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David S. Mathew

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  • 354
  • helpful votes
  • 130
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  • It

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 44 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,259
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26,956
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,861

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It's a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made 28 years ago calls them to reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city's children.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic with a Top-Notch Performance!

  • By Nicole on 06-19-17

Coming Home Again...

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

Steven King once called this novel “the summation of everything I have learned and done in my whole life up to this point.” That is some very heavy praise coming from such a well renowned author, but it is well earned. This novel a hard one to summarize, but essentially IT (pun) is about a group of friends growing up in a small town fighting against a supernatural and malevolent entity. That entity typically takes the form of Pennywise the dancing clown, a spirt that encourages fear, bigotry, and violent hate in those around it. The novel takes place from the 1960s to the 1980s, but is still shockingly relevant to modern times.

As for the narration, I’m unsure what I think about it. Steven Weber has certainly picked up that this is a very dramatic book and puts a lot of energy into his performance. Sometimes this adds to the story, such as during the more dramatic fight scenes. Other times translates into Weber literally screaming into the microphone, which gets ungodly annoying. Weber didn’t irritate me enough that I stopped listening, but you should be warned in advance.

Ultimately, It remains an incredible story and possibly Steven King’s greatest work. If you don’t mind the narration, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. Highly recommended!

  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

  • Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry
  • By: Dale Carnegie
  • Narrated by: Andrew MacMillan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,820
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,787
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,779

Through Dale Carnegie's seven-million-copy best seller, recently revised, millions of people have been helped to overcome the worry habit. Dale Carnegie offers a set of practical formulas you can put to work today, formulas that will last a lifetime!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Read

  • By C. Mitchell on 03-08-09

Good, but a bit worrisome

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

If you’re considering reading this book, I assume you’ve already read Dale Carnegie’s most famous book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I throughly enjoyed that book, which is still shockingly relevant despite it’s age. Naturally, I decided to try out Carnegie other book written several years later. The results here are a mixed bag. Unlike Carnegie’s prior book, this one defiantly shows its age.

Some of the advice contained in here is still good, such as “Develop an organizational system” and “Write down your worries.” Other advice has not aged well, such as “Depression can be cured with several days of positive thinking” or “Winston Churchill was healthy because he was too busy to worry.” (A recent biography reveals that Churchill had a heart attack during WWII from stress, but it was covered up by his doctor.) Also, the later half of this book half of this book has several sections that are heavily faith based. That wasn’t a big deal for me, but I can understand if that makes others uncomfortable.

Overall, I would still recommend this for those willing to take somewhat outdated advice with a modern grain of salt or just for Dale Carnegie completionists. The good sections still outnumber the bad, which still says a lot. Not great, but still a good investment.

  • Gandhi & Churchill

  • By: Arthur Herman
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 29 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 571
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 363
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365

In this fast-paced epic, best-selling historian and master storyteller Arthur Herman spotlights two giants of the 20th century. Gandhi & Churchill shows how their 40-year rivalry revolutionized India and the British Empire, paving the way for a new era. Gandhi championed India's independence, Churchill the British Empire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply excellent

  • By Charles on 09-23-10

Death of the British Empire, Birth of the Modern World

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

My father grew up in India, during the pre-independence era. Both Gandhi and Churchill were largely responsible for shaping my father’s life, so held very strong feelings about them. He believed that Churchill was great for Europe, but equally terrible for India. He also taught me that Gandhi was a sort of living saint who freed India from British rule. Neither of those statements are entirely wrong, but they are oversimplifications. They are part of a cultural mythology created by the titanic societal shifts ushered in by both Gandhi and Churchill. The true story of these men, their personal journeys, and especially their relationship to the British Empire is far more complex and infinitely more fascinating.

Arthur Herman’s joint biography of Grandi and Churchill is one of those rare books that looks dense, but is so intriguing that it zooms by at lightning speed. It’s impossible to do this book justice with any summary, so I will simply say it is an incredible read. This is the story of a rivalry that shook an empire it its very core, ultimately ending one era of World History and the creating another. What are you waiting for? Beyond highly recommended!

  • The Irony of American History

  • By: Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Narrated by: Robert Blumenfeld
  • Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 103
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 69

Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr's masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superlative Book

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-29-10

Isn’t it Ironic...

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

Rieholdt Niebuhr is one of the most fascinating theologians/philosophers in all of American history. He was heavily involved in politics, yet was notoriously difficult to pin down to one side. Even today, Niebuhr’s writings are invoked by both liberals and conservatives alike. Case in point: Reiholdt Niebuhr was once investigated by the FBI for being a possible communist, even though his writings were noticeably anti-communist. More recently, Former FBI Director James Comey went by the name “Reiholdt Niebuhr” on Twitter.

Niebuhr’s most famous book, “Moral Man and Immortal Society,” remains a classic and was a favorite of men such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The Irony of American History” is Niebuhr’s second most famous book, but in many ways it might be his best. This book is actually a series of lectures given on American history, so listening to it in audio form is actually a more authentic experience. The ideas contained within are, like Niebuhr himself, impossible to summarize. In short, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more fascinating take on American religious/political/historical thought than this. Highly recommended!

  • Fathered By God

  • Discover What Your Dad Could Never Teach You
  • By: John Eldredge
  • Narrated by: John Eldredge
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 617
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 535
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 528

In this life-changing message from John Eldredge, readers discover a paradigm-shifting path to manhood. He unveils the six stages many men miss, stages they must complete in order to become the man God designed them to be. Inspiring, insightful, and challenging for men and the women in their lives, Fathered by God delivers the very thing men need, a way to forge companionship with God the Father while undergoing a transformation, releasing the fullness of life and the passion God designed them to live.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • good life tools!

  • By ryan on 05-21-12

Everyman’s Journey

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

Reviewed: 04-14-18

There’s a great deal of debate nowadays about the basic concept of masculinity and it’s role in modern society. The debate on what constitutes a “real man” likely isn’t going away anytime soon. However, speaking from my own experience, a man’s journey is rough and often fraught with peril. Because of this, young boys rarely become fully functioning adult men without good guidance along the way.

In this book, John Eldridge provides some of that all too often missing guidance. Drawing mostly from Bible (and The Lord of the Rings), Eldridge manages to provide a highly compelling map of the various stages along the masculine journey. I’m not sure I agree with everything contained within this book (I would have cut that weird rant against video games in the middle), but I found his wisdom to be truly invaluable for understanding the life of a man.

As for the performance, I’m typically a big fan of an author narrating his own audiobook and this is no exception. Pro’s tip: Listen to this while hiking; it pushes Eldridge’s story to the next level. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Art of War

  • By: Sun Tzu
  • Narrated by: Aidan Gillen
  • Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,429
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,584
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,491

The 13 chapters of The Art of War, each devoted to one aspect of warfare, were compiled by the high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun-Tzu. In spite of its battlefield specificity, The Art of War has found new life in the modern age, with leaders in fields as wide and far-reaching as world politics, human psychology, and corporate strategy finding valuable insight in its timeworn words.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Aidan Gillen needs to narrate more books

  • By Angelina PM on 04-14-15

Game of War

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

Reviewed: 04-14-18

The Art of War is a time tested classic of strategy and martial wisdom. The reputation of this book is extremely well known, so I won’t bother reviewing Sun Tzu. If you’ve ever been interested in this text, go for it.

If you’re reading this review, my guess is that you’re wondering about the performance. In short, Aidan Gillen knocks it out of the park. If you’re a fan of Aidan Gillen (or Game of Thrones in general) what could be cooler than being schooled in the art of war by Lord Petyr Baelish himself? You owe it to yourself to give this a listen. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

  • By: Manning Marable
  • Narrated by: G. Valmont Thomas
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 648
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 527

Of the great figure in 20th-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age 39. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • invites further reading on Malcolm X

  • By connie on 05-14-11

Rebirth of a Legend

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

Reviewed: 02-14-18

I came to this biography partly because of an article that appeared in The Atlantic a few years back. That article was, The Legacy of Malcolm X by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is one of my favorite journalists, so when he lavishes praise on a book, I take notice. After finishing Marable‘s book and reflecting on the portrayal of Malcolm X in this book, I can tell you that Coates’ praise is definitely well earned.

Marable perfectly captures why Malcolm X remains one of the most fascinating characters in American history even today. He was full of wild contradictions, starting out as pimp and hustler, yet ending up as an iconic spiritual leader. He almost no coherent philosophy, advocating Black supremacy at one point, then turning to interracial harmony near the end of his life. But above all, Malcolm X’s life is the ultimate testament to the power of reinvention, self improvement, and fighting for causes far greater than yourself. This is one powerful book. Also, Thomas’ superb narration never skips a beat. Beyond highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Difference Engine

  • By: William Gibson, Bruce Sterling
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 338
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 342

The Difference Engine is an alternate history novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It is a prime example of the steampunk sub-genre; It posits a Victorian Britain in which great technological and social change has occurred after entrepreneurial inventor Charles Babbage succeeded in his ambition to build a mechanical computer called Engines. The fierce summer heat and pollution have driven the ruling class out of London and the resulting anarchy allows technology-hating Luddites to challenge the intellectual elite.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Starts strong, falls off

  • By Delano on 04-22-13

Steampunk Neuromancer

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

Reviewed: 02-03-18

Combining the cyberpunk, steampunk, and alternate history sub-generas of science fiction, The Difference Engine is truly a one of a kind novel. The basic premise: What if computers were created in Victorian England? The results is a vastly different and far grimmer world where the Imperial British Empire extends its rule across the entire world and well into the future... at least until the last few pages.

Regarding the plot, it’s worth warning you that this novel has a reputation for being often picked up, but seldom finished. That is because it’s a pretty complex read already, made more difficult by a noir detective plot that’s kind of all over the place. That said, I finished it and if you can make it to the ending there is a twist that explains why the story was told that way. Also, for what it’s worth, you get a lot more out of this a second time around.

As for the narration, this is definitely easier to listen to than it is to read. Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators, so I’m biased towards any performance of his. That said, this is an extremely verbose novel with some fairly dense sections to it; and Vance still nails it. Overall, if I’ve at all piqued your interest give The Difference Engine a whirl. You’re in for quite the ride.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Robinson Crusoe

  • By: Daniel Defoe
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 740
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 639
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 643

Widely regarded as the first English novel, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is one of the most popular and influential adventure stories of all time. This classic tale of shipwreck and survival on an uninhabited island was an instant success when first published in 1719, and it has inspired countless imitations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Story and Excellent Narration

  • By William on 03-02-11

Adrift

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

Reviewed: 01-29-18

This is probably Daniel Defoe’s best known story and possibly the first English language novel ever written. Inspired by the life of explorer Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe is the story of a shipwrecked English sailor as he struggles to survive while marooned on a tropical island somewhere off the coast of Africa. Despite being written in the early 1700s, the narrative hold up incredibly well. Some parts will strike a modern reader as fairly racist, but I could forgive that considering the time period. To this day, Robinson Crusoe remains an incredible, and surprisingly philosophical, adventure story of a lone man struggling to survive in the unforgiving wilderness.

As for the narration, I’m a huge fan of Simon Vance in general. That said, I think this might be his best work yet. He perfectly captures Crusoe’s voice and Vance’s own natural accent pushes a good performance into the realm of a fantastic one. Just click on the sample and you’ll see/hear what I mean. What are you waiting for? Beyond highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Freemasonry in the American Civil War
  • By: Michael A. Halleran
  • Narrated by: Jack Chekijian
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72

One of the enduring yet little-examined themes in Civil War lore is the widespread belief that on the field of battle and afterward, members of Masonic lodges would give aid and comfort to wounded or captured enemy Masons, often at great personal sacrifice and danger. This work is a deeply researched examination of the recorded, practical effects of Freemasonry among Civil War participants on both sides.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect for current Freemasons and CSW folk

  • By Jan on 06-03-15

Brother vs. Brother

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

Reviewed: 01-12-18

Halleran’s history of Freemasonry during the Civil War is a one of a kind resource. First of all, it sheds light on a very often overlooked aspect of the Civil War on American society. Second, the research contained here goes well beyond the Civil War, covering topics such as the rituals of other American Secret Societies and even the founding of the Prince Hall Lodge. If you ever learn the history of American Masonry, this is one of the best resources you could ask for. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful