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Catherine Spiller

  • 14
  • reviews
  • 25
  • helpful votes
  • 67
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  • Dealing with China

  • An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower
  • By: Henry M. Paulson
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270

When Hu Jintao, China's then vice president, came to visit the New York Stock Exchange and Ground Zero in 2002, he asked Hank Paulson to be his guide. It was a testament to the pivotal role that Goldman Sachs played in helping China experiment with private enterprise. In Dealing with China, the best-selling author of On the Brink draws on his unprecedented access to both the political and business leaders of modern China to answer several key questions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Listened to the book then bought the print copy

  • By William Crutcher on 07-06-15

A real insight into how far and how fast China improved in the 1990s-2012

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

It is easy in this time of backsliding to forget how recent the liberalism being dialed back is. Paulson provides a superbly balanced approach.

  • Pandora's Grave: Shadow Warriors Series

  • By: Stephen M. England
  • Narrated by: Michael C. Gwynne
  • Length: 16 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

An American president who will do anything to win reelection...An Iranian leader who will stop at nothing to bring about apocalypse...An ancient evil, only waiting to be reborn....High in the Alborz Mountains of northwestern Iran, an archaeological team disappears. American citizens are among the missing...With the presidential election only months away, President Roger Hancock authorizes a covert CIA mission into the mountains of Iran. Their objective: rescue the archaeologists and uncover the truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story

  • By Victor @ theAudiobookBlog on 05-12-16

A little more demotic than I’d prefer

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

Reviewed: 12-28-18

But if Tom Clancy is your thing, this is for you. Lots of research packed into a twist filled dramatic plot, edge of the seat narration, and characters on all sides of the drama with believable and complex motivations. If Clancy is not quite your thing, you may find England somewhat better. If you hate Clancy for reasons that are not highly specific, probably best to look elsewhere.

  • The Politics of Resentment

  • Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
  • By: Katherine J. Cramer
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • incredibly insightful

  • By F. Ospina on 01-13-19

Important, but shallow

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

There’s a lot of very good information here. Sadly, while the author periodically holds back from explaining how misinformed her interviewees are, she never stops making her contempt obvious. Clearly, when they complain about the Department of Natural Resources, they’re a: misinformed, b: racist, or sometimes c: complaining about not seeing people like themselves on the boards.

The possibility that there’s an actual substantive problem with the DNR is not considered. This isn’t to say that there aren’t cognitive and social issues that go into this stuff, but her endless calls for respect are pretty explicitly limited to procedural respect, to spending time with people. A better approach would include more of a sense of policy trade offs. Maybe they shouldn’t get what they want from the DNR (or from UW-Madison etc.), but if you go into the trade offs and establish that they have the inferior side of the argument you can at least have some respect for them as people. Instead, she assumes that they’re wrong about everything.

Sometimes she even checks. For example, she talks to people who feel like Walker listened to them more than Doyle did, and proves this wrong by counting the number of public appearances he made in the North, without having that listed in the claims she’s disproving.

The book’s central thesis is important and well argued. It would be a lot richer and more valuable if it were more like a modern ethnography and less like a Victorian exploration of an exotic breed of savages. In particular, more time suggesting reasons they believe things that do not involve them being hoodwinked, less time speculating slander that is explicitly not based in her interviews.

  • From Colony to Superpower

  • US Foreign Relations Since 1776
  • By: George C. Herring
  • Narrated by: Robert Fass
  • Length: 40 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 209
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 168

This prize-winning and critically acclaimed history uses foreign relations as the lens through which to tell the story of America's dramatic rise from 13 disparate colonies huddled along the Atlantic coast to the world's greatest superpower.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Thoughtful History Of U.S. Foreign Policy

  • By Andrew on 01-20-14

More effort to say that decisions were good or bad than to describe them.

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

Reviewed: 09-12-17

The, as yet incomplete, series that this book is a part of is generally exemplary in giving equal space to the more and the less popular periods of American history; books pretty consistently cover thirty year periods.
Herring has talked in interviews about how much he was thinking about Iraq when he wrote this book, and boy does it show. The first two and a half books of the Oxford history take America up to independence. These books receive no counterpart pages in this; "From Colony to Superpower" includes the superpower part, but not the colony. In general, events that can be used to talk about Iraq get a lot of space, which means that the first century and a bit he does cover goes by quickly.

While the superlative volumes of the series at its best do include value judgments, this book repeatedly devotes three or even four sentences in close proximity to describing Herring's view on the correct policy (often in the form of deriding the intelligence or education of those who disagreed with him; it appears from this volume that no intelligent or moral people were on the wrong side of historical foreign policy debates, no hucksters and charlatans on the right side).
Given the degree to which details are often smoothed over, this is not because he had space to spare.
We are told that the Afghan war was important, for instance, in the context of deriding Bush for Iraq, but we receive no description of the importance of Afghanistan. The degree to which this position mirrored the Obama speeches at the time may just be coincidence, but, Wilson and Vietnam aside, it falls into a general pattern of Democrats being uniformly correct in their foreign policy positions. The decision not to intervene more in the Chinese Civil War, for instance, is not a trade off that later saw America pay a high price in Korea (to say nothing of the price paid by China in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution). Rather, this was a struggle between the noble Truman and villainous and ignorant Republicans.
To put it another way, the language used is that appropriate to the OUP, but the substance is that of the Victorian children's histories parodied in 1066 And All That.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Long Game

  • A Memoir
  • By: Mitch McConnell
  • Narrated by: Mitch McConnell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. He tells how his mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exercises every day for two years. He explains how his father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant taking the occasional punch. And he reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Look at a Career Politician

  • By Jean on 07-24-16

The best Senatorial book of the cycle

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

Reviewed: 06-04-16

The book is an even handed, readable and enjoyable romp through the last thirty, but particularly the last few, years of Senate history, accompanied by a large dose of all American personal story. I'd particularly recommend this book to students as it provides an excellent framework from which to judge future political claims.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Crippled America audiobook cover art
  • Crippled America

  • How to Make America Great Again
  • By: Donald J. Trump
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Lowell, Donald J. Trump - introduction
  • Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,309
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,176
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,173

The audiobook will explore Trump's view on key issues including the economy, big CEO salaries and taxes, health care, education, national security, and social issues. Of particular interest will be his vision for complete immigration reform, beginning with securing the borders and putting American workers first.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Straight forward

  • By M. Miller on 01-05-16

Stream of consciousness wonder

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

Reviewed: 04-26-16

Hilarious introduction, much less impressive body. Some gems (vets come back and discover that somebody(singular) has taken all the jobs; clearly an industrious villain), but mostly a multi hour version of a Trump speech.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Time for Truth

  • Reigniting the Miracle of America
  • By: Ted Cruz
  • Narrated by: Ted Cruz, Jason Culp
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 994
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 915
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 918

Liberals love to hate Ted Cruz. The outspoken Texas Senator has a knack for getting under their skin. His quotable remarks - and even more, his principled stands on numerous national issues - have made him a political lightning rod and the most Googled man in Washington.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • love this!

  • By Phelicia on 02-28-16

Sucks up to people who employed or helped him, catty about others

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

Reviewed: 08-11-15

On the plus side, that means that John Roberts, Pat Roberts, Bush 41, Josh Bolten, and Paul Clement get supported. On the downside, it means plenty of cattiness about unnamed Republicans (which attacks the party without the accountability you get with names), and unending complaints about McConnell. There doesn't appear to be principle involved in either the criticism or the praise except for personally helping Cruz or not. Paul is principled when he agreed with Cruz, awful when he disagreed.
There are some good jokes, but there's nothing solid and worthwhile here.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

  • By: The Great Courses, Kathleen M. Higgins, Robert C. Solomon
  • Narrated by: Kathleen M. Higgins, Robert C. Solomon
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,013
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 895
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 873

Who was Friedrich Nietzsche? This lonely and chronically ill, yet passionate, daring, and complex man is perhaps the most mysterious and least understood of all contemporary philosophers. Why are his brilliant insights so relevant for today? How did he become the most misinterpreted and unfairly maligned intellectual figure of the last two centuries?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect entry point for understanding Nietzsche

  • By Charley Yeager on 03-09-15

An apology (classical sense) for Nietszche

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

Reviewed: 05-19-15

Thoughtful, but with much more of a focus on defending Nietszche from attacks than actually exploring his thought. We learn speculative theories, but relatively little about specific works.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Our Kids

  • The American Dream in Crisis
  • By: Robert D. Putnam
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292

It's the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in - a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last 25 years we have seen a disturbing "opportunity gap" emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A more relatable, less rigorous, Coming Apart

  • By Catherine Spiller on 03-28-15

A more relatable, less rigorous, Coming Apart

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

Reviewed: 03-28-15

This book is filled with fascinating nuggets of data, insights, and explanations for our world. I sometimes felt like the selection of anecdote was a little manipulative. Putnam admits that some examples were chosen that were particularly vivid to make the lesson clearer. When talking about the macro data though, Putnam seems fair, modest, creative, and insightful. The policy recommendations feature unsurprisingly less modest suggestions about the scope of our knowledge, but again he's open about this. An excellent read either in conjunction with Charles Murray's Coming Apart or for those who find lengthy data analysis a struggle to read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Marriage and Other Acts of Charity

  • A Memoir
  • By: Kate Braestrup
  • Narrated by: Kate Braestrup
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

Kate Braestrup has been married and widowed, betrayed and betrothed, her personal spirituality constantly evolving along the way. How do God and love figure in our everyday lives and bonds with others? In Marriage and Other Acts of Charity she tackles these big questions with stories from her own relationships--romantic and familial, platonic and professional--much as Anne Lamott weaves her spirituality through her tales of parenthood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Humble, theologically orthodox, charming and fun

  • By Catherine Spiller on 03-16-15

Humble, theologically orthodox, charming and fun

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

Reviewed: 03-16-15

The author is a Unitarian Universalist and there are many references to her outsider status, some explicit, some subtle.
Aware that her audience is diverse, though, the theology she expounds is modest and avoids controversy. As an argumentative theology major myself, I have grumbled while listening to at least some passages of every theological audiobook I own (around a dozen). Insight after insight is cleverly delivered without the overstatement that it so hard to avoid.
There is one three sentence passage that explains UU theology in a manner that sounds mildly missionary ("God is love. That's it.... Really.) and gay marriage is briefly addressed in a non-polemic manner, but the book would make an excellent text for people looking to return to orthodoxy, or gift from someone hoping the recipient might enjoy an appealing and gentle advertisement for the life of faith that would avoid teaching heresy. Catholics and high church Protestants may find it particularly surprisingly good, but no denomination will find it offensive on issues that the denomination is in the mainstream on, with the exception of the above caveats and the author's position as a female chaplain, a position Catholics will be comfortable with (no mention is made of communion or other sacraments Catholic female chaplains, rather than priests, could not, in extremis, officiate at), and most, albeit not all, Protestants should have even less issue. The question is only implicit, albeit obvious; again Braestrup avoids *advocating* anything that could be felt to be heretical.