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Ellen S. Wilds

Silver Spring, MD USA
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 125
  • helpful votes
  • 83
  • ratings
  • Dead Wake

  • The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,272
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,213

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Naivety VS Barbarians Of War

  • By Sara on 03-05-16

Detailed and Exacting Account

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

Reviewed: 02-04-16

Any additional comments?

While I have long been familiar with the basics surrounding the loss of the Lusitania, I had no idea of the complexity of people and events that led to the tragedy, nor of the long aftermath. This book covers the sinking in exacting and relentless detail, always with the sense that the terrible event is coming. An excellent book on a vastly misunderstood subject.

  • Flapper

  • A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern
  • By: Joshua Zeitz
  • Narrated by: Daniella Rabbani
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 53

Blithely flinging aside the Victorian manners that kept her disapproving mother corseted, the New Woman of the 1920's puffed cigarettes, snuck gin, hiked her hemlines, danced the Charleston, and necked in roadsters. More important, she earned her own keep, controlled her own destiny, and secured liberties that modern women take for granted. Her newfound freedom heralded a radical change in American culture.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good Book, Poor Performance

  • By redsrule1 on 03-16-14

Madcap And Modern

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

Reviewed: 02-04-16

Any additional comments?

As an historian interested in social movements, this book offered a wonderful insight into the many women who first broke the old Victorian-Edwardian mold and threw the pieces out the window.

  • Skin Game

  • A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 19,719
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18,382
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18,306

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back.

  • By Don Gilbert on 05-29-14

Best Dresden Book Ever

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

Reviewed: 02-04-16

Any additional comments?

Twisting and surprising, SKIN GAME is a magical heist story with hero Harry Dresden caught in the middle as he juggles the intricacies of arcane law with matters of faith.

  • Summer Knight

  • The Dresden Files, Book 4
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,069
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,666
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,605

The Winter Queen of Faerie has manipulated Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden into accepting a case to solve a murder and stop a war between the courts of Summer and Winter that could have literally earth shattering consequences. His own soul is up for grabs. Dresden must dig deep to discover that at time a willingness to accept a little help from your friends, be they a cub pack of werewolves, old loves in sheep's clothing, or a battalion of pizza loving dewdrop fairies, is a very good thing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Harry & James are one.

  • By Michael on 10-28-10

Another Win For Harry Dresden and Jim Butcher

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

Reviewed: 02-04-16

Where does Summer Knight rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I love all the books in this series, although only a very few have merited a reread. This is one of those.

Have you listened to any of James Marsters’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Marster's reading is masterful. His vocal range and facility with accents make each character come alive.

  • Haunted Ground

  • By: Erin Hart
  • Narrated by: Jennifer McMahon
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 624
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 326
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 325

When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery, the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair, archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Archeology, Folklore and Mystery in Ireland

  • By Sara on 08-04-14

Best Book I Have Read All Year

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

Reviewed: 05-24-14

Would you consider the audio edition of Haunted Ground to be better than the print version?

While I have not read the print version, I feel certain that the audio presentation must be far better because the narrator moves seamlessly between Irish, English and American accents. Since in some ways Ireland itself is a character, hearing the native speech is crucial for the reader to feel the atmosphere of the country.

What did you like best about this story?

Erin Hart has wonderfully woven archeology and modern forensics to solve not one, but two mysteries, one centuries old and the other a recent cold case. As an historian with an interest in archeology, I have always found the "bog bodies" of Europe to be fascinating if unintentional time capsules. This novel clearly presents the character of Irish society from the 17th century to the present, all in the guise of a modern murder mystery.

What about Jennifer McMahon’s performance did you like?

Ms. McMahon's reading is beautiful, her accents for the various characters clear and compelling. She gracefully shifts from Irish to English to the US, from male to female, from young to old

Who was the most memorable character of Haunted Ground and why?

For me, the most memorable character is the murdered woman whose head is found in a peat bog at the opening of the book, a beautiful girl with masses of red hair. The investigation into her brutal death in the 17th century leads the local Gardai (Gaelic for "police") to reopen a more recent cold case. While this latter case forms the major plot of the novel, the story always returns to the Cailin Rua (Gaelic for "red haired girl") and does not leave the reader wanting for answers.

Any additional comments?

My only criticism of the format is the confusing lineup of books and chapters; these "books" each having 10-12 chapters in Audible.com's production. While I understand and accept the needs of audio production, it would have been better to inform the reader the exact location within the book (or books as the case might be) for the chapter list. I suggest readers use the installed bookmark system rather than rely solely on the cutoff place. This book is far too brilliant to leave complicated by audio formatting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The History of the Ancient World

  • From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
  • By: Susan Wise Bauer
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,950
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,649
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,631

This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Historic Achievement

  • By Ellen S. Wilds on 04-25-14

An Historic Achievement

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

Reviewed: 04-25-14

If you could sum up The History of the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

Colourful, In-Depth, Informative

Who was your favorite character and why?

Considering this book covers a vast portion of early human history it is impossible to assign particular value to a single character.

Which scene was your favorite?

Picking just one episode is difficult, but the most memorable to me was the exchange between King Croesus of Lydia and King Cyrus of Persia on the night the Persians looted the fabled wealth of the Lydians. Noting that the defeated monarch was quiet as his city burned, Cyrus asked how he felt about losing his wealth in this manner. "It is not my wealth they are stealing," Croesus replied. "It is yours." Valuable insight into the nature of conquest even today.

Any additional comments?

Although my field is 19th century Victoriana, I have an interest in many periods of history, in particular the Aegean Bronze Age and the early Celts in Europe. This book blends ancient historical accounts, myths, legends, religious texts to weave a tapestry of early human history, including civilizations as diverse as Mesopotamia, India, China and Europe. It is a massive undertaking.

I accept that accuracy is not always possible when the only texts available are those that have been translated, interpreted, and even deified. While experts may disagree on the finer points, the overall effort is worthy of credit. To keep all these many threads separate and clear is a mighty undertaking and I applaud the author for the attempt.

No historical account can be perfect as new discoveries come to light all the time, from archeological digs and manuscript finds to revisions of classic literature. If we waited for historians to agree on the details, no history would ever be written. And that would be a great loss. This is a fine historical overview and what it lacks in depth is more than made up for in breadth.

121 of 127 people found this review helpful

  • Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation

  • By: Trevor Marriott
  • Narrated by: Norman Gilligan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 89

There have been countless attempts to solve the brutal murders committed by Jack the Ripper more than 100 years ago. It seems that almost everyone has their own theory and their own suspect, ranging from the reasonably likely to the entirely preposterous. What this most famous of British criminal cases has always required is a professional eye to analyse it with all the benefits of modern investigate techniques. Now that has been provided in the shape of the man most qualified to solve the case: former British murder-squad detective Trevor Marriott.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A must for the Ripper-obsessed

  • By 6catz on 12-31-12

A New Take On An Old Mystery

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

Reviewed: 03-28-13

Would you consider the audio edition of Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation to be better than the print version?

I would not know since I have not read the print version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack the Ripper: The 21st-Century Investigation?

I am not certain how this question applies to what is essentially a "documentary" account. What I found compelling about this book is that the author has uncovered new information ad perspectives on one of the greatest unsolved cases from the 19th century. Just when I thought there was nothing more to say about the Ripper murders, Trevor Marriott uncovers clues and leads left uncovered for over a century, leading him to an entirely different conclusion than other authors on the topic.

Such leads include a conclusion that Jack the Ripper need not have had any supposed surgical skill at all. He further disputes the list of canonical victims. Rather than the usual five (Nichols, Stride, Eddows, Chapman and Kelly) he includes victims before Polly Ann Nichols and victims after Mary Jane Kelly, as well as victims in foreign countries. By expanding his view of victims he also expands the list of suspects.

While the Ripper Killings will never be definitively solved due to the long passage of time and the loss of physical evidence, Marriott has presented a compelling circumstantial case for his chosen suspect.

Which scene was your favorite?

This book is not an actual mystery, but instead is a book about a mystery. I suppose if I had to name a favourite part it would be the description of the author came to discount the theory that Jack the Ripper possessed advanced surgical skill.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I am not allowed the luxury of listening to books in a single sitting, and I deem this a silly question.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful