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  • 6
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  • 5
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  • The Pentagon's Brain

  • An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,279
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,173
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,171

No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history of the organization, New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or "the Pentagon's brain", from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I expceted but thats not a bad thing

  • By dfcgts on 09-30-15

How Not to Read Your Book

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

Reviewed: 03-23-17

Is there anything you would change about this book?

"The Pentagon's Brain" covers an immense amount of ground. I found parts of ARPA/DARPAs story alternately spellbinding or completely boring, but mostly worth the investment. The discussion of the nuclear program was fascinating in every respect. I especially enjoyed the biographies of DARPA'S principal figures and how these men came together in various ways to create technologies that continue to shape our world. And the money! Have mercy, the money spent on some of these projects. Jaw dropping, to say the least.

The book IS detail heavy. Listening to such a huge pile of facts makes it difficult to keep them straight while listening. I found I couldn't be doing anything else or I'd miss some important detail. Still, if you're a history buff, and especially if you love that intersection between politics and military, you'll enjoy this book, at least most of it.

Some reviewers have complained about the Vietnam War section being too long. But slogging through it helped me better understand what I experience growing up close to Eglin AFB in the 60s and 70s. My father was a military contractor in the 50s - 80s. (I remember him going to Kwajilein Island, mentioned in the book.) Our home had an intercom system which played a conservative radio station all day long, including the dreaded casualty counts each day of the war. My 5th and 6th grade school rooms were WWII barracks. The military was everywhere, but as civilians, we weren't exposed to some of the grittier aspects of the war. The Vietnam chapters were depressingly enlightening. Readers might also watch Errol Morris' "The Fog of War" about the life of former Sec of Defense Robert McNamara to gain a greater understanding of the hubris some of these men exhibited.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Annie Jacobsen?

I don't have a suggestion for another reader, but I would have preferred a male voice. Ms Jacobson's reading was a bit on the mechanical side and a bit draggy in tempo, and despite the immense amount of research required to write a book such as this, she managed to mispronounce numerous words that I think should have been common parlance in military circles. Examples such as "ensign," "lanyard," "Fort Rucker," and on and on. I began to wince at each one. They were truly that distracting to me. And why they weren't caught by editors(?) is a mystery.

Did The Pentagon's Brain inspire you to do anything?

Yes, to check out the book from my library and reread sections that I found particularly interesting. I'm looking forward to learning more from Ms Jocobsen's "The Pentagon's Brain".

  • If I Can't Have You:

  • Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
  • By: Gregg Olsen, Rebecca Morris
  • Narrated by: Laural Merlington, Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,729
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,597
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,586

The tragic story of Susan Powell and her murdered boys, Charlie and Braden, is the only case that rivals the Jon Benet Ramsey saga in the annals of true crime. When the pretty, blonde Utah mother went missing in December of 2009 the media was swept up in the story - with lenses and microphones trained on Susan's husband, Josh. He said he had no idea what happened to his young wife, and that he and the boys had been camping in the middle of a snowstorm.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Coward and the Angels

  • By Pulplife on 05-20-14

A horrific story, sensitively told

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

Reviewed: 05-28-16

I vaguely remembered this news story, but only the basics. The author takes you into the minds and hearts of all involved and exposes you to evil that takes your breath away, but also tremendous goodness. I listened nonstop, pausing only to sleep. The reading was superb, as nuanced and genuine as you could hope for in telling such a story. Highly recommend.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Trustee from the Toolroom

  • By: Nevil Shute
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,758
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,584
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,584

Keith Stewart, a retiring and ingenious engineer, could not have been happier in his little house in the shabby London suburb of Ealing. There he invented the mini-motor, the six-volt generator, and the tiny Congreve clock. Then a chain of events sweeps him into deep waters and leads him to his happiest discovery yet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hologram of a Decent Man

  • By Jim In Texas! on 05-28-12

Typical, Wonderful Shute

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

Reviewed: 09-14-15

Thoroughly enjoyed this, as I have all Shute's novels. It's a wonderful look into an ordinary man's life and how he handles an extraordinary challenge. The narration is truly superb, with several accents handled with amazing dexterity. Shute's humor in this book really shone. Can't imagine anyone not enjoying this lovely story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 65 Signs of the Times

  • By: David Ridges
  • Narrated by: David Ridges
  • Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156

The return of the long-lost ten tribes, a new Jerusalem being built, heavenly messengers from beyond this life.... It may sound like fantasy, but according to the scriptures, all of these things will really come to pass before our Savior comes again. In fact, these signs were designed by the Lord to alert true believers to his imminent return. The question is, Will you recognize the signs?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • This is not the book. It's a fireside talk

  • By Trevor T. on 07-24-15

Great insight and very "listenable"!

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

Reviewed: 01-15-15

I learned quite a bit and enjoyed the conversational tone that Brother Ridges has. Will be listening again to take notes. Definitely recommend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful