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Red Eagle's Legacy

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  • Ceres

  • Universe Eventual, Book 3
  • By: N. J. Tanger
  • Narrated by: Josh Bloomberg
  • Length: 13 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Whatever Navigator Selena Samuelson expected when her Fractal Class ship, Chimera, arrived at Earth, it certainly wasn't a brutal attack from an unknown enemy that killed more than half her crew and all but destroyed her ship. Deserted by their captain and the only other navigator, Selena makes a terrible gamble and flees for Damascene - a colony that lost contact with Earth hundreds of years ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Series keeps getting stronger!

  • By Red Eagle's Legacy on 03-28-18

Series keeps getting stronger!

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

Reviewed: 03-28-18

Ceres, the third book in the Universe Eventual series, grows the scope of the story with great new characters and a perfectly rendered original world, Damascene. A taut adventure of love and honor, Kerissa and Hammid struggle against the tradition of their machine-less society to find something greater - truth. The vicious Interlocutor has plans of war brewing against those who stand in her path to power. At the same time, Chimera, the wounded colony ship, is coming across the vast fractal space. The collision of all the threads weave a rich and fascinating tale that is the best yet in this exciting series.

NJ Tanger delivers again. The galaxy is richer. The stakes higher. The quest deeper. You’ll love this book!

Narrator Josh Bloomberg did a great job visualizing the world and characters with his voice. A plus.

5 stars.

  • The Everlasting Man

  • By: G. K. Chesterton
  • Narrated by: John Franklyn-Robbins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 372
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325

Few people had a more profound effect on Christianity in the 20th century than G. K. Chesterton. The Everlasting Man, written in response to an anti-Christian history of humans penned by H.G. Wells, is considered Chesterton’s masterpiece. In it, he explains Christ’s place in history, asserting that the Christian myth carries more weight than other mythologies for one simple reason—it is the truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • well narrated audio of a masterpiece.

  • By J. Glemby on 10-15-11

Great Read on Christian Thought

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

Reviewed: 01-05-16

Christian apologists come and go with their books of the month, but few 20th Century writers could get to the heart of Christian thinking like G. K. Chesterton. His solid understanding of the world and how it should work provide channels of rationality that have been seeming lost by so much modern rhetoric. In fact, he simply pulls back the curtain on what so many think of as logical facts to reveal that they are, in truth, just crafted suppositions. A book on how to think rightly that ends up pointing to the divinity of Christ might not seem like the next book to put on your shelf, but if you’re a thinker – regardless of viewpoint – it will help you do that better.

In Protestant circles (and without), C.S. Lewis rightfully gets tons of praise as the preeminent apologist for rational Christian thought. However, Chesterton with an equally broad body of work has written some of the most accessible books on the depth of the Christian thought life. His treatise Orthodoxy reveals that truth is always simple and complicated and should not be disentangled. The Everlasting Man at its core is a blueprint for why so much highly touted science is in fact unsupportable by facts. Objective criticism is always needed to make a logical progression, but more and more, thinkers are turning to the subjective whims of thought to provide insight. Chesterton methodically presents why present day thinkers need to return to a true logic to understand our world.

Starting with the caveman, Chesterton reveals how more and more stories are told about the “prehistoric” man – as if the scientists don’t realize that prehistory means that we don’t know the stories. Supposition and conjecture to develop theory is always important in scientific endeavor, but there’s a point where many believe a whole stack of theories equate to reality. Many might believe that Earth resides in the arm of the Milky Way more than they would believe that there’s beautiful gardens in the city. But one you could go and prove, and the other will remain a supposition – even if it is true. While in no way reading like a textbook – it is always engaging – little by little the reader starts to see that there’s purpose behind science. This purpose is not always to reveal truth. You can help make it be though.

I will add that Chesterton does point truth seekers to the fount of Truth. He tries as best he can to show how the divinity of Christ is the logical way to understand the progress of the world. It’s not done in a Josh McDowell-like stacking of facts. He does it by asking you to think objectively and refrain from self-made rhetoric. Whether he ultimately succeeds is your call, but I felt like it was worth reading about.

Audible listeners: John Franklyn-Robbins did great as a thoughtful old British guy. Thought I was listening to Chesterton himself. :)

7 stars out of 10

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Dog Stars

  • By: Peter Heller
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,681
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,416
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,409

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • beautifully written and narrated!

  • By Mike Naka on 06-08-14

A Must Listen!

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

Reviewed: 12-18-15

The Dog Stars is my favorite kind of book. The kind randomly picked up or recommended that turns out to speak to who you are. I don’t know you or what you do, but if you like this book, then there’s at least a kinship of thought that I can salute. A knowing nod that says “Carry on and good luck.” This is the kind of book that when I get done and recommend to someone else, they look at me funny after a few chapters in. I think it worries my wife a little.

I’m an avid reader of survival stories, both real and fictional. Something about the call to overcome the difficulty that life presents – as if reading about it will make it so for me. I find it unsettling, even in the little parts of life, when I find people resigned to their troubles. I’m not saying I’m better, but there is something in me that says, “I want more. I will not stop. I will overcome this too.”

This story follows Hig – a survivor of the plague that has wiped the world free of all but a few people. He and his misanthropic friend Bangley work to protect their little corner of Colorado. Hig’s dog Jasper is his closest friend and constant companion. This threesome try to live and overcome the challenges of foraging for food, fending off other marauding survivors, and finding meaning in an apocalyptic world that has few answers.

Peter Heller expertly guides you through the inner currents of Hig’s psyche as he deals with the lot life has cast. You root for Hig as he grasps for a hold to control an unwieldy loneliness. His solitary plight is recognizable to many even in our connected age. You wish for him because it’s a wish for yourself. There is plenty of humor, wit, fear, and wisdom – and maybe something like finding love.

Earlier this year I read On The Beach by Nevil Shute. The world is ending and the story follows some normal people through the last oppressive days. While tinged in sorrow, the book is hopeful. The Dog Stars likewise is a search for hope. These are the stories I like best. “and hope does not disappoint…”

Audible Listeners: Mark Deakins did a fabulous job. His voice carries you forcefully through the story.

8.5 stars out of 10

  • Now Wait for Last Year

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125

Earth is trapped in the crossfire of an unwinnable war between two alien civilizations. Its leader is perpetually on the verge of death. And on top of that, a new drug has just entered circulation - a drug that haphazardly sends its users traveling through time. In an attempt to escape his doomed marriage, Dr. Eric Sweetscent becomes caught up in all of it. But he has questions: Is Earth on the right side of the war? Is he supposed to heal Earth’s leader or keep him sick? And can he change the harrowing future that the drug has shown him?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Can you make the world right?

  • By Red Eagle's Legacy on 12-16-15

Can you make the world right?

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

Reviewed: 12-16-15

Philip K. Dick has become well known for his books and short stories that have been turned into sci-fi movie blockbusters such as Minority Report, Total Recall, and maybe most famously Blade Runner. However this novel with its intragalactic war, time travel, and aliens will probably never be turned into a huge moneymaking movie. It’s because despite all the outward plot devices that seem ripe for action movie plunder, this book is about an internal war – a war about the depths of love and what is required of that love. PKD takes the reader to a place they may not want to go in a pulp SF novel, but for those who cross through time, you need to get there.

The book follows the story of Dr. Eric Sweetscent – a organ transplant specialist that is hired to keep the very rich alive. His wife is an antiquities merchant with a specialization in the mid 1900’s. She loathes him and he is tired of her, but the lasting afterimage of their love for each other keeps them tenuously bound together. They live during a war between two developed interstellar species the Starmen who are allied with Earth and the insect-like Reegs. Eric is drawn into the thick of the political intrigue behind the war when he is assigned to keep the leader of Earth alive.

While Eric is gone, his wife experiments with a new drug JJ-180 that has the side effect of sending the user through time. Unfortunately it is lethal and completely addictive. Eventually most of the main characters are using the drug to try to find something in the past or the present to help them overcome their situations – whether it’s winning the war, becoming wealthy, or healing relationships. PKD drives the story with action and quick pace while jumping in and out of time. The battlefield is always shifting, but can Eric find a reality that is the one he wants?

Was there a golden time in your past? Do you think the future must be better? If you could have everything just as you want, would it really make your life better. Phillip K. Dick wrestles with what it means to be happy and what the nature of true relationships are. Unlike any book that I have read – with outlandish backdrops and political intrigue – Now Wait For Last Year sticks the point to the reader: do you need everything perfect to determine your happiness. Life will never be perfect. Enjoy what you have and forget about the what-might-have-beens or the what-could-bes. Find the way to make this life enjoyable.

Again, this may be more than you’re looking for in a science fiction novel. There’s many things going on in this book that make it very entertaining reading, but you’re going to be left with a question in your heart about your enjoyment of life. Make the answer “Yes.”

Audible Listeners: Luke Daniels does a decent job. He's not my favorite narrator, but he does a good enough job not to lost the impact of the story.


6.5 stars out of 10

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Barrayar

  • A Vorkosigan Adventure
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,418
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,842
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,841

In the wake of interplanetary war, former commander Cordelia Naismith has deserted her own planet to marry the leader of the defeated enemy, Aral Vorkosigan. On his home planet of Barrayar, two rival factions are eyeing the recently vacated throne, and Aral, recently appointed Regent of Barrayar by the Emperor on his deathbed, must stand between them. Lord and Lady Vorkosigan, Aral and Cordelia struggle to establish stability in a fragile government thrown into confusion by the transition of power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lois Bujold always delivers!

  • By Karen S. Coyle on 02-04-10

Another Great Vorkosigan Story!

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

Reviewed: 12-15-15

Barrayar starts the same day as Bujold’s first Vorkosigan novel, Shards of Honor, leaves off. It fills in the drama that takes place during Cordelia’s pregnancy with Miles that was alluded to in The Warrior’s Apprentice. Written with the typical pace and wit that this series has become known for, this action packed installment won yet another well deserved Hugo Award for Ms. Bujold. If you’ve made it this far into the series, come back to old friends and enjoy the ride.

Cordelia Naismith – now Lady Vorkosigan – takes up the lead role that had been laid down for the future based books about her son. While Miles’ quick thinking and preternatural skill of getting himself into one jam after another can be good reading, it’s a nice change of pace to read how Cordelia solves problems that she did not take part in creating. Her strength and resiliency grounds the story in a way only adults can.

The tale essentially becomes one of survival as civil war breaks out on Barrayar as the old guard of politicians try to keep the newly appointed Regent Aral Vorkosigan out of power following the Emporer’s death. Evading assassination attempts, capture, and betrayal, Cordelia and the faithful Sergeant Bothari must do what they can to remain free – and keep her unborn child Miles alive. The story builds quickly into an all out sprint that doesn’t end until all Barryar has been changed. Yet again, the Vorkosigans are at the middle of events that shake the galaxy. Just a normal tale for this family.

Few authors provide such easy and enjoyable reading as Lois Bujold. Even if you’re not a science fiction reader, these stories are about the inner and outer struggles of life. Plus they’re a whole lot of fun. Highly recommended!

Audible listeners: Grover Gardner is a great reader!


7 stars out of 10

  • The Vor Game

  • A Miles Vorkosigan Novel
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,731
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,761
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,770

Miles Vorkosigan graduates from the Barrayaran Military Academy with high expectations of ship command, but is disappointed with an assignment as meteorologist to Lazkowski Base, an arctic training camp. His tenure in the windy, snow-covered north is cut short when Miles narrowly averts a massacre between the trigger-happy base commander and mutinous recruits. After a brief stay under 'house arrest', Miles is re-assigned to investigate a suspicious military build-up near a wormhole nexus.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nice introdution to Author

  • By Kindle Customer on 09-13-05

Grand Adventure All the Way!

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

Reviewed: 11-12-15

Some books are fun from first to last. Bujold has a special talent for drawing the reader in quick and not letting go. The Vor Game is no exception, and it’s no surprise why it was selected as the first of her Hugo Award winning novels. (I think it’s just because enough people realized that there was a good series here. The Warrior’s Apprentice was just as strong of a book.) Returning to the unlikely hero of Miles Vorkosigan again, this fast paced adventure begins on an arctic island on Barryar and ends with the fate of this edge of the galaxy being decided. Bujold does not tell small tales when grand ones will do better.

Miles, now a little older and maybe a slight bit wiser, is getting his first assignment as an officer. Unfortunately, it’s to an arctic weather base – where he is to be the weatherman. His dreams of interstellar heroism seem to be smothered by boredom until he starts to uncover a mystery that could end his career as quickly as it started. Plots, political intrigue, and pirates propel Miles to take up his old persona Miles Naismith of the Dendarii Mercenaries. The real mystery is can he ever let it go again.

There is nothing bland about The Vor Game. Even the exile of Kyril Island is given depth and menace as Miles spends his time there. Without giving anything away, the interactions between Miles and the Emperor were fun and engaging. Especially well done is the grandiose figure of Miles Naismith. How he waltzes back to the head of the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet is a tightrope act that Bujold carefully maneuvers him though. In fact, the special talent of the novel is finding the knife’s edge and staying there. As a reader it makes for many a tense page – all the while being immensely enjoyable. Commander Cavilo is Miles’ match, and a beautiful young woman is hard for a young officer to resist. How the web untangles is fun the whole way.

Don’t miss out on this series. It builds with every novel and The Vor Game is a gem.

Audible listeners: Great narration by Mr. Gardner. You'll enjoy listening.

7 stars out of 10

  • The Warrior's Apprentice

  • A Miles Vorkosigan Novel
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,980
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,028
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,039

Miles Vorkosigan makes his debut in this frenetic coming-of-age tale. At age 17, Miles is allowed to take the entrance exams to the elite military academy; he passes the written but manages, through miscalculation in a moment of anger, to break both his legs on the obstacle course, washing out before he begins. His aged grandfather dies in his sleep shortly after, for which Miles blames himself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great character!

  • By Readalot on 01-28-09

A Stellar Read - Here Comes Miles!

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

Reviewed: 11-05-15

The second book published in the Vorkosigan saga, the fourth in chronological order, is the entrance of Miles Vorkosigan – the young, deformed yet brilliant child of Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith (the heroes of Shards of Honor). At first, it may seem like you’re reading a book about any old SF wunderkind, but Bujold skillfully raises Miles to extraordinary heights without making it seem farcical. By the end of this one book, you know that you’re reading about a hero that will be a favorite to many including yourself. This book is a must read. I would recommend beginning with Shards of Honor for a full character arc, but it’s not necessary. Enjoy this first encounter with Miles.

Miles Vorkosigan’s story begins with trying to get into the Barrayaran Officer’s Academy, but he is unable to qualify due to his malformed body caused by an attack when his mother was pregnant with him. To console himself from the disappointment, he travels to his mother’s home planet of Beta Colony with his bodyguard Sergeant Bothari and Bothari’s daughter, Elena. Along the way to deal with his overactive mind and curiosity – and maybe to help impress Elena, Miles starts an adventure of commerce, piracy, rebellion that grows at every turn. Where it ends, nobody knows, but Miles and his crew are caught in the whirlwind until it does.

The super brainiac kid is an overused trope in writing in general. Some handle it well, such as Card with Ender’s Game, but most do not. Bujold’s strength lies in her ability to write characters that you care about and make them true to themselves. You want to root for the brilliant Miles, you hurt for the embattled Bothari, you want Elena to be happy. All the while she crafts a story of many pieces and brings them together to great conclusions. Her books don’t usually end with one resolution but many. This book is no exception. Bujold has four Hugo Award winning books, but this book was written before her first win. I think it may be her best – award or no.

If you want to read a great storyteller bring together layers of story arc so well that you don’t realize what’s happening, then read Shards of Honor then The Warrior’s Apprentice. The two books are mirrors to each other and have a powerful symmetry in story and emotion. You will not regret the time spent.

Audible listeners: Grover Gardner is a gem. Listen to him often.

8 stars out of 10

  • Shards of Honor

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,765
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,121
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,139

I>Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the science-fiction world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Naismith. From this beginning the author has created a multigenerational saga spanning time as well as space. Bujold is generally recognized as the current exemplar of the character-based science-fiction adventure story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First story in the Miles Vorkosigan series

  • By Lifelong Reader on 06-18-09

Great Start to a Great Series

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

As a Science Fiction reader, there are few classics, celebrated authors, important series that I have not taken a dip into at some point or another. However, I’ve always kind of avoided the Vorkosigan Saga. When looking for the next thing to read, it always gets touted as “the best” or “in the top SF series ever written.” I don’t know if it’s the sheer number of volumes, the reviews it gets as space opera, or – just being honest – that it has a female author that has kept me so reticent all these years. Probably it’s because I’ve never had a friend of mine – and this is amazing due to its popularity – never tell me I should read them. Well I finally broke down and started the series, and guess what? It’s good.

One of the difficult things about the Vorkosigan Saga is where to start. I would avoid trying to decipher the reading order initially from all the fan sites and reviewers. The books are now being put into chronological order instead of publication date. While this is fine and dandy, I don’t know if it does the series any favors. Shards of Honor was the first novel in the series published (even though now it gets called Book 2), and I think it’s a great place to start to get the tenor of Bujold’s writing. It’s pre-Miles, the hero that drives most of the following books, but it situates the universe well. And, it provides the historical backdrop for most of the following stories.

Cordelia Naismith is a captain in a planetary survey for Beta Colony. Her goal is to scientifically chart new worlds and their natural characteristics. Unknowingly she stumbles into intrigue that involves Barrayar – a military based society that is trying to flex its muscles. She finds herself united with Aral Vorkosigan, a Barrayaran commander, that is fighting his own internal political battle with members of his planet’s ruling elite. Together they walk a knife’s edge of loyalty, subterfuge, and honor while the fate of planets hangs in the balance.

There is a lot going for this book. Great action sequences, large scale interplanetary strategy, traitors, and spies, but at the heart what wins the day is the relationship between Naismith and Vorkosigan. Bujold expertly writes the “human” factor. While the heavens may be in chaos, she makes sure to keep the story honed in on the thoughts and feelings of her main characters. This is why the series is so well liked. You relate to the characters. You become enmeshed with their lives and hope for their good. Sure there are many well crafted meta-storylines creating the high drama, but it’s the drama of the heart that makes this book a winner.

Shards of Honor is not the best book in the series, but it’s a great introduction. Fast paced, witty, and grand in scope, I bet you, like me, will have to read more.

Audible listeners: Grover Gardner is an excellent reader. He brings out the best in this book.

6.5 stars out of 10

  • Lord of All Things

  • By: Andreas Eschbach, Samuel Willcocks (translator)
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 21 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,299
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,135

They are just children when they first meet: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador, and Hiroshi, a laundress’s son. One day in the playground, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An idea that will sweep away all differences between rich and poor. When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Story starts off small and gets huge

  • By Sean Dustman on 08-23-14

Maybe you should listen...some good parts

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

Reviewed: 11-03-15

Every four or five books, I like to take a chance on a book I’ve never heard of. It gets me out of ruts. Such was the case with Lord of All Things – originally written in German and then translated into English. The reviews I saw promised “The Book of the Year!” and “A Celebrated Achievement” and yada yada. Sometimes they are, but this one wasn’t. This is a book that was about three times longer than it needed to be and yet didn’t tell the whole story. There were some really great parts, but on a whole it was just an okay read. It needed a good editor.

Hiroshi and Charlotte begin as childhood acquaintances with remarkable gifts. Hiroshi is a extremely smart technical genius with a gift for robotics on a mission to end all want; Charlotte is a diplomat’s daughter with an unbelievable gift for languages and the handy ability to see into the past of any object she touches. Two ordinary children who may, or may not, change the world. They meet throughout their lives to drive each other toward their individual destinies.

This novel read as something between a Frank Capra screenplay and an alternate history textbook. There was a lot of grand vision – which was good – trying to mesh a different past than we’re used to with a future that would be idyllic. The problem is: that if a sci-fi book could figure out how to change the future in a couple hundred pages, we would be hard at work making it a reality. Instead, the author seems as much as a loss as most at getting it accomplished – even in fiction. In some ways, it would have been better for the author to have accepted the idealized Communism that Capra spouted to get a good story than trying to be so nuanced for our modern enlightened age. Robots just can’t overcome the foibles of the human heart. And, let’s not even get started with aliens.

This is a hard book to dismiss or recommend because it had a lot going for it, but there were a lot of inept parts too. Certain characters used as foils shouldn’t have even been in the book, and the author just missed on the ending. The middle of the book was really good with a lot of driving force. Let’s just say, I think the author has some skills, but he needs a good editor to make them shine. Here’s to looking forward.

Audible listeners: Nick Podehl does an okay job. He took a while to get used to in the Rothfuss books, but I just never got it in this one. I don't think he was as much to blame as what he was working with, but not an award wining performance.

4 stars out of 10

  • The Second World War: The Grand Alliance

  • By: Sir Winston Churchill
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,275
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 924
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 917

Dealing with war on a giant scale, The Grand Alliance focuses on events as Britain, after fighting a desperate battle alone, was joined in the struggle against the enemy by Soviet Russia and the United Sates. Hitler's invasion of Russia brought to an end a period of almost exactly a year during which Britain and her Empire had stood alone. Six months later, the United States, attacked by Japan, joined the war and the Grand Alliance was born.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating and Insightful

  • By John M on 11-21-08

A Good Read: More politics than action

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

Reviewed: 10-29-15

The third volume in the abridged collection of Churchill’s history of the Second World War (confusingly the third volume in the unabridged series goes by the same title) follows Great Britain out of the time of their isolation in the war. From 1939 until the Germans turned their sights on Russia in 1942, England was the sole force providing continual harassment to Hitler’s swelling dominion. While many other countries were friendly and supportive to the cause, there had yet to be formed an allied front against the Axis countries – except in the Atlantic where the US had already committed to help clear shipping lanes near their own shores. With grit and ferocity of will, England stood the onslaught of the German’s might and lasted. There indomitableness was rewarded when, in 1942, both Russia and the US finally entered the war as full allies. In this, Churchill knew that the war was won.

You will never read a war history quite like Churchill’s retelling of these six, almost seven, long years of struggle. No “man at the top” as it were has written about the minutiae of what it takes from day to day to keep a country focussed toward a common goal. Churchill is both witty and serious about his responsibilities. The reader always feels as if the Prime Minister has a sincere empathy with the men that lay down their lives for freedom’s sake. And yet, Churchill was a shrewd if relatively straightforward politician. He pulls and cajoles the Russians to come to the aid of the Western powers. Stalin is supremely concerned about his own nation, yet this warmhearted Brit maneuvers the cold steely Russian into joint operations. The United States military see themselves as foremost in the world, but Churchill guides them to his points of attack. With an unbelievable aplomb, we get to look in on how a historical giant orders the players of worldwide strategy into a successful defense against Hitler’s schemes.

As a good American schoolboy, I was taught how the US came to save Britain’s bacon when we finally entered the European field. This is true – to an extent. What I never knew was how much had been prepared by the continual strategy of the British Army, Navy, and Royal Air Force. The had the ideas; they needed manpower. And the USA could not provide this at first. It took much longer for the war effort stateside to gear up than one might think. Even though America essentially entered into the war on Pearl Harbor day in 1941. The main focus was toward naval operations against Japan. It was only a small percentage of US troops that made it into the European theater before D-Day in June of 1944. Once the US became an active participant, hardly a defeat was handed to the Allied forces in the west, but this was due to the exceedingly important battle plan developed for years by Great Britain.

My grandfather served in North Africa – where the majority of the action of this book takes place. I don’t know a lot about his service as he passed away in my youth. He was an mechanic in support of air based action. It’s amazing that so many operations of vital importance happened off the continent where the supposed heart of the struggle lay. It’s as if Olympian engineers of war decided to fight somewhere that wouldn’t mess up their civilization. But it did, hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in North Africa. The many battles of Tobruk and Benghazi, the struggle for Egypt, the swift offensive on Tunis. These are magnificent and costly battlefields that most will never walk because they are so far from our cultured world. Churchill does his best to humanize every campaign, but the scars of the war were greater than most perceive. There may not be a finer set of histories for this time, but come knowing it’s not the view that the average man had.

6.5 stars out of 10