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John M

Lafayette, CA USA
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  • 668
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  • 267
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  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,750
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,450
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,394

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

  • By Gary Glenn on 06-27-17

Loved It!

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

Reviewed: 06-26-18

What a great book! As others have mentioned it has two distinct parts. The first half is traditional (but good) military sci-fi but the in the second half we are introduced to a snarky AI and the action really heats up. I enjoyed the first half and would have been quite satisfied if that continued through the entire book but I have to admit the second half really ramped it up. I have no idea if the author intended the transition to be so abrupt from the get-go, but no matter. Totally worth it. The book is laugh-out-loud funny in so many spots. The science is believable when it needs to be. The hero is likable and the stakes are high and the jokes fly fast - what's not to like?

  • Master of the Senate - The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume III (Part 1 of a 3-Part Recording)

  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,141
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 917
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 924

Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • combine these into one book

  • By Hoppie on 03-15-14

Don't let the 3 credit price stop you

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

Reviewed: 02-27-17

Sure, I agree with others that 3 credits is high for any book. But this isn't just any book. You get over 50 hours of substantial, fascinating reading here. I know for a fact we have all spent 3 credits on three different books that won't equal the achievement of this one book. Plus I think of it as amortizing the "bargain" of getting volumes 1, 2, and 4 at only one credit each.

As others have mentioned, you do get a lot of backstory about the history of the US Senate in this book. Yes, it could be pretty dull under a less masterful writer, but it really is quite interesting here. It is amazing how thoroughly dysfunctional the Senate was (especially in the hands of the Southern minority) in the 50+ years prior to 1948. It actually makes FDR's accomplishments in the first 100 days all the more remarkable.

Even after Volumes 1 and 2 it is still remarkable to see the dichotomy that is Lyndon Johnson: the tenacity and hard-working ethic when he is engaged in a situation compared to the thorough disinterest if it doesn't suit is goals. He is a thoroughly political animal - and even though you know how the story ends, it is amazing and fascinating to see it play out. How can he - a junior freshman US Senator - tame the unruly beast that is the US Senate. Even though we know he does it (the name of the book!) it isn't at all clear how it can be done.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Means of Ascent

  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson
  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 22 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,255
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,122
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,124

Robert A. Caro's life of Lyndon Johnson continues - one of the richest, most intensive, and most revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian carries Johnson through his service in World War II and the foundation of his long-concealed fortune and the facts behind the myths he created about it. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • LBJ and the New Politics

  • By George on 05-02-14

Wonderful! Don't let the length turn you off

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

Reviewed: 02-27-17

The sheer length of the entire series (150 hours!) and the subject matter (Lyndon Johnson?) made it a difficult decision to start but it is terrific. As others have mentioned, it isn't just about LBJ, but you really get to learn a lot about the social history of the times - mostly in 1940's Texas, but nationally as well.

And LBJ - what a fascinating, amoral character. Robert Caro mentions in the introduction that this volume differs from the others in that in the other volumes there is a contrast between light and dark in Johnson's personality and accomplishments, but in this book it is only dark. Yes, that is true, but the audacity of LBJ is just amazing to be a part of. Caro's writing style really makes you feel you are there.

It is hard not to compare politics then and now - there are plenty of similarities, but my one takeaway is that we survived corrupt politicians then and we can survive them now. In many cases, it shows that we are so much better off with the information and transparency we have now. It is hard to remember or acknowledge that sometimes, but compared to what was going on in the late 40's, we are incredibly enlightened and transparent. It also shows how truly hard it is to steal an election - even successfully.

So take the plunge and listen. It is time well spent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Buy a Bullet

  • An Orphan X Story
  • By: Gregg Hurwitz
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,066
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,906
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,906

The Nowhere Man is a figure shrouded in secrecy - a near legendary figure who helps those lucky few who are given the means to reach out to him. Before he was the Nowhere Man, Evan Smoak was a highly trained government operative known to a few as Orphan X. This is the story of Smoak's first outing as the Nowhere Man, where after completing a mission in Northern California, he happens to spot a young woman at a coffee shop....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Would Love to know someone like this!!

  • By shelley on 01-03-17

Short and sweet

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

Reviewed: 01-07-17

Highly enjoyable read. The writing is tight and Scott Brick's narration is awesome as usual. I do think it would be better if you read the previous book so you have some idea of the character since there isn't any sort of intro on this one. I'm hoping it is being released in anticipation of a formal sequel soon.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Old Earth

  • By: Gary Grossman
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,278
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,174
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,178

In the summer of 1601, Galileo Galilei made a startling discovery in the mountains of Eastern Italy that, if made public, could shatter faith in religion, bring down governments, and lead to worldwide turmoil. For more than 400 years, the secret has been guarded by a small group of incredibly powerful people, willing to do everything in their power to keep these discoveries from being made.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Truly one of the best novels I ever read

  • By Art Gaza on 05-18-15

Ugh - could not finish

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

Reviewed: 10-06-16

I got through about 2 hours of this book and had to stop. I like action-adventure thrillers as much as the next reader, but the pacing of the story and the simplistic writing style just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it gets better deeper in, but it wasn't worth it for me. Narration was fine and he did what he could with the material provided.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Jurassic Park

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Crichton
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,071
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,653
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,636

Audie Award, Science Fiction, 2016. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind's most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them - for a price.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • CHAOS THEORY

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 01-30-16

Worth a read but the movie was better

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

Reviewed: 07-13-16

I don't know if I've ever thought a movie was better than the book, but in this case it is true. It is an enjoyable book it its own right and if you haven't seen the movie (is this possible?) then it would be fine. It is also quite interesting to see where the book and the movie differed. There are, naturally, many additional scenes not in the movie due to time constraints that do help flesh out the science and motivation of the characters. But it is even more enjoyable to see how the characters differed in the book and how some characters that were "good" in the book and "bad" in the movie and visa-versa.

In spite of all that, I actually found the book dragged a bit - the entire plot pretty much is represented in the movie - so there is a lot of redundancy in the book. Smart people in the book take way too long to figure things out. Scenes seem to repeat themselves. But yet Alan Grant, the archeologist, transforms inexplicably to be more and more a MacGyver figure toward the end. Plus I missed the love interest in the movie. And the kids were much more annoying in the book than in the movie, which is always a bit of a turnoff.

Bottom line - if you loved the movie, then the book is an interesting way to experience the story from a different perspective. But if I had to pick one medium for this story, I'd pick the movie.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Turning Points in American History

  • By: Edward T. O'Donnell, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Edward T. O'Donnell
  • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 642
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 568
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 565

These 48 lectures are your chance to relive the most groundbreaking moments in the fascinating story of the United States. They offer you a different perspective on the sweeping narrative of U.S. history. Spanning the arrival of the first English colonists to the chaos of the Civil War to the birth of the computer age and beyond, this lecture series is a captivating and comprehensive tour of those particular moments in the story of America, after which the nation would never be the same again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, Informative, Entertaining!

  • By Quaker on 04-01-15

Fantastic way to experience American History

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

Reviewed: 10-18-15

I have listened to almost 100 of The Great Courses over the last 10 years or so and this one ranks within the Top 5! Professor O'Donnell clearly knows his subject matter plus he is a superb presenter. The lectures are clear, well organized, and fast paced. There are 48 lectures, which certainly seems like a lot, but each one goes by very quickly. I really liked the mixture of very well-known and little known episodes in American history. It also has a nice mix of political, military, economic, and social historical episodes so it always seems fresh.

Ideally one would have a basic grasp of American history overall before starting this series, but frankly it isn't absolutely necessary. Enjoy!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 157,707
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 145,530
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 145,375

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

The perfect mix of thrills, science, and humor!

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

Reviewed: 03-10-15

Wow - just finished The Martian! I feel like I've been to Mars. Out of the hundreds of audio books I have listened to, this is absolutely in my Top 10. Even Top 5. The whole book just resonated with me. Every day I could not wait to see what new calamity and solution our hero would come up with. But it was done so realistically that it could have been non-fiction. And Andy Weir gave the main character such a snarky sense of humor that it was laugh-out-loud funny in many places.

I think this book will be especially wonderful if you are interested in science and engineering, but I don't think it is mandatory. As others have stated, just being able to enjoy MacGyver is probably good enough (though this is far, far higher quality that anything MacGyver ever did).

I expect I will be listening to it again very soon!

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Ark Royal

  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,350
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,054
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,046

Seventy years ago, the interstellar supercarrier Ark Royal was the pride of the Royal Navy. But now, her weapons are outdated and her solid-state armour nothing more than a burden on her colossal hull. She floats in permanent orbit near Earth, a dumping ground for the officers and crew the Royal Navy wishes to keep out of the public eye. But when a deadly alien threat appears, the modern starships built by humanity are no match for the powerful alien weapons.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good solid effort at a Space Opera

  • By Jim In Texas! on 08-05-14

Could have been much more

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

Reviewed: 01-22-15

I got about halfway through this book and didn't have the energy to continue. The overall premise is fine, if a bit shopworn. It echoes a lot of Battlestar Galactica insofar as you have the old ship (and crew) that can succeed where all the newer models fail. Where it fails I think is not allowing our culture to advance at all even though it is set almost 300 years in the future. The attitudes, problems, and prejudices expressed by the characters are exactly the same as they are today. If I think how much humanity has progressed over the last 300 years (and especially the last 100) I find it really hard to believe nothing culturally or politically will have changed. Do we really think the same nations and geopolitics around now will be the same 300 years from now? Britain still the same, suspicious of the Chinese and Russians, etc? Really?

The use of language was fairly unsophisticated in many parts. The overuse of generic "reporters" and "bureaucrats" and their paper-thin characterizations got a bit tiresome. Overall I think there are better series (Black Jack Geary for one) out there.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • 10% Happier

  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,071
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,290
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,222

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inspired me to restart my meditation practice

  • By Julie W. Capell on 12-07-16
  • 10% Happier
  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris

Perfect introduction for a skeptic like me

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

Reviewed: 01-13-15

I stumbled into this book almost my accident. I am a frequent Audible customer, but stick with history and novels primarily. I would not consider myself a "self-help" book kind of guy at all. But fortunately I went a bit off-script and bought this book. It was absolutely fascinating and probably the only way a guy like me could get energized about mindfulness.

Dan comes into mindfulness as a complete skeptic and novice and we learn right along with him about the myriad benefits to meditation. It is a fascinating ride. We also get a bonus insight into the workings of network news.

I have subsequently listened to Professor Siegel's Great Courses series on the scientific foundation of mindfulness and it is a great companion piece. But listen to this one first! It is funny, interesting, informative, and well worth your time.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful