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Michael Friedman

La Quinta, California USA
  • 53
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  • 130
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  • 85
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  • Killers of the Flower Moon

  • The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
  • By: David Grann
  • Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,424
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,721
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,695

In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not put off by narration

  • By jaspersu on 11-13-17

A Fine History of the Reign of Terror of the Osage

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

This book details the murders of the Osage Indians by many people in Oklahoma in the first few decades of the 20th Century. By luck, the Osage were dispossessed of their homelands and then their second reservation to Northern Oklahoma where their barren lands soon became the site of many oil fields and the Osage became the richest people in the world. That led to government sanctioned trusteeships that deprived many Osage of the management of their own moneys. Above and beyond the greed and theft was the murder of hundreds of Osage to pilfer their estates thanks to the duplicity of lawyers, doctors and others. It is an amazing story first told as the biography of Molly Burkhart whose family was murdered to consolidate the family fortune in the hands of the murderers who conspired to eliminate the Osage members of her family. Later, the book details the rise of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one if its first cases being the prosecution of the killers and the exposure of the legal system designed to support the Reign of Terror of the Osage tribe. Finally, Mr. Grann uncovers decades of hitherto unknown abuse and killings that were for the most part never prosecuted or uncovered for reasons of neglect, incompetence, racism and corruption on a large scale among the non-Osage people who married into or otherwise manipulated these proud native Americans. It is a wonderful story, well told.

  • American Prison

  • A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment
  • By: Shane Bauer
  • Narrated by: James Fouhey, Shane Bauer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260

In 2014, Shane Bauer was hired for $9 an hour to work as an entry-level prison guard at a private prison in Winnfield, Louisiana. An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name. Four months later, his employment came to an abrupt end. But he had seen enough, and in short order he wrote an exposé about his experiences that won a National Magazine Award. In American Prison, Bauer weaves a much deeper reckoning with his experiences together with a thoroughly researched history of for-profit prisons in America from their origins in the decades before the Civil War.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dark, entertaining, and informative.

  • By Mike on 11-20-18

A Remarkable Story

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

This is a well written book on many levels. Mr. Bauer became a prison guard at a private correctional facility in Louisiana working for what is now called CoreCivic. It is a corporation that provides extremely poor, limited services at correctional facilities so that it can generate millions of dollars in profits for its shareholders and management. Mr. Bauer’s observations of careless, dangerous, inhuman behavior at the expense of employees and inmates was routinely denied by CoreCivic who threatened to sue his publication (Mother Jones) and Mr. Bauer if they published what he observed. Thankfully Mr. Bauer recorded and filmed what the observed and no lawsuit was forthcoming. This is, in essence, the cruel and unusual punishment that is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution.
Mr. Bauer tells his story with a cogent history of private ownership of correctional facilities that dates back hundreds of years and essentially replaced slavery with cheap labor that is forced to work under inhuman conditions.
On another level, Mr. Bauer lets us know the effect of just a few weeks of his employment on his personal life, his feelings and the changes to his personality. It is a remarkable story. It deserves to be a NY Times Best Book of 2018.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 35,755
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32,423
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 32,275

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disturbing

  • By Brian Angevine on 05-30-18

Deserves NYTimes' 10 Best Books of 2018

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

Reviewed: 12-16-18

Educated by Tara Westover

This fine memoir chronicles Ms. Westover’s childhood in a dysfunctional, abusive and delusional family in rural Idaho and her struggles to overcome the need to separate from the family she loves in order to pursue a normal, healthy and ultimately remarkable adulthood. She was raised in a fundamentalist Mormon family that was incredibly intolerant of the norms of 21st Century American society. That would include interaction with other children, tolerance for other’s ideas and beliefs, an understanding of culture through television, radio or the internet, the appreciation for science including medicines, the learning of history, inoculations and treatment by medical professionals, the avoidance of physical and emotional abuse by parents and siblings, and embracing physical safety for young children working for the family. Ms. Westover overcomes these impediments brilliantly and becomes not only highly educated but a creative, skilled intellectual who amazes some of the best educators of our time in the United States and England. It was not an easy journey for her and the impediments placed primarily by her father and brother were impossible to ignore. The major theme of her father’s life is intolerance. His world is driven by the Word of God as only he perceives. That excuses the physical harm he visits on his children, the lack of contact with the outside world, the disdain for science and education and the necessity of choosing his way in order for Ms. Westover to receive the love not only from him but her mother and other siblings. To receive that love, she must renounce everything she has learned and understood and to embrace a life of physical and mental abuse that is hard to imagine. This is a wonderful story, beautifully told.
Some have drawn similarities to Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance which is also a wonderful memoir by a young man who was raised in rural America by a mother with addiction and other significant mental issues. Eventually he becomes an excellent lawyer and author. His difficult journey was, however, not nearly as stark as Ms. Westover’s. To me, more to the point is last year’s excellent debut novel by Gabriel Tallent, My Absolute Darling. I saw many parallels between the 14 year old girl “Turtle” and Ms. Westover’s challenging childhood. Regardless, Educated deserves to be one of the New York Times’ Ten Best Books of 2018.

  • Every Day Is Extra

  • By: John Kerry
  • Narrated by: John Kerry
  • Length: 28 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 212
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196

Every Day Is Extra is Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington. Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for 50 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well-written, and a completely engaged performance

  • By S.R. on 09-05-18

A Wondeful Autobiography

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

Reviewed: 12-02-18

This is an excellent autobiography of an amazing public servant. John Kerry was a child of privilege, but unlike many others dedicated himself to making our country and the world a better place. His unique skills, work ethic, adherence to science and history and vision have affected millions of people including Americans for the better. He would have been a wonderful president.
I am a big fan of Dwight Garner of the NY Times, but I seriously disagree with his conclusion that this book is “reassuringly dull for long stretches” and that the second half of the book may require the propping of eyelids for non-wonks. It is precisely when Secretary Kerry enters the Senate, joins the Foreign Relations Committee and then becomes Secretary of State that the book takes off. For the first time he shifts to an issue by issue history as opposed to a chronological tale and then his work and results are immense. His ability to meet, know, understand and entice world leaders is astounding fueled by his sense of history, the brilliant people he engages for help and his understanding of the limitations of the leaders’ countries or supporters. His long relationship with Netanyahu, his meetings and interactions with al-Sisi, Bahar Al-Assad, al Saud, Putin, Ban Ki-moon, Xi Jinping and others are amazing. To name just a few accomplishments, his hard work led to the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran nuclear deal, work on Ocean conservation as well as dealing with the fight against ISIS by Iraq, the removal of much of Syria’s illegal gases, the Ukrainian crisis caused by lying Russia, aid to civilians in Gaza, complex negotiations with Congress especially on the Paris treaty, renewed relations with Cuba, the successful negotiation of elections and power sharing in Afghanistan, negotiations for electoral honesty in Brazil, Venezuela, among other issues. He readily acknowledges not all of his efforts have been successful such as the Israeli/Palestinian peace accord, but from my perspective it was not for lack of trying and given the opportunity to change the previous dynamics, as with China’s cooperation with the Paris Climate Accord, Secretary Kerry’s instincts were revolutionary and often astoundingly successful.
This is a wonderful book and in Audible is read by Secretary Kerry with his occasional wonderful Bostonian accent (pahk for park). Yes, he is not detailed about his children, grandchildren and wives, but that is for a good reasons and does not diminish his astounding public life. He is an excellent writer with an amazing story to tell.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hitch-22

  • A Memoir
  • By: Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hitchens
  • Length: 17 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,796
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,441
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,428

Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Truth, the whole truth and nothing but.

  • By Laura on 08-23-10

A Marvelous Memoir

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

This is a marvelous memoir from one of the truly great English authors and raconteurs of the last 100 years. The late Mr. Hitchens love of the English language is in full bloom here with references, quotes and contexts for many of his amazing escapades. Thankfully, he deals with issues as opposed to the typical chronological autobiographies. See for example John Kerry’s recent autobiography which deals with a marvelous career but do we really need to know of his seeing Mary Martin in Peter Pan as a young man? No. On the other hand, Mr. Hitchens (don’t call me Chris) deals with important issues in his life from his relationship with his mother who died tragically and way too early to his experiences with becoming a United States citizen, Judaism, Israel, travel to war torn and oppressed countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, 9/11, his relationships with fellow authors (Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Salmon Rushdie, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag to name just a few), his connections with Henry Kissinger, George H.W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher are brilliantly conveyed with wit, science, logic and references to Shakespeare, Henry James, Edgar Allen Poe and many others. He does it all with humor, empathy and magical gift for conveying his thoughts that make one laugh, think, admire and enjoy all within a single paragraph. This is a work of art and should be enjoyed as such. I miss him.

  • Deception Point: A Novel

  • By: Dan Brown
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,818
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,834

When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory, a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!

  • By James R. Davis on 06-29-04

Dan Brown should stick to Symbology and Europe

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

I am a Dan Brown fan, but he should stick to symbology and ancient European Christianity as opposed to science and American politics. The best of this book is the use of science, but the tale is so convoluted and nonsensical that it loses the reader many times through his style of shifting scenes at the climaxes, the overuse of “last second” escapes or solutions, withholding what people actually said or did but only describing someone’s reaction and silly foreshadowing such as “he would not forget this day for the rest of his life.” To his credit, this was published before the Da Vinci Code and Mr. Brown has vastly improved his story telling skills in the ensuing sixteen years. As for the stilted presidential political play by play, he can be forgiven for casting blame on an unscrupulous candidate as his illegal transgressions were wiped out by the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC eight years after publication. But here the human interaction is stilted and shallow, certainly nothing like Robert Langdon and the characters in those books including the recent Origin. Some things make no sense at all such as the killing of a Canadian scientist and his dogs or the failure to use massive missiles with bombs rather than machine guns to destroy the main characters on a ship. The whole premise of murdering people to save NASA from privatization is lost on me, but Mr. Brown did think it was an important aspect of the plot. So, if you are a Dan Brown fan or one who wishes to wade into the Brown oeuvre, skip this one. Try Inferno.
P.S. I did enjoy the reference to Ellsmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as I am a proud graduate of Elsmere Elementary School and I had no idea where that name came from.

  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,090

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files, and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One, and the White House residence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actually Humanized Trump for Me

  • By BigNutz on 12-15-18

An aptly named book

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

This book is aptly named as one cannot imagine the Liar in Chief, as he is called by his aides, using his position to ruin the world economy or starting a nuclear war. This book is full of facts, dates and descriptions that lend context and truth to Mr. Woodward’s quotations of the President and those who manage his worst impulses. What one finds is amply evidence of an immature, disconnected, churlish man with “instincts” that are contrary to basic science or known statistics. They have led him to consider the ruining of America’s economy by leaving NAFTA, imposing tariffs on South Korea, giving tax breaks to many of the wealthiest people in the world at the expense of over a trillion and a half dollars of deficit, ending health care for millions, ending DACA that may send hundreds of thousands of law abiding Americans out of the country and removing a nuclear deterrence system in South Korea that would potentially save our country from nuclear attack. In some cases, his instincts have come to fruition like the tax breaks, but in others the intervention of White House associates have removed papers or delayed preparation until he would forget what he wanted for something more important like playing golf or watching FOX news. This is a stunning job of reporting. And it is even more astounding that President Trump has not denied virtually everything that is written. Instead he has tweeted that the book is discredited and full of “so many lies and phone sources.” That is pretty nonspecific. He has ONLY denied calling Jeff Sessions mentally retarded and a dumb Southerner. Of course that was before he tweeted about Sessions that he "doesn't understand what is happening underneath his command position" and had "never taken control of his department." In short, the facts of this book are largely unrefuted by President Trump and his astounding lack of interest with the significant issues of the United States is ample cause for fear in anyone who reads this book. Just by way of example, he does not deny that he tried to order the end to our decades long relationship with South Korea for no good reason thereby endangering the United States safety. The letter he wanted to sign (until it was removed from his desk and forgotten by him) is in the book verbatim. Instead, President Trump now whines about never calling Jeff Sessions a dumb Southerner. THAT is why this book is true. Mr. Woodward is to be commended for his astounding work putting this together.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Fascism

  • A Warning
  • By: Madeleine Albright
  • Narrated by: Madeleine Albright
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,521
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,286
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,258

At the end of the 1980s, when the Cold War ended, many, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, believed that democracy had triumphed politically once and for all. Yet nearly 30 years later, the direction of history no longer seems certain. A repressive and destructive force has begun to reemerge on the global stage - sweeping across Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States - that to Albright, looks very much like fascism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Jean on 07-04-18

An remarkable memoir and history book

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

This remarkable book by former Secretary, now Professor Albright is part memoir and part history. It is well written and draws parallels between 20th Century Fascism and the rise of Putin, Trump, Erdoğan, Kim Jong-un, Duterte and other 21st Century leaders. It is amazing how Ms. Albright is able to relate her personal experiences (Holocaust and bombing of London survivor) and meetings (Putin, Erdoğan, Milošević and Jong-un among others) in a thoughtful exploration of Fascism’s rise, fall and resurrection. She draws lines between common threads of nationalism, suppression of journalism, lying about science, racial differences and facts as well as the suppression of democracy and political opposition. This book is far from a textbook and makes conclusions from Mussolini, Hitler and Franco that apply to many countries and political movements today. This is an important book. For example, didn’t National Security Advisor John Bolton just denounce the International Criminal Court, the prosecutors of Milošević for war crimes? If you read this book, you won’t wonder why.

  • Reporter

  • A Memoir
  • By: Seymour M. Hersh
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 227
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author and preeminent investigative journalist of our time - a heartfelt, hugely revealing memoir of a decades-long career breaking some of the most impactful stories of the last half century, from Washington to Vietnam to the Middle East. Seymour Hersh's fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every major newspaper in the free world, honors galore, and no small amount of controversy. Now in this memoir he describes what drove him and how he worked as an independent outsider.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping and Important

  • By Michael AP on 06-13-18

Seymour Hersh is an American Treasure

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

Reviewed: 08-29-18

This astounding autobiography chronicles the reporting of one of America’s greatest journalists who discovered and brought to light many of the worst aspects of the United States duplicity and misfeasance in the second half of the Twentieth Century and the start of the 21st. In that time he exposed the lies of our government during the Vietnam War, My Lai, Watergate, the CIA’s spying on Americans, the murder and attempted murder of South Americans and Fidel Castro, the duplicity of the neo-Cons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the failure to utilize Bashar al-Ashad and the Syrian Government in the Middle East and many other issues. He meticulously exposes the anti-American attitudes of the Pentagon and McNamara during Viet Nam, Henry Kissinger during a host of wars and crises, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Helms among others. Hersh achieves his success through hard work, dogged research, cultivation of sources and interviews. He is one of a kind and, in my opinion, deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work. Of course, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
A note on the NY Times review of Dwight Garner whom I admire. Mr. Garner misses the point and it’s a shame. He criticizes Mr. Hersh for not writing a fine memoir as he leaves out his family, his relationship with friends such as Bill Bradlee, Daniel Ellsberg, Bob Woodward and I.F. Stone. That’s not the point of the book. This is about reporting and no one really cares how well Bill Bradlee plays tennis or what Daniel Ellsberg likes to drink. Hersh’s interviews with Assad, William Calley and others, Kissinger’s lying and Dick Cheney’s failure to shake his hand speak volumes about Hersh’s conclusions. It is a remarkable story of how many times Hersh has been called a liar by politicians and others only to be vindicated many years later by declassified materials or admissions of witnesses. Richard Nixon’s fairly recently declassified tapes are a perfect example, but only one of many. Hersh’s discussion of his methods and work is fascinating and this book is a historical wonder.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories

  • The Inspector Montalbano, Book 0.5
  • By: Andrea Camilleri
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 17 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100

In Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories, Andrea Camilleri has selected 21 short stories, written with his trademark wit and humor, that follow Italy's famous detective through highlight cases of his career. From the title story, featuring a young Deputy Montalbano newly assigned to Vigàta, to "Montalbano Says No", in which the inspector makes a late-night call to Camilleri himself to refuse an outlandish case, this volume is an essential addition to any fan's collection and a wonderful way to introduce listeners to the internationally best-selling series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE LISTENED TO FIRST!!!

  • By Reba on 12-31-16

How could you not love Inspector Montalbano?

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

How could you not like Inspector Salvo Montalbano? With his wit, brains, reserve, flaws, impatience, guile and love of eating, he personifies seaside Sicily in all its beauty and imperfections. This collection of short stories brings to life Montalbano’s contacts with collection of characters that include the criminals, victims, friends, acquaintances and fellow police officers who give a delightful account of Camilleri’s Sicilian world. How could one not laugh when, in the midst of one story, Montalbano calls Camilleri to chastise him on the foolishness of the plot? The longer stories are the best, including the Montalbano’s first case. The excellent lyrical translation by Stephen Satarelli is a wonder. He is able to give us context with some excellent English expressions such as sticky wicket, chickened out and the three little pigs. There are some themes that do seem to occur too often. There are three stories in a row with suicides and later one attempted suicide and anther successful one. Some of the stories are so short that one yearns for context or perhaps a better description of the characters. And the Inspector does seem to have way too many chance encounters, many at night or very early in the day, with people who end up becoming the recent murderer of some acquaintance. But these are minor quibbles. This book is infinitely entertaining.