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Colin

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  • Hue 1968

  • A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
  • By: Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 18 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,079
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,070

By January 1968, despite an influx of half a million American troops, the fighting in Vietnam seemed to be at a stalemate. Yet General William Westmoreland, commander of American forces, announced a new phase of the war in which "the end begins to come into view". The North Vietnamese had different ideas. In mid-1967, the leadership in Hanoi had started planning an offensive intended to win the war in a single stroke.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beware of men w/ theories that explain everything.

  • By Darwin8u on 05-09-18

Vivid portrayal

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

Certainly not for the faint of heart, Hue paints an incredibly vivid portrait of the battle from many perspectives. The narration is absolutely perfect, which helps lend a stoic yet poignant feel to the narrative. At times, it can feel dense with detail from the American perspective and light on detail from the Communist perspective, but the fact that there is a North Vietnamese perspective at all is a testament to his dedication to the whole story. One thing I would have liked would be more use of original recordings when possible. It would be very cool to hear Johnson's actual speech on deescalation after such a clear and complete backstory.

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

  • By: Khaled Hosseini
  • Narrated by: Atossa Leoni
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,681
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,411
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,429

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnificent

  • By Bill from Florida on 05-29-07

Utterly captivating

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

A Thousand Splendid Suns is absolutely fantastic. The characters and setting are vibrant and engaging, the language is expressive and thoughtful, and the emotion is palpable, despite a rather flat narration fitting for the historical but perhaps not the personal aspects of the book. Don't let that dissuade you though. If you haven't read this book, absolutely do!

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Alfred Molina
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,615
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,958
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,912

Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wish the sample was not from the preface!

  • By Kristopher S. on 11-13-17

A great exploration of his life and work

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

Without the PDF, the book can drag a bit at times, but the descriptions of the paintings were generally vivid enough to maintain my interest and the asides about the politics and techniques of the contemporary world of art experts were surprisingly engaging! Also, no, the main narrator does not sound like that of the demo at all.

  • Titan

  • The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 35 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,806
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,430
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,423

Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller’s exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book indelibly alters our image of this most enigmatic capitalist. Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world’s richest man by creating America’s most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He makes Bill Gates look like a Pauper!

  • By Rick on 11-04-13

Exhausting at times, but worth the effort

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

I found Titan more trying and intense than some other Ron Chernow books, but maybe that is appropriate for such a mysterious, obfuscated subject. Chernow upholds his reputation for exhaustive research and personal illumination, and Gardner's narration is strong if occasionally mechanical.

  • Chasing the Scream

  • The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
  • By: Johann Hari
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 14 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,915
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,648
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,650

It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, 30,000-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This is worth your time....

  • By Drake on 04-24-16

Great information drowned in confused emotion

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

Reviewed: 02-13-18

I really admire the writer's dedication to discovering the truth. It's very apparent that writing this book has totally changed his worldview on the subject, and his passion shows clearly throughout the book. Unfortunately, like any new convert, he struggles to focus his thoughts and balance enthusiasm and objectivity. Too often, I feel, he answers the same question repeatedly or drags out an anecdote well beyond it's emotional punch. For those with a baseline of understanding on drugs or a less liberal bent, exasperation may outweigh fascination. This isn't to say that someone else won't appreciate it though! A reader with little knowledge of the drug war will probably find the book eye-opening and fascinating. If that is you, then read the book and do some more research on your own afterward.

  • The Life We Bury

  • By: Allen Eskens
  • Narrated by: Zach Villa
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,360
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,900
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,817

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen!

  • By Lori on 12-14-15

Nothing special, but some good potential

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

Reviewed: 11-03-17

The Life We Bury feels like a book written by a young author and mangled by the capitalist instincts of a publisher. I don't know if that is true, but that's the impression I get. Many of the supporting characters are formulaic and half the sentences have similies, but Eskens seems to have some potential in my uninformed opinion. A mostly likeable main character, a touching and seemingly honest depiction of autism, and periodic inspired prose intrigued me enough to consider another of his books, especially with Villa as the narrator. His voices are all distinct and consistent, and he adds some great tension to the story without sounding too hokey. Overall, it's a good listen if you want something casual and aren't deterred by the horrors of war and sex crimes.

  • At Home

  • A Short History of Private Life
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,689
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,198

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another wonderful Bryson

  • By Tina on 10-23-10

You can't not love Bill Bryson

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

Reviewed: 10-28-17

He's just so great. At Home is not much more than a loose connection of anecdotes and facts Bryson thought were cool, but somehow he left me enthralled with each chapter. He is earnestly fascinated by everything, and his charm makes it all but impossible not to share his enthusiasm.

  • The Sixth Extinction

  • An Unnatural History
  • By: Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Narrated by: Anne Twomey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,386
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,037
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,013

A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lifts you out of the ordinary

  • By Regina on 04-28-14

A wonderful exploration of our role in the world

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

The Sixth Extinction is incredibly well researched and evocative. The author manages to avoid lecturing or drawing too many conclusions from her experiences, and her highlights of the people fighting this catastrophe help give the book a more personal, conversational feel. The book is at once a nature documentary and a travelogue of sorts, and although the two styles occasionally butt up against each other awkwardly, the end result is both engaging and eye-opening.

  • Furiously Happy

  • A Funny Book About Horrible Things
  • By: Jenny Lawson
  • Narrated by: Jenny Lawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,727
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,704

Audie Award, Humor, 2016. In Furiously Happy, number-one New York Times best-selling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Small doses.

  • By Shawna on 10-18-15

I cried. And laughed. A lot.

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

Reviewed: 04-21-17

She gives an incredible insight into the horrors and humors of mental illness and speaks directly into the void that sometimes opens in life and feels never ending. To hear her tell her stories herself only makes it more powerful.

  • The Big Burn

  • Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America
  • By: Timothy Egan
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,659
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,218
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,224

In The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan put the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl at the center of a rich history, told through characters he brought to indelible life. Now he performs the same alchemy with The Big Burn, the largest-ever forest fire in America, a tragedy that cemented Teddy Roosevelt's legacy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating history of early Forest Service

  • By P. Bergh on 11-11-09

One of my favorites!

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

Reviewed: 04-12-17

This book sets about the difficult task of trying to tie together two very different story lines into one narrative, and although it probably doesn't succeed enough in that respect to earn any special awards, it makes for a fascinating and exciting tale. Egan's wonderfully detailed depiction of political intrigue around the Forrest Service is almost as captivating as the heart-racing chapters on the Big Burn itself. His characters are engaging and his settings are incredibly clear, so that you can almost smell the smoke and feel the energy of Teddy's political revolution. If you are just looking for a fun historical drama, I cannot recommend it enough!