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Gillian

Austin, TX, United States
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  • Victory Fever on Guadalcanal

  • Japan's First Land Defeat of World War II
  • By: William H. Bartsch
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

Following their rampage through Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the five months after Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces moved into the Solomon Islands, intending to cut off the critical American supply line to Australia. But when they began to construct an airfield on Guadalcanal in July 1942, the Americans captured the almost completed airfield for their own strategic use. The Japanese Army countered by sending to Guadalcanal a reinforced battalion under the command of Col. Kiyonao Ichiki.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • VICTORY FEVER ON GUADALCANAL

  • By Prairie Beauty on 12-09-18

Action Punctuated By The Dry, The Drudge

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

I suppose I expected more in the way of humanity and the experiences of the men who lived the combat of this, the first several weeks of Guadalcanal, seeing as the Publisher's Summary cites so many resources, especially diaries and memoirs. And while it does have the memories of many men, Victory Fever on Guadalcanal doesn't have many of them.
For instance, a line will tell us about gnats swarming into eyes, suggesting hell to walk through, but we don't get anything about what the men actually experienced, how it felt to be walking through that.
And there are many men. Many, many men. So many that I found it somewhat confusing at times. And there's planning for battles and engagements. Much, much planning. So much that I'd get somewhat bored at times (especially since hey! when has something ever gone according to plan?).
Still, when the listener gets to the actual engagements, there's plenty of action to carry you through and Victory Fever on Guadalcanal delivers. It's really good there.
Bill Nevitt does an admirable job, especially gamely running through the many Japanese names (tho' I'm no expert on Japanese, so I can't 100 per cent guarantee that it's all correct). And he does well in griping when someone gripes, elevating his voice when someone else shouts. I can't tell you how key this is if you're keeping a listener hooked in a book that could be considered dry at points.
A good listen, enough to make me wonder about seeking out Guadalcanal Diary to find out the rest of the history.

I received this audiobook free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Immigration and the American Backlash

  • By: John Tirman
  • Narrated by: Jim Sartor
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Illegal immigration continues to roil American politics. The right-wing media stir up panic over "anchor babies", job stealing, welfare dependence, bilingualism, al-Qaeda terrorists disguised as Latinos, even a conspiracy by Latinos to "retake" the Southwest. State and local governments have passed more than 300 laws that attempt to restrict undocumented immigrants' access to hospitals, schools, food stamps, and driver's licenses.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Uneducated Soapbox Ranting at It's Best, Sadly

  • By Shannon G on 11-28-18

Human Dignity--Left or Right Wing Issue?!?

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

Reviewed: 11-25-18

I walked into Immigration and the American Backlash thinking I'd be hit with a barrage of left-wing arguments, something that I, as a slightly left-of-center person might find to be a slight affront (and perhaps I should say here that I swing more to the right the older I get). And it certainly does make some arguments that someone who thinks from the right might find infuriating, but overall one finds that the book is mostly about humans making their way.
Make no mistake: The Left gets some heavy-duty whonking on the head, as the problem comes across as starting off from neo-Liberal policies of the 90s (think NAFTA and super cheap labor depressing a living wage), and it goes on to slight it as being a lot of hand-wringing now.
Still, I can see where the people on the Right would dislike the book: It's heavy on immigrants keeping some of their culture alive and well even as they live in this country. It suggests that Mexican-American studies aren't all that bad (and what other way to introduce the culture to citizen students to immigrants so that they aren't perpetually viewed as The Other?). It asks that we look at how our own policies, economic, social, political, have undermined the fabric of society in the countries that are seeing the most emigration. This is never fun stuff to listen to, I assure you.
But the book really highlights the immigrants as human beings. It over and over shows people working truly wretched jobs for truly wretched wages.
Jim Sartor does a capable job narrating the book, and while I sometimes found his narration to be over-enthusiastic, it never got in the way of the whole shebang.
Mostly the book just reminds us of one salient fact: We're talking about people here, and since when have human dignity, human rights been an awful thing? (okay! okay! since forever--still--worthy of a listen!)

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

  • Eva's Story

  • A Survivor's Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank
  • By: Eva Schloss, Evelyn Julia Kent
  • Narrated by: Ann Richardson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 30

Many know the tragic story of Anne Frank, the teen whose life ended at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. But most people don’t know about Eva Schloss, Anne’s playmate and stepsister. Though Eva, like Anne, was taken to Auschwitz at the age of 15, her story did not end there. This incredible memoir recounts - without bitterness or hatred - the horrors of war, the love between mother and daughter, and the strength and determination that helped a family overcome danger and tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Story! Listen to this audiobook.

  • By Jesus on 05-29-18

Uplifting, But European Narrator, Please!

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

Ann Richardson does a fine job with the narration, turning in a warm and heartfelt performance, but it was mighty, mighty, MIGHTY strange hearing an eyewitness account of the Holocaust in the voice of a young American girl. While it is a strong story, it could have been stronger with a different narrator. But that is the only problem I have with the narration. So sue me; it kept jumping out at me as she, Eva, recounts her time in her hometown then Amsterdam, then Birkenau, then traveling after the liberation of the camps by the Russians.

This is one of those survivor accounts where the victim has no hatred or malice for the victimizers. Throughout, there is faith, friendship, the love of family, hope for the future, even a sort of peace made with what is happening to her at the time. Even though there is always, always such fear. Eva suffers typhus and frostbite, but she will not seek medical help because that could get her sent straight to the showers. (By the way, there is one horrible scene where a large group of them are sent to the showers and nobody knows, will it be water? or will it be gas?)

Eva is the stepsister of Anne Frank only by the remarriage of her mother much later on to Otto Frank. But they were sort of playmates at a time, though Eva feels Anne was far more mature than she at the time. Just do not go into the audiobook thinking there will be lots of peripheral/lateral stuff about Anne Frank.

Still and all, on its own, it is a good story, a hopeful one. Even though there is plenty of fear and tragedy thrown in

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Perhaps Dying

  • The Medical Backstory of Spinal Tuberculosis Hidden in the Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham
  • By: Dennis A. Rasbach MD FACS
  • Narrated by: Ben Collins
  • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Invalid teenager Leroy Wiley Gresham left a seven-volume diary spanning the years of secession and the Civil War. He was just 12 when he began, and he died at 17, just weeks after the war ended. LeRoy’s diary offers an inside look at a fateful journey that robbed an energetic and likeable young man of his youth and life. I Am Perhaps Dying adds considerably to the medical literature by increasing our understanding of how tuberculosis attacked a young body over time, how it was treated in the middle 19th century, and the effectiveness of those treatments.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Redundant

  • By Margaret on 12-07-18

Mostly As A Companion to The War Outside My Window

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

‘Cause if you haven’t read that, you might be dead in the water with I Am Perhaps Dying. This book by Dr. Rasbach chronicles LeRoy’s many illnesses, primarily his tuberculosis (at least that’s his diagnosis based on the “cures” LeRoy was undergoing, and his journal entries of symptoms). It can get pretty technical, not exactly for the layman, but if you already know LeRoy Wiley Gresham from his diaries, it’ll be of interest to you. The poor kid went through a lot in his desperate and short life. If you haven’t heard of him, you might think he’s a total whiner as the only parts of his diary that are narrated here are of his ailments, not his take on history and the ongoing Civil War.

It can get pretty repetitive too. Alum water as a cure is mentioned in the first part, then in the second section, then it’s explained again. Same goes with alcohol and with opium and with many other medicines used. Then there are diary entries read in part as they relate to what Rasbach is discussing which go on to be read in full for the last two hours of the book where every single day has been mined to find LeRoy’s complaints for that day.

I guess I should say: that gets to be pretty sad, and one wonders what living with so debilitated an individual did to his parents who had to stand by and watch. Plus, they never told LeRoy about his diagnosis (for, though there was no understanding of TB, there certainly was the understanding of the death sentence consumption doled out), so he was unaware of his fate. There are many, many entries where he speaks: I hope this soon goes away; I wonder when I’ll be better, etc. etc. It’s not until eight days before his death that he comes to realize what the title of this audiobook states.

Ben Collins does a good job with the narration. The litany of complaints could come off as whiny, but instead, we feel LeRoy as a confused boy/young man, one who is very tired of being exhausted and of living in pain. Plus, there is a rather amusing section where the text from advertisements for the “cures” of the day are read, and you kinda get that snake-oil salesman feel from his tones.

As a companion to LeRoy’s diaries, I Am Perhaps Dying is fairly interesting. But you HAVE to read that first or justice will not be done to LeRoy’s work and memory.

I received a free book in exchange for this honest and unbiased review

  • Deep Six

  • Just Cause Universe, Book 4
  • By: Ian Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Leslie Howard
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

When criminals are convicted, they go to jail. When they have parahuman abilities, they go to Deep Six, the most secure prison facility in the world. Six thousand feet underground, nobody has ever escaped from the maximum security facility. Until now. A parahuman terrorist called Misrule engineers a mass breakout, and it falls to a pair of prison guards to stop the world's most dangerous criminals from reaching freedom.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better then I expected.

  • By cosmitron on 10-11-18

Die Hard in the Superhero's Universe!

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

I received a free copy in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. There, that explains why I most happily chose a genre that I'm unfamiliar with, and I'm quite delighted to have dived into this book!
While I thought the superheroes were a bit of a feckless lot (Couldn't negotiate strongly, had a tendency of being overcome by gases then required very special doses of something to bring them back to consciousness), I was very happy with our heroine, Katie, who baaaarely has a super-power (her fingertips sprout itty bitty flames) but who uses that power incredibly well when everything hits the fan. And she and a fellow Corrections Officer, who also has an almost power, use what they have on hand with cutting intelligence to great effect whilst behind enemy lines, ala Die Hard. It's pretty fun.
The greatest weakness was Leslie Howard's narration. I listened to the sample long and hard, and even though her tones are quite whispery and feathery, I thought I could handle it. Alas, for two-thirds of the book, such tones are maintained, and she makes no distinction between characters which kinda throws off their dialogue, especially when Healy throws in clever bantering. Throws the fun off. But, and this I wipe my brow with relief, she revs it up for the final third of the book, and when our super-villain bellows, Howard bellows. When a character whines, she whines. It jazzes the ending up, and we're privy to the drama as the drama unfolds in a quick-paced fashion.
I don't know that the superheroes were good enough for me to seek more of the Just Cause Universe, but Katie and her cohort made this a fine and fun stand-alone book. After all, I listened to it in a single day, couldn't put it down because she's so clever, and the stakes were high!
Misrule was a clever and heartless villain, and Katie was a sharp-witted woman full of heart: a great match in a book!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Teeth

  • The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
  • By: Mary Otto
  • Narrated by: Suehyla El'Attar
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 171
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 156

Teeth takes listeners on a disturbing journey into America's silent epidemic of oral disease, exposing the hidden connections between tooth decay and stunted job prospects, low educational achievement, social mobility, and the troubling state of our public health.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Mouth--The Body, The Wallet, The Class Lines

  • By Gillian on 07-10-18

The Mouth--The Body, The Wallet, The Class Lines

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

Reviewed: 07-10-18

Growing up in a family of six, a cavity would've meant violence and a six-week grounding: we simply couldn't afford anything beyond basic care for such a large family. As I grew older, lacking dental insurance, I went across the border for shoddy service, but service nonetheless. Now, I have dental insurance, but out-of-pocket expenses are mind-boggling. Over zealous brushing as a child, otc medications that cause dry mouth and require synthetic saliva, prescription medications that cause teeth grinding all come together to make continuous dental care an absolute must. I'm at the mercy of the system.
This makes Teeth a truly captivating listen as I find that I'm not alone in feeling under the gun. In the book you'll find forays into those compelled to seek cosmetic dentistry, those compelled to simply hope for the best in buying pain medication as opposed to antibiotics they can't afford.
I can see where the book might anger those who decry Socialism! Socialism! But the book's many anecdotes are harrowing, and really: You don't find the well-heeled sporting rotting teeth. I urge listening to the book as it's an eye-opener and it expands ones awareness of the world that is around us, what the masses go through (do YOU want your restaurant hostess flashing a brown smile with gaps where teeth used to be? Is that who you want welcoming you into your doctor's office or serving your food?).
Teeth could've been edited some as it can be a bit repetitive, plus it relies heavily on Maryland's practices, plus there's quite a bit on the history of dentistry that can go on a bit too long. Still, it's a definitely worthwhile listen. By the way, I gave the narration only three stars because I thought El'Attar was a tad too enthusiastic, and you can sometimes hear the booing and jeering in her voice, which I don't need if the content of the book carries it without such additions.
Worth the time, worth the credit.

