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John

Chamblee, GA, United States
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  • Code Name: Lise

  • The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Woman
  • By: Larry Loftis
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 240

The year is 1942. World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and a plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer, Captain Peter Churchill. As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police Sergeant Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I can't believe this was real

  • By stuartjash on 01-24-19

Amazing Story

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

Reviewed: 03-18-19

This is an amazing story of a highly decorated spy in World War II. French by birth and English as a result of marriage, "Lise" left 3 young daughters to act as a courier against the Nazis. Her story of missions and then being captured and survival is pretty riveting. The story moves very well.

This book is what I would call "re-created history. The book recreates dialogue and thoughts. The author claims it is all well-sourced, but some may find this approach questionable. The narration is OK, with lots of voices and accents--which is probably necessitated by the "re-creation." I found it a bit off-putting, but others may like it better.

Good, but know what it is before you buy it.

  • Fighter Pilot

  • The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds
  • By: Robin Olds, Christina Olds, Ed Rasimus
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 17 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,591
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,256

A larger-than-life hero with a towering personality, Robin Olds was a graduate of West Point and an inductee in the National College Football Hall of Fame for his All-American performance for Army. In World War II, Olds quickly became a top fighter pilot and squadron commander by the age of 22—a double ace with twelve aerial victories. But it was in Vietnam where the man became a legend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top Notch Audiobook

  • By R. A. Frank on 10-08-10

Great Autobiography

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

Reviewed: 02-27-19

As an aviation buff, I had heard of Robin Olds as one of the legends, but did not know much about him. After reading his Memoirs, I was entertained, amazed and grateful for his service. Very few of us can be absolutely certain that the career we have chosen is optimal for our talents. Not so for General Olds. He was clearly born to be a fighter pilot and it's difficult to imagine him doing anything else.

In addition to his exploits as a young man in World War II and later as an older man in Vietnam, I found his observations regarding life in the Air Force to be enlightening and depressing. It's clear that a lot of brass in the Pentagon and elsewhere are devoted to flying desks and achieving higher rank--Not giving the fighting men what they need and deserve. Olds was nothing like that--For him, it was all about his men. His stories of devotion to them are touching.

Without giving it away, then ending of the book is perfect.

  • The Point of It All

  • A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors
  • By: Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Krauthammer - editor
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb, Daniel Krauthammer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 419
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 375

Created and compiled by Charles Krauthammer before his death, The Point of It All is an intimate collection of the influential columnist’s most important works. Spanning the personal, political, and philosophical - including never-before-published speeches and a major new essay about the effect of today’s populist movements on the future of global democracy - this is the most profound work yet by the legendary writer and thinker.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By robert on 12-11-18

Just Great

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

If you are considering buying this book, I assume you are already familiar with at least some of Charles Krauthammer's work and are probably a fan. If so, don't hesitate. Buy it now.

The book is mainly a compendium of prior columns and speeches. It is organized by topic. As always, Krauthammer's writing seems fresh and penetratingly clear. He had an amazing gift for thinking things through and writing a well-reasoned and logical treatment. If you do not always agree with his conclusions, you must concede that he always presents his points cogently, and without appealing to emotion.

Buyers should beware that there is not a lot of new material here. The introduction indicates that the last part of the book include some work by Charles in his last year. There is a little new here, but not a lot. No matter, his wisdom comes through at all times.

Daniel's eulogy of his father at the end of the book is very moving.

Krauthammer was a voice of calm reason and sanity in a world that seems to have lost its bearing, if not its mind. With most in the press content to "report" on Twitter posts and rants, unverified leaks and sources, and what people "feel," Charles is sorely missed. His writing thankfully survives.

  • Bad Blood

  • Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
  • By: John Carreyrou
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18,329
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,636
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 16,610

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose start-up “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fund-raising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’ worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extreme retaliation against former employees

  • By Eugene on 05-29-18

Hard to Believe this Really Happened

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

This book reads like fiction. It might be subtitled, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time--although you may be able to fool all of the people for quite a while."

It's just difficult to believe that Elizabeth Holmes was not only able to court investors in Theranos for so long, but that she was also able to become a corporate diva. At one point, she was listed by Forbes as the world's youngest self-made woman billionaire.

What the book demonstrates, I think, is that people want to believe in good news stories, particularly if they lack the scientific background to know they are far-fetched. Blood testing is an obscure area of science, and that is probably why Holmes was able to attract a world-class board of directors (although one lacking relevant scientific experience) and to pull the wool over so many. And after all, if a single finger prick could unlock all of the test results Holmes said it would, who wouldn't want that?

A well-researched and well-written cautionary tale. It's hard to put down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Lindbergh

  • By: A. Scott Berg
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 31 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

Few American icons provoke more enduring fascination than Charles Lindbergh - renowned for his one-man transatlantic flight in 1927, remembered for the sorrow surrounding the kidnapping and death of his firstborn son in 1932, and reviled by many for his opposition to America's entry into World War II.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lindbergh Bio

  • By Dave on 10-17-13

It is the Definitive Lindbergh Biography

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

This is, as others have said, the definitive Lindbergh biography. It tells the whole story of Lindbergh's family since immigrating to the U.S., and covers Lindbergh's somewhat odd childhood, as the only child of a somewhat out-of-touch lawyer and Congressman from Minnesota. Lindbergh's father was adamantly against the country getting into World War I, and Lindbergh would later advocate similar views for the "America First" movement before World War II.

The book covers Charles' fascination with flight and how he became an aviator. Relatively little time is devoted to his flight across the Atlantic itself, but the book covers the world-wide adulation he received in great detail. Berg makes a great case that, for a period of time, Lindbergh was the best known and probably most popular person in the world. This was not an easy adjustment for someone who valued privacy and was very suspicious of the press. Charles popularity waned as the country entered World War II due to his political views, and was then somewhat restored in later years.

The book is almost as much about Anne Morrow Lindbergh as Charles. Their courtship, marriage and world-wide travels are all chronicled. The book spends a great deal of time on the kidnapping and murder of Charles, Jr., which was of course devastating to Charles and Anne.

As portrayed in the book, Charles was not a great family man. He was devoted to Anne and their children to a point, but spent most of his time traveling. He treated his family oddly, a trait that persisted throughout his life. Read the book and draw your own conclusions.

Although Charles had his flaws, he did great things. He was a great record setting aviator. He explored the world. He invented a precursor of the heart lung machine. His work during World War II as a "consultant" helped greatly increase the range of U.S. planes while he also flew combat in the Pacific as a civilian and without a commission.

Note that this book was written in 1998. It stands as the definitive biography, but was published before the revelations regarding Charles other relationships and children in Germany. The story that is told of Charles' later years does seem to fit--with his constant absences from home--with what has since been learned.

It's a long book, but worth your time.

  • Big Week

  • The Biggest Air Battle of World War II
  • By: James Holland
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145

During the third week of February 1944, the combined Allied air forces based in Britain and Italy launched their first round-the-clock bomber offensive against Germany. Their goal: to smash the main factories and production centers of the Luftwaffe while also drawing German planes into an aerial battle of attrition to neutralize the Luftwaffe as a fighting force prior to the cross-channel invasion, planned for a few months later. Officially called Operation ARGUMENT, this aerial offensive quickly became known as “Big Week,” and it was one of the turning-points of World War II. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • War in the Air: Sets stage with gripping narrative

  • By Nashville Cat on 11-17-18

Not Just About "Big Week"

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

Reviewed: 12-24-18

This book provides a good summary of the air war in the European theater in World War II. Its title is misleading, because it is not just about "Big Week"--the great offensive before D Day. It covers the events leading up to Big Week as the climax. To that end, the title somewhat undersells the book.

The book is quite good, although there is not much here that is not covered in other books. It is well written and generally enjoyable. Definitely worth a listen, particularly if you have not already read other books about the air war in Europe.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Allies

  • Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II
  • By: Winston Groom
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Best-selling author Winston Groom tells the complex story of how Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin - the three iconic and vastly different Allied leaders - aligned to win World War II and created a new world order.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth Your Time

  • By John on 12-24-18

Worth Your Time

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

Reviewed: 12-24-18

This is a good book, although not Winston Groom's best. The book provides (1) good, short biographies of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin; (2) a short history of World War II (particularly in Europe); and (3) a good summary of the interactions of the "Big Three" in World War II. It would be an excellent reference for those who are not well read on World War II. The book demonstrates that Churchill was the consummate leader, Roosevelt was effective, but surprisingly naive (and had lost his edge at the end), and Stalin was one of the most evil persons ever to live.

One somewhat distracting, although perhaps inevitable, aspect of the book is that the story jumps around a bit. Because the book switches among the protagonists, it will sometimes cover an event from, say, the point of view of Churchill, and then later cover the same event from the viewpoint of Stalin. This is a nit, but is noticeable.

I found the narration to be less than first rate. The narrator's voice seemed to vary from time to time, and, to me anyway, had an odd quality to it.

  • The Flight

  • Charles Lindbergh's Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing
  • By: Dan Hampton
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

On the morning of May 20, 1927, a little-known pilot named Charles Lindbergh waited to take off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. He was determined to claim the $25,000 Orteig Prize promised to the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris - a contest that had already claimed six men's lives. Just 25 years old, Lindbergh had never before flown over water. Yet 33 hours later, his single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, touched down in Paris.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Rehash

  • By Patrick on 06-07-17

Not Much New, But Good Listen

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

Reviewed: 12-24-18

This is an entertaining book that, as its title suggests, focuses on Lindbergh's transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, although it mentions other aspects of Lindbergh's complex and sometimes controversial life.

The book reminds us of the considerable risk that Lindbergh took in making the flight and the accomplishment. The book tells the story fluidly and moves along.

Good read.

  • Rocket Men

  • The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon
  • By: Robert Kurson
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter, Robert Kurson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 937
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 879
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 874

By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the moon by President Kennedy's end-of-decade deadline and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the moon - in just four months. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Men Who Saved 1968

  • By Gillian on 04-04-18

Great Recounting of the Apollo 8 Mission

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

This is a great book for Apollo fans, although there are other good treatments of the mission (Jeffrey Kluger). What this book adds, perhaps more than the others, is including the viewpoints of the astronauts' wives. This aspect of the book is compelling, as the family stories are often overlooked, or put in the background.

The book also does a good job of putting the story the perspective of the tumultuous year of 1968, although that is not new.

The book provides a very thorough history of the mission, from its audacious beginning (thoroughly inconsistent with NASA's generally incremental approach, although understandable in the perceived need to beat the Russians) through splashdown and its aftermath. The book was undoubtably made better by the fact that the astronauts--now all very old men--are still alive and cooperated with the author. The wives (except for Susan Borman, who was ill) also were interviewed for the book. This, when combined with the extensive contemporaneous source material available, provides for a very credible text.

The book moves along well and the narration is good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ship of Fools

  • By: Tucker Carlson
  • Narrated by: Tucker Carlson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,598
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,130
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4,087

The host of Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight offers a blistering critique of the new American ruling class, the elites of both parties, who have taken over the ship of state, leaving the rest of us, the citizen-passengers, to wonder: How do we put the country back on course?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beyond Expectations

  • By Joseph D. Chavez on 11-14-18

This Puts It All in Perspective

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

Reviewed: 10-30-18

I think a lot of us know our country is headed in the wrong direction. We no longer laud achievement or being self-sufficient. We take offense--largely on social media--at every real or perceived offense, no matter how minor. As one of my friends (a woman professional) recently remarked at a lunch: "I can't believe some of the things we talk about today."

The coastal elites have never been to a factory or a farm. They don't know how things are made and have a vague only idea where food comes from (other than the kitchen at a restaurant). Most are entirely uninterested in small towns, particularly if they are in "fly over country." Most have never been to "fly over country." Religion is not a part of their lives, and therefore they do not have a great understanding of the Judeo-Christian principles on which the country was built. No wonder they seem clueless to the rest of us.

Tucker Carlson puts this all in perspective, and notes that the elites have abandoned middle America. He especially notes the ironies of the astonishing changes in liberal (or what used to be liberal) positions: Liberals used to support the factory worker. Now they don't care and wouldn't know where to find one anyway. Liberals used to be passionate advocates of free speech. Now they shout down contrary points of view at Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard and other liberal stomping grounds. Liberals used to be against military power. Now they are just as likely as conservatives to want to attack. Carlson puts all of this, and more, on display. The research is pretty impeccable, and mirrors what I remember having lived through most of it. For anyone wondering, this book is not a conservative diatribe, but an analysis of how political views, particularly what is considered "liberal," have shifted drastically in the past 50 years.

We are going the wrong way. Hopefully, this book will help turn things around. We need to treat people as individuals, be tolerant of reasoned opposing points of view, and stop ignoring or marginalizing the people who, in large part, built this country.