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Mark J. Cavanagh

  • 14
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 58
  • ratings
  • Embers of War

  • The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
  • By: Fredrik Logevall
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 32 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 40

In this landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam, author Fredrik Logevall taps newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations and traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France’s final years in Indochina - and describes how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing novel - good backstory for the unfamiliar

  • By Kevin Warren on 03-11-19

Superb in Every Way

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

Reviewed: 11-22-18

I could not stop listening to this book. The story is never boring. The narrator is perfect. I learned so much more about Vietnam and the scenes behind the war. The moral is profound. This one is easily in my top five of all time. None are better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Team of Rivals

  • The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 41 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,686
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,954
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,974

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative

  • By JJ on 09-10-12

Excellent Aspects of Lincoln and Well Narrated.

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

I fully enjoyed hearing about the conversion of the dubious and better experienced Cabinet members into worshippers of Lincoln. It greatly underscored from an entirely new angle the greatness and remarkable character of Lincoln. Their words and actions spoke greater than any editorializing many Lincoln biographers have felt compelled to do.
The book is so good that I’ve begun reading Hays’ and Nicolay’s biography of Lincoln, and intend to read the diary of Gideon Wells, acknowledged as a great source of insight into our 16th President.
To me, Lincoln is a lesson giver and compass to live one’s life by. This book only reinforces that.

  • The Age of Reason Begins

  • A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558 - 1648: The Story of Civilization, Book 7
  • By: Will Durant, Ariel Durant
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 34 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 236

The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists - on the one hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the fathers of modern science and philosophy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mostly 30 Years of War, but Reason bests War

  • By Michael on 05-01-15

Never Enjoyed Anything Better

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

The entire series should be the starting point (and could suffice to be the ending point) as the basis for all one should know about history. The scope and connectivity between man and his ideas across the millenniums is so wonderfully framed by this great scholar and writer. Eras I never thought I’d be interested in come to light.
The lifetime work of the Durant’s was and is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. It’s hard to believe anyone capable of doing what they did for the benefit of Western mankind.

  • Give Your Heart to the Hawks

  • A Tribute to the Mountain Man
  • By: Win Blevins
  • Narrated by: Henry Strozier
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

Acclaimed author Win Blevins’ Stone Song won the Spur Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award. In Give Your Heart to the Hawks, Blevins offers a tribute to the “first Westerners” who explored the Great American West. Stories include those of John Colter, who escaped captivity by the Blackfeet Indians, and Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a grizzly bear and crawled 300 miles for help.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good audiobook!

  • By Ryan on 01-22-19

Writing as an Art Form

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

Reviewed: 12-19-17

I am struck by the beauty of Blevin’s writing. His use of metaphors, in particular, is genius, and entirely necessary to make this book meet the gold standard. He is precise, poignant and fascinating. The narrator could NOT be better. This is the second time I’ve listened to this book because of the writing and narrator. I picked it up again after about a year. It had me lost in the canyons, river beds, deserts and mountains of The West. I was chased by Indians, attacked by grizzlies and was a party to countless adventures. Maybe I need a life, but for me, this is Audible at its best. I must say that “Son of the Morning Star” also competed at this level in the audio realm. If you like The West, both these books and their narrators are all you’ll need for starters.

  • Steel Boat Iron Hearts

  • A U-boat Crewman's Life Aboard U-505
  • By: Hans Goebeler, John Vanzo
  • Narrated by: Norman Dietz
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220

Using his own experiences, log books, and correspondence with other U-boat crewmen, Hans Goebeler offers rich and personal details about what life was like in the German Navy under Hitler. Since his first and last posting was to U-505, Goebeler's perspective of the crew, commanders, and war patrols paints a vivid and complete portrait unlike any other to come out of the Kriegsmarine. He witnessed it all, from deadly sabotage efforts that almost sunk the boat to the tragic suicide of the only U-boat commander who took his life during World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating view into WWII naval history.

  • By John P. Santucci on 02-24-17

The Other Side of the Story

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

Reviewed: 09-27-17

This is a fantastic book. It is the story from a German submariner's perspective and experiences. That is a rarity in current WW 2 literature, I've found. His ability to describe even the most mundane-seeming moments makes the book continuously enjoyable. He was also quite a character himself, adding to the book's appeal to me. In addition, the author's promise from the outset to tell the truth about the people and events connected to U-Boat 505 and his service in it is fulfilled throughout. This bit adds to the strength and draw of his character. I came away genuinely impressed and with a somewhat revised definition of what I'd thought a typical German/Nazi military member was comprised. Now, when I go to Chicago and make a special trip to view his submarine on display, the experience will be unlike almost any other. I'll be feeling his presence and that of the crew and it will bring to life what would otherwise have been just another piece of military iron and steel memorabilia.

  • Dead Center

  • A Marine Sniper's Two-Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War
  • By: Ed Kugler
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 684
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 630
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 627

Raw, straightforward, and powerful, Ed Kugler's account of his two years as a Marine scout-sniper in Vietnam vividly captures his experiences there - the good, the bad, and the ugly. After enlisting in the Marines at 17, then being wounded in Santo Domingo during the Dominican crisis, Kugler arrived in Vietnam in early 1966. As a new sniper with the 4th Marines, Kugler picked up bush skills while attached to 3d Force Recon Company, and then joined the grunts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If not the best certainly tied for the best

  • By Rose Dawn Blanton on 08-04-15

Great Narration, Gripping Story

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

Reviewed: 06-28-16

This narrator does a great job with every book I've heard. He alone is almost worth it. When you add such a fast paced, action packed story of down to the earth stories of life in the Marines and the sniper world specifically during Vietnam, you've got a great combo.
I expected NOT to like this autobiography but from the start I thoroughly did. Just terrific!

  • The Fall of Japan

  • By: William Craig
  • Narrated by: Mark Ashby
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185

By midsummer 1945, Japan had long since lost the war in the Pacific. The people were not told the truth, and neither was the emperor. Japanese generals, admirals, and statesmen knew, but only a handful of leaders were willing to accept defeat. Most were bent on fighting the Allies until the last Japanese soldier died and the last city burned to the ground.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Superbly written history

  • By Saman on 01-22-16

The Definitive Story

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

Reviewed: 01-31-16

This is the most comprehensive book I've heard. The narration is great, he emphasizes what needs emphasis and delivers a fluid rendition. It is too bad the author did not write more than the two books I've heard on Audible. He lived early enough in history to interview participants and observers and his writing is artful. I'll listen again to these two books for sure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • American Warlords

  • How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II
  • By: Jonathan W. Jordan
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154

In a lifetime shaped by politics, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proved himself a master manipulator of Congress, the press, and the public. But when war in Europe and Asia threatened America's shores, FDR found himself in a world turned upside down, where his friends became his foes, his enemies his allies. To help wage democracy's first "total war", he turned to one of history's most remarkable triumvirates.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Outstanding Book by this Author

  • By Mark J. Cavanagh on 07-30-15

Another Outstanding Book by this Author

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

Reviewed: 07-30-15

Loved the information and pace of the book and its terrific narrator. It provided great personal insights into these men who were absolutely perfect for the roles Fate assigned them. I became very interested in learning more about George Marshall, a man sadly forgotten about over time.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Neptune's Inferno

  • The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
  • By: James D. Hornfischer
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,079
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 917
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 917

With The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Ship of Ghosts, James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America’s World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Desperate battles, well told

  • By Robert B on 05-04-12

Superb In Every Way

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

Reviewed: 07-18-15

A little known aspect of a greatly known battle, the naval conflict at Guadalcanal far outranked the land struggles in terms of importance, for without the U.S. Navy's involvement, the troops on Guadalcanal would, as the author points out, been left in the same position the troops on the Bataan Peninsula found themselves.
In a larger sense, the story of the naval action changed the lives of the individuals and nations who fought during it. The U.S. Navy learned the rest of the lessons that The Coral Sea and Midway battles presented, and the Imperial Japanese Navy ( and the military mind set of Japan overall) were permanently chastened by their defeat at Guadalcanal. That is not to say that Japan's fighting spirit left but in a sense after that, the Japanese realized that "spirit" was all they had left. Eventually, no amount of spirit would be able to withstand the might of the strength of U.S. fighting forces.
I knew nothing of the naval battle at Guadalcanal. I always thought that the real naval story began and ended with Midway. In a real sense to me, Guadalcanal, on another but almost equal level, proved to be just as pivotal.
The writing is absolutely superb and engaging. Mr. Dean, the narrator, was the perfect choice. I've lived every one of his narration so far.

  • A Higher Call

  • An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
  • By: Adam Makos
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,264
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,975
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,988

Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Proof the term "Hero" knows no borders

  • By Anon anon on 03-27-13

Way More Than The One Story

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

Reviewed: 07-11-15

This is a thoroughly engrossing book that spends the better half of itself developing the two pilots individually and the worlds they lived in. The actual event though amply described constitutes a small portion of the book. Even without it included the book would still and does stand on its own. We learn a lot about the machinery, men (and women) and leaders behind the two principal characters too. It is this weaving together of all these fabrics that make this such a great book. The narrator is simply perfect. So are his other performances I read. Great choice.