61 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Wait, What?

  • And Life's Other Essential Questions
  • By: James E. Ryan
  • Narrated by: James E. Ryan
  • Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,500
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,498

In his commencement address to the graduating class of 2016, James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, offered remarkable advice to the crowd of hopeful men and women eager to make their marks on the world. The key to achieving emotional connections and social progress, he told them, can be found in five essential questions.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • This Author and Book Rambles On and On and On ...

  • By J Littlejohn on 06-23-18

Great For Our Jobs, Our Families, Our Lives!

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

I was really surprised how broad the scope of Wait, What? was. It is, after all, quite simply, the expansion of a graduation speech. (Hmmm... maybe that should've told me about how much ground it had to cover?)
In a humorous and enlightening fashion, Ryan covers the five top questions we need to ask ourselves and others whilst traversing this uneven terrain we call Life.
Questions such as: Wait, what? (Clarification); I wonder (Curiosity); Couldn't we at least? (A way to get started, to find progress); How can I help? (Recognizing that others are experts in their own lives); and down to the nitty gritty: What truly matters? (Absolutely indispensable when dealing with colleagues, friends, close loved ones).
Plus there's a Bonus Question with a touching story behind it.
But there are many touching stories here, many truly funny moments too.
Filled with anecdotes and examples galore that'll stick with you for years to come, Wait, What? is essential, especially as it clocks in at under 3 hours. You'll have time to listen to it, time to absorb it; and it's not so odiously long that you can't come back to it again and again should you need the boost.
The only thing worse than a waste of money is a waste of time. This book is, quite happily, neither!

61 of 74 people found this review helpful

  • All the Dreams We've Dreamed

  • By: Rus Bradburd
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

Shawn Harrington returned to Marshall High School as an assistant coach years after appearing as a player in the iconic basketball documentary film Hoop Dreams. In January of 2014, Marshall's struggling team was about to improve after the addition of a charismatic but troubled player. Everything changed, however, when two young men opened fired on Harrington's car as he drove his daughter to school. Harrington was struck and paralyzed. The mistaken-identity shooting was followed by a series of events that had a devastating impact on Harrington and Marshall's basketball family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth reading

  • By Ryil A. on 06-11-18

More Hoop Dream Tragedies, With Some Hope

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

The Publisher's Summary for All the Dreams We've Dreamed is a tad misleading. Harrington wasn't really in the movie/documentary; he was years behind Arthur Agee, so wasn't much connected to him other than being in a featured school. Still, this book, like the documentary, shows that basketball can be an honest to God hope for, not a better future, but quite simply, ANY future. We're talking hard neighborhoods, hard lives--and many, many young men don't survive.
This was a really good book, though it ends rather suddenly. After all that happens, all that is delved into, the neat little bow we, the listeners, are handed just seems like set-up for the rest of the story. Truly, I wouldn't have minded waiting another year for release to see how things REALLY turn out.
Along the way, we meet many memorable young men, and that's a tragedy: because they're just memories at this point. A good deal of them fall victim to gun violence and utter hopelessness, living in a world with few options, where a decent 2-year college could mean the difference between life and death. There is plenty about the politics of education, the politics of managing guns, the politics of nothing mattering because it's black young men who are being decimated by the violence, not whites. (But this isn't a racially political book by any means).
A really good book, just short and sometimes it wanders a bit. We're taken into the lives and tragic circumstances/endings of many people before we get back to Shawn and what happens in his life, with his recovery. But a worthy listen.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Another Country

  • By: James Baldwin
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 16 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 344

Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, Another Country tells the story of the suicide of jazz-musician Rufus Scott and the friends who search for an understanding of his life and death, discovering uncomfortable truths about themselves along the way. Another Country is a work that is as powerful today as it was 40 years ago - and expertly narrated by Dion Graham.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Powerful and sad

  • By Kenneth on 04-10-09

Offering A Different Opinion--

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

Another Country is supposed to be a classic, one which exposes the worst parts of ourselves, the worst parts of our society and culture. Well, it does expose the worst, and that's the problem. There's no good to be found anywhere.
It starts off aimless, but well-written. Then it devolves into the most mean-spirited, back-biting melodrama imaginable. There are relationships everywhere: platonic, lovers, you name it. But there's no love or respect to be had anywhere. I came away wondering why on earth these people even talked to each other let alone had sex with each other. The few times a character showed enough insight, somebody else basically trashed them.
I really wondered what I was missing, so I researched common takeaways from the book. Rufus is supposed to be self-hatred due to the internalization of racism, and that's why he mistreats the white people who care for him. He's supposed to be a Christ figure.
Uhm, sorry. He just seemed like the poster boy for mental illness to me the way he and his actions, his thoughts, were written. And the whole story hinges on how everybody, each character deems his memory to be sacred, his loss a travesty.
Dion Graham does an okay job with narration, but there's plenty of off-key singing, and plenty of venom spewed, so this was pretty hard to listen to.
I go into each book I purchase, especially something considered a classic, expecting to give it 5-stars. It's usually mildly disappointing to go down a star or two, but it's downright heartbreaking and mind-boggling to come away knowing that a purchase merited a single star. But believe me: With Another Country, x1.5 speed wasn't fast enough to get me away from some mean and petty characters.
No beauty, no wisdom to be found in the brutality. Perhaps it's meant as a reflection of our society, but I don't know. In real life, there are still friendships to be found, and maybe even a little, even just a tiny bit of love to be nurtured.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Kick Ass with Mel Robbins

  • Life-Changing Advice from the Author of “The 5 Second Rule”
  • By: Mel Robbins
  • Narrated by: Mel Robbins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,422
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,388

Want more out of life? You're not alone. And best-selling author Mel Robbins is here to help with no-bullshit life and business advice that you won't get anywhere else. This follow-up to The 5-Second Rule - available only in audio - takes the classic talk-show format and elevates it to a premium audio experience. Listen to private, one-on-one coaching sessions between the celebrated motivational speaker and people like you - people who want better relationships, to be healthier and more productive, to get unstuck from destructive habits.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I related to every session somehow! Unbelievable

  • By Ben on 05-14-18

A Surprise Of A Good Listen...!

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

After The 5 Second Rule, I guess I didn't have really high expectations here. After all, 5 Second got pretty repetitive, and Mel didn't seem to feel bad that most of that book got to be same-old/same-old. So I suppose I expected to hear people who had the same problem at the root, or had differing problems, but they wound up being solved by the same tool. But I'm a person who thrives on self-development books, so I gave this one a try.
Boy! Every single person who Mel talks to here has a different sort of problem: Business problems, relationship problems, self-acceptance problems, and the list goes on. Some have had decent childhoods (though it was interesting that the majority of iconic issues occurred when people were in 4th grade/9-years old) with remarkably wounding episodes; some have had real horror shows in their backgrounds.
But, and this I liked, Robbins has a way of cutting to the quick with each of them: You are NOT your wound, so stop acting like it. And the people wound up seeing their own parts in their problems, their own failings. Some discovered they were manipulative, some wanted all the attention, one was just plain mean. But that was gotten to quickly and the tools to change were handed over immediately, so it's not like they were beaten over the head with their flaws. Mel is not a mean person; she's just honest and yikes is she quick on the draw.
I didn't give this five-stars because for a credit, I guess I kinda expected more clients. And as far as the Performance rating goes: What can I say? A couple of them speak like they're guest-stars, hoping to become famous. And a couple of them have laughs that about drove me up the wall (okay, so I'll shut up now about the petty things, shall I?).
The best part was that, at the end of each session, Robbins wraps it all up with takeaways that both you and I are privy to. We can all take something from each and every session (and don't get all offended if you hear profanity. There's a lot of pretty common language used).
So basically, this is a binge listen (and I'm not quoting the title or Audible will hold my review or remove it).
Think about yourself, think about your own issues, and find yourself in each and every one of these people who are struggling.
You ready to end a chapter and start a whole new one?

46 of 58 people found this review helpful