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Reggie

BRATTLEBORO, VT, United States
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 100
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  • Irma Grese & Auschwitz: Holocaust and the Secrets of the the Blonde Beast

  • By: Raymond Jennings
  • Narrated by: Scott ODell
  • Length: 2 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11

Because of her gender and youth, Irma Grese remains known today for her crimes against humanity in the camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Executed at 22 years old, she was the youngest woman to die under British law in the 20th century. Irma Grese has gained notoriety as a villain in many diaries, journals, and creative works of Holocaust survivors. She has been studied by historians, psychologists, and psychiatrists across the world. What could cause someone to act as she did? After listening to this book, you'll be able to decide for yourself.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Quick and Dirty

  • By Reggie on 01-25-19

Quick and Dirty

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

Reviewed: 01-25-19

This audiobook has the feel of several essays stitched together into a meandering narrative that covers topics as diverse, in scope and breadth, as the roots of anti-semitism and the nature of Irma Grese's relationship with her father - sometimes in the same sentence. The book even begins with an impossibly brief yet competent summary of the second world war and its antecedents, before eventually arriving at the book's central figure of Grese. One suspects that readers digging down to a level of historical granularity sufficient to reveal the likes of Irma Grese probably have a working knowledge of WWII, but I found myself - once the dismay of knowing that the subject about which I'd come to read would have to follow a full history of the second world war finally diminished - was curious to see if the author could pull it off. He totally did. It was a dizzying summation that I rather enjoyed.

But the telling of Irma's biography is a mess. It's not horrible or wholly incompetent, but it's a mess. If you're aware of this mess prior to pressing "play," I think the listening experience will be improved. And ultimately this book delivers the goods. Even history buffs well-versed in the holocaust will find cringy detail about Irma Grese. Her infamy is given shape, if not fully fleshed out. Some of her behavior, beyond the pale even of SS officers serving as concentration camp guards, feels artificially augmented with lurid details, but there's not too much. We are oft-reminded of Grese physical attributes and purported beauty, so stories of how the abuse of inmates brought her sexual excitement and gratification don't pass the eye test, but given the many substantiated claims, who knows... And there's a credible, if under-developed hypothesis about Grese's motives that is simple enough to feel credible: she was that horrible brew of mean and stupid found at the core of some many truly horrible people.

If you're up for short, scattered, sudo-scholarly account of a truly horrible person's life (with a history of western religion and WWII thrown in for good measure), you'll enjoy this audiobook. I did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Demonologist

  • The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren - The True Accounts of the Paranormal Investigators Featured in the film 'The Conjuring'
  • By: Gerald Brittle
  • Narrated by: Todd Haberkorn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,938
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,681
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,672

If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. The Demonologist reveals the grave religious process behind supernatural events and how it can happen to you. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can't put down. For over five decades, Ed and Loraine Warren have been considered America's foremost experts on demonology and exorcism. With over 3,000 investigations to their credit, they reveal what actually breaks the peace in haunted houses. Don't miss the Warrens in the new blockbuster movie The Conjuring.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Scary fun.

  • By Cliff on 08-19-13

Early Reviews Clearly Fake

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

This book is fiction, and gives zero effort to the suggestion that it's anything but fiction.

  • Fire Underground

  • The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Centralia Mine Fire
  • By: David DeKok
  • Narrated by: Eddie Frierson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

How an underground fire turned a Pennsylvania community into a ghost town. On May 27, 1962, a fire set to clean up the town dump outside Centralia, Pennsylvania, spread by accident into abandoned coal mines beneath the small town. This spawned the environmental disaster known around the world today as the Centralia Mine Fire.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A town slams its head against the wall for 30 year

  • By Reggie on 01-07-19

A town slams its head against the wall for 30 year

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

The story of a poor town and 30 years worth of ineffectual government officials not having the courage to tell the people of Centralia, "yes, you are correct. No one gives a sh*t about your town."

I gave this book 4 stars, because DeKok does a nice job, but really, it's not 4-star story. It's page after page of people slamming their head against the wall; white entitlement; government ineptitude; a pinch of greed and a dash of mental illness and a slice of high drama.

How does something moderately horrible simmer for 30 years? This is that story.

  • Marilyn Monroe

  • The Private Life of a Public Icon
  • By: Charles Casillo
  • Narrated by: Therese Plummer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

Charles Casillo studies Monroe’s life through the context of her times - in the days before feminism. Before there was adequate treatment for bipolar disorder. Starting with her abusive childhood, this biography exposes how - in spite of her fractured psyche - Marilyn managed to transform each celebrated love affair and each tragedy into another step in her journey towards immortality. Casillo fully explores the last two years of her life, including her involvement with both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, and the mystery of her last day.    

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good introductory text. Little new for aficionados

  • By Reggie on 11-25-18

Good introductory text. Little new for aficionados

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

Casillo has written a well-paced and literally assessable narrative. His criticisms are even-handed, written with a journalist's commitment to objectivity (for the sake of this review we stipulate, whether it's true or not, that objectivity is a goal of journalists) and clarity; his arguments are well-reasoned and cogent. I would recommend this book to anyone newly curious about Marilyn's life, with a few caveats:

I can appreciate Casillo's aversion to the more outlandish claims about Marilyn's life. Authors have exploited Monroe in death as others did during her lifetime. Norman Mailer famously admitted that much of the salacious material in his biographical essay on Marilyn's life was fabricated; written to maximize book sales, because he "needed the money." No doubt others did the same. That Casillo chose to limit his scope to Marilyn's lifetime, and reasonably well-established facts, is fine, but potential readers should know that there's much more to the story.

In 2018 (when this book was published) any story of Marilyn Monroe's life really should include a nod to Marilyn lore. One need not elaborate on, or give credence to, the myriad hypotheticals and speculations about Marilyn's life and death, but a brief sketch of Marilyn historiography only further illustrates the lasting impact of her life and imprint on the collective psyche of global popular culture. Casillo ignores most of the controversial elements in Marilyn's story and in doing so attenuates the narrative to the detriment of his readers' understanding of her life. Was Marilyn a pawn of the KGB, sent to seduce and elicit Top Secret information from the President of the United States during post-coital pillow talk? Almost certainly not, but a lot of people believe strongly that indeed such a plot existed. The mere mention of such theories does not imply endorsement, and the omission is a bummer, if not a deal-breaker.

Aficionados won't find much new in this book. The promotional material on Audible and Amazon state that it's based on new interviews and research, but that material, and Casillo's research, seems to consist largely of watching the, admittedly remarkable, video now available on YouTube. And while Casillo's analysis of these videos is not particularly insightful, again we can understand this editorial decision. Watch the test footage, dear reader, of Something's Gotta Give, on YouTube then try to describe it. We just don't have the words...

I would recommend this book to Marilyn neophytes. Fans of MM biographies will enjoy it too (I did. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if I could), but you won't find anything new.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Incident at Devil's Den

  • A True Story
  • By: Terry Lovelace Esq.
  • Narrated by: Terry J. Lovelace
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97

I'm a 64-year-old retired lawyer and former Assistant Attorney General with an unusual story to tell. Every word of it is true. It happened in a state park known as Devil's Den. For fear of losing my job and damaging my reputation in the legal community, I never spoke about the incident. If it hadn't happened to me, I'd be skeptical too. In 1977, I was an active duty NCO in the USAF. A friend and I planned a two-night camping trip to explore the wilderness. We drove deep into the forest until we came to a high plateau. There on the horizon sat a perfect triangle of three very bright stars....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great retelling

  • By Fran Smith on 07-07-18

The Scariest 3 Words in Audiobooks: Read by Author

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

I don't believe that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth and interacting with its inhabitants, but want to. I want someone to make that compelling case that addresses all the other possible sources of the phenomena they witness, rendering them debunked, leaving only one option: spacemen.

Starting off your narrative with nighttime visitations, by alien monkeymen, to the bedroom of an 8-year-old who experiences chronic nightmares, does not the foundation of a credible case make. I understand Lovelace wanting to tell this chronological story linearly, but this 8-year-old kid, no matter that Lovelace continues to believe his experiences to be rooted in objective reality into adulthood, is not credible.

That said, I could have stuck through this book, and even enjoyed it, with different narrator and/or a higher quality production.

When audiobooks are recorded, all kinds of extraneous mouth noises, room sounds and breath intakes are edited out. Those sounds can be distracting and drive listeners crazy, especially when listening to said recordings with earphone. These sounds are left fully intact, in Lovelace's reading. Again, as a single annoying element, the production value would would not be a deal-breaker, but combined with a story that screams out obvious alternate explanations and Lovelace's performance of dialogue supposedly said by his younger self, is all too much. I respect that Lovelace is writing a book for a broad audience, the inclusion of re-created dialogue within a book of non-fiction is always a little dicey, but especially in a context where the author is attempting to convince the reader of someone unbelievable. I think that was a poor choice. It reads like fiction. All the implicit queues in the format are telling us readers, this IS fiction.

Lovelace is not a performer. His voice is high pitched and gravelly. His replication of this dubious dialogue is pretty painful.

This book might work just fine for reading, and it might work fine with another reader, but this production represents a confluence of elements that do NOT work. I think that part of my (probably obvious) irritation is that I think it COULD work well as an audiobook, but audiobooks are an art form like anything else. There are really talented people who could turn this audiobook into something fun and exciting.

That's unlikely to happen.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The 37th Parallel

  • The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway
  • By: Ben Mezrich
  • Narrated by: Ben Mezrich
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 300
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 278
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 280

This real-life The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind tells the true story of a computer programmer who tracks paranormal events along a 3,000-mile stretch through the heart of America and is drawn deeper and deeper into a vast conspiracy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I thought it was a study or documentary

  • By Daniel on 09-12-16

Misleading Title and Marketing But Still Good

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

Reviewed: 02-05-18

Any additional comments?

I understand the low average rating for this book. Everything about the marketing of this book, from the title to the book description, is misleading.

Before I go further, full-disclosure: I'm a non-believer. I'm persuadable, but as of this moment I do not believe aliens are currently visiting earth. To borrow a line (from Carl Sagan, I think): extraordinarily claims require extraordinary evidence. I have yet to see convincing evidence. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and I get that. I read books like this because I enjoy the idea that visitation might be something that's happening.

Back to the book: It's certainly an exploration of the ufo phenomenon but's not a book about the UFO highway. It's a book about the tension between believers and non-believers; the tension between fringe and mainstream science; the tension within families as a father spends increasingly more financial and time resources pursuing his investigations of UFO phenomenon; it's a sample history of sightings; insane cattle mutilations and some scary corporate and G-Men types.

Mezrich creates a compelling narrative, and while it's not Truman Capote, this is a book of solid, if not dazzling, craftsmanship.

On it's own terms, this is not a 1-star book. I understand that people are upset because they expected Mezrich to offer evidence in the case to prove the existence of UFOs. That doesn't happen. There are no conclusions drawn in this book. It is not a book about UFOs, or the UFO highway, it's a book about UFO investigators, from a mainstream author who is in no way dismissive of his subject.

Is it fair to flame a book because it doesn't match a reader's expectations? Maybe. But I've read 1-star books, and this is no 1-star book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Fire and Fury

  • Inside the Trump White House
  • By: Michael Wolff
  • Narrated by: Michael Wolff, Holter Graham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,227
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,022
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,924

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as credible as one would like.

  • By Jerry R. Nokes Jr. on 01-29-18

A Gossipy Page-Turner

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

Reviewed: 01-10-18

Where does Fire and Fury rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is hardly the most damning book about Donald Trump. It reads rather like the concrete details of a story you've assumed all along; the confirmation of a reasonable surmise.

Because of its relative tameness, Trump's reaction to the book must be rooted in the idea that so much of this book came from the inside his personal retinue of go-fers. He may also be taking exception to the pointed insinuations, if not outright acquisition, aimed at Ivanka and her husband. It seems like they have at least as much to fear from a shift in political power than DJT.

If you want to read a truly, systematic, and wholly terrifying evaluation of Mr. Trump, read The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Brady Lee, Ed..

Both the Lee book and Wolff's book have actually changed my mind, fundamentally, about Trump. I used to think he was just a really bad person. A person whose instincts compel him to regularly torment the weak for personal gain, or just personal amusement. A politician who lied at every opportunity and didn't care who knew it. He is shameless. Just like, a bad person.

The reality is more complicated, of course. His various personality disorders don't preclude him from being evil, but an empathetic person can at least extract some level of understanding of his behavior, without surrendering an iota of contempt for his behavior. An empathetic person sees the Trump of Wolff's book as oafish, rather than evil; a figure of some pathos; a reactionary, not-too-bright, hothead... with nukes. In the long view the election of Trump is about other issues, but since this book is about trump, we shant stray.

Wolff's book will not be a defining book of the Trump presidency. It's gossipy fun for Trump haters and grist for specious talking points about liberal media for the Trump machine. Everybody wins.

If you could give Fire and Fury a new subtitle, what would it be?

Fire and Fury: Everything You've Been Assuming is True.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Battle

  • When US and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe
  • By: Stephen Harding
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 184
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 170

May 1945. Hitler is dead, and the Third Reich is little more than smoking rubble. No GI wants to be the last man killed in action against the Nazis. But for cigar-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking, hard-charging Captain Jack Lee and his men, there is one more mission: rescue 14 prominent French prisoners held in an SS-guarded castle high in the Austrian Alps. It's a dangerous mission, but Lee has help from a decorated German Wehrmacht officer and his men, who voluntarily join the fight.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Maddening Book

  • By Reggie on 09-23-17

A Maddening Book

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

Reviewed: 09-23-17

What disappointed you about The Last Battle?

This is not a bad book. At times it does feel like Harding's pay was based on how many stock, trite war phrases he could work into the narrative, but stale verbiage aside it's not a poorly written book. My displeasure is with the choice he made to introduce all the players in this drama, through evidently well-researched biographical sketches, prior to the battle referenced in the title. We don't get a whiff of the battle until nearly the end of the book. Again, that choice does not make this a bad book, but it did make me really dislike it. It is a heavily researched book, but the pedantic details show up at odd times, giving this strange and almost surreal, human drama the feel of an old-school, names-and-dates antiquarian history. I wish he had gone the other way, allowing himself to speculate more on the human drama; the prison lives of these political foes locked together as VIP POWS. But Harding's discipline is firm, and we get the facts as they have been recorded. The actual battle, which takes place in the final 1/5 of the book feels largely anticlimactic. Acts of bravery and betrayal accompany scenes of comedy and tragedy, but they are fleeting and fail to land fully.I can't recommend this book, but if you're okay listening to a story structured like I've described, you may love it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen Harding again?

I would give it a shot, sure.

Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • 1 Dead in Attic

  • After Katrina
  • By: Chris Rose
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor - in a way that only he could find in a devastated wasteland. They are stories of the dead and the living, stories of survivors and believers, stories of hope and despair.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still Makes Me Hurt

  • By Gillian on 02-27-15

Bronson Pinchot is a Revelation

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

Reviewed: 06-17-17

Any additional comments?

I concur with all the accolades written about this book. My purpose in submitting this review is to share a deep appreciation for Bronson Pinchot's narration. There are several narrators working today that inspire me to take a chance with a book of which I may not have heard. Bronson Pinchot just got added to that very short list.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A History of the Future

  • A World Made by Hand Novel, Book 3
  • By: James Howard Kunstler
  • Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134

Following the catastrophes of the 21st century - the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos - people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I have loved the entire series.

  • By Ronald Pero on 02-09-17

Full Steam

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

Reviewed: 04-12-17

Any additional comments?

Jim hits the ground running and never takes his foot off the gas.

He shifts focus a bit in this book, widening the narrative scope and shifting away from some of the more quotidian elements that added a novelty and richness to the earlier books, but aren't really necessary at this stage of the story.

There's an interesting dichotomy happening here, because the book feels rough-hewn (deadlines to be met, and so forth) and it a little more sensational than the first two volumes (they'd like to sell a few more copies of this one), but Kuntsler pulls it off, and occasionally tosses in passages of casually spectacular language that literally stun. I tend to think of Jim as a social observer and critic first, and writer second; that these novels are a tool for making some of his social ideas accessible to a wider audience, but this book, and this whole series, retroactively have come to stand fully on their literary merits. Independent of Kuntler's world-view and prognostications these books are damn fine reads.

The vocal performance is really well done. Everything you want, nothing you don't.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful