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D. Littman

OH
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  • Road to Disaster

  • A New History of America’s Descent into Vietnam
  • By: Brian VanDeMark
  • Narrated by: Ron Butler
  • Length: 23 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Many books have been written on the tragic decisions regarding Vietnam made by the stars of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Yet despite many words of analysis and reflection, no historian has been able to explain why such decent and previously successful men stumbled so badly. That changes with Road to Disaster. Historian Brian VanDeMark draws upon decades of archival research, his own interviews with many of those involved, and a wealth of previously unheard recordings by Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford, who served as Defense Secretaries for Kennedy and Johnson. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting interpretation of Vietnam decisions

  • By D. Littman on 10-19-18

Interesting interpretation of Vietnam decisions

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

This new book on the Vietnam War takes a different approach to the usual book on the subject. It focuses on the personalities and decision-making of the Washington DC based politicians (Eisenhower, Kennedy & Johnson administrations), cabinet members & other advisors, and the military leadership. Van DeMark also gives a window to flaws in the psychology, personal and organizational, that contributed powerfully to decisionmaking patterns. He usefully explicates the flaws in decisionmaking in the context of Vietnam, but employs examples from the psychology research literature to illustrate these points. The book is not the be all & end all on Vietnam, no book can be. But because of its focus on decisionmaking it makes a great new contribution to understanding what happened & why it happened. The book has good narrative drive and a very effective narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hitler's American Model

  • The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
  • By: James Q. Whitman
  • Narrated by: James Anderson Foster
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • troublingly insightful.

  • By Kristiopher W. Easton on 10-03-18

interesting chapter of history

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

In the United States, we are accustomed -- in grade and high school at any rate -- to being taught a cleansed, heroic version of American history, with most of the blemishes suppressed altogether or minimized. This would include, of course, the "original sin" of slavery (the US was the largest slave society in the world in the mid-19th century) and the son of original sin, the black codes (etc.) that succeeded in reinstating a version of slavery after the failure of reconstruction. Racism remains pervasive in US culture today (and not just white-on-black racism), but it is no longer "legally sanctioned" in the way it was from the 1890s (e.g., Plessy vs Ferguson) to the 1960s.

It should be no surprise to Americans that the Nazi's did not invent legalized/institutionalized racism. Nor did leaders in the post-bellum US. But in the late-1920s, before they came to power, the Nazis did try to shape a coherent philosophy for their movement (anyone who has read Mein Kampf will know that it was incoherent philosophy). In so doing, they looked around the world for "models" just as they attempted to put philosophical arguments of their own in place to support Aryanism and anti-Semitism. One place where they found ample philosophy and ample laws (in all 50 states and DC) was the United States. In this book James Whitman triangulates between US legal structures of racism, German racism/anti Semitism which had yet to assume legal form, and the Nazi effort to form a cultural philosophy & in the early 1930s, a political one.

Whitman does not claim that the Nazis became anti-Semites because of what they learned from US models. But he does show that pervasive legal restrictions gave Nazis "comfort" that they were not alone and gave them models easily copied into the law codes of 1930s Germany. In so showing, Whitman reminds us that the US does not have clean hands in this area, far from it. The racism and anti-Semitism and other institutionalized prejudice in pre WWII United States is a horrible legacy we still live with. And it was a horrible (if unintentional) model for the Holocaust.

I did not give this book 5 stars for a few reasons. First, it is dry, sometimes repetitive, and contains lengthy passages of verbatim laws and regulations. These elements do not lend strength to an audiobook. Nevertheless, the book is very meaty, very convincing in its arguments. Second, the narrator sometimes struggles through this dense material.

The strength of this book is how it arrays its evidence and its arguments about these lamentable histories, of Germany and the US, where we had many parallels and where the US served as one of the main foreign models used by Hitler and his henchman.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret Token

  • Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke
  • By: Andrew Lawler
  • Narrated by: David H. Lawrence XVII
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

In 1587, 115 men, women, and children arrived at Roanoke Island on the coast of North Carolina to establish the first English settlement in the New World. But when the new colony's leader returned to Roanoke from a resupply mission, his settlers had vanished, leaving behind only a single clue - a "secret token" etched into a tree. What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? That question has consumed historians, archeologists, and amateur sleuths for 400 years. In The Secret Token, Andrew Lawler sets out on a quest to determine the fate of the settlers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent take on Lost Colony history

  • By gc dunn on 08-03-18

the first half of this book is terrific

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

The first half of this book is good history, probably worth the $ for the entire audiobook. The second half is rambling. In the first half, Lawler tells the history of the voyage and colonization, include a good deal of background about what was going on in England around colonization in the late 1500s and some information that was new to me about the settlement. In the second half, he reverts to newspaper-style journalism rather than history and historical analysis. The one piece of history in the second half he uncovers, and is interesting, is about the Portuguese pirate/navigator/investor but this section isn't connected up to the broader theory of the lost colony, is perhaps irrelevant to it. To readers interested in the historical portions, you might (as I did) slow those sections to 1x, and in the journalistic and more rambling sections, speed the MP3 player to 1.5x (as I did). If I had had the physical book, I probably would have read the thesis statements at the head of each paragraph or section in the second half of the book, but that is not possible in the audio format.

I would still give a 5-5-5 star grade to the first half, and in the second half, a lower grade to the "story" portion. Which explains the overall score in the story category of 3. The narration performance is excellent throughout.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Death of Democracy

  • Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic
  • By: Benjamin Carter Hett
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111

Why did democracy fall apart so quickly and completely in Germany in the 1930s? How did a democratic government allow Adolf Hitler to seize power? In this dramatic audiobook, Benjamin Carter Hett answers these questions, and the story he tells has disturbing resonances for our own time. Benjamin Carter Hett is one of America’s leading scholars of 20th-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of the feckless politicians of the Weimar Republic show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Too Close for Comfort

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-05-18

excellent narrative about the fall of Weimar

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

Reviewed: 09-30-18

This book provides an excellent narrative of the fall of Weimar and the rise of the Nazi's. Even though I knew a good deal of the "outlines" of the story before reading (listening) to this book, I learned much about the persons, personalities, political parties and political machinations of the 1920s (especially the late-1920s) and the early 1930s. The book is dense in parts, the highly interested reader might benefit from having a copy of the book itself alongside the MP3 player to help his or her way through those sections. I did not have that, so I found it very useful at times to stop to research a person or incident on my iPhone or computer browser to get my bearings. This is not meant as a criticism of the book however. The narrator was good. I highly recommend the book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The World Broke in Two

  • Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year That Changed Literature
  • By: Bill Goldstein
  • Narrated by: Bill Goldstein
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

A revelatory narrative of the intersecting lives and works of revered authors Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, and D. H. Lawrence during 1922, the birth year of modernism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best non-fiction Audible book I've heard

  • By Brian on 09-20-17

Loved this book

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

A great book about 4 great early 20th century authors, struggling with writer's block (as all author's do) in the aftermath of the largest industrialized war (WWI) in world history. Listeners who haven't read something by all of them or any of them can still find enjoyment in the learning. And in the directing to the period writings. I plan to go back to TS Eliot's which I read when still wet-behind-the ears in high school, I am sure I understood zero back then. I was familiar with Virginia Woolf, the life and the work from 1922, Mrs Dalloway, and also with EM Forster, and with DH Lawrence (if mainly through the movie version of Women in Love). This book will add to my reading list. The book has great pacing, you will not be bored or tempted to drop midway. The narration, by the author, is perfect. I wish he'd written something else I could follow with.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Jane Austen at Home

  • A Biography
  • By: Lucy Worsley
  • Narrated by: Ruth Redman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185

Take a trip back to Jane Austen's world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses - both grand and small - of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OMG - Who doesn't enjoy Jane Austen!

  • By Doris Anna Wright on 09-16-17

The best of numerous biographies

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

Reviewed: 09-01-18

Jane Austen has been the subject of many biographies. I have read a number of them, as books, kindle books & in audio format. This is the best of them. It is particularly strong as an audiobook. It gives a very human version of Jane Austen, with a focus on the places where she lived, her relatives and acquaintances (some of whom clearly models for characters in the novels), and the trials and successes of her career. My interest in keeping with the audiobook going never flagged, I never felt the urge to skip ahead or abandon the work in midstream. Highly recommended.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us

  • By: Douglas O. Linder, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Douglas O. Linder JD
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125

No understanding of the past is complete without an understanding of the legal battles and struggles that have done so much to shape it. Inside a survey of world history's greatest trials are the key insights to critical issues we still talk about today, including freedom of speech, the death penalty, religious freedom, and the meaning of equality. Join Professor Linder for these 24 lectures that investigate important legal cases from around the world and across the centuries.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting material, but . . .

  • By Mark on 12-29-17

Good intro to a range of famous court cases

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

Reviewed: 12-30-17

One of the great things about the Great Courses series is that they can give the listener a 101 level introduction to a new (or renewed, for courses forgotten decades ago) area of study. I am a dedicated listener (and in some cases, watcher) of Teaching Co. courses of this kind. Of course, a 101 level course that is completed in only, say 12 hours, can also seem somewhat superficial, since a true 101 course on the same topic in freshman year of college has lots more hours as well as lots of reading materials the college freshman must read if he or she hopes to get a good grade. The Teaching Co tries hard to achieve a balance between their own 101 by bridging toward the college 101, without getting all the way there.

I found this course to be closer to the superficial 101, which means I hungered for more information about the cases about which I knew little or nothing (mostly the in the first half of the course) while I came away slightly dissatisfied with those about which I already knew a good deal (mostly in the last 1/4 of the course). I still give it 4 stars overall, it has already driven me looking for more material on the few cases about which I knew nothing, so I can make my own bridge in the direction of the freshman 101. In that sense, this course and this professor has accomplished the key objectives of Teaching Co courses -- giving me a broad understanding of this topic and making me thirsty for more information on particular lectures.

The lecturer is quite entertaining, and brings in plenty of ancillary information to give the listener context about the case itself. Each lecture is structured in such a way that the entire 30 minutes is not dominated by the trial itself, but gives background on the times, the "crime," the players, and where appropriate, the consequences of the event.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Burr Conspiracy

  • Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis
  • By: James E. Lewis Jr.
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 20 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4

In 1805 and 1806, Aaron Burr, former vice president of the newly formed American republic, traveled through the Trans-Appalachian West gathering support for a mysterious enterprise, for which he was arrested and tried for treason in 1807. This book explores the political and cultural forces that shaped how Americans made sense of the uncertain rumors and reports about Burr's intentions and movements, and examines what the resulting crisis reveals about their anxieties concerning the new nation's fragile union and uncertain republic.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A complete misnomer

  • By Mickey on 11-15-17

an unusual, fascinating history book

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

Reviewed: 11-24-17

This is more a work of historiography than history, or a mixture of the two, but that shouldn't scare the reader away. No one really knows what Aaron Burr was up to in those few years after the duel with Hamilton and his trial for treason during the second term of the Jefferson Administration. provides us with all of the scattered surviving "evidence," primary & secondary, as well as interpretations of what angle the producers of that evidence might have been taking. Along the way, Lewis provides a fascinating window on early 19th century United States, its journalism, its mails, its military, the conflict between the president & the Supreme Court as seen in the Burr trial. So you shouldn't be disappointed that Lewis, too, does not provide the definitive answer to the mystery. And in the end, it doesn't matter. The book has a great narrative drive, and the narrator is terrific.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Hue 1968

  • A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
  • By: Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 18 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,155
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,076
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,067

By January 1968, despite an influx of half a million American troops, the fighting in Vietnam seemed to be at a stalemate. Yet General William Westmoreland, commander of American forces, announced a new phase of the war in which "the end begins to come into view". The North Vietnamese had different ideas. In mid-1967, the leadership in Hanoi had started planning an offensive intended to win the war in a single stroke.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I KNEW This Book Would Sting Me . . . .

  • By Bee Keeper on 07-28-17

terrific book, feel like you were almost there

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

Reviewed: 09-14-17

Mark Bowden is an incredible investigator, accumulator of anecdotes & life stories, presumably superb at picking & choosing among the vast material he collected to weave a real-life, blow-by-blow story of the Battle of Hue. The largely, in American history & even in traditional Vietnam War history, little remembered Battle of Hue. This is not your usual military history book. It does not focus on big strategy or on big tactics of the overall war, but it provides just enough context so you can put the detailed Hue story into the frame. This is not a "political" story, as for example, focusing on what was happening in Saigon or Hanoi or Washington DC or in the seemingly blinded by their preconceptions halls of the Pentagon & Westmoreland's headquarters. But Bowden does just enough of that, a veneer really, to set Hue into that context. This is a blow by blow, personal focus on the battle, following different units & individuals (on both sides but especially US Marines) through the month-long battle. It made me feel like I was there ... there but not in danger but still feeling some little % of the sense of danger the soldiers felt. If I have any quibbles, and they are very minor, it is the small share of the book devoted to the Vietnamese - the civilians, the VC & NCA & the South Vietnamese army units. But if he had done more of that the book would have been confusing & overlong really. I am going to go check out the physical book to see what other works focus on those aspects, so I can round-out my understanding better. The narrator is excellent and the book has a great rhythm that draws you into the narrative and makes it quite hard to put it down.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Northanger Abbey

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,893
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,737
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,732

A coming-of-age tale for the young and naïve 17-year-old Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey takes a decidedly comical look at themes of class, family, love and literature. Revelling in the sensationalist - and extremely popular - Gothic fiction of her day, the story follows Catherine out of Bath to the lofty manor of the Tilneys, where her overactive imagination gets to work constructing an absurd and melodramatic explanation for the death of Mrs Tilney, which threatens to jeopardise her newly forged friendships.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amusing audio experience

  • By if it's not baroque on 01-01-18

There is no substitute for unabridged

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

Reviewed: 09-08-17

This audiobook looked very good at first glance with an array of professional actor narrators handling a volume with much character dialogue. The Book has large sections of description and context which is lost by converting a long volume of text into a short play. In Austen as in many other novelists abridgment of this kind results in a huge loss. I'm afraid that reading or listening to a well narrated version of the entire book is superior to a skinnied down version. There is more than one unabridged version of this book available in audio.

245 of 262 people found this review helpful