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Sandy McMahon

Placitas, NM
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 86
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • Astoria

  • John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
  • By: Peter Stark
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 906
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 910

At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries, President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor, foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis and Clark expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's dramatic but largely forgotten turning points in the conquest of the North American continent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Daring, greedy men take on nature and natives

  • By Pamela on 06-20-14

A Forgotten Story that Should Be Remembered

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

A very entertaining telling of John Jacob Astor's efforts to build a city and empire on the Oregon coast, and of the events that destroyed this dream. A great read.

  • American Nations

  • A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
  • By: Colin Woodard
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,742
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,539
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,546

North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory. In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of a Kind Masterpiece

  • By Theo Horesh on 02-28-13

A wonderful explanation of the regions of the US

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Insightful and well-written, this book uniquely contributes, in language that is readily accessible, to our understanding of the regional political forces - the nations - that compose America. Once you've gone through Woodard's analysis, it becomes far easier to understand both historic and current conflicts in political and social views in the country.

  • Cave of Bones

  • A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel
  • By: Anne Hillerman
  • Narrated by: Christina Delaine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 293

When tribal police officer Bernadette Manuelito arrives to speak at a program for at-risk teens, she discovers chaos. Everyone is concerned about a beloved instructor who went out into the wilds of the rugged lava wilderness bordering Ramah Navajo Reservation to find a missing girl. The instructor vanished somewhere in the volcanic landscape known as El Malpais. The instructor's disappearance mirrors a long-ago search that may be connected to a case in which the legendary Joe Leaphorn played a crucial role.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Fun Trip to the Southwest

  • By Jean on 06-17-18

Another Wonderful Hillerman Novel!

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

Anne Hillerman continues her father’s superb Manuelito, Chee and Leaphorn series of Navajo police mysteries. Taking the feminine perspective of Bernadette Manuelito, she adds extra personality and richness to her father’s stories. Highly respectful of Navajo culture and perspective, this book, like its predecessors, is a joy to experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Smartest Guys in the Room

  • By: Bethany McLean
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 22 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 811

The definitive volume on Enron's amazing rise and scandalous fall, from an award-winning team of Fortune investigative reporters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent book, but with a missing chapter

  • By Augustus T. White on 03-07-12

A great lesson in the consequences of hubris

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

Well researched, written and read. Good lessons for any in the business world. Especially if you know anyone who worked at Enron!

  • Hidden Figures

  • The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  • By: Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,571
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,966
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,993

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story of a History Obscured

  • By Cynthia on 09-18-16

Far better than even the great movie

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

Reviewed: 04-03-18

I collaborate with many NASA minority employees as PI of a NASA Grant. Our first PI meeting was in Hampton VA. Before listening to this book I had no idea of the critical role that Langley Research Center had played, not only in the space race, but also and perhaps more importantly in the eradication of segregation and the birth of the women’s equal rights struggle. A wonderful listen!

  • The Death of Expertise

  • The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters
  • By: Tom Nichols
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 440
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 402
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398

People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything and all voices demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By iKlick on 09-10-17

Thoughtful Discussion of A Critical Challenge

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

Reviewed: 03-22-18

This book is a thoughtful discussion of how social media and media bias become supporters of our own preconceptions and lead us to believe that we are more expert than we are. Equally critical of the right and left, the discussion is well balanced.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Friends Divided

  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
  • By: Gordon S. Wood
  • Narrated by: James Lurie
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy's champion, was an aristocratic Southern slave owner while Adams, the overachiever from New England's rising middling classes, painfully aware he was no aristocrat, was a skeptic about popular rule and a defender of a more elitist view of government.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Read

  • By Jean on 12-22-17

A masterwork in early American history

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

Reviewed: 03-14-18

Beautifully conceived, researched and written, Friends Divided describes how two of the Founding Fathers of the United States worked to establish, reestablish and maintain a friendship of over 50 years. Prof. Wood artfully describes both the similarities and differences in viewpoint between Jefferson and Adams and how the debate over these differences stayed alive over decades of correspondence. Wood explains why one of the two remains revered over the centuries while the other, despite his significant contributions to liberty remains more difficult to appreciate.

  • 1493

  • Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
  • By: Charles C. Mann
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 17 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,323
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,100
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101

More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The top history book of the decade

  • By avdefsa on 12-28-11

Interesting but not as good as 1491

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

The central theme is the benefits, and costs, that have accrued from the Colombian Exchange.

The repetition of this theme becomes tedious.

The book also trumpets the long standing theme that the depletion on native populations in the Americas was primarily due to lack of native resistance to European and African diseases which accompanied the ships. This theme has been strongly challenged be Andres Rezendez in The Other Slavery, published in the summer of 2016 (also available on Audible) with a convincing 100 pages of references. If you find 1493 appealing I recommend Rezendez’s book as a credible counterpoint.

  • Song of the Lion

  • By: Anne Hillerman
  • Narrated by: Christina Delaine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 489
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 442
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 440

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multimillion-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon. But what seems like an act of ecoterrorism turns out to be something far more nefarious and complex. Piecing together the clues, Bernadette and her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, uncover a scheme to disrupt the negotiations and inflame tensions between the Hopi and Dine tribes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Southwestern mystery story

  • By Jean on 04-26-17

Wonderful continuation of the legacy

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

Reviewed: 06-07-17

Beautifully crafted and told. Deepens our understanding of Manuelito and Chee, and a nice resurrection of Leaphorn as he continues to recover.

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940

  • By: William Manchester
  • Narrated by: Richard Brown
  • Length: 36 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,156
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,153

This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Senseless change of narrators

  • By S. Horn on 12-12-11

Excellent book, poor choice of narrator

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

Reviewed: 11-19-16

Would you listen to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940 again? Why?

I would not look for a book with Richard Brown as narrator, at least as far as Churchill is concerned. In the first volume, Frederick Davidson is masterful. He not only perfectly executes Churchill's unique accent, but also those of the other leading figures of the volume. Brown, by comparison, has not bothered to research or can not mimic Churchill's voice, so the quotes are flat and without Churchill's unique wit and humor.

How could the performance have been better?

Choice of a better narrator. See above.