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Lee

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  • Guardians of the Revolution

  • Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs 
  • By: Ray Takeyh
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 16

For over a quarter century, Iran has been one of America's chief nemeses. Ever since Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979, the relationship between the two nations has been antagonistic: revolutionary guards chanting against the Great Satan, Bush fulminating against the Axis of Evil, Iranian support for Hezbollah, and President Ahmadinejad blaming the U.S. for the world's ills.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid introduction to contemporary Iran

  • By Lee on 03-21-16

Solid introduction to contemporary Iran

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

Reviewed: 03-21-16

I say solid introduction because Guardians of the Revolution only covers the major players, factions, and events. It doesn't delve into the lives of Iranians, nor much into the Iranian parliament. Even major events, such as the hostage crisis, leave the reader (at least this reader) wanting more information despite receiving an entire chapter covering them.

As such, Guardians of the Revolution does not stack up in depth when compared with books such as Magnificent Delusions, The Plantagenets, or Legacy of Ashes. However, it does a good job of examining and analyzing the Iranian perspective of the past 40 years of events. It serves as a good teacher if you are interested in learning more about Iran, and are not already well-acquainted with the subject-matter.

At this point it is not as contemporary as may be hoped, as it ends with the Green movement and Ahmadinejad still in power. I, for one, will be looking forward to a sequel or update that examines Rouhani's return to the presidency, Iran & ISIS, and the end of US sanctions.

Regarding the difficulty of the book: This is a scholarly text, written by member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As with the other books I have mentioned above, a reader should expect a degree of professionalism with regards to the subject matter and the language used in such a text.

Regarding the political leanings of the book: I personally felt that this book was too generous regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, and it could have rebuked both Clinton and George W. Bush far more than it did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Worse Than War

  • Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity
  • By: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 26 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's books are events. They stir passionate public debate among political and civic leaders, scholars, and the general public because they compel people to rethink the most powerful conventional wisdoms and stubborn moral problems of the day. Worse Than War gets to the heart of the phenomenon of genocide, which has caused more deaths in the modern world than military conflict. In doing so, it challenges our fundamental beliefs about human beings, society, and politics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Will Cause You To Expand Your Thinking

  • By James on 09-17-13

A solid analysis of historical genocides, but...

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

Reviewed: 08-27-14

I must first confess that at the time of this writing, I am only around 17 hours into Worse Than War. However, I feel compelled to write this review due to several irksome tendencies that Mr. Goldhagen has in his writing.

Before I get into my criticisms, allow me to state that Mr. Goldhagen has done a magnificent job in compiling and considering various genocides throughout history. Though he leaves out eliminations prior to the 20th century, he is comprehensive in his coverage of genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. For example, he does not cover the genocides of indigenous peoples across North and South America since the arrival of Europeans.

That said, my largest complaint would have to be his biased and inaccurate portrayals of Islam and Muslims, as well as communism and communists.

Aside from covering the Turkish persecution and genocide of the Armenians, his primary coverage of Islam pertains to "Political Islam". By which he actually means a wide variety of extremist movements, each with distinct motives, primarily within the Middle East. He tends to cluster extremist Sunni, Shia, Wahhabi, etc together as a single menace with a single goal (which is blatantly false).

He plays up the discredited notion that Al Qaeda hates the West for its freedoms and beliefs, ignoring their objectives for transforming the Middle East and takfiri tendencies. I would recommend The Longest War, The Accidental Guerilla, and Destiny Disrupted for a superior analysis of Al Qaeda's motives and actions.

Additionally, he ignores Western and Jewish culpability with regards to the present situation involving Israel and Palestine. He presents a tremendously complicated situation as having a clear villain, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and a clear victim, Israel. He does not appropriately entertain or consider the legitimate grievances that Palestinians have regarding the creation of Israel and actions taken by Israelis since then.

Similarly, he consistently blames the communism for the actions taken by Mao and Stalin, both of whom used the idea of communism to further their own power and wealth, without being particularly good communists. He never enters into a discussion of the beliefs of communism, but rather treats it as an existential evil. I personally would have expected better, and less biased, analysis from one as well educated as Mr. Goldhagen.

On a less significant note, his writing is also flawed. It tends to be repetitive, primarily to drive home the names of the leaders of past genocides. Additionally, he repeats many of the same points and ideas throughout the book. Even repeating the examples he presents in earlier discussions on those points and ideas. However, this repetitiveness is largely unnecessary and makes the book more of a chore to read than it otherwise might be.

That said, I would recommend the book as part of a comprehensive study of genocide. I would not recommend that this be your sole or primary source as it too often reflects the beliefs of the author, rather than objective fact.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Last Argument of Kings

  • The First Law: Book Three
  • By: Joe Abercrombie
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 27 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,389
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,423

The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You have be realistic about these things.

  • By Lore on 05-27-13

For masochists only

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

Reviewed: 09-19-11

As the title of this review suggests I cannot recommend this book for anyone who does not like being kicked in the gut repeatedly. While the previous two books may have left you hoping that the First Law Trilogy would have a satisfactory conclusion, it not only fails to provide that, it fails to provide any form of resolution to the story as a whole. Moreover, unless you have a completely twisted sense of morality, only the most vile of the characters get anything remotely resembling a happy ending. Every character that can possible be construed as an upstanding individual is repeatedly abused by Abercrombie, and left either insane, suffering, dieing, or dead. There are very few books I wish I had never have read, this is one of them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Well of Ascension

  • Mistborn, Book 2
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 28 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,971
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28,993
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,023

The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler - the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years - has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Slower but worthwhile

  • By Jeff on 01-28-10

A fine book if you can get past the melodrama

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

Reviewed: 09-19-11

Though I personally find the philosophical discussions which this book is filled with less than well-conceived, I was willing to overlook that small flaw and enjoy the characters, plot and world that Sanderson developed. Unfortunately there is one gaping flaw with this novel that I cannot overlook: the pathetic melodramatic way in which Elend and Vin behave with regards to their relationship. If you like shoujo manga or anime you probably will not object to the overdone tropes that pervade their relationship. However, I for one cannot stand the idea that two people would be so foolish as to wander around wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt rather than talk about their concerns with the person they love. If you can ignore their romantic bumbling, and Sanderson's woefully unbelievable attempt to make their relationship into a love triangle, this is a quality novel which I probably would have given a 4.5, but as it is written I can give it no higher than a 3.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 2
  • By: Douglas Adams
  • Narrated by: Martin Freeman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,541
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,362
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,363

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability, and desperately in search of a place to eat.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great, But not as great as book one

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-26-09

Don't Panic

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

Reviewed: 05-04-10

Regarding the complaints other listeners have brought up about the narration, it is my viewpoint that Martin Freeman's narration, while different than that of Stephen Fry's, is not particularly worse. I much preferred Fry's voice for Zaphod, but within a couple of hours I was past this minor impediment to my listening enjoyment.

To me, the book lacked much of the humor it's predecessor possessed in abundance, instead it places much more focus upon advancing the plot. That is to say it has less humorous moments, as opposed to the quality of the humor having diminished. Having said that, the conclusion of the book definitely makes "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" a worthwhile read for all those who enjoyed it's predecessor.

Uncle Tom's Cabin audiobook cover art
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • By: Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Narrated by: Buck Schirner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,053
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 793
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 795

Eliza Harris, a slave whose child is to be sold, escapes her beloved home on the Shelby plantation in Kentucky and heads North, eluding the hired slave catchers. Aided by the underground railroad, Quakers, and others opposed to the Fugitive Slave Act, Eliza, her son, and her husband George run toward Canada. As the Harrises flee to freedom, another slave, Uncle Tom, is sent "down the river" for sale. Too loyal to abuse his master's trust, too Christian to rebel, Tom wrenches himself from his family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent narrator

  • By Michael on 04-26-09

Tragic, yet terrific

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

Reviewed: 05-02-10

What can be said about this book that has not already been said. It easily belongs to the top tier of historical fiction novels ever written. The superb writing and character development will capture your imagination and get even the most hard-hearted to feel for the characters. As this novel is renowned for, it masterfully covers the deplorable nature of slavery, and the unfortunate situation the United States (and at various periods, much of the rest of the world) was in.

Matching this marvelous writing is an equally marvelous narrator who brings a unique personality to even the most minor of parts.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in history as you will not be disappointed.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Too Big to Fail

  • The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System - and Themselves
  • By: Andrew Ross Sorkin
  • Narrated by: William Hughes
  • Length: 21 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,962
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,229

A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly Revealing

  • By Laura on 01-11-10

Better than Dune

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

Reviewed: 12-29-09

While the title of this review may be seen as heresy by the hardcore Sci-Fi fans out there, this is one instance where the drama of real events surpasses even the greatest drama fiction can muster. The English language lacks sufficient adjectives to properly extol the writing and events of Too Big Too Fail. In addition to the superb recounting of the events leading to the collapse, William Hughes does an excellent narration. I have already recommended Too Big Too Fail to my friends and family, and I would recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in the economic events of 2008.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful