LISTENER

Catherine

Bryn Mawr, PA, United States
  • 23
  • reviews
  • 140
  • helpful votes
  • 40
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The Spy and the Traitor audiobook cover art
  • The Spy and the Traitor
  • The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: John Lee

recommended for any Le Carre fan

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

Reviewed: 03-14-19

This is a fabulous story wonderfully written and read. It revisits the Cold War from an unusual perspective. Margaret Thatcher plays a "walk on" role that reflects amazingly well on her. My only problem with the audio version is that it's difficult to keep the Russian names straight, and it omits some of the photos that appear in the printed version. Otherwise, it was one of those books where I was sad when it ended.

Shadow Divers audiobook cover art
  • Shadow Divers
  • The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
  • By: Robert Kurson
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard

much much much too long

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

Reviewed: 06-18-18

Maybe this isn't a book for women, but i listened to it because I was intrigued by the story of the Nazi unidentified sub. That part of the story was interesting, and the stories of the very dangerous dives to find clues to the sub's provenance were riveting. The character delineation was very good. But it was a LONG listen to get to these sections. I skipped several chapters. I ordered the book after seeing the author interviewed on CSPAN's Q&A about his book on Apollo 8. I had no problems with the reading, which I found very competent.

Robert Kennedy audiobook cover art

a painful, complicated story expertly written

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

Reviewed: 02-17-18

For someone who witnessed the public career of Robert Kennedy and his brother, this was a very difficult and painful story to assimilate. The man was deeply so flawed in a culture that
was changing rapidly and careening on the road to violence, and then it all ended so tragically for the two men who wanted to lead us through it. Evan Thomas tells the tale with the same even handedness as he brought to his biography of Richard Nixon. His research and attention to detail are admirable. The book never sags or strays from its mission to tell the story of this complicated man. I found the reading by Ray Porter irritating in the first section but I got used to it, or maybe it's just that his renditions of the voices of the many characters who appear in the book improved. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Kennedys, the culture of the 1960s or just a top-flight biography.

Churchill and Orwell audiobook cover art

Perfect marriage of story and reader

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

Reviewed: 07-10-17

I ordered this book because I loved Thomas Ricks' book on the American invasion of Iraq, and I trusted him to tell the story about these two great fighters for individualism in the 20th century. I was not disappointed. The story of these two great actors and writers on the 20th century stage is wonderfully told, never dull, often riveting. Of course, with the election of Donald Trump, the story takes on glaring relevance for our time. It's all wonderfully read by James Lurie. Nine hours of listening...and you regret that there aren't 9 hours more to listen to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Victoria: The Queen audiobook cover art
  • Victoria: The Queen
  • An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
  • By: Julia Baird
  • Narrated by: Lucy Rayner

worst reader ever

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

Reviewed: 02-06-17

It is hard to believe that any editor agreed to inflict this reader on an eager listener. Lucy Raynor reads in that sing-song voice that English aristocrats favor: sentences starting in a high register and loud, ending in a low pitched and very soft register, so that the 1st half of every sentence is jarring and the 2nd half indistinguishable. (At least with her low pseudo-male voices, you can hear her!) Maybe appropriate for an English tea or garden party, but exhausting to an American ear. Too bad, because it's a good story (what a listener can make of it). The section on the coronation (what I could make of it) was riveting. A major disappointment for an Anglophile. Maybe I will go and actually read A.N. Wilson's bio of Victoria.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

A Lucky Life Interrupted audiobook cover art

Life meets one lucky guy

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

Reviewed: 07-05-15

Brokow's memoir does give a listener a good sense of what it feels like to suffer from M.M. (which is how he refers to the disease) and he has indeed suffered since his diagnosis. The book is a little heavy for my taste on encomiums to his wife and family, but, hey, given where he is and has been for the last several years, I can excuse him that indulgence, especially in a relatively short book. Is there any famous person in the last 60 years whom he hasn't met? ...but he is appealingly non-pompous about all the names he drops. The book is better written than his previous books (which I found trite and verbose) and the audiobook is masterfully read by Mark Bramhall.

A Spy Among Friends audiobook cover art

absolutely riveting

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

Reviewed: 09-05-14

This is a brilliant spy story about a brilliant spy, told by a master writer who knows how to blend character, culture and action flawlessly. For people of a certain age, the characters are familiar but the links between them and the remnants of the culture that protected them are revelatory. I listen to audiobooks in my iPod when I walk, and I walked more frequently and longer while listening to this riveting story. I am now looking into other audio books by this author. I found Lee's reading a bit fast paced and clipped, though his imitations of Russian, American, and upper class English accents were flawless.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Five Days at Memorial audiobook cover art

cast of thousands

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

Reviewed: 01-12-14

This book presents a compelling story that has real relevance for our time. The story is clearly and carefully told and beautifully read by Kirsten Potter. The problem for a listener is that it has a cast of thousands. All these people are really hard to keep straight, and I can only hope that the printed book has a directory for a reader. A listener will have no trouble getting the overall contours of what happened, but the details of who did what and when were hard for this listener to retain across the length of the narrative.

Queen of Scots audiobook cover art
  • Queen of Scots
  • The True Life of Mary Stuart
  • By: John Guy
  • Narrated by: John Guy

a sublime listening experience

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

Reviewed: 08-09-13

The author reads this gripping condensation of his award-winning book with the energy and diction of a trained Shakespearean actor. The story moves along as though written by a Hollywood screen writer but in fact contains details only a dedicated scholar could uncover and an expert writer know how to knit into the plot, which unfolds like a Shakespearean tragedy. The author makes it clear that although he loves his subject he is not blind to her faults and weaknesses. All the secondary characters, including Elizabeth I and Lord Cecil, emerge in high relief. The language is enhanced by his excerpts from original documents. Highly recommended for anyone who loves English and Scottish history and the English language.

The Patriarch audiobook cover art

brilliant biography and history

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

Reviewed: 03-31-13

This long and detailed biography of the patriarch of one of America's most famous families takes a listener into many fascinating segments of 20th century history. Along the way, a listener becomes familiear not only with the Kennedy family and children, but with other 20th century luminaries such as Gloria Swanson and, most brilliantly, FDR and his entourage. Many myths about the patriarch are dispelled and unknown facets of his life and those with whom he interacted are elucidated. The section during which Joseph P. was Ambassador to Great Britain is brilliantly told, tremendously gripping, and always shadowed by the listener's knowledge of the fate of the patriarch's oldest son. Wonderfully narrated even if the assumed accents are occasionally annoying. HIGHLY recommended for anyone interested in 20th century history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful