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Rene Tatro

  • 13
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 170
  • ratings
  • Road to Jonestown

  • Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
  • By: Jeff Guinn
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,808
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,672
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,663

In the 1950s a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the Gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to Northern California. He became involved in electoral politics and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Important Accurate Historical Report

  • By Julia on 08-24-17

Substantively well done

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

Reviewed: 02-18-18

But the narrator sucked, which highlighted weaknesses in the writing. Someone should teach the narrator that the t in “often “ is silent and Moscone rhymes with pony, not tone, for example.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Preparation for the Next Life

  • By: Atticus Lish
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 385
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 386

Zou Lei, orphan of the desert, migrates to work in America and finds herself slaving in New York's kitchens. She falls in love with a young man whose heart has been broken in another desert. A new life may be possible if together they can survive homelessness, lockup, and the young man's nightmares, which may be more prophecy than madness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and Heartbreaking

  • By C. Farrell on 04-22-15

A waste of time

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

Reviewed: 01-14-18

If this book had redeeming value, it was obscured by the irrelevant detail and bottomless despair. An all-night walk by one character lasted, truly, all night - basically a real-time litany of such scintillating drivel as recitals of verbiage on store fronts, posters and street signs. Examples of this type of wasted space abound. . Ithink the author expected to be paid by the word.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife

  • By: Audrey Niffenegger
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
  • Length: 17 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9,360
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,332
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,364

Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Forget the Movie!

  • By Heather Feuerhelm on 03-31-12

This book would have been twice as good if ...

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

Reviewed: 08-18-17

it had been half as long. It needed a good, hard edit to remove all the fluff and extraneous verbiage. I seldom wish for a book to end... but did so with this one!

  • The Republic of Pirates

  • Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down
  • By: Colin Woodard
  • Narrated by: Lewis Grenville
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,308
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,105
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,088

In the early 18th century, the Pirate Republic was home to some of the great pirate captains, including Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Along with their fellow pirates - former sailors, indentured servants, and runaway slaves - this "Flying Gang" established a crude but distinctive democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which servants were free, blacks could be equal citizens, and leaders were chosen or deposed by a vote.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like a novel

  • By Abbie on 02-02-16

just a mishmash chronology of facts

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

Reviewed: 08-12-17

this is not a History. No analysis. just a chronological recitation of facts. No doubt the research was tedious, and probably well done, but I probably could have gotten the same from Wikipedia in a fourth the time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Coyote America

  • A Natural and Supernatural History
  • By: Dan Flores
  • Narrated by: Elijah Alexander
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,547
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,406
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,406

Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the "wolf" in our backyards and its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely fascinating

  • By Rob Wolfe on 08-31-17

Amazing!!!

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

Reviewed: 07-23-17

A must read...no matter how much you think you know about coyotes, or how much you (unjustly) fear or dislike them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Skunk Works

  • A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed
  • By: Ben R. Rich, Leo Janos
  • Narrated by: Pete Larkin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,526
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,108

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America's high-stakes quest to dominate the skies. Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice work for a techie or aero interested

  • By Nar on 09-19-15

Confusing. Depressing. Inspiring.

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

Reviewed: 07-05-17

Would you try another book from Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos and/or Pete Larkin?

I rarely write reviews. And even more rarely venture into political commentary when I do. But this book deserves an exception to both. Ben Rich's book is an illuminating commentary on management, and the delicate intersection between creativity and folly. From that perspective, it has great value. And from a structural perspective, one certainly does not lose interest (the sometimes overly-technical jargon notwithstanding). The "other voices" inserts especially are insightful and thought-provoking, and temper Rich's fawning adoration of Kelly Johnson. In some ways, the "other voices" reminded me of the "newsreel" device John Dos Passos pioneered decades ago in the USA Trilogy. I thought Rich used them very effectively.

On the other hand...UGH. The major (but unstated, and unapologetic) premise of this book is that the US must be the world policeman, and must be ready to bomb the rest of the world into oblivion at a moment's notice. That is a premise I cannot accept. We proved in Vietnam that bombing and superior firepower does not win wars. Russia provided further proof with Afghanistan. Still, we weren't satisfied. See: Afghanistan, Part 2; Iraq. Etc. What wins wars is hearts and souls. Not bombs.

And here is why the book is confusing. Spending on the defense industry has more than once pulled our economy out of a tailspin. The defense industry (for all its screwups and corruption) has provided thousands of jobs and instigated technological advances we would not have "but for" the defense industry. Plus, Pearl Harbor notwithstanding, we have never been successfully "invaded" by a foreign power...so maybe the defenders are doing something right! Note, however, that some (the Trumpster) would argue that we are being successfully invaded by legal and illegal immigrants, and others (e.g., Robert D. Kaplan) argue that our insularity and seeming immunity from invading forces is a coincidence of geography more than a result of military genius or might. This book contributes nothing of value in answering that important conundrum. The reality is that we cannot run this same "experiment" 100 or 1000 times to see who is right. The further reality is that few of us would be willing to risk re-running it...even once. That said, my gut (not that anyone reading this has any reason to credit my "gut") says that Rich's premise is simply wrong.

Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

Sometimes...Rich digressed into a level of technical jargon that would befuddle those who are uninitiated in the principles of physics. But not often.

What does Pete Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not much. Larkin does a workmanlike job. I actually think different narrators for the "other voices" sections would have added value.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

As you read this book, never forget how these "stealth" weapons were sold to our government and to us, the taxpayers: as "necessary" and as "invisible". No one can prove that either was true - and I (for one) have seen an SR71 with my own eyes, so I know it is not invisible, although it might be invisible to radar...at some frequencies)! LOL.

  • Custer's Trials

  • A Life on the Frontier of a New America
  • By: T.J. Stiles
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 23 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 281
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 280

Pulitzer Prize, History, 2016. In this magisterial biography, T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer's legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer's historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person - capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!

  • By JackMargo on 06-23-16

too long

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

Reviewed: 06-17-17

Could have gotten the same messages and much of the same content into 18 hours or less. Someone needed to do a hard edit, which would have vastly improved the book. For example, does anyone really care about (or remember) the details of Custer's stock market shenanigans?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Blind Your Ponies

  • By: Stanley Gordon West
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 19 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 422
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 378

Sam Pickett never expected to settle in this dried-up shell of a town on the western edge of the world. He’s come here to hide from the violence and madness that have shattered his life, but what he finds is what he least expects. It seems that every inhabitant of this forgotten outpost has a story, a reason for taking a detour to this place—or a reason for staying.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Listen

  • By Tracy on 03-03-12

Not just a sports book

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

Reviewed: 04-24-17

Enjoyable (pretty predictable) feel-good story. Author tries to blend too many subplots. The game sequences drag, and get very repetitive.

  • The Only Street in Paris

  • Life on the Rue Des Martyrs
  • By: Elaine Sciolino
  • Narrated by: Elaine Sciolino
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 440
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 394

Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not just for Paris lovers.

  • By Anna on 01-18-16

Asking for a refund.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-17

I don't know which was worse: the completely inaccurate summary, the narration (yikes, who told the author she could narrate?... every time I asked someone to listen to a few paragraphs, they practically begged me to TURN IT OFF!!!), or the fawning and endless account of the Catholic Church and Jesuits. I rarely, if ever, put in a negative review; even when a book is below average, I cowboy up, learn what I can, and move on. I would not even recommend this book to someone I didn't like! ugh.

  • John Dies at the End

  • By: David Wong
  • Narrated by: Stephen R. Thorne
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,520
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,015
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,033

STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you'll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it's too late. You touched the book. You're in the game. You're under the eye. The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Vulgar Funny. 4.95 Sale Win.

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-19-12

Crazy crazy story.

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

Reviewed: 11-08-16

Silly but entertaining combination of the multidimensional genre and androids, monsters, and humankind's inherent good or evil. Not as well done as a Pratchett, but...no one does it that well.