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Aa-bomb

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  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 10
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  • Swansong 1945

  • A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich
  • By: Walter Kempowski, Shaun Whiteside (translator)
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove, Christine Williams
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

Swansong 1945 chronicles the end of Nazi Germany and World War II in Europe through hundreds of letters, diaries, and autobiographical accounts covering four days that fateful spring: Hitler's birthday on April 20, American and Soviet troops meeting at the Elbe on April 25, Hitler's suicide on April 30, and finally the German surrender on May 8.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good except for one bad narrator

  • By Aa-bomb on 07-06-15

Good except for one bad narrator

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

Reviewed: 07-06-15

Any additional comments?

This is a good book but not an easy-listening Ken Burns-style documentary (as I'd partly hoped). Requires concentration, since there are so many different voices in the text, along with sometimes unfamiliar German place names. Male narrator is fine but the female one is awful. She has a sort of phony finishing-school accent and sounds as though she's speaking every word through the clenched teeth of a false smile. Also she overacts horribly. As it happens, there are more male diarists in the book than female ones, so you have to listen to her less than half the time. But even that's too much.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • McMafia

  • A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
  • By: Misha Glenny
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120

Misha Glenny's groundbreaking study of global organized crime is now the inspiration for an eight-part AMC crime drama starring James Norton (War and Peace), Juliet Rylance, and David Strathairn. In this fearless and wholly authoritative investigation of the seemingly insatiable demand for illegal wares, veteran reporter Misha Glenny travels across five continents to speak with participants from every level of the global underworld. What follows is a groundbreaking, propulsive look at an unprecedented phenomenon from a savvy, street-wise guide.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worthwhile Overview

  • By Roy on 05-14-10

Great

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

Reviewed: 04-14-15

Any additional comments?

So much crime, so much corruption. Author puts all this mayhem into context -- globalization, international and domestic politics. Not sure if Misha Glenny writes for The Economist but it's that style.

  • Why We Love Serial Killers

  • The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers
  • By: Scott Bonn
  • Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

In Why We Love Serial Killers, criminology professor Dr. Scott Bonn explores our powerful appetite for the macabre, while also providing new and unique insights into the world of the serial killer, including those he has gained from his correspondence with two of the world’s most notorious examples, David Berkowitz ("Son of Sam") and Dennis Rader ("Bind, Torture, Kill").

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating listening.

  • By Susan Keefe on 12-10-14

Too academic

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

Reviewed: 04-14-15

Any additional comments?

Sort of remedial-academic style. Social scienc-ey; patiently describes differences between "psychopaths" and "sociopaths." Just tell us about the serial killers.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Crystal World

  • By: J. G. Ballard
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Through a 'leaking' of time, the West African jungle starts to crystallize. Trees are metamorphosed into enormous jewels. Crocodiles encased in second glittering skins lurch down the river. Pythons with huge blind gemstone eyes rear in heraldic poses. Fearing this transformation as a herald of the apocalypse, most flee the area in terror, afraid to face a catastrophe they cannot understand. But some, dazzled and strangely entranced, remain to drift through this dreamworld forest.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't finish

  • By Aa-bomb on 04-14-15

Couldn't finish

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

Reviewed: 04-14-15

Any additional comments?

I've been reading for years about how great J.G. Ballard is, but I just don't get it. Seems like basically pulp, and pulp in which not much happens. Read The Drowned World, but that wasn't much better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • With the Old Breed

  • At Peleliu and Okinawa
  • By: E. B. Sledge
  • Narrated by: Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks (introduction)
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,163
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,803
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,790

The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is the second audio book of Sledge's work

  • By Richard on 10-21-13

Hard to forget

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

Reviewed: 04-14-15

Any additional comments?

Can't really argue with this book because of the sheer mass of gut-wrenching tropical warfare details/bravery/comradeship/death. Contains some classic passages. Goes on a bit; eventually the descriptions of the misery get a little tiring. The narration is a little too breathless, bordering on hammy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Smoking Diaries

  • The Smoking Diaries, Volume 1
  • By: Simon Gray
  • Narrated by: Simon Gray
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

When he turned 65, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a diary: not a careful honing of the days' events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. One of Britain's most amusing and original writers reflects on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters - a record of shame, adultery, friendship and love. Few diarists have ever been so frank about themselves and even fewer so entertaining.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good but sad

  • By Aa-bomb on 04-14-15

Good but sad

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

Reviewed: 04-14-15

Any additional comments?

Well-written and well read. Sad, though. Kept thinking I would get the next Diaries book but didn't.

  • Nemesis

  • The Battle for Japan, 1944-45
  • By: Max Hastings
  • Narrated by: Stewart Cameron
  • Length: 29 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184

With an introduction read by Max Hastings. A companion volume to his best-selling ‘Armageddon’, Max Hastings’ account of the battle for Japan is a masterful military history. Featuring the most remarkable cast of commanders the world has ever seen, the dramatic battle for Japan of 1944-45 was acted out across the vast stage of Asia: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Soviet assault on Manchuria.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Book. Even for anti-British Americans.

  • By Ted on 07-15-14

Bad accents

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

Reviewed: 02-20-15

Any additional comments?

The book was great, but the narration was a little disappointing. Stewart Cameron does a good job overall, but whenever a non-British person is quoted in the text (which is often), he reads the passage in their accent. His accents are bad, especially his American accent. All the Americans sound like adenoidal newscasters or mentally challenged farm boys. It broke the flow of Hastings' narration, and over 27 hours it got pretty annoying. Really, no one reads Hastings better than Hastings. I wish they could persuade him to record one of his books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful