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John David

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  • The Fiery Trial

  • Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
  • By: Eric Foner
  • Narrated by: Norman Dietz
  • Length: 18 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209

Eric Foner gives us the definitive history of Abraham Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner's Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. This powerful work will transform our understanding of the nation's greatest president and the issue that mattered most.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great book about slavery and lincoln

  • By D. Littman on 11-13-10

Terrific book; Painful narration

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

The Fiery Trial is a valuable and very comprehensive review of the evolution of Lincoln's attitudes and positions on the issue of slavery and, to a lesser degree, race. Lincoln definitely grew over time, often forced by events. Foner's meticulous scholarship presents this fascinating and important process in broad scope as well as historical and personal context. The book demonstrates the remarkable duration of Lincoln's erroneous view that compensated emancipation and colonization could be a big part of the solution to America's founding problem. It also shows how Lincoln used public letters much as modern politicians use Twitter. The narration is not nearly as good as the book, however. One irritant is the reader's mispronunciation of Chief Justice Taney's name as "Tay-nee" rather than "Taw-nee." An even bigger annoyance is the voice the narrator uses when reading Lincoln's speeches. It is so awfully bad that it more than once nearly caused me to discontinue the book. I am glad I persevered, but if I ever return to the book it will be the print version. Maybe Lincoln sounded like that but, if so, it is a good thing radio and television had not yet been invented!

  • The Moralist

  • By: Patricia O'Toole
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 23 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

By the author of acclaimed biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Adams, a penetrating biography of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). The Moralist is a cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reflections on a Changing Presidency

  • By Keith on 05-02-18

Fine Addition to Large & Growing Wilson Bookshelf

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

Reviewed: 06-25-18

This is a very good, intellectually and morally stimulating, and beautifully written book. It provides a vivid & powerful presentation of the events that rocked America and the world a century ago and the complex, very human man at the center of them. Not a comprehensive or definitive biography, the book moves quickly through Wilson's early life to focus on his presidency in general and World War I in particular. It presents familiar historical and political issues in fresh and provocative ways. The pacing is excellent, the characters and scenes are well-drawn, and the issues are fairly presented. A balanced treatment of Wilson, good & bad. It is a fine addition to the large and growing Wilson bookshelf, although the epilogue is rather thin. I enjoyed The Moralist thoroughly ... except for the whisper-voiced reader. He uses very little inflection. Some may like his flat, quiet style, however, and the writing is good enough to carry the narration regardless.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • President Carter

  • The White House Years
  • By: Stuart E. Eizenstat, Madeleine Albright - foreword
  • Narrated by: Brian Troxell, Madeleine Albright, Stuart E. Eizenstat - preface & introduction
  • Length: 37 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Stuart Eizenstat was at Jimmy Carter’s side from his political rise in Georgia through four years in the White House, where he served as chief domestic policy adviser. He was directly involved in all domestic and economic decisions as well as in many foreign policy ones. Famous for the legal pads he took to every meeting, he draws on more than 7,500 pages of notes and 350 interviews of all the major figures of the time to write the comprehensive history of an underappreciated president - and to give an intimate view on how the presidency works.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of information

  • By Jean on 09-01-18

Book Like Administration: Well-Meaning But Flawed

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

This is an attempt at historic rehabilitation of the Carter administration by an insider. Like the administration itself, the book is well-meaning, but flawed. It needed an editor the way the Carter White House needed a Chief of Staff. There is repetition. And there is repetition. There is just enough memoir to be distracting, and occasionally annoying. By using a topical organization scheme rather than a chronological one the book never creates a good picture of what was going on at any one time and makes it difficult for the reader to synthesize the material. All this said, Eizenstat occasionally succeeds in convincing the reader that Carter's for years included more substantive achievement than recognized. And he levels some candid and serious criticisms of his beloved boss. But, again like the administration itself, the book manifests a sometimes shocking degree of naivete and self-righteousness. There are more than a few OMG moments when it is difficult to believe that Carter believed what he believed or did what he did. The book brought back many memories, but very few of them good. America was a post-Vietnam, post-Watergate mess in many ways from 1976-1980, and Jimmy Carter was a President for the times.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Forgotten Conservative

  • Rediscovering Grover Cleveland
  • By: John Pafford
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Grover Cleveland is truly the forgotten conservative: a man of dignity, integrity, and courage often overlooked by the history books. Historian and author John Pafford reveals a president who deserves more attention. Cleveland might not have presided over deeply troubled times, but he set a standard for principled leadership in office that is especially relevant today.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A book much like Cleveland himself

  • By John David on 12-30-17

A book much like Cleveland himself

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

Reviewed: 12-30-17

This short biography is much like Cleveland himself: conservative, earnest, and solid, but by no means spectacular.

  • Napoleon

  • A Life
  • By: Andrew Roberts
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 32 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,155
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,855
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,851

Andrew Roberts' Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon's thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Book

  • By Steve on 12-21-14

A magnificent biography worthy of its subject

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

Reviewed: 12-19-17

What did you like best about this story?

This biography has excellent pacing and narrative style. It is masterfully read by John Lee, who demonstrates complete command over the material and the multitude of French and other foreign names. Napoleon is humanized, but in a balanced and objective manner. Roberts skillfully apportions chapters among the personal, the political, the military, and the historical. The book never bogs down in battles, but describes them in clear, crisp, and coherent terms. Its description of the ill-fated Russian campaign is especially powerful. The audiobook is an undertaking, but well repays the time invested. I learned immense amounts about Napoleon's rise, reign, and fall, and about the Napoleonic era in European history generally. Highly recommend.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As noted, the Russian campaign and especially the retreat from Moscow are particularly powerful. The treatment of Napoleon's exile on St. Helena is also very evocative.

  • Munich, 1938

  • Appeasement and World War II
  • By: David Faber
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 19 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew back to London from his meeting at Munich with the German chancellor Adolf Hitler and was greeted with a hero's welcome. As he paused on the aircraft steps, he held aloft the piece of paper, bearing both his and the Fuhrer's signatures, that contained the promise that Britain and Germany would never go to war with each other again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great insight into the events of 1938

  • By Carolyn on 05-18-13

An In-Depth Review of Appeasement 1938

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

This book provides context & detail of the failed appeasement policy in 1938. It goes in-depth & is a splendid complement to broader, more general histories. The narrative proceeds with perfect pace. The descriptions of people, places & circumstances are well-drawn & compelling. It is a balanced treatment of Chamberlain’s motives and a vivid one of the man. Hitler, too, is portrayed with skill. The reader is excellent. I highly recommend this book for those interested in & fascinated by the period.

  • The General vs. the President

  • MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
  • By: H. W. Brands
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 425

From master storyteller and historian H. W. Brands, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Vivid Dramatic Accounting

  • By Jean on 11-11-16

Very Fine Book but Ill-Suited Narration

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

Reviewed: 03-29-17

What did you love best about The General vs. the President?

The book makes good use of original source materials like letters, orders, speeches, etc. It thus lets the characters tell their own stories to a very great extent. The pacing is also very good. Coverage of events is comprehensive, but moves along at a good clip. I learned a lot about the Korean War and this period.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The General vs. the President?

Truman's firing of MacArthur is, of course, the most memorable moment, but other, less well known events are also key, e.g., the Wake Island conference & Ridgway's revitalization of the Eighth Army.

How could the performance have been better?

I must dissent from the widespread praise other reviewers have heaped on the reader. His slow, breathy style seemed ill-suited to the narrative. His tendency to drop his voice, sometimes almost to a whisper, at the end of sentences was particularly annoying. The style would be a better match for a novel, perhaps even a romance. This story needed a crisper, more businesslike and forceful telling better suited to its protagonists.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Clash of American Titans Over Cold War, Korea & Constitutional Power

0 of 1 people found this review helpful