotes. This is where one of my only gripes occurs: the recording is from the 1990s and has some technical flaws - the audio is not clear and crisp, instead often sounding a bit fuzzy and with background noise (sometimes sounding like the reader clicking on a computer). It also has sudden, erratic, volume changes. At random the volume of the narration will suddenly increase or decrease, sometimes with a single sentence in a paragraph being noticeably louder.
The audiobook is divided into 14 chapters, all but the last being 43-45 minutes long. However, these chapters have no relation to those of the book or breaks in narration. Book chapters end anywhere from the middle to a minute from the end of audiobook chapters, meaning you're never sure when your next opportunity to put it down for later will come.
These are minor annoyances, especially when compared to the excellence of the writing. Anyone with interest on the subject would do well to own this audiobook.
On May 24, 1940, Hitler's armies were on the brink of a shattering military victory. Only 10 miles away, 400,000 Allied troops were pinned against the coast of Dunkirk. But just 11 days later, 338,000 men had been successfully evacuated to England. How did it happen? Walter Lord's remarkable account of how "the miracle of Dunkirk" came about is based on hundreds of interviews.
Any additional comments?
Walter Lord does an impressive job of turning the facts and events of the Dunkirk evacuation into a cohesive, sequential story that finely balances relaying the individual experiences with the impersonal reciting of military maneuvers and strategies.Thoroughly researched there can be little doubt to the completeness of this narrative.
Also well done is the balance of telling the stories of the other armies involved; French, Belgian, and German activities are given due space so a complete picture is drawn and the book avoids being too tightly focused on just the British actions.
The only flaw in this audiobook is that the narration will sometimes jarringly change in volume - clearly separate recording sittings being combined mid-paragraph. Otherwise the performance is high quality an well suited to the material.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is how wars are fought now by children, hopped up on drugs, and wielding AK-47s. In the more than 50 violent conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But it is rare to find a first-person account from someone who endured this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now 26 years old, tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence.
Any additional comments?
Tells an important, and incredible story with just two weak points:
1) The author/narrator exhibits no emotion in telling the story, despite the words being written with the obvious intent. Phrases like "it was the last time I ever saw [x]" are said as dead-pan as a book report and impactful moments receive no emphasis at all. Jarring for the first few chapters until you get used to it.
2) The book ends before the story does. The reader is left wondering what the author did next, and what happened in the few days after the text ends. Even an extra 100 words would have sufficed.
But those are the only flaws I could find in this book. An absolutely worthwhile purchase if you have any interest at all. The reder learns not only about this one story, but glimpses into others who were in the war, and about the culture and customs of the country.