LISTENER

M. S. Cohen

New York, NY USA
  • 55
  • reviews
  • 416
  • helpful votes
  • 96
  • ratings
  • The Home Front: Life in America During World War II

  • By: Audible Original
  • Narrated by: Martin Sheen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,277
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,261

[Contains some explicit content] Narrated by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts; from the rationing of butter, to an explosion of war-related jobs, to mixed-signals about the role of women in society. Feel what living in the United States was like for everyday people during this disruptive and uncertain period of American history in the newest Audible Original series. Martha Little is the Executive Producer. Dan Gediman is the Series Producer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent! But incessant breaks with credits along the way.

  • By Bradley Justice on 09-11-17

If you think you know WWII, you don't!

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

Reviewed: 05-16-18

I always thought I knew the history of WWII. But I was mistaken.

These radio-type segments go into a party of the time leading up to and during the West in ways few books cover.

First they are not dry, stuffy writing. There are recordings of the people talking to FDR expressing their worries and support.

There are interviews with people today remembering what it was like. There are even famous people like Carl Reiner.

The bits of information are fascinating. Did you know that Britain would create false stories of German atrocities to get the US into the war. These false stories made it hard for Americans to believe when real Atticus were reported.

Did you know consciousness objectors had themselves injected with hepatitis as part of medical experiments instead of Amarmy service.

Did you know that the US was so isolationist that they wouldn't allow refugees into the country—even after they knew what was happening in Europe.

Three stories are great. The many boxes keep it interesting. And Martin Sheen is a perfect host/narrator.

And if the series reminds you of what is happening today, well you can learn a lot from that.

  • The People's House

  • By: David Pepper
  • Narrated by: Jon Eric Preston
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 72
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 66

Political reporter Jack Sharpe is logging time at the tail end of a disappointing career - jaded about politics and stung by personal hard knocks. But after an odd election result in the Ohio Congressional district he covers, Sharpe stumbles across irregularities that spur him to dig deeper. The story takes him far beyond his corner of Ohio as he discovers an international plot one that strikes at the heart of American democracy by taking advantage of weaknesses in today's political architecture.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Scary but mostly plausible scenario.

  • By Chari Farin on 06-18-18

What a waste

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

Reviewed: 05-06-18

The author had a good idea. Take the very basic outline of what could have happened in 2016 and then twist it around to a totally outlandish story. A waste of a moderately good premise.

The characters are even less than one dimensional. And obviously the author was told to flesh out the protagonist. His idea of fleshing out was so ridiculous that it was hard to keep from laughing.

I'm really sorry I wasted a credit on this waste of time.

I hope this author has it will write more boss that he can create better stories from.

Meanwhile the narrator does a somewhat good job doing the various American and foreign accents. But sadly they too are without any nuance or depth.

  • Idiot America

  • How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
  • By: Charles P. Pierce
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 558
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 503

The culture wars are over and the idiots have won. This is a veteran journalist’s caustically funny, righteously angry lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States. The three Great Premises of Idiot America: · Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units; anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough; "fact" is that which enough people believe. And "truth" is determined by how fervently they believe it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You Get What You Paid For

  • By Vargas on 09-19-11

Too few actual examples

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

Reviewed: 09-19-17

The book starts with a great idea, but the author keeps surrounding them with purple purpose. With few facts.

And it would have been better if he had found some--any--examples from Democrats or liberals.

And the narrator has a syrupy voice.

About 20% of the book is useful. The rest is fluff.

  • The Plot Against America

  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: Ron Silver
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 881
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 805
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 805

In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history. In 1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is elected president. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Scarily realistic

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-04-17

Weak ending

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

Reviewed: 01-31-17

Roth sets up a very interesting premise with characters fully formed. But it's like he got tired towards the end and needed to wrap up the story quickly. And without good reasons.

But it's uncanny how close the events are to what is happening in 2016.

  • Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

  • By: Rufus J. Fears, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Rufus J. Fears
  • Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 769
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 699
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 693

Why do "Great Books" continue to speak to us hundreds and even thousands of years after they were written? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?Tackle these questions and more in these 36 engaging lectures. Beginning with his definition of a Great Book as one that possesses a great theme of enduring importance, noble language that "elevates the soul and ennobles the mind," and a universality that enables it to "speak across the ages," Professor Fears examines a body of work that offers extraordinary wisdom to those willing to receive it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A course that will open you to new ideas.

  • By Kristi Richardson on 07-06-14

Hysterically funny yet scholarly

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

Reviewed: 10-16-16

Professor Rufus is hysterically funny yet gives a Terri intro to all sorts of great books including religious books and poetry.

Listening to him act out Greek tragedies and Shakespeare is well worth the money and time.

He's a bit opionated but still worth listening to.

  • Homintern

  • How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World
  • By: Gregory Woods
  • Narrated by: John Sackville
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

In a hugely ambitious study that crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I forced myself to listen all the way through

  • By M. S. Cohen on 09-07-16

I forced myself to listen all the way through

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

Reviewed: 09-07-16

I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this book. The premise, "How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World" seemed so tantalizing and promising.
Sadly there was really nothing good about it.

I don't have the stomach to write a NY Times Book Review-length review. Suffice it to say that any book on Gay Culture that manages to omit any mention of Patricia Highsmith, the Stonewall riots, Mark Cherry, Billy Crystal in "Soap", the Odd Couple, and Will and Grace hardly deserves any serious consideration.

Worse, the narrator has the most pretentious British accent but insisted on pronouncing any Spanish or French name in the proper accent of that language. OK, I thought. But it got completely ridiculous when he pronounced Vincent Minelli (Vin-cent Min-el-ly) as Vin-chenzo Minelli. Minelli was an American who did not use the Italian version of his name.

But the book itself is barely more than a list, long and boring, of any gay person from 1880 to 2000. No real depth as to what they contributed except that they were gay.

Finally, the author uses a phrase that doesn't make any sense although many gay-right's groups use it.

He talks about "Gay men and Lesbian women." What could Lesbians be but women. The phrase should be Gay men and women, or Gays, or Gay men and Lesbians. But Gay men and Lesbian women is not just redundant, it is stupid.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Trumbo

  • A Biography of the Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Who Broke the Hollywood Blacklist
  • By: Bruce Cook
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 153

A central figure in the Hollywood Ten and one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, Trumbo epitomized the spirit of American capitalism, yet he went to jail refusing to talk about his membership in the Communist party.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Dull

  • By M. S. Cohen on 02-29-16

Dull

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

Reviewed: 02-29-16

It's hard to believe this book was the basis for the movie Trumbo. The movie is very good and covers the exciting part of his life.
This book starts with Trumbo 's youth and plods along.
But even when it gets to the blacklist it is dull.
Worse the narrator has chosen a very grating accent for Trumbo as well as many other characters. And the narrator's normal voice is just as bad.
If you want to hear a better book, get Kurt Douglases book "I am Spartacus. "
It covers how Douglas broke the blacklist by hiring Trumbo. And is narrated by Michael Douglas.

52 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • The Danish Girl

  • By: David Ebershoff
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 839
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 742
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 747

Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: what do you do when someone you love wants to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has cancelled; would he slip into a pair of women's shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting, semi-nonfiction.

  • By Heather Auer on 12-14-15

Fortunately I haven't seen the movie

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

Reviewed: 02-19-16

I don't like to see movies before I read (listen) to the book so I have no idea how the movie treats the story.

So, not knowing where the story was going, I was totally engrossed by the story at the beginning.

****SPOILERS****


The slow, bit-by-bit progression of the lead character into his transformation to identify as a woman was well done. It starts with just cross-dressing to model, then dressing outside, and then creating a full life for his female character.

But then it got really cumbersome with the medical aspects of the transformation including surgery that was extreme to begin with and then went so out of the norm as to be ludicrous.

If the story had stayed psychological it would have been great. But after the character is butchered by the great doctor, everything goes downhill—the characters health as well as the book.

It's a long book that should have been about 1/3 shorter.

HOWEVER the narrator deserves an award. Without resorting to cliche Danish accents, he manages to capture the spirit of the American characters and differentiate them from the Danish and European ones.

It added much to the enjoyment.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Mozart in the Jungle

  • Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
  • By: Blair Tindall
  • Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 181
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 182

In a book that inspired the Amazon original series starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Malcolm McDowell, oboist Blair Tindall recounts her decades-long professional career as a classical musician, from the recitals and Broadway orchestra performances to the secret life of musicians who survive hand to mouth in the backbiting New York classical music scene, trading sexual favors for plum jobs and assignments in orchestras across the city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining, but with long pedantic sections

  • By M. S. Cohen on 01-17-16

Entertaining, but with long pedantic sections

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

Reviewed: 01-17-16

First, I discovered this book after seeing the two seasons of the Amazon TV series. This book is NOTHING like that. But more about that later.

If you are coming to this book without having seen the Amazon series, you will not be confused. The story is of a young musician, very talented it would seem, who moves to NYC, lives in a run-down apartment building, and makes her way through the world of classical music, with a side trip to Broadway orchestras.

The story is somewhat interesting, but the author shows her journalism roots (rather than entertainment) by interjecting dry statistics from newspapers, magazines, and government sources, on the state of classical music in the country.

But even the humanity of the story feels dry. Several characters appear throughout the book and we get to see their lives change. One of her friends has a very serious heart condition. The book takes us through the drama of all his operations and then decline. But there isn't any feeling to the story. We don't care.

Other characters feel just a dry. The author has a tendency to rank the quality of her friend's lives as to what kind of apartment they have, who they are married to, and what kind of music they create. The author eventually leaves the classical music field for journalism when she realizes she doesn't want to live in her apartment building after the age of 40. This is not how you create an empathetic character.

As far as the sex and drugs, they're in there, with a lot of booze on the side. I think we are supposed to be shocked that classical musicians, considered such a stiff and stuffy group, would smoke dope, snort cocaine, performed stoned, and sleep around with married people.

Sadly these are all the people the author seems to know.

But even these scandalous-sounding stories come out without any feeling. We don't care if someone plays stoned one night. Or a $10,000 flute is stolen from a restaurant. Or they do crossword puzzles in the pit of a Broadway orchestra.

The story ends with the author's cautions against sending children into music schools if they're not going to be able to get jobs in an industry that is losing employment. I agree that kids should not learn to play the oboe if they only want to do it to be a professional musician. Obviously someone as talented as the author had to leave because there wasn't enough work. But what about the joy of learning to make music? Or the discipline of learning an instrument. Or the fun of banging on the drum in a marching band.

If we listen to the author, all the music in education programs would be cancelled.

It's a shame, though, that the author stopped her story shortly after leaving classical music. A quick search on Google shows she's had quite the amazing life since then with restraining orders, fake marriage, and mental problems. Now THAT'S a story I would love to have read.

Now, for anyone who has seen the Amazon series and wants to get more about that story? Forget it! This book has as much to do with the Amazon show as a map of Texas does to the series "Dallas."

That's not to say you won't enjoy this book. It's just that they are totally different.

Same thing the other way round. If you have listened to this book, you'll be surprised at how little of it is in the series. The series has concocted characters that are not at all in this book. The characters in the series are interesting. But I'm really surprised they share the same title.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Now I Know More

  • The Revealing Stories Behind Even More of the World's Most Interesting Facts
  • By: Dan Lewis
  • Narrated by: Anthony Haden Salerno
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 622
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 566
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 567

Get ready to find out the real deal behind a new collection of fascinating facts. From pink camouflaged fighter planes to secret Harry Potter characters, Now I Know More covers everything from history and science to sports and pop culture. You'll learn about made-up towns that made their way onto real maps, the time three MLB teams squared off in a single game, and 99 more curious cases of remarkable trivia. And it's all true. With this audiobook, you really will know more!

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed...

  • By Pat on 05-29-15

Anthony Haden Salerno ruined this title for me

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

Reviewed: 06-29-15

I listened to the first of these book, "Now I know" and really enjoyed it. So I bought and downloaded the second.

While the types of stories are the same, the sing-song cadence of the narrator of the "More" book really gets on my nerves.

The first narrator, Jeremy Arthur, is just fine. Not too heavy on the emphasis of this happening.

But Salerno ends almost every sentence with a breathless modulation of his voice.

I hope the publisher gets rid of Salerno and brings Arthur back if there are any more recordings in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful