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W. Max Hollmann

Florida
  • 45
  • reviews
  • 228
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  • 66
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  • The Girl in the Spider's Web

  • A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series
  • By: David Lagercrantz
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,904
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,155
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18,121

In this adrenaline-charged, up-to-the-moment political thriller, Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are back. The troubled genius hacker and crusading journalist thrilled the world in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So thankful we still have Lizbeth!

  • By AudioAddict on 09-04-15

Not so much like Larson

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

Reviewed: 06-15-16

When I first started listening to this book I thought "wow". It sounds just like Larson. But about a third into the book I began changing my mind. That is when Lisbeth enters the story. The first third is background, setting the stage (so to speak) and there is a lot of computer jargon. It's obvious the author has no love for the NSA. The pacing and timing, as well as the technical stuff (which I can not intelligently speak to) sounded right.
After Lisbet enters the story the whole dynamic changes. She sounds more like one of those immortal German gods. She gets shot but not to worry. She treats herself and at the same time performs heroic feats of gymnastics, foresight and daring-do not to mention a daring car escape. It defies belief. (I wonder if the author ever met anyone who had been shot.) It's almost as miraculous as a Stallone movie.
The end was disappointing and frustrating. It seemed as if the author decided he had written enough and wanted to finish the story as quickly as possible and at the same time provide a prequel for another novel, i.e. a lot of unfinished business will have to be addressed.
The only thing missing from the end was a picture of a beautiful sunset and cut to the music.

  • Panzer Commander

  • The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
  • By: Hans von Luck, Stephen E. Ambrose (introduction)
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,819
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,697
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,695

A stunning look at World War II from the other side.... From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front - von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers. Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like Forrest Gump ( a fiction )

  • By Randall on 11-08-16

Niavate

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

Reviewed: 05-12-16

At times it is hard to define this nartative. His Niavate, in foresight and hind-sight, is astounding. It detracts from his story. He has many pre-war friends in countries eventually occupied by the Germans. He maintains these friendships as the countries are defeated and occupied and seems to turn a blind eye to the consequences. He is mystified as to why people in those occupied countries think his friends are collaborators. He seems to think that they (not so) secretly cheer him on as the German army takes over their country(s).
He portrays himself as "squeeky" clean and only doing his duty. Yet he uses his battlefield proximity and the Army's strength to get a private Mercedes, collect over 1,000 bottles of French wines and basndies and get special favors for his friends. He is especially astonished that the French would reclaim his wine trove he hid in a riend's mote. Trough out the book he maintains he was just doing his duty and was opposed to Hitler and his immediate clique.
I hoped he would provide more details on battles and at times they fly by so quickly that they almost seem bloodless. I think an enlisted soldier could have provided more personality to these battle scenes.
I couldn't determine how close he was to Rommel. At times there are hints of a closeness but he doesn't provide a lot of detail. I hoped he would provide more detail of the African campaign. What one gets is a very rudimentary overview as if it was only a minor skirmish. This is especially confounding since after the War he lectures to various NATO, and other, military staff about Rommel and how panzers were used to win battles.
He provides greater detail of his time in Russian captivity (after Berlin).He obviously has an "ax" to grind about how he, and his fellow POW's were used and the inefficiencies of the Soviet model. I true, he certainly adapted to his 5-year stint as a POW. His repatriation back to Germany could have provided more detailed.
In many respects I did not find this book as enlightening as others I read of WWII. I can't fathom why Stephen Ambrose concluded this was an "important" book. I assume the justification has more to do with their prvatte conversations, and his lectures, than the actual writing.In this regard I don't think he attained a balance of easy reading and technical details.
If I were to classify this as a college course< would call it an introductory course of thie period in history.
The reader was excellent. His pronunciation of both German and Frech were supurb.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Tehran Initiative

  • By: Joel C. Rosenberg
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,812
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,586
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,602

The world is on the brink of disaster. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah — known as the Twelfth Imam — has arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second Holocaust and the annihilation of Israel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rosenberg does it again - couldn't put it down!

  • By Susan on 10-21-11

Religious book or spy thriler

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

Reviewed: 12-17-14

This book is confounding. More than once I was tempted to chuck it and start another book. The story line is frequently interrupted with religious (Christian, Islamis and Jewish) reflections. At times it's infuriating. It's not just private musings but whole sections of the spies introspection with copious quotes from scripture, more introspection,more copious quotes of scripture and so on.
The end leaves one hanging...possibly for a sequel (and more internal ruminations). In many ways it's difficult to square a book about nuclear weapons, imminent destruction of the mid-east and a spy's reflections on biblical ad infinitum quotations and personal introspections, personal salvation while planning and killing the killing or an enemy..
I liked the reader

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Double Cross

  • The True Story of the D-Day Spies
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 548
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 495
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 486

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A secret history of WWII crossed with Monty Python

  • By None of your damn business on 08-15-12

Somewhat confusing, but good

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

Reviewed: 08-17-14

You must keep you wits about you when reading/lsitening to this book. There are a lot of characters with real and code names and since they are double and sometimes triple agents there are also those respective code names to keep a handle on. (This is especially trying when listening to the book in driving segments and often having to cut off a narrative in mid-sentence). I found myself listening in terms of the big picture rather than recalling all the names.
The fact is that the British were able to completely confuse the Germans into thinking the D-Day invasion was to take place at the Pas-de-Calias and not in Normandy. And then after the actual invasion convincing the Germans that Normandy was only a faint. I was not aware how harrowing their missions were and that these double agents had to return to enemy controlled territories in order to maintain the ruse and their cover stories. The delightful part of the story is the types of personalities that made up the double-cross networks. Each had to be treated carefully by their case officers who had to make sure that each of their agent's misinformation reinforced the others in such a sublte way as to make the Germans reach the exact conclusions they were supposed to. The book also touches on the treachery of the Cambridge Five who betrayed Britain's secrets to the Soviet Union.
It's a unique, compartmentalized, side-show into what led up to the D-Day landings. But these colorful characters were, in their own world, responsible for saving the lives of thousands af Americans, British, Canadian and French troops on June 6, 1944.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Detroit

  • An American Autopsy
  • By: Charlie LeDuff
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,027
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 927
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922

In the heart of America, a metropolis is quietly destroying itself. Detroit, once the richest city in the nation, is now its poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age - mass production, automobiles, and blue-collar jobs - Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, foreclosure, and dropouts. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation that only a native son can possess, journalist Charlie LeDuff sets out to uncover what has brought low this once-vibrant city, his city.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • WOW

  • By Avid Reader and Listener on 07-09-13

Journalist's Anecdotes About a Fromer Great City

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

Reviewed: 08-17-14

The book is about one journalist's experiences dealing with the buracracy of a failing city. He sees firsthand the entrenched corruption that made Detroit fail. It's not a question of race, but most of the bad actors are African-Americans who consistently take advantage of the most poor and vulnerable of thier own race. They do this by outright stealing of money or shifting funds to favored beneficieries who then kick the money back to them. Most know they are doing it, and further, know the consequences, but they live in a world removed from public service while pledging to do good.
We learn of firemen who have to manufacture their own alarms so they can respond to fires. Of firefighting equipment that doesn't work leading to fatalities. Of policemen who have to take buses to respond to emergency calls; that is if they even bother to show up. And ambulances that may, or may not, respond to emergency calls becasue they are so over burdened.
The author clearly gives his perspective but in doing so he also creates important insights. There is a lesson too: this can happen to other cities. Today we talk about our crumbling infrastructure but how can it not happen when most of governments' money goes to pay for current consumption, i.e. entitlements and not on capital improvements. Today we live in a "me first" environment and point fingers when something cathastrophic occurs becasue we don't want to give up on our own selfish priorities. That what "Detroit" is all about.

  • In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers

  • A Return to Easy Company's Battlefields with Sergeant Forrest Guth
  • By: Larry Alexander
  • Narrated by: Norman Dietz
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

On the eve of the 65th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, Larry Alexander returns to the very battlefields that made Easy Company a legend. Accompanied by Easy veteran Sgt. Forrest Guth on his final tour, Alexander crosses an ocean and a continent to follow the path to victory taken by the famed Band of Brothers, exploring the living history of the places where they went into action and revealing what makes their story so meaningful for us to this day.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More a personal reflection

  • By W. Max Hollmann on 06-22-14

More a personal reflection

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

Reviewed: 06-22-14

I bought this book because I am am going on a 70th Anniversary Band of Brothers tour. I saw the series and have a good knowledge of WWII history. This book takes the listener to the micro level. The problem is that it becomes too personal about the author's own experiences visiting the places where Easy company fought.. He does a good job of describing what the men felt and did. But he gets hung up on telling us how reality differs from the TV series. He is traveling with one of the survivors of Easy company: Forest Gootz. Alexander treats Gootz and the definitive expert on what really happened. While I'm sure they had an enjoyable trip together, I found it repetitive hearing about where they stayed, what they ate and Gootz' smoking cigars. In short, I think the writing could have been more crisp, focused and less subjective. As for my trip, I'm not sure that I have any greater insights as to how the battlefields differ today than they did 70 years ago. I took it for granted that some of the places would be developed and no longer appear as they did in 1944 to 1945.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Onion Field

  • By: Joseph Wambaugh
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 18 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 650
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 536

Hollywood. Saturday night. A broken taillight leads to a routine traffic stop. It shouldn’t have changed the lives of the four men involved, but it did. The Onion Field is the frighteningly true story of a fatal collision of destinies that would lead two young cops and two young robbers to a deserted field on the outskirts of Los Angeles, towards a bizarre execution and its terrible aftermath.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sublime narration from a well written book

  • By GK on 11-18-13

Chilling: an indictment of our legal system

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

Reviewed: 06-22-14

No one knows how they will react to the trauma that Carl Hedinger under went when his partner was killed and he narrowly escaped. The perpertarors were two psychotic killers and everyday nobodies. The most interesting part of the book, to me, is the legal morass that caused trial reversals and delays and how lawyers play the system. The only conclusion that you can take away is that there is a clear division between law and justice. If the (defense) lawyers can play the system and delay long enough then no will really care that a human life was snubbed out by the two killers on trial.
The most tedious part was listening to the travails of Hedinger. He was undergoing what, today, is referred to a PTSD. At times you want to reach out and grab him and yell, "get a grip on your life." For this, I think, the author, gives too much credibility to Hedinger's emotions. Wambaugh does a good job of objectively discussing the legal system but, I think, for whatever reason, becomes emotionally committed to Hedinger and too fully sympathizes with him. I think he was susceptable to this disorder prior to the events in the onion field.. (I've known some people who claim PTSD and I beleive if someone had not come up with this disorder then they would have had to invent it as a rationale for their's and others' failures.) I got tired of hearing how Hedinger wallowed in his own sense of guilt for having lived. It reminds me of 60's psycho-babble.
It is for my own sense of unease and inability to "turn the page" that I give the story a 3-star rating.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Bad Monkey

  • By: Carl Hiaasen
  • Narrated by: Arte Johnson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,636
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,460

Andrew Yancy - late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office - has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first - this being Hiaasen country - Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed

  • By James on 06-14-13

Not the same Hiaasen

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

Reviewed: 04-03-14

I thought the humor forced, the characters unbelievable and the story farfetched. It read to me as if Hiaasen's publisher demanded something, anything, in writing and he wasn't in the "mood". I didn't laugh once...a slight snicker at times on a phrase. until I remembered that I read it in one of his previous books. Disappointing. Not up to Hiaasen's earlier works. Maybe working at the newspaper has caused him to loose some of his style.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa (1942-1943)

  • The Liberation Trilogy, Volume 1
  • By: Rick Atkinson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 26 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,066
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 957
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 953

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is a story of courage and enduring triumph, of calamity and miscalculation. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern learner can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943. That first year of the Allied war was a pivotal point in American history, the moment when the United States began to act like a great power.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Africa campaign was Real War!

  • By Greg on 06-02-13

An important chapter in WWII well narrated

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

Reviewed: 01-03-14

What comes to mind is that so many blunders of WWI were repeated in WWII. The African campaigns were no exception. American was ill prepared for war and the British seemed not to have learned much from fighting in WWI. But also, as this book unfolds, we learn that only the Germans had learned their lessons and developed new strategies nd tactics, i.e. the blitzkrieg and mechanized warfare. What this theater did was toughen up the Americans, and the allies, physically and mentally, for the long, grueling battles to come.
The author personalizes the battles with snippets from soldiers' diaries (both sides). It proves welcome respite from recalling all the maneuvers and the places they occurred at.
What I wished the book paid more attention to was the installation of Darlan as head of the French forces. There was a mighty bit of political intrigue going on in France, Britain, and American when dealing with what was thought as the least of an unattractive situation. I wished this aspect was explored more in depth.
What the book posits is that this early campaign, won with great difficulty by the allies and lost after horrific fighting by the axis, showed the way to the ultimate destruction of the axis. It gave the allies confidence, sometimes false, and the axis doubts which they were able to overcome to fight on to great tactical victories but ultimate defeat.
I have always doubted the Montgomery's generalship and this book shows how his weaknesses were manifested in his victories but also how they would appear in later battles (his tendency to "tidy" up his lines before making his next assault while the enemy was right in front of him ready to be exploited) to extend the war, e.g. Market Garden.
I highly recommend this book if you wish to examine WWII in a broad context.
As for the narration: it is nothing short of amazing how Guidall can get into the mind of the author and make the story come alive with an inflection here and there. He is a true master of the art o narration.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Armor and Blood

  • The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II
  • By: Dennis E. Showalter
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 355

While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis E. Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II's Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army's brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rich got ot right

  • By Frank J. Habic on 08-28-13

Lost for the trees

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

Reviewed: 12-09-13

As a history buff, especially WWII, I am familiar with the Battle of Kursk. My recollection is that it was one of the, if not the, most horrific tank battles of WWII. I idd not even come close to that conclusion from this book. The author does a magnificant job of explaining the battle orders, what units were involved, how they moved, what they did but in the end, after all this detail, it is hard to grasp the significance of it all. The "seminal" battle gets lost in detail. I asked myself: is this the battle I read about where tanks were muzzle to muzzle and blasting each other at point- blank range? This is a book that should be read with a detailed map of the area, a plastic overlay and a grease pencil so the reader can plot all the units movements and see what it all means. I read this book while driving. At times I turned it off in mid sentence and it made no difference because the tale did not flow. I was listening to words and most often they were interchangable with the words before and after. I couldn't keep up with the individual battles and soon it made no difference. It's like watching a game (football, boxing, basketball, poker, chess, etc) and not knowing the rules and not being able to appreciate the tactics and strategies. People gasp in appreciation and you wonder what was missed. It's a shame given all the research the author has apparently put into this book. What would have made it better? Some sense of what the soldiers went through. More personal recollections, i.e. diary entries, letters home, etc, before, during and after. Some are given but it's more an after thought. Another thing that frustrated me was when a general was described as a staff officer and not a field officer. No description of the difference or how it may have impacted the battle. We know Hitler played a decision making role but his input is merely a passing reference. The best parts for me was the descriptions of how both the Russian and German soldiers were trained. How they felt towards each other and their adversaries. The best part for me was the conclusion...it lasted less than 30 minutes. It helped bring the battle into perspective; something the main test sorely misses.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful