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Ron L. Caldwell

New York, NY USA
  • 65
  • reviews
  • 337
  • helpful votes
  • 664
  • ratings
  • A River in Darkness

  • One Man's Escape from North Korea
  • By: Masaji Ishikawa, Risa Kobayashi - translator, Martin Brown - translator
  • Narrated by: Brian Nishii
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,911
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,907

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just 13 years old. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by false promises of abundant work and a higher station in society. In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal 36 years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heartbreaking

  • By C. F. Gagnon on 05-31-18

Heartbreaking

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

Reviewed: 08-03-18

A difficult and tragic story told with courage and clarity. It wouldn't be precisely true to say that I enjoyed the book, but it felt important, and I'm very glad that it exists. I want to know more about what has become of the author, and hope that he will write another book.

  • Famous Father Girl

  • A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein
  • By: Jamie Bernstein
  • Narrated by: Jamie Bernstein
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

The oldest daughter of revered composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir. The composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in 20th-century America.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A bit too much gee-whizzing

  • By Ron L. Caldwell on 07-16-18

A bit too much gee-whizzing

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

I'm a child of the 60s and Leonard Bernstein was a god to me. West Side Story and Candide changed my life. In the ensuing decades other of his compositions have spoken to me. I was in the audience for rehearsals of Houston Grand Opera's productions of Trouble in Tahiti and A Quiet Place. All that is leading up to saying that I have the greatest respect for the maestro's immense talent.

Jamie Bernstein is a clear-eyed observer and reporter of her and LB's life and relationship. I'm grateful for that. The only criticism that I would offer is that there's a bit too much of the forced cutesy-ness in her childhood stories. The family's in-jokes are not all that funny to an outsider.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Reality Is Not What It Seems

  • The Journey to Quantum Gravity
  • By: Carlo Rovelli, Simon Carnell - translator, Erica Segre - translator
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 884
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 807
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 802

What are time and space made of? Where does matter come from? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions and pushing the boundaries of what we know. Here he explains how our image of the world has changed over the last few dozen centuries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Most compelling physics book in at least 10 years!

  • By Kyle on 02-03-17

Somewhat disappointing

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

This is a well-written book, bit instead of a thorough account of quantum gravity, precious little of the text is devoted to that slippery subject. Instead, we get a rather prosaic history of physics from the ancient Greeks on. While that's interesting, it's well-trodden territory, and not why I bought the book.

  • Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

  • Detective Sean Duffy, Book 6
  • By: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,595
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,490
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,489

Belfast, 1988. A man is found dead, killed with a bolt from a crossbow in front of his house. This is no hunting accident. But uncovering who is responsible for the murder will take Detective Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on a high bog where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave. Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs, and with his relationship on the rocks, Duffy will need all his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing better than a Duffy tale!

  • By 6catz on 03-10-17

Excellent book in a great series

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

Reviewed: 02-15-18

This is a very well-written and entertaining book, with engaging characters and an interesting plot. I really like our hero, Sean Duffy, a Catholic officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland. He's smart, witty, and fallible. The rest of the characters are engaging, too. These books are set in the 1980s, so they are blessedly devoid of technobabble. I would recommend listening to the whole series in order.

  • I Hear the Sirens in the Street

  • Detective Sean Duffy, Book 2
  • By: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,130

A torso in a suitcase looks like an impossible case, but Sean Duffy isn’t easily deterred, especially when his floundering love life leaves him in need of a distraction. So with detective constables McCrabban and McBride, he goes to work identifying the victim. The torso turns out to be all that’s left of an American tourist who once served in the U.S. military. What was he doing in Northern Ireland in the midst of the 1982 Troubles?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hear "Cold Ground" First, Then Audlble This!

  • By Ted on 08-31-13

Gritty and witty

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

Sean Duffy is a wonderful, richly drawn character and these books in which he figures are marvelous. The author immerses us in a time long-past with references to music and the fundamental elements that make life in the early 1980s in Ulster so different from life now. The whole novel is saturated with sharp wit. Our hero is complex and his decisions not always pretty, which makes tagging along with him that much more interesting. He's in a constant moral quandary, for reasons you'll know right away. I have already bought three or four more books in the series, and look forward to many happy hours spent with Duffy and his estimable colleagues.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

  • Any Human Heart

  • A Novel
  • By: William Boyd
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 457
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 411
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 411

Best-selling author William Boyd—the novelist who has been called a “master storyteller” ( Chicago Tribune) and “a gutsy writer who is good company to keep” ( Time)—here gives us his most entertaining, sly, and compelling novel to date. The novel evokes the tumult, events, and iconic faces of our time as it tells the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, and man of the world—through his intimate journals. It is the “riotous and disorganized reality” of Mountstuart’s 85 years in all their extraordinary, tragic, and humorous aspects.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • very satisfying story-telling

  • By connie on 07-15-11

What a lovely book

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

Reviewed: 08-08-17

This book is pure pleasure. It follows the life of a fictional British writer through a partly non-fictional world. We hear about our main character, Logan Mountstuart, mostly through his journal entries, with a few asides. His life is by turns exotic, tragic, successful, penurious, and - occasionally - triumphant. It is an extraordinary life that one wishes had been true in all its complexity.

  • Quantum

  • A Guide for the Perplexed
  • By: Jim Al-Khalili
  • Narrated by: Hugh Kermode
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290

From Schrodinger's cat to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, this book untangles the weirdness of the quantum world. Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you're not shocked by it, you don't understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half alive and half dead at the same time?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Run of the Mill QM Primer

  • By Michael on 05-02-17

Repetitive

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

Reviewed: 04-23-17

How many times and in how many different ways can a writer tell us that we can't picture the underlying concepts of quantum mechanics because they don't follow the rules of the macro world and of common sense? Our author manages to say that, again and again. Many other books do this as well and succinctly.

  • Speak Memory

  • An Autobiography Revisited
  • By: Vladimir Nabokov
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 318
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 273
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 275

Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov’s life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Luhzin Defense.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous lines!

  • By Chrissie on 08-14-13

A master at work

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

Nabokov gave us Lolita, a book I admire but don't absolutely love. To my taste, this memoir is without equal. The author's fascinating life effervesces in each perfectly crafted sentence.

Stefan Rudnicki is a terrific narrator who reads like he's really thought about the words passing through his lips.

  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

  • A History of Nazi Germany
  • By: William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 57 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,612
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,597

Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Held my interest for 57 hours and 13 minutes

  • By Jonnie on 11-08-10

Impeccable scholarship...

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

...told by one who was there.

This is a monumental work, but I haven't found an extra word. Very well-crafted and compelling. I'm sure there have been many discoveries that would alter some of the author's assertions, but this is an excellent primer if you're interested in what happened in Germany in the Nazi era.

Grover Gardner delivers a meticulous performance which is a joy to hear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Regeneration: The Regeneration Trilogy, Book 1

  • By: Pat Barker
  • Narrated by: Peter Firth
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 276
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 213

In Craiglockhart war hospital, Dr William Rivers attempts to restore the sanity of officers from World War I. When Siegfried Sassoon publishes his declaration of protest against the war, the authorities decide to have him declared mentally defective and send him to Craiglockhart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Insightful

  • By Ms. on 04-01-09

Still fascinating

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

This, with the other books in the trilogy, is a masterpiece of storytelling. Barker has marshalled an encyclopedic knowledge of the WWI era and turned it into a nimble combination of compelling fact and brilliant fiction. The narration is superb, too. I can't recommend these books enough. They may just change your life.