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IRP

Bedminster New Jersey
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  • 96
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  • Churchill

  • Walking with Destiny
  • By: Andrew Roberts
  • Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Length: 50 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 710
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 653
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 646

When we seek an example of great leaders with unalloyed courage, the person who comes to mind is Winston Churchill: the iconic, visionary war leader immune from the consensus of the day, who stood firmly for his beliefs when everyone doubted him. But how did young Winston become Churchill? What gave him the strength to take on the superior force of Nazi Germany when bombs rained on London and so many others had caved? In this landmark biography of Winston Churchill based on extensive new material, the true genius of the man, statesman, and leader can finally be fully understood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb Biography

  • By Jean on 03-03-19

Best One Volume Biography- Highly Recommended

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

Reviewed: 02-03-19

This is probably the third or fourth biography of Churchill that I have listened to or read, and while I would agree that Manchester's three volume biography is probably the best I have read (I enjoyed the first two volumes but not the third volume), this is the best one volume biography. While Roberts does an admirable job in chronologically dissecting Churchill's life, what stood out for the me was that this biography was both fair and balanced. Not only does Roberts introduce us to Churchill as the courageous great hero that he was, but he also readily points out Churchill's mistakes and human frailties (e.g. denial of Indian Home Rule in the 1930's, his decision as Chancellor of the Exchequer to return Britain to the gold standard in the 1920's) and how they helped him to become the man who would stare down Hitler during the war. I believe that Roberts' book also offers us further insights into Churchill that were not available to previous authors- namely Churchill's relationship with King George VI during the war years (Roberts had access to the King's diary during the period of Churchill's premiership) which shows the reader more of the human fear that Churchill had during the war, and the diaries of Ivan Maisky, the Soviet Ambassador to London during the 1930's and 40's, which gives us greater insight into Churchill's years in the wilderness. In summary the book is the best one volume biography of the man and I believe that it is a great contribution to the study of Churchill. Stephen Thorne's narration was also very good.

  • A Peace to End All Peace

  • The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
  • By: David Fromkin
  • Narrated by: David de Vries
  • Length: 23 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

The Middle East has long been a region of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and ambitions. All of these conflicts are rooted in the region's political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed by the Allies after the First World War. Author David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies drew lines on an empty map that remade the geography and politics of the Middle East. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all seemed possible, he delivers in this sweeping and magisterial book the definitive account of this defining time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still A Great Book On The Topic

  • By IRP on 02-03-19

Still A Great Book On The Topic

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

Reviewed: 02-03-19

I read this book (paperback) when it was first published in the late 1980's. At the time, I was amazed about how much I learned about the modern Middle East and how World War One, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the colonial desires of Great Britain influenced the predicament that this region confronts today. Listening to the audio book reinforced my learning experience and I would recommend that others who wish to learn more about the rifts and turmoil that exist in that region today. At the outbreak of the first World War, the entire Middle East (with the exception of Egypt) was controlled by the Ottoman Sultan in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Although the Sultanate was corrupt, the European powers (in particular Great Britain and to a lesser degree France) propped up the "sick man in Europe" for the sole purpose of constraining the influence of Tsarist Russia in that area. Both Britain and France felt that if the empire fell, the Russian navy would gain control of the Dardanelles and eventually have an outlet into the Mediterranean Sea- where it could challenge both powers. This all changed in 1894 (when France struck an alliance with Russia) and 1907 (when the British entered into a treaty with the Russians to end the "Great Game" in Afghanistan and Persia (Iran)). Both Great Britain and France abandoned Turkey and drove the Sultanate into the camp of the Central Powers led by Germany. When war broke out the British did everything in their power to bring down the Sultanate and carve up the empire with France and Russian (Sykes Picot Sazanov Treaty). The books delves into this alliance and also how the Arab Revolt (T.E. Lawrence of Arabia fame) and the Balfour Declaration (in favor of creating a Jewish state under British protection) played into the hands of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who tried to use every means at his disposal to annex key portions of the Middle East to the British Empire. Unfortunately for the region the British were unable to fully carry out their plans but what did they did carry out brought turmoil to the region until the British eventually pulled out of the region following World War II. Professor Fromkin does an excellent job weaving historical information into the personalities who participated in the spectacle (most interesting were Lord Kitchener, Sir Mark Sykes, Winston Churchill Georges Picot on one side and Enver Pasha, Djemal Pasha and Mustafa Kemal on the other side). In my opinion while others have gone on to more fully explain the history (see Eugene Rogan's book on the Fall of the Ottoman Empire, History of the Arabas and Jonathan Schneer on the Balfour Declaration-all available from Audible), this book still remains the seminal book on the subject. While I thought his narration was decent and well spoken, I do not believe that David de Vries was the best narrator for this book and he had many mispronunciations. I believe that Derek Perkins would have been better. Nevertheless I still highly recommend this book to listeners who wish to learn more about the making of the Modern Middle East.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Troublesome Young Men

  • The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England
  • By: Lynne Olson
  • Narrated by: Dennis Kleinman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

On May 7, 1940, the House of Commons began perhaps the most crucial debate in British parliamentary history. On its outcome hung the future of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's government and also of Britain - indeed, perhaps, the world. Troublesome Young Men is Lynne Olson's fascinating account of how a small group of rebellious Tory MPs defied the Chamberlain government's defeatist policies that aimed to appease Europe's tyrants and eventually forced the prime minister's resignation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Impressive

  • By Jean on 12-29-18

Spectacular Narrative History Book

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

This is the first book by Lynne Olson that I have had the opportunity to read/listen to. I was very pleased when Audible finally made this book is available. The book is an extremely good book of narrative history that would have made Barbara Tuchman proud (she being the author of the Guns of August which is arguably the greatest narrative history book ever written). The story focuses on the group of Tory Members of Parliament who had the courage and strength to bring down the Neville Chamberlain government in May 1940. Historically, WInston Churchill has been the MP who has received the lion's share of the credit for turning the British government from an appeaser movement that gave away Europe to Adolph Hitler to a war footing government that confronted him head on. During the book we are introduced to the MP's who truly paved the way for Churchill and Olson does a fabulous job of painting their character portraits- from Anthony Eden (who has the opportunity to lead the revolt and become Prime Minister but who lacked the courage to take on Chamberlain) to Richard Law, Robert Boothby, Harold McMillan, Harold Nicholson, Duff Cooper Leo Amery (who had the great speech quoting Oliver Cromwell that brought the government down) to Lord Salisbury, and tragically the Duchess of Atholl who as a female Tory member of Parliament and who after reading Mein Kempf bravely confronted the Tory Hierarchy and lost her seat in Parliament. Perhaps the most tragic but courageous figure in the book is Ronald Cartland, who as junior Tory MP had the courage to stand up and condemn Chamberlain (breaking with tradition for a Member of Parliament) and then volunteered to fight in France only to be killed while leading his men in a rearguard action while the British Army retreated to Dunkirk. Olson does an excellent job of providing us with a detailed portrait of each of these personages and by the time I finished reading the book I appreciated how much Churchill owed to these heroes. The narration by Dennis Kleinman was very good and the wait to hear this book was well worth it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand more about the rise of Churchill and the movement to move Britain closer to war.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Without Precedent

  • Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times
  • By: Joel Richard Paul
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 17 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 234

No member of America's founding generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next 40 years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. As Chief Justice of the United States - the longest-serving in history - he established the independence of the judiciary and the supremacy of the federal Constitution and courts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scholarly and Accessible

  • By Diana Black Kennedy on 03-01-18

Excellent Historical Biography About Great Jurist

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

As a practicing lawyer and student of history, I found this book to be outstanding. To a law school student, John Marshall is an icon in American legal history as it was he who defined the role that the US Supreme Court plays in the American political system. As a law school student, I read and studied many of his opinions (Marbury v. Madison, Gibbon v. Ogden, Woodward v. Dartmouth College as examples) which are seminal cases in US law, I never did have an appreciation for the political waters in which Marshall navigated the court nor did I know much about his personal life. This book added great color to my picture of him and I came away with a greater appreciation of what Marshall accomplished not just during his tenure as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court but also as a statesman (he was a diplomat and also the only Justice who also served briefly as Secretary of State during the John Adams administration) and hard scrabble frontiersman who, born of humble origin was able to invent himself as a soldier and lawyer. The book was well written and the narration by Fred Sanders was very very good. At times I thought the book offered too much hero worship of Marshall but the author balanced this much later in the book when he discussed Marshall's turnabout in the Antelope and Cherokee Nation cases. The book also was very disparaging of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Andrew Jackson (which in my opinion is somewhat justified as I personally believe that Jefferson was a very duplicitous hypocritical person), but I thought that the final chapter of the book in which the author contrasted the careers, political philosophy and characters of Jefferson and Marshall (Jefferson and Marshall were distantly related) was a perfect conclusion to the book. I strongly recommend the book not just to law school graduates, political scientists and history students, but also to all readers. In many ways, what Marshall confronted in his times is not much different from what we are confronting as a nation today.

  • 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 22,050
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,047
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 20,005

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
  • Shocking story of a meteoric rise and fall

  • By Jeff Koeppen on 08-14-18

Unbelievable- Like a Novel But It's True

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

This was a truly great book. It was well written and well narrated. In listening to to the book it struck me as a cross between a book about totalitarianism (1984) and a novel. It's hard to believe that it is a true story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Gertrude Bell

  • Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations
  • By: Georgina Howell
  • Narrated by: Corrie James
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50

She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. She was at one time the most powerful woman in the British Empire: a nation builder, the driving force behind the creation of modern-day Iraq. Born in 1868 into a world of privilege, Bell turned her back on Victorian society, choosing to read history at Oxford and going on to become an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author, poet, photographer, and legendary mountaineer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Shattering The Glass Ceiling in Britain

  • By IRP on 08-05-18

Shattering The Glass Ceiling in Britain

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

Reviewed: 08-05-18

This was an extremely well written book about a very remarkable woman who was very much ahead of her time. Born into family that made its money from manufacturing during the latter half of the British industrial revolution, Gertrude Bell refused to follow the script of a typical Victorian woman. Not only did she attend university but she graduated Oxford with honors and went to a career as an explorer and statesman(woman) during World War I and the subsequent development of the Middle East. In essence, she should be considered as one of the founding mothers of the modern Iraq as she worked with the British to create that state out of Mesopotamia and other adjacent portions of the old Ottoman empire. She was the rare woman at that time who succeeded by charisma, smarts and persistence to carve out a career for herself in a male dominated world. Her success came at a significant cost- she never married and although she was interested in two different men, neither led her to a successful domestic life (one man committed suicide while the other died at the Battle of Gallipoli during Word War One). The books is very well written and narrated. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the development of the modern Middle East as well as the story of a remarkable woman whose accomplishments were never as well recognized as they should have been. PS- if you have seen the movie "Dessert Queen" with Nicole Kidman, do not believe that the movie in any way mirrors the book. The book is much better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Russian Revolution

  • A New History
  • By: Sean McMeekin
  • Narrated by: Pete Larkin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 250
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 246

Historian Sean McMeekin traces the events that ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and introduced communism to the world. Between 1917 and 1922, Russia underwent a complete and irreversible transformation. Taking advantage of the collapse of the Tsarist regime in the middle of World War I, the Bolsheviks staged a hostile takeover of the Russian Imperial Army, promoting mutinies and mass desertions of men in order to fulfill Lenin's program of turning the "imperialist war" into civil war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Book on the Russian Revolution

  • By IRP on 09-02-17

Great Book on the Russian Revolution

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

Reviewed: 09-02-17

I am avid student of history who has particular interest in WWI and the Russian Revolution. I have never been a big fan of Sean McMeekin (I have read a few of his books in print and also listened to July 1914- available through Audible). That being said, this book was really interesting and kept my attention. The books begins with a history of Russia in the 19th Century and what life was like in the various parts of the Tsarist empire and then follows through the tumultuous years of the Revolution of 1905, World War I and the fall of the monarchy followed by a discussion of how the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky seized power and eventually won the Civil War. At the beginning of the book, McMeekin takes the listener through a tour of the various parts of the empire by casting the listener into the role of a foreign visitor coming to Russia for the first time. This was a very unique manner for describing what Russian life was like under the Tsars and added greatly to the book. The discussions of the fall of Nicholas II and the Provision Government under Kerensky are also very well depicted and McMeekin sheds light on an alternative theory as to the events that led to the February Revolution. He also does a great job describing how following the July days of 1917 Alexander Kerensky had an opportunity to fortify his rule of Russia only to be driven paranoid the the fear of a right wing putsch. This paranoia led to his turning to the Bolshevik Part for support which eventually led to downfall in October 1917. The biggest issue with the book is that there are so many different actors who played a part in the 1917 revolutions that it can sometimes be overwhelming to a listener who has no background of in this aspect of Russian history. Nevertheless I found this to be a great book and I am glad I listened to it. The narration by Pete Larkin was decent but not great and I believe it would have been better if Derek Perkins had been the narrator.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • William Tecumseh Sherman

  • In the Service of My Country: A Life
  • By: James Lee McDonough
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 28 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 699
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 640

General Sherman's 1864 burning of Atlanta solidified his legacy as a ruthless leader. Yet Sherman proved far more complex than his legendary military tactics reveal. James Lee McDonough offers fresh insight into a man tormented by the fear that history would pass him by, who was plagued by personal debts, and who lived much of his life separated from his family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Fair and Balanced View of Sherman

  • By IRP on 12-02-16

Very Fair and Balanced View of Sherman

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

Reviewed: 12-02-16

I just finished listening to this book after having listened to the RA White biography of Ulysses Grant (American Ulysses- available from Audible). I found this biography to be superior to that of the Grant biography simply because McDonough took the time to objectively present Sherman not just as a hero but also as a human being who had many of the flaws that seem to haunt great men and are often overlooked in their biographies. In Sherman's case, these flaws included his prejudice against African Americans, his hatred of the press and politicians, his nervous disposition and his aversion to being a commanding general (which resulted in his disgrace following a brief command of the Army of Ohio early in the War) and his anti-Catholicism. The author did a great job of sketching these flaws and also presenting the opinions of other scholars in evaluating Sherman as both the man and the general. By the time I finished listening to the book, I actually felt that I knew Sherman as a man and not just as a Civil War hero. David Drummond's narration of the book was very good.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • A Gentleman in Moscow

  • A Novel
  • By: Amor Towles
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,737
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22,002
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,922

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in an elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Reprieve Amidst Ugly News, Relentless Negativity

  • By Cathy Lindhorst on 08-27-17

Awesome Book and Narration- Highly Recommended

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

Reviewed: 09-21-16

I am not fan of fiction, but I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was well written and beautifully narrated. The book traces a fictional Russian Aristocrat, Count Alexander Ilych Rostov who fled Russia before the outbreak of World War I and returned to Russia following the execution of the last Czar- only to be arrested four years later (1922) by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to lifetime house arrest in the Metropole Hotel in Moscow (near the Kremlin). The novel chronicles his 22 years of imprisonment in that hotel and through his eyes the listener enjoys a front row seat in watching Russian history unfold during the Stalinist period (including the Collectivization Farm Project, the Purges, a little bit of World War II and the beginning of the post-Stalinist period). While the count remains locked in the Metropole (and the world he has created for himself therein) the listener is given the opportunity to see how his world stays the same while all of Russia changes and the changes are exemplified through the people with whom the count comes into contact with- including his longtime friend from university, Mischa (a poet), a Soviet era actress (with whom he has a love affair), a little girl whose father was a Ukrainian bureaucrat, and then several years her daughter. The book was extremely well written and narrated that I finished listening to it in less than 3 days (which I normally never do). Some of the quotes from the count in reaction to the change in his circumstances are really profound and worth remembering. Admittedly there are some historical inaccuracies in the book but these in no way infringed on my enjoyment of the book.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • The Obstacle Is the Way

  • The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
  • By: Ryan Holiday
  • Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,483
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,209
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,131

We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book I wish I had 25 years ago

  • By Jason DeFillippo on 05-08-14

Excellent Book &Narration. Whispersync works well

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

Reviewed: 08-23-16

I very much enjoyed this book. I thought that the book was well narrated and I bought the Kindle book. I found myself switching between the two mediums: audible and kindle and found the experience to work well here. The book is essentially lays out stoicism philosophy as espoused by Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, among others. The philosophy and the book are broken down into the three key blocks of stoicism: perception, action and will. The author does a great job of discussing each of the three blocks and then discussing how historical figures were able to exemplify each of the attributes. The audio book has an extra chapter in which Tim Ferris interviews Ryan Holiday (I guess as part of the Tim Ferris Podcast Show). I am not certain if the interview really adds much to the audio book except to make Ryan Holiday come over as a human being. I would strongly recommend purchasing the audio book and consider purchasing the Kindle book (if you have a Kindle) as a reference guide. I must admit that I have already listened to the audio book twice and read the Kindle edition once. Overall a really good book and worth the listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful