LISTENER

tdg

  • 34
  • reviews
  • 50
  • helpful votes
  • 77
  • ratings
  • William Tecumseh Sherman

  • In the Service of My Country: A Life
  • By: James Lee McDonough
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 28 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 629
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 572

General Sherman's 1864 burning of Atlanta solidified his legacy as a ruthless leader. Yet Sherman proved far more complex than his legendary military tactics reveal. James Lee McDonough offers fresh insight into a man tormented by the fear that history would pass him by, who was plagued by personal debts, and who lived much of his life separated from his family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Fair and Balanced View of Sherman

  • By IRP on 12-02-16

Very interesting

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

I learned so much about a man who impacted history in an extraordinary way. Nothing is taught of Sherman in school today. In college slightly more.

Essentially, Sherman is the man who brought total war to the South and sealed it's fiery fate. But why was he inclined to burn the property of private individuals? What of his life and the circumstances that shaped it. These are the questions that compel me to read biographies.

Here as in his other books, McDonough, paints a portrait of the times and private life of his subject. It is a fairly rich tapestry. Delving into Henry Clay, Zachary Taylor, Lincoln, Grant, and others major players of the day.

I wish I could say the same of David Drummond's performance. I feel I would have enjoyed this book more reading the print version. Mr. Drummond is a competent reader. He enunciated very well. He pronounces everything perfectly. However his reading is monotone and very mechanical. At times I felt as though I were listening to an AI as some words almost sounded hyphenated, such as "na-ture" where the second syllable is deemphasized. He nearly put me to sleep on long drives, with his lulling cadence.

  • Worst. President. Ever.

  • James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents
  • By: Robert Strauss
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 170
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 163
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 163

Worst. President. Ever. flips the great presidential biography on its head, offering an enlightening - and highly entertaining - account of poor James Buchanan's presidency to prove once and for all that, well, few leaders could have done worse. But author Robert Strauss does much more, leading listeners out of Buchanan's terrible term in office to explore with insight and humor his own obsession with presidents, and ultimately the entire notion of ranking our presidents.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable But Lightweight

  • By Earth Lover on 05-29-17

Amazingly bad

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

Reviewed: 10-12-18

Perhaps the most disjointed biography I have ever listened to or read. I'm unsure if we should blame the editor or the author, but there are jarring transitions, disregard for any discernible organization of thought. Biographies are generally laid out in some logical order, be that chronologically or topically. Neither is apparent in this book. We jump from his law practice to his time as an ambassador, then to the author's childhood and back. So jarring that I thought someone accidentally put the introduction in the middle of the book.

To make matters worse the author tries to make a catch-phrase of the title. He throws it in everywhere even when it isn't appropriate. Mr. Perkins then adds emphasis to it making it even more farcical.

I really wanted to learn more about this president, who I have always believed to be our nation's worst. I did learn some things so I gave points for that. Unfortunately, terrible editing, poor writing, and a heeping of personal opinion ruined it for me.

Mr. Strauss points out that a president's performance cannot be fairly judged when the political fevers are still warm, yet he proceeds to spend a chapter evaluating GW Bush and Barack Obama. I believe going down that road only alienates a good portion of his readers, especially after making that assertion.

Mr. Strauss delves very little into Buchanan's possible homosexuality. He makes good points that male friendships and sexual practices of the 19th century were very different than they are today. Sex was not the obsession it is today, however, there are many documented observations of Buchanan's behaviors and those of Mr. King that make it difficult to brush that charge away. Strauss spends little time and ignores comments recorded from various Jackson and Pierce administration members noting his effeminate mannerisms and "strange" (by 19th century standards) relationship with King. Only mentioning a few of those and brushing them away. The relationship was far different than Lincoln and Herndon, whose relationship was relatively normal in the 19th century. I felt a little more digging would have been interesting.

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • By: Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Narrated by: Richard Allen
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 819
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 683
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 674

Uncle Tom's Cabin opens with a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife, Emily Shelby, believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them - Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby's maid Eliza - to a slave trader.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Todd on 03-13-09

One of the best books ever written

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

Reviewed: 09-09-18

This is not the story I expected. All my life I've heard blacks who didn't vote or think like the majority accused of betraying their race and thus labeled an "Uncle Tom". It's unfortunate that someone so misunderstood this book that they identified Uncle Tom as a trader and the distortion continues.

In reality Uncle Tom is a Christ figure. He wants nothing more than to do right by God and his fellow man. He endures servitude; he does not embrace it. His desire is to save the souls of everyone he meets and ultimately, like Christ, he gives his life for the salvation of others.

It would be so much more accurate for people wishing to label someone a collaborator or traitor by calling them a Sambo. The characters of Sambo and Kimbo are hideous cruel traitors to their race. Motivated by self-preservation, they help their cruel master torture and kill other slaves, sometimes without cause.

The story is packed with characters who range the gamut from adorable to Satan-like. At times hilarious, touching, heart-breaking, depressing, educational, and enraging, it is always riveting. (The language can be difficult to hear for the modern American, especially if you are of European decent.)

The attitudes and harshness of the characters will probably anger you at times, however this is good. Written in 1850 this book was a reaction to the Fugitive Slave Act and was an instrumental tool in changing Northern attitudes towards slavery. I would say it hastened the end of that evil institution. Especially as most of the story characters and sketches are composites or derived from actual people and events.

What made this audiobook even more enjoyable was the reading of Richard Allen. His voice is amazing, his accents, character voices, and cadence are phenomenal. I could listen to him read everyday and not tire. Even better is his singing voice. He can really sing. Aside from singing Amazing Grace to the wrong tune, his singing was perfect.

If you are interested in this Era, Uncle Tom's Cabin puts you directly into the worst of Southern culture, giving you a bitter taste of both the best and worst slave experience. I think if you had relatives during these times who were either slave or master you should read this. It will enlighten your sense of the true evils of that peculiar institution.

  • Dangerous

  • By: Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Narrated by: Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3,073
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,854
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,844

The liberal media machine did everything they could to keep this book out of your hands. Now, finally, Dangerous, the most controversial book of the decade, is tearing down safe spaces everywhere.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do I Dare to give less than 5 🌟🌟?

  • By GIJaneB4 on 09-30-17

TMI

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

Milo makes a lot of sense as he addresses so many issues, however I can't get through this book.

Milo is homosexual. Ok, once established and maybe added for the sake of a point, not a problem. However, he isn't satisfied just telling us. He repeatedly has to cram it down our throats, no pun intended. If I defended my love of women by continually making reference to having sex with them and oral sex brags, the reader should rightly be offended. Furthermore, my love of oral sex with women does not prove I respect them, it just process I am straight. Milo seems to think telling us he loves having sex with black men somehow proves, he respects them. I have no reason to doubt he does, but he doesn't make his point, in bragging about all the d***s he's sucked.

Well, I listened to half this book before I just couldn't tolerate the blowjob jokes and sex references. If that's your "bag" and you're very conservative, you'll love this book.

His message, for me, was drown out in vulgarity.

  • Time's Eye

  • A Time Odyssey, Book 1
  • By: Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 862
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 508
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 516

For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind - until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A nice road to nowhere

  • By Tim on 10-17-09

Interesting story

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

Reviewed: 08-17-18

The idea of Khan vs Alexander is one that is both intriguing and silly. However the time travel genre has always captivated me. Time's Eye is a unique spin in this type of story and I enjoyed it as such.

Is this one of Clarke's better books? I don't think so. It pales in comparison to Rama or 2001. There was one sticking spot for me, however. I have a very hard time accepting the character of Bisesa Dutt. She is a Lieutenant in the British Army stationed in Afghanistan, yet she is fully versed in physics and an expert in String Theory. Someone with her intelligence and qualifications would not be in a military helicopter on the front lines of a war zone.

The writing, I suspect, was all Baxter with Clarke producing and modelling the plot line. There were holes in the plot and loose ends and I am interested to know if these will be explored in the sequels, which I will read next.

I didn't love this book, but I enjoyed it. As for the performance of John Lee, I think he's a great reader, but some of his voices grate on me personally. Especially his American accents. In particular, Josh, who's voice is more efeminant than Bisesa's. At times I momentarily thought Sable was speaking when in fact it was Josh.

Overall he has wonderful pacing and inflection. Lee also exceeds my pronunciation expectations. His pronunciations are consistent and outstanding. Many British readers are terribly inconsistent with words ending in the letter "a". I realize it is an accent, but hearing a reader say "Montanter" rather than "Montana" or "Florider" rather than "Florida" followed a sentence or 2 later with the correct pronunciation, bothers me. Lee doesn't do this, at least I didn't catch him doing it.

As the time travel/alternate history genre goes Time's Eye is a middling book that still manages to hold the readers interest. Perhaps this is due to the name recognition of both the authors or maybe the unique premise.

  • The Ember War

  • Publisher's Pack, Books 1-2
  • By: Richard Fox
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,924
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,602
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,596

The Ember War, book 1: The Earth is doomed. Humanity has a chance. In the near future, an alien probe arrives on Earth with a pivotal mission: to determine if humanity has what it takes to survive the impending invasion by a merciless armada. The probe discovers Marc Ibarra, a young inventor who holds the key to a daring gambit that could save a fraction of Earth's population. Humanity's only chance lies with Ibarra's ability to keep a terrible secret and engineer the planet down the narrow path to survival.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I want to be ARMOUR

  • By bhagat on 04-30-17

Great Scifi, riveting

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

This story is a parade of scifi influences. You'll find tech from nearly every major player in the genre, from Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Alien, Independende Day, as well as the works of Issac Asimov and Frederick Poole. But I couldn't escape seeing the unmistakable parallels to Battlestar Galactica. So does this detract? No just makes the universe a bit more familiar.

I don't want to spoil the story line. This is a great read, er listen. Book 1 centers on the intrigues of Mark Ibarra, a man who toys with the lives of billions, killing millions to save humanity. It culminates in an epic battle.

Book 2 is a bit more diffuse, concentrating on an arc that follows a handful of marines and an exciting encounter with a never-before-seen species that is intent on killing them, while simultaneously being attacked by the Zaros.

We encounter strange aliens with interesting but mysterious traits among the way. Toward the end of Book 2, the main character clearly becomes Captain Valdar. And his character is developed a bit more, adding backstory and an emotional touch to his motivations.

The character Stacy, is never really developed. She's rather 2 dimensional and a misfit. Unfortunately, this character could have been very interesting, but she really stands out as an ill-prepared goofball, whose famous grandfather, Mark Ibarra, really does her no favors. I found her to be my least favorite character and I blame the author, because it seems he really didn't know what to do with hed.

The most interesting character is introduced in Book 2, it's an alien ally, known as Stubin (sp?). I hope to see much more of him and his people in the subsequent books.

Well worth your time if you are a fan of science fiction.

  • King Leopold's Ghost

  • A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
  • By: Adam Hochschild
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Howard
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 914
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 780
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 785

In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company's ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor could account for these cargoes, Morel almost singlehandedly made this slave-labor regime the premier human rights story in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating

  • By Edith on 01-20-11

Fascinating, educational, and sad

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

Reviewed: 02-06-18

The phrase I came away with might not be original and certainly not meant to be funny, but it is simply, in Africa no one can hear you scream. Certainly true in the era written about here, but in many ways there is truth in that still today.

The callous inhuman abuses heaped upon the African people by Europeans claiming to be civilizing them is mind boggling. Perhaps most shocking is how recently all of this occurred. Perhaps it took 2 World Wars to teach us empathy.

This history should be taught right alongside the holocaust, because the level of inhumanity is quite comparable, only were aren't talking about neural Nazis. These were perpetrated by what I've always believed were the peaceful Belgians.

The reading was superb, but ruined by poor editing and producing. It's normal for a reader to stop and reread a passage they wish to improve or to pickup the next session by rereading a line or 2 to get the pace set. But it is the editor's job to correctly edit the pieces together, not simply slam the reads together without trimming the redundancy off. This was disorienting and broke the flow of the story. In my opinion, very unprofessional.

The final distraction came at the end. The book has ended, then without any introduction another book begins, the entire introduction is read, about 24 minutes. Then the recording ends. I suppose it was a teaser to sell another book, but it seemed like a mistake on par with the other editing mistakes throughout the recording. I suspect this was simply awful producing and a lame teaser attempt.

In conclusion, great book whose audio production was awfully produced and edited.

  • Scott's Last Expedition

  • The Journals
  • By: Robert Falcon Scott
  • Narrated by: William Sutherland
  • Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Here is the story of the infamous 1910 race to the South Pole, as told by its fearless yet desperate leader, Robert Falcon Scott. The New York Times called Scott's Last Expedition "A splendid record of heroism not soon to be forgotten."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-18-16

Fascinating.

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

Reviewed: 01-24-18

Sutherland is an excellent reader.

First hand account by the man himself. Written in language that is easily understood today, making this an easy listen.

My only complaint is the audio levels vary at different points, forcing me to sometimes crank the volume all the way up.

  • iGen

  • The 10 Trends Shaping Today's Young People - and the Nation
  • By: Jean M. Twenge Ph.D.
  • Narrated by: Madeleine Maby
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 313
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270

An entertaining first look at how today's members of iGen - the children, teens, and young adults born in the mid-1990s and later - are vastly different from their millennial predecessors and from any other generation, from the renowned psychologist and author of Generation Me.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Really, Amazon, no PDF?

  • By Elizabeth on 10-19-17

Interesting study of today's youth

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

Reviewed: 12-15-17

First, Madeleine Maby's performance was perfect. So many readers mispronounce or make incorrect inflections. She is also pleasant to listen to, with just the right pacing.

Ms. Twenge both intrigues and frightens with this in depth study. Having both Millennial and iGen children I have noticed to contrast in thinking, confidence, and work ethic.

A recurring word throughout is "safety". I've raised my kids to understand the world is not a safe place, it never has been and never will be, so learn to deal with that. Yet they still fear the future and lack confidence; just as pointed out in this book.

The abundance of statistics was impressive, however I think the publisher fails us in not providing a companion PDF file. I would have liked to see the numbers and graphs the author refers to.

I went into this book curious and with an open mind. As I progressed I noticed one of the main premises seems incorrect. Twenge even included this in the book's subtitle. She contends that iGen is more tolerant, yet spent a great deal of time demonstrating their complete lack of tolerance.

Tolerance is the acceptance of ideas and constructs that conflict with your own. What Twenge calls tolerance is really acceptance of compatible or already accepted behaviours. iGen accepts only ideas that they believe in. Ideas that contradict their own are considered "harmful" and not only go unheard, but they demand zero-tolerance and punishment. Severe punishment in fact. How does this differ from a northerner in 1840 accepting slavery as an alternative lifestyle?

I love that iGen is hard working, not arrogant, and libertarian. However, it scares the hell out of me that they don't believe in the 1st Amendment and believe even accidentally or unintentional offenses should be punishable by termination or worse. When these people come into political power such intolerance could have radical and negative ramifications. We could be staring down at the end of freedom in exchange for safety and conformity.

Using Twenge's reasoning every generation is tolerant since we all tolerate ideas and actions that confirm to our own standards. Accepting homosexuality is tolerant only if you believe it is wrong. I was raised to be tolerant, allowing others to have opposing ideas, listen to them, and consider the merits. I don't see any evidence of this mindset in a safe-zone generation.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Being Nixon

  • A Man Divided
  • By: Evan Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 20 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 340

What was it really like to be Richard Nixon? Evan Thomas tackles this fascinating question by peeling back the layers of a man driven by a poignant mix of optimism and fear. The result is both insightful history and an astonishingly compelling psychological portrait of an anxious introvert who struggled to be a transformative statesman.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sympathetic bio

  • By Scott on 07-27-15

Interesting listen

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

Reviewed: 05-26-17

Excellent performance by Bob Walter. Interesting take on Nixon and I loved all the quoted material.