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Rex Michael Dillon

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  • 10
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  • 69
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  • Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers

  • By: Andrew R. Wilson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Andrew R. Wilson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,040
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 942
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 933

From Napoleon's revolutionary campaigns to the way insurgency, terrorism, and nuclear weaponry have defined the nature of warfare in the 21st century, the results of military strategy have changed the course of history. These 24 thought-provoking lectures give you an inside look at both the content and historical context of the world's greatest war strategists. From the triremes and hoplites of ancient Greece to the Special Forces in 21st-century Afghanistan, strategy is the process by which political objectives are translated into military action.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Introductory Overview of Strategic Concepts

  • By John H. Heitmuller on 08-08-13

Great Sources, Good Variety

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

Reviewed: 03-30-19

Professor Wilson does an excellent job of weaving together Strategic Thinkers of disparate eras. The only real downside is that he seems to shy away from critical thinking as the Strategic Thinkers would think about today's power struggles and policy abuse of military 'instruments'. He also hints at his high esteem for General Petraeus, which as time has shown, is unwarranted. Even so there is very much good in these lectures that far outweigh my minor critique.

  • Fire Road

  • The Napalm Girl's Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace
  • By: Kim Phuc Phan Thi, Ashley Wiersma
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

Get out! Run! We must leave this place! They are going to destroy this whole place! Go, children, run first! Go now! These were the final shouts nine-year-old Kim Phuc heard before her world dissolved into flames - before napalm bombs fell from the sky, burning away her clothing and searing deep into her skin. It's a moment forever captured, an iconic image that has come to define the horror and violence of the Vietnam War. Kim was left for dead in a morgue; no one expected her to survive the attack. Napalm meant fire, and fire meant death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptional

  • By Ch on 01-25-18

The subtitle should warn what the book is

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

Reviewed: 01-27-19

Though I feel great empathy for the author's wartime trauma, the book is a simply a Christian missionary tract. She relates her youth as an adherent of her parents' Caodaism, (to which she was a fervent devotee,) to an equally fervent Christian. The reading comes across as a soap opera.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Marshall Plan

  • Dawn of the Cold War
  • By: Benn Steil
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149

The award-winning author of The Battle of Bretton Woods reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.

In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin's on the rise, US officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events.

Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Benn Steil’s thrilling account brings to life the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar US-Soviet relations—the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany. In each case, we see and understand like never before Stalin’s determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe.

Given current echoes of the Cold War, as Putin’s Russia rattles the world order, the tenuous balance of power and uncertain order of the late 1940s is as relevant as ever. The Marshall Plan provides critical context into understanding today’s international landscape. Bringing to bear fascinating new material from American, Russian, German, and other European archives, Steil’s account will forever change how we see the Marshall Plan and the birth of the Cold War. A polished and masterly work of historical narrative, this is an instant classic of Cold War literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Deeply Researched Narrative

  • By Jean on 10-18-18

Definitive History

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

Reviewed: 01-26-19

This book offers the definitive history of the most enduringly successful piece of American Foreign Policy. The early portion demonstrates how what is today considered a forgone conclusion as an arduous political coup in Congress by the Truman Administration. The final chapter also offers a terrific summary of its impact on the present.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Peloponnesian War

  • By: Donald Kagan
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallace
  • Length: 19 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114

For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century BC the ancient world was torn apart in a conflict that was, within its historical context, as dramatic, divisive, and destructive as the great world wars of the 20th century. The Peloponnesian War pitted Greek against Greek: the Athenians, with their glorious empire, rich legacy of democracy and political rights, and extraordinary cultural achievement, against the militaristic, oligarchic Spartan state.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just The Facts And You Will Need Maps

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 01-22-12

A great reading of an excellent book

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

Bill Wallace's voice perfectly complements Professor Kagan's lucid examination of the war between Athens and Sparta.

  • Private Empire

  • ExxonMobil and American Power
  • By: Steve Coll
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 24 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 589
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 492
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 488

Steve Coll investigates the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States, revealing the true extent of its power. ExxonMobil’s annual revenues are larger than the economic activity in the great majority of countries. In many of the countries where it conducts business, ExxonMobil’s sway over politics and security is greater than that of the United States embassy. In Washington, ExxonMobil spends more money lobbying Congress and the White House than almost any other corporation. Yet despite its outsized influence, it is a black box.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Please no more accents!

  • By Zak on 07-24-12

Informative

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

Reviewed: 05-05-18

though a broad and difficult topic, Steve Coll brings the same deft research as he did to Afghanistan in "Ghost Wars". This book informs, but doesn't go into analysis.

  • The Road Not Taken

  • Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
  • By: Max Boot
  • Narrated by: Henry Strozier
  • Length: 27 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168

In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War. In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908-1987) best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a "hearts and mind" diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was ultimately crushed by America's giant military bureaucracy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An honest look at Vietnam Nam and USA

  • By Catherine on 01-16-18

Boot tries to rehab the American war in Vietnam.

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

Reviewed: 03-23-18

Lansdale was a charlatan, he believed. However he was not a brilliant thinker either. He was an early practioner of COIN (Counter Insurgency) but in no way a person who could articulate how to do it. As for tis book, it rests heavily on wanting to be like Neil Sheehan's "A Bright Shining Lie" and Halberstam's "Best and the Brightest". Read those instead.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Best and the Brightest

  • By: David Halberstam
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 37 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 493
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 434
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436

Using portraits of America’s flawed policy makers and accounts of the forces that drove them, The Best and the Brightest reckons magnificently with the most important abiding question of our country’s recent history: Why did America become mired in Vietnam, and why did we lose? As the definitive single-volume answer to that question, this enthralling book has never been superseded. It is an American classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Preparation for Ken Burns

  • By Chiefkent on 06-12-17

The Tragic History of Where America Went Wrong

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

This book offers not only portraiture but deep background on the men that led the US to war in Vietnam.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Demon-Haunted World

  • Science as a Candle in the Dark
  • By: Carl Sagan
  • Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Seth MacFarlane
  • Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,716
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,548

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cary's new career

  • By DT on 09-05-17

An Excellent Reminder to be a Skeptic

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

Reviewed: 01-15-18

if only this book was required reading for students in their junior year of high school. If only more to the extra step to think about why, we would be a better and more informed society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 40 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,234
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,693
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,729

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't Take My Buds Out

  • By Judith on 11-08-07

excellent reversals of fortune, plot twists

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

Reviewed: 01-07-18

this book has great use of characters and story development. nice glimpse into that period of history

  • Neptune's Inferno

  • The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
  • By: James D. Hornfischer
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,082
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 919
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 919

With The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Ship of Ghosts, James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America’s World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Desperate battles, well told

  • By Robert B on 05-04-12

Favorite book this year

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

Reviewed: 10-04-17

This excellent US Naval History is expertly read. Great performance, great story of the harrowing experiences of the American Navy at the decisive moment during WWII. The final chapters are the sad recriminations and witch trials of those in command at sea, but the early chapters are gripping. Five stars across the board.