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Edith

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  • Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

  • By: Debby Irving
  • Narrated by: Debby Irving
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333

For 25 years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A serious read for those who strive to improve

  • By Melissa Hooker on 04-23-17

Tedious

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

There's about 30 pages of useful information in this book. The author is very sincere and seems knowledgeable in trying to educate whites into understanding their privilege and trying to change their racist attitudes and stop saying the wrong things to their friends, co-workers and acquaintances of color.

Unfortunately, the remaining 258 pages are extremely tedious. There are dozens of long, annoying, and often very contrived anecdotes, written in an "I'm a sinner" voice ("I CRINGED when I realized how she must have taken what I said...") meant to make the reader feel not so bad about her own racist attitudes and gaffs but actually ending up sounding patronizing. Having the author read her own text only made it worse. The exaggerated vocal emphasis was unskillfully done and drove me nuts.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Stasiland

  • Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
  • By: Anna Funder
  • Narrated by: Denica Fairman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police could become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Important book

  • By Jane on 01-27-10

Compelling

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

Reviewed: 02-05-17

I found Funder's way of weaving the stories of her subjects into her own personal narrative to be quite skillful. These are sad stories, and they needed the frame of the author's interactions with her subjects.

Ms. Fairman was the perfect reader for this book. Her voice has a delightfully light quality, and indeed may actually have given a lighter tone to the book than one would have gotten from reading it silently to oneself. Normally, I'd like an actor not to change the tone in any way. But here I was grateful to have some light moments in what might otherwise have been a dreary tale. It's good to know what happened in GDR, just as we need to know about the Nazis. This book provided vivid and heartbreaking views of the extremely personal way the Stasi penetrated and harmed the lives of GDR citizens. And of how some of those citizens, both victims of the Stasi and Stasi themselves, deal with life after the GDR. It also tells of people on both sides of the wall who took huge risks do the right thing.

  • Can You Forgive Her?

  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 27 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 164

Can You Forgive Her? is the first of the six Palliser novels. Here Trollope examines parliamentary election and marriage, politics and privacy. As he dissects the Victorian upper class, issues and people shed their pretenses under his patient, ironic probe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Very Victorian

  • By David on 09-27-11

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 05-05-15

I hesitated in buying this because I had had a hard time with "Barchester Towers." Needn't have worried. I've been binge-listening to "Can You Forgive Her", which I find to be a truly compelling story, rich with character development, irony, humorous passages, sub-plots and endless insight into the ways and mores of Victorian English society. Simon Vance, while reading rapidly, delivers his usual excellent rendering. Lovers of long, 19th century novels will find this as satisfying as Dickens, Eliot or Hardy. Can't wait to listen to the next books in the series.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940

  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Richard Brown
  • Length: 36 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,457
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,175
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,172

This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Senseless change of narrators

  • By S. Horn on 12-12-11

Completely engrossing

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

Reviewed: 01-29-14

If you've gotten through Volume I, I don't need to encourage you to continue. The story just gets more and more interesting. Manchester writes quite well and and did an extremely thorough job of researching these years, providing rich detail from the diaries and letters of many of Churchill's contemporaries, as well as the great man himself.

Some may find R. Brown's Churchill impersonation tiresome as Churchill is quoted so frequently in the text, but I did not since it let me know immediately that Churchill was being quoted. Brown wisely did not do dramatic impersonations of the other individuals quoted, and the narration flows very smoothly.

By the way, these volumes represent one of the best bargains to be found on Audible, with many, many hours of listening per credit.

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932

  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 41 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,016
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,582
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,581

Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the 20th century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb - Review of Both Volume I & Volume II

  • By Wolfpacker on 01-23-09

Deeply Engrossing

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

Reviewed: 01-29-14

This first volume of Manchester's admirable biography of Churchill provides fascinating detail on Churchill's first 58 years. If you're interested in the two world wars, and the greatest personality of his era, the man who did the most to save the world from Hitler, dig in, and be prepared to immerse yourself in a bygone world, brilliantly researched and richly painted. I am now on Volume III, and have enjoyed every hour spent listening to this extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man.

Listeners who dislike British accents may not appreciate Davidson's reading, but hang in there... the rich and engrossing story survives this dated recording.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

  • By: Betty MacDonald
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 310
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 3 cheers

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-10-16

Dated

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

Reviewed: 01-03-14

Yes, we remember it fondly from decades ago, but this story is no longer funny or relevent to the concerns of kids or parents. Mrs. P "cures" bad children by tricking them into being "good," i.e. doing housework (for girls, of course), cleaning their rooms, and not being rude.

Reader is just so-so. Don't waste your money.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • A History of Rome, Volume 1

  • By: Cyril Robinson
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 294
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 109

A History of Rome is the story of a tiny market town on the Tiber, its rise to world domination, and then its slow, terrible plunge to utter ruin. It is the single greatest event in all human history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A superb survey of Ancient Roman History

  • By Mark Grannis on 10-27-05

Extremely Dated

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

Reviewed: 02-11-13

While amusing enough, this text seems to have first been published in 1935 and to be based entirely on early sources such as Livy and Suetonius. It contains many outdated historical concepts such as "they were a virile people..." and no modern scholarship whatsoever. It is widely available for much, much less elsewhere.

Poor old Charlton Griffin. His gruff voice has never been my favorite, but at least he does not try to dramatize the material.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Storm of War

  • A New History of the Second World War
  • By: Andrew Roberts
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 28 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 760
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 650
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657

The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war - the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism - as never before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very interesting book with some shortcomings.

  • By Mike From Mesa on 10-24-11

Truly Compelling

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

Reviewed: 01-20-12

I couldn't stop listening to this fascinating and lucid account. Roberts is a gifted storyteller with the knack of narrating complex events with clarity, enabling the listener to follow the battles without maps.

But this is so much more than a chronicle of battles. Roberts lards his tale with juicy details. We learn about the war's major personalities, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, the famous generals on both sides and the various love/hate relationships. And there are reminiscences from ordinary soldiers to bring events alive.

We hear of the political and diplomatic machinations. The relative virtues of various arms, tanks, ships and planes, from both sides, are compared and the herculean efforts every participating nation made to design and manufacture arms, with unprecedented speed and volume, are described. We hear of the terrible V1 and V2 rockets, the Hiroshima bomb, the Dresden firestorms, and the author gives thoughtful consideration to the moral implications of these means of war.

He describes Hitler's "stand and die" (fight to the death) orders and the Russian policy of shooting any soldier who was captured or retreated.

And yes, some statistics are necessary to help us grasp the enormous scale of history's greatest tragedy. It does take a little extra effort to hear, rather than see, statistics, but those provided here always seem justified.

I especially enjoyed the author's carefully considered "what if's"... what if Hitler had waited until 1942 to start the war, as had been planned, when he would have had so many more U-boats, Panzers, etc? What if he had refrained from insanely attacking Russia, and focused only on western Europe? What if England didn't have the enigma codes? What if we hadn't sent 15 million boots to Stalin along with guns and tanks, long before sending soldiers? What if Stalin hadn't ignored the 80 intelligence reports naming the exact time and day of the Barbarossa attack? And what if Hitler hadn't fallen for the Allies feints to attack Calais, rather than Normandy? These and more are thoughtfully explored.

I also like the author's inclusion of book and film suggestions... most histories but some fiction, for further reading.

I wasn't a WW2 buff before I read this book, but I am now. Roberts made it come alive to me in so many ways. And this book is completely relevant to today's over-armed world.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Scorpions

  • The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices
  • By: Noah Feldman
  • Narrated by: Noah Feldman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163

They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. Scorpions tells the story of four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scorpians: behind the scenes of the Supreme Court

  • By A. Chalut on 01-17-11

Fascinating and Compelling

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

Reviewed: 12-14-11

Not being a lawyer, I was a little hesitant about buying a book of legal history, but was intrigued from the very first sentence. Feldman writes with grace and clarity about the court that FDR built and four important justices who worked it. He describes the legal concepts and issues of the era with subtlety, yet in terms easy to grasp, and adds the juicy personal and political detail we need to understand where justices Frankfuter, Black, Jackson and Douglas came from and why they acted as they did.

I liked that he explained the different approaches to constitutional law, the crucial components of a number of important cases of the era, and included the political vectors affecting the court. This is a rich history and compelling "read".

He does a wonderful job as a narrator, too. I wish every non-fiction audiobook were read with such ease, simplicity, and complete lack of hype. Congratulations Noah Feldman!















































1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Truman

  • By: David McCullough
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 54 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,396
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,152
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,151

Hailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the 33rd president of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • That Mousy Little Man From Missouri Revisited

  • By Sara on 07-23-15

Fascinating

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

Reviewed: 11-05-11

My husband has the hard copy of this book -- 949 pages! I was a bit concerned about the length, but despite some unnecessary detail in part one, the book is fascinating. You really feel that you know where this man comes from as the narration unfolds.

I shared the common misconception of Truman's being a dull nebbish. Far from it, like Lincoln, he was a fascinating combination of dirt farmer and intellectual, with a ramrod sense of right and wrong -- a basically decent person. He was not charismatic, but honed his political skills in the machine politics of Missouri before winning his seat in the US senate. He also loved classical music and opera and had considered a career as concert pianist, he played so well. He lived in a fascinating era... succeeding FDR as the second world war wound down, and making some very big decisions such as dropping the atom bomb and our participation in the Korean war.

It's easy to regret these decisions in hindsight. McCullough is mostly non-judgemental, successfully recreating the concerns and zeitgeist of the era, and painting a portrait of a guy of very modest beginnings who rose to meet the challenges of his offices and era. The author does an excellent job, covering Potsdam, McCarthyism, General MacArthur's fall, and the isolationism and demagoguery of the Republican party among many other events.

I'm afraid Nelson Runger is not my favorite narrator. His style is slightly pompous and a bit labored. Ironically, this tone sounds like forties and fifties radio and TV voices, so maybe it's just right. To his credit, he does not mis-pronounce words like so many younger narrators. But the book is well worth a listen and is a great introduction to that era.

40 of 46 people found this review helpful