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Chiefkent

Gulfport, MS USA
  • 57
  • reviews
  • 183
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  • 2,482
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  • Bobby Kennedy

  • A Raging Spirit
  • By: Chris Matthews
  • Narrated by: Chris Matthews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 606
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 522

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the public and private worlds of Robert Francis Kennedy. He shines a light on all the important moments of his life, from his early years and his start in politics to his crucial role as attorney general in his brother's administration and his tragic run for president. This definitive book brings Bobby Kennedy to life like never before and is destined to become a political classic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What Could Have Been.

  • By Jean on 02-23-18

Best Bio That I've Read In Years!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-09-18

After finishing this book I'm still not positive if was the writing or the subject that kept me enthralled. Chris Matthews' conversational delivery was perfect for the material. RFK's moral compass and fortitude shows us what could have been and what is so lacking in politics today.

  • The Revenge of Geography

  • What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate
  • By: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 373
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 373

In The Revenge of Geography, Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world's hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why Don't They Teach This Stuff?

  • By Carole T. on 02-27-13

A MUST Read for Anyone Interested in Geopolitics

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-18

An outstanding tome! Presents the 'why' of history through geography while making projections towards the future. Geography does not make finite prejudgements, but not knowing the limits of geography is the precursor to failure. Fine narration.

  • Empire

  • How Britain Made the Modern World
  • By: Niall Ferguson
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287

Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red, and Britannia ruled not just the waves but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brilliantly unfolds the imperial story in all its splendours and its miseries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Such a great listen - What a History Lesson

  • By Dorothy on 11-04-17

Excellent Historical Compilation

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-18

Very little in this book is new information, what is new is the presentation of the various time periods, personalities and locales into one coherent volume. Not sure about the author's conclusions; he spends most of the book espousing Adam Smith and then justifies the UK's left turn towards Marx at the end of both the Empire and WWII. The narration is outstanding throughout. Highly recommend this book especially for American readers, who tend to be more egocentric in their views of world history.

  • Pacific Thunder

  • The US Navy's Central Pacific Campaign, August 1943–October 1944
  • By: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

On 27 October 1942, four "Long Lance" torpedoes fired by the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo exploded in the hull of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). Minutes later, the ship that had launched the Doolitte Raid six months earlier slipped beneath the waves of the Coral Sea 100 miles northeast of the island of Guadalcanal and just north of the Santa Cruz Islands, taking with her 140 of her sailors. With the loss of Hornet, the United States Navy now had one aircraft carrier left in the South Pacific.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good for what it is, but not what it claims to be

  • By David Maher on 12-18-17

Fine History; Mediocre Narration

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-18

This book deals with the minutiae of the naval war in the Pacific during the periods indicated in the title. The author does an excellent job in presenting what was essentially a carrier war with just enough background information not to bog his tale down. As with most of the recent histories, it is told from the perspective of the participants, rather than just the overall strategic picture. When dealing with the minutiae of the naval war in the Pacific, one ought to get a narrator who has a familiarity with both said Navy and the Pacific and how to pronounce the terminology and geography associated with them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Battle of Britain

  • Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940
  • By: James Holland
  • Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
  • Length: 26 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 234
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 233

The Battle of Britain paints a stirring picture of an extraordinary summer when the fate of the world hung by a thread. Historian James Holland has now written the definitive account of those months based on extensive new research from around the world, including thousands of new interviews with people on both sides of the battle.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The battle up to The Battle of Britain

  • By Chiefkent on 11-07-17

The battle up to The Battle of Britain

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-17

The sub-title of 'Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940', is inaccurate in as at least half of the book is taken up WHY, The Battle of Britain took place. The other half is HOW, The Battle of Britain took place. Please don't get me wrong, I listened raptly and was surprised to learn details that I either forgot or plain didn't know. Anytime I learn new information, I'm one happy camper. Thing is that I was really expecting 26 hours on The Battle of Britain. Happily the narration was smooth and upper crust Brit, making for an easy 26 hours.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Be Like the Fox

  • Machiavelli in His World
  • By: Erica Benner
  • Narrated by: Karen Saltus
  • Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Machiavelli has been associated with political amorality. But that characterization is unfair. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner sets the record straight: far from the ruthless "Machiavellian" henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very uninspired performance. Sounds. Like. Reading.

  • By Jan Sapper on 05-26-17

Storytime of Discourse

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-17

The author does yeoman work of showing the real Niccolò Machiavelli and his life. The primary problem is that the narrating sounds like a kindergarten storytime reading for pre-schoolers. It gets grating quickly. There aren't that many good bio's of Machiavelli out there and this one gets ruined by the reader. One can tell how much quality research went into this book to re-create a republic that existed while Columbus was still meandering around the Caribbean and calling it India. Machiavelli was essentially a mid level Florentine diplomat, part-time playwright and amateur historian/philosopher. His major work, "The Discourses on Livy" is largely overlooked in favor of his more salacious "The Prince". Looking at "The Prince" as satire is novel. The book is well worth the read, if not the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Terminus

  • Fringe Worlds, Book 1
  • By: Kevin Hardman
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 78

Master Sergeant Gant Maker was a highly decorated and well-respected marine - until his last mission left him as the sole survivor of an encounter with a vicious race called the Vacra. Served up as a scapegoat and drummed out of the military, he has since lived a life of seclusion with only an adopted alien as a companion. Now the Vacra have returned.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • On the fringe of being great

  • By Ray Johnson on 05-16-18

Goood Story with Legs

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-17

Promising beginning to a series, with great narration. Once one gets past the obligatory suspension of belief for the premise, the book does what it's supposed to - it entertains. There's no heavy lifting required to follow the plot, and has a sufficient number of twists to keep the listener wanting more. Escapism listening at it's best!

  • Boyd

  • The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
  • By: Robert Coram
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 19 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 615
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 560
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 564

John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest US fighter pilot ever - the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than 40 seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft - the F-15 and F-16. Still, others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding!

  • By Marc on 11-01-16

The god of War and his Acolytes

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-09-17

Obviously the author is the latest of Boyd's acolytes. John Boyd was truly the greatest military theorist since Sun Tzu. His theories in "Patterns of Conflict" supersede even those of Clausewitz and Jomini. Still the author is too close to his flawed subject. Boyd was an insecure repressed man who over compensated by being overly loud and boastful. While single mindedly pursuing his professional and intellectual objectives, he essentially ignored his wife and children.

Boyd's professional and intellectual achievements were linear in nature. Each followed and built upon the previous landmark. As a highly gifted and aggressive fighter pilot as an instructor at the US Air Force's Fighter Weapons, (FWS), had a standing bet for all comers, that he could reverse from the target slot in front, to the six o'clock position on his opponent and get on gun camera film a confirmed simulated kill on said opponent in 40 seconds or less. In the 5 years that Boyd was at FWS he never lost the bet, gaining the nickname, 'Forty-Second Boyd'.

Up until this time all air-to-air combat was considered too complex and fluid to delineate in written form. The Air Force, (AF), had also decided that with the advent of air-to-air missiles, air-to-air combat or dog-fighting was a thing of the past, and so was talking about decreasing funding for the FWS. Afraid that the basic concepts could be lost, Boyd spent a year working on his own to write the 100 page, "Aerial Attack Study". Given the relative position and velocity of an enemy, Boyd was able to demonstrate what possible maneuvers that enemy could take, what counter-moves a pilot could make, the counter-moves that the enemy could take and the what the pilot could do to counter those moves. In the process Boyd proved that pilots could out maneuver missiles - also proving that dog-fighting was not dead. "Aerial Attack Study" became the handbook for fighter pilots world-wide. and is still considered the definitive work on air-to-air combat, some 45+ years later.

While writing, "Aerial Attack Study", and all the various iterations for maneuvers and counter-moves. etc., Boyd, felt that there was some factor that was right in front of him that he wasn't seeing effecting all these maneuvers.His eureka moment came while a fellow student a Georgia Tech was attempting to explain the Second Law of Thermodynamics to him and somehow brought up the concepts of kinetic and potential energy having a sum of potential energy. Boyd made the leap of converting the velocity and position used in his, "Aerial Attack Study", to their root components. Using the velocity, thrust, drag and weight of an aircraft, he came up with a predictive formula for the aircraft's performance envelope.By comparing different aircraft envelopes Boyd could compare different aircraft at various points within the envelopes. By varying the factors of thrust, drag and weight the maneuverability and the performance of the aircraft changed, giving designers a quantitative tool to increase the flight characteristics of fighter aircraft. The charting of the "Energy-maneuverability" required millions of calculations for each aircraft. In 1962, computers were in short supply. Boyd teamed up with Dr. Thomas Christie at Eglin AFB to use the base's high speed computer. It took 2 years to chart all US and Soviet fighter aircraft of the day into a 2 volume report. Being in charge of the Eglin AFB graphic's department, Boyd was able to distill the 2 volumes onto slides comparing US aircraft to Soviet aircraft. He colored the areas that US fighters were superior in blue and the areas that the Soviet Fighters were superior in red. The Soviet aircraft compared favorably. Having been an instructor for 5 years at FWS, Boyd was a dynamic speaker. He took his slideshow on the road to various US fighter bases explaining his charts and how they were created. As word of his slideshow got out, more senior AF Officers demanded to see it until eventually the AF Chief of Staff demanded to see it. In a 2 day contentious presentation the Chief of Staff's staff tried to challenge the originality, accuracy and applicability of Boyd's work after the Chief of Staff requested a slide of the AF's newest aircraft in development, the F-111. The slide was all red.

Boyd was transferred to the Pentagon. The F-111 was essentially re-considered as more of a bomber and work was picked up on the FX project. Up until this time all AF planes were basically contracted on 2 things; how fast and how high the plane could fly. Basically was is fine for a bomber, but didn't make for the best fighters. Immediately resistance began from the Tactical Air Command, (TAC), which is responsible for the research and design of all Air Force planes. TAC had 2 major problems; firstly Boyd's "Energy–maneuverability theory" hadn't originated there and the AF being bomber-centric, all planes had to be able to deliver nukes. TAC was forced to take Boyd's theory into account in designing what eventually became the F-15.

While at the Pentagon Boyd soon met Colonel Everest Riccioni and Pierre Sprey, they were the foundation of what was to become known as the "Fighter Mafia". Riccioni was assigned to R&D and Sprey was a PhD. originally brought into DoD by McNamara to study the military situation in Europe. Both joined Christie as Boyd acolytes. As it became obvious that the FX was being gold-plated with more and more gadgets and becoming more expensive and less capable as a fighter, the Fighter Mafia began drawing a dream fighter that was both cheaper and more capable than the FX. As the price of the FX rose the AF, wanting more fighters, for the first time since WWII had 2 companies build competing prototypes of the Fighter Mafia's concept of an ideal fighter; the YF-16 and the YF-17. The YF-17 eventually became the F-18.

During this time period, 2 things occurred that were to have major import on the future. LtCol James G. Burton joined the Fighter Mafia, becoming an acolyte, and Sprey encouraged Boyd to think more about land warfare. Sprey had developed the Air-Land Warfare concept for NATO to counter any Soviet invasion. Boyd began taking esoteric concepts such as Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics and combining them together into what he called, "Destruction & Creation", all based on what he called the "OODA Loop" and the "schwerpunkt" concept. The OODA Loop was derived from his energy-maneuverability theory for airplanes by adding "time" as factor. He was able to quantify in chart form the decision loop process and show how it was applicable in war at all levels. (The OODA Loop was later applied to everything from business to litigation). Schwerpunkt is more difficult to define, essentially it is the point upon which the most effort is concentrated during an attack.

Destruction & Creation began as another of Boyd's slide presentations entitled, "Discourse on Winning & Losing" , only it lasted 2 days long. Boyd felt that he needed to write a 10 page, single spaced introduction to Discourse on Winning & Losing, it was the only time that he codified Destruction & Creation in writing - the slide presentation was Destruction & Creation. He said that his concept was constantly evolving in his mind and that he didn't want to be tied down to something that may have changed in his ideas.

His presentation began with his theories regarding air combat and how by increasing the tempo, events could cause confusion and the key to winning was the pilots ability to collapse his opponent's decision making capability through that confusion and disorder until the opponent lost. Boyd then gave historical examples of where smaller armies used confusion and feints to win battles, going into more modern battles up to Napoleon.Then he showed the transition from WWI to WWII. By introducing blitzkrieg and the concept of schwerpunkt where force was concentrated at small points to overwhelm local defense, and that the resulting successes were due to the German rapid decision making, ie., a faster OODA loop. He then showed while the initial movements of blitzkrieg on a map appeared to be straight lines, that they were actually fluid in nature, seeking weak points at many places at the same time. By offering examples where guerrilla warfare shared many of the aspects of blitzkrieg by using a faster OODA loop, he gave suggested remedies.The conclusion of Boyd's presentation was the concept of the "counter-blitz', by being able to get inside the enemy's decision loop by using this faster OODA loop to channel his attacks so that they run out of steam on their own and can then be countered. Boyd's key to this is fluidity and maneuver based on the OODA loop.This is a much abbreviated version of both OODA and Destruction & Creation, the book goes into much greater detail along with the evolutionary process that created it.

By 1976, Discourse on Winning & Losing, was condensed into "Patterns of Conflict", (still with the 10 page Destruction & Creation). It became the foundation of the "defense reform movement" (DRM) in the 1970s and 1980s. Direct result of DRM and the acolytes were the A-10 Warthog and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and the fate of the B-1 bomber. Patterns of Conflict became the basis of the USMC model of maneuver warfare as described in their manual "Warfighting". Serious rumors have it that Boyd was involved in the planning of Gulf War 1.

I have avoided describing over half of the content of this book, as I am an unabashed critic of the USAF. The rationale for it's very creation went away with the end of the Cold War. The amount of corruption due to the incestuous relations between the AF and it's contractors is well documented. The careerism if the AF is the rest of the book. The enemy isn't Russia or China, it is the Navy and the Army. The design process for airplanes explains the F-35. This is a MUST read for anyone interested in United States military history and affairs.

  • Devil’s Due

  • Destroyermen, Book 12
  • By: Taylor Anderson
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 19 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 792
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 733
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 731

Captain Matt Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker have been fighting for their lives ever since their ship was swept from the Pacific to another world and they became embroiled in a deadly conflict between their Lemurian allies and the ravening Grik. But things are about to get worse. With Reddy's family and allies held prisoner by the mad General Kurokawa, the mysterious League and evil Dominion plotting schemes of their own, and the Grik trying to build their swarm and concentrate power, Reddy faces danger on all sides.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • An average, repetitive addition

  • By Patrick M. on 11-28-17

World War. alt

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-17

I have slavishly followed the 'Destroyermen' series since "Into the Storm", some 9 years ago. At that time my only criticism was Mr. Dufris' lack of familiarization with the proper pronouncing of standard naval and military terms. Now that is no longer a problem, it has allowed his vocal acrobatics to deftly allow the listeners to have no doubt as to which of the many human and human characters are speaking. Mr. Dufris has given each of the many primary characters their own distinct and appropriate voice, making it ever so seamless to follow the storyline.

In this latest installment of 'Destroyermen' the war has gone truly global as we are exposed to new threats as old ones are conquered. And as old heroes die, new ones are born. Mr. Anderson keeps the plot fresh while maintaining the mystery and suspense of what is yet to come. The "Destroyermen' series has kept a large fan base by keeping his readers entertained. "Devil's Due" does not disappoint!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Best and the Brightest

  • By: David Halberstam
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 37 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 348
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306

Using portraits of America's flawed policy makers and accounts of the forces that drove them, The Best and the Brightest reckons magnificently with the most important abiding question of our country's recent history: Why did America become mired in Vietnam, and why did we lose? As the definitive single-volume answer to that question, this enthralling book has never been superseded. It is an American classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Preparation for Ken Burns

  • By Chiefkent on 06-12-17

Preparation for Ken Burns

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-17

I first read this book some 45 years ago and decided that it was time for a refresher with Ken Burns' series on Vietnam coming up on PBS. Scary part was how much I'd forgotten about the LBJ period of self delusion. The historical background from WWII up the JFK period, (missed opportunities), is absolutely fascinating. FDR had no intention of allowing the French to regain possession of Indochina post-war. Sadly all his plans died with him. Even then, the US was against French reoccupation but the British were kind enough to rearm the interned French forces prior to leaving for Burma and Malaya. Instant civil war with the Viet Minh who had been fighting the Japanese. Unfortunately this war coincided with Korea and de Gaulle convinced the US that Indochina was an extension of Korea. American assistance followed.

The most interesting aspect of the book for me was the historical dichotomy that trapped JFK to even pay attention to Vietnam. The convergence of domestic political history and the historical geopolitical circumstances placed JFK in a no-win situation that he was barely juggling when he was assassinated. He was poorly served by his advisors, including RFK as the deaths of Diệm and his brother amply demonstrated. You need to listen to this tome, (and at 37 hrs., it IS a tome), but Mark Bramhall's voice makes it enjoyable, without detracting from the verbiage. Five Stars across the board!!

23 of 24 people found this review helpful