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David

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  • reviews
  • 16
  • helpful votes
  • 69
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  • Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot

  • By: Starr Smith, Walter Cronkite
  • Narrated by: Adam Grupper
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Of all the celebrities who served their country during World War II - and they were legion - Jimmy Stewart was unique. On December 7, when the attack on Pearl Harbor woke so many others to the reality of war, Stewart was already in uniform - as a private on guard duty south of San Francisco at the Army Air Corps Moffet Field. Seeing war on the horizon, Jimmy Stewart, at the height of his fame after Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and his Oscar-winning turn in The Philadelphia Story in 1940, had enlisted several months earlier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • After-action intelligence report

  • By David on 04-20-18

After-action intelligence report

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

Reviewed: 04-20-18

This is a pretty good book but not what i expected. In keeping with the author’s wartime role, and t can best be described as a crisp and orderly processions of names, dates, and facts which comprehensively walks the reader through Jimmy Stewart’s remarkable wartime service.

I was expecting a lot more in the nature of personal recollections, yet most were collected from other parties who served directly with Stewart. Nevertheless I left with a profound appreciation for Stewart’s wartime efforts, not least his desire to fight rather than be relegated to a desk (for safety) or morale-building films on the homefront.

Jimmy Stewart achieved his high rank and commendations not through his celebrity, but in spite of it. His humility and fighting soirit embody the best qualities of our “Greatest Generation”.


  • The Thomas Sowell Reader

  • By: Thomas Sowell
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 14 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294

These selections from the many writings of Thomas Sowell over a period of half a century cover social, economic, cultural, legal, educational, and political issues. The sources range from Dr. Sowell’s letters, books, newspaper columns, and articles in both scholarly journals and popular magazines. The topics range from latetalking children to tax cuts for the rich, baseball, race, war, the role of judges, medical care, and the rhetoric of politicians.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant thinker!

  • By Susannah on 03-04-12

The antidote to fuzzy, well-meaning thinking

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

Reviewed: 04-01-17

Thomas Sowell thinks and speaks clearly. This is a lost art. His primary talent is demonstrating that certain important questions are often skipped over as we evaluate the world around us. He asks those important questions and arrives at unexpected answers.

For instance, it's customary to survey companies before and after implementation of minimum wage laws to demonstrate that they've fared tolerably. However, companies that have failed during the transition are not surveyed. Sowell points out that, by that logic, Russian Roulette could be shown to be a perfectly safe recreational activity. He has a similar view on the "safety" of minimum wage laws.

Not an essay goes by that doesn't make me gasp with a mixture of delight, surprise, and horror that I never thought of that before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Don Quixote

  • By: Miguel de Cervantes, John Ormsby (translated by)
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 36 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 729
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 629

The most influential work of the entire Spanish literary canon and a founding work of modern Western literature, Don Quixote is also one of the greatest works ever written. Hugely entertaining but also moving at times, this episodic novel is built on the fantasy life of one Alonso Quixano, who lives with his niece and housekeeper in La Mancha. Quixano, obsessed by tales of knight errantry, renames himself ‘Don Quixote’ and with his faithful servant Sancho Panza, goes on a series of quests.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More than funny

  • By Colin on 08-21-11

10 stars out of 5

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

Reviewed: 06-28-15

It is often called the first modern novel, but it is Homeric in scope and Monty Python droll. A study in human nature, particularly friendship and no small amount of craziness.

The translation is fantastic, our language so often utilitarian is rendered a thing of beauty. Whether Elizabethan oaths or Sancho's homespun wit, its nothing short of amazing.

The performance is the best ive ever heard. So many characters presented in such believable fashion. A journey, an adventure. Youll be sorry when its over.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: Elijah Wood
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,733
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,830

A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterful Narration

  • By Michael Balzoa on 03-11-11

Twain at his infuriating best, epic performance

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

Reviewed: 12-16-14

For starters, it's amazing that this book was performed by one person. It sounds like a cast of a dozen. The voice impressions and southern dialects presented are spot on and unabashed (if somewhat embarrassing to modern ears).

For plot twists and turns, this story can't be beat. Huck and Tom are as much adventurers of the imagination as they are adventurers on the river. Their creativity at concocting whoppers on the fly to cover their actions is astounding.

The hardest part of the book is the moral ambiguity surrounding the plight of Jim, the runaway slave, and how he is viewed by society and to a lesser extent even by the boys. Fair warning, the book uses the N-word the way it was used back in the day: often and without apology, ranging anywhere from matter of fact description to existential abuse.

The way the book ends makes it clear that Twain was describing with painful honesty how things were at the time, but believed in a reformation for individuals and society. His own views on the subject hover in the background. As Huck is struggling to square the expectations of society with his own friendship with Jim, Twain makes the reader squirm, impatient for Huck to figure it out.

Nowadays we worry that the listener will be attracted to the view of slaveholding society, because Twain didn't come out railing against it. Twain's approach was to simply hold up the mirror and let conscience do the work. I expect he'd have said that those with insufficient conscience to respond appropriately didn't need his book to fuel their views. It's a direct challenge to the listener: figure it out for yourself, not because Twain tells you to.

  • Bonhoeffer

  • Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich
  • By: Eric Metaxas
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 22 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,150

A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Message That Needs To Be Heard

  • By Douglas on 01-28-13

A "good German" from WWII

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

Reviewed: 12-16-14

Because bad Germans abound, it's refreshing to hear a story about a "good German" from WWII and many others like them. This story makes it clear why it was difficult to mount an effective opposition to Hitler, both for practical and cultural reasons, and how little help (perhaps understandably) the Allies were.

A significant portion of German Christians tried to take up for the Jews, and this pastor led the way, including being willing to participate in a murder plot against Hitler. However a combination of the sudden power grab and very effective propaganda, mixed with the long-standing cultural requirement to "stay in line", "behave sensibly", and "trust your leaders", caused them to wait way too long. It's also interesting that Bonhoeffer takes more inspiration from the African-American church in the struggle, rather than the white "progressive" church, both of which he encountered in prewar NYC.

The performance was the weakest part of the book. The english speaking portion was fine, but the German pronunciation was very poor and distracted greatly. If you don't speak German, however, you'll never notice.

  • Goodbye to a River

  • By: John Graves
  • Narrated by: Henry Strozier
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

In this classic from the Lone Star State, John Graves learns that the river he knew and loved as a youth, the Brazos in north-central Texas, is slated to be dammed at multiple points - and he understands that things will never be the same. Goodbye to a River is a poignant narrative of one man's journey by canoe down the river of his memories. Along the way, he describes the colorful Texas landscape and recounts its rich history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect narration

  • By John S. on 05-03-07

6 Stars. No, 7. Aw, heck, make it 10.

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

Reviewed: 09-24-14

This was my absolute favorite read, until I purchased the audio. Now it's off the charts.

The story of old Mr. Graves floating down the river, reminiscing about his youth, area history with all its peculiar characters, interacting with representatives of modern "reality", and reflecting on how they all ebb and flow together. He approaches all the stories with a frank and unflappable insight for both the noble and ridiculous, and how they ebb and flow together as well. Nothing idealized, nothing belittled. It just is. or was.

weather. dog. hillbillies. city slickers. The People. neighbors. wildlife. drunks. instant friends.

The Brazos River tied Texas together geographically. It still ties its past to its present. That past is part of us today, and the river and its not so serene beauty serve as Icon for that connection.

The narrator is PERFECT for the story. I feel like I sat and listened to the author tell the story himself. what a treat!

If you love Texas, love the outdoors, love people, or love history, you'll love this book.

10 out of 5.

  • Executive Orders

  • A Novel
  • By: Tom Clancy
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 51 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,246
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,653
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,674

Debt of Honor ends as Jack Ryan is confirmed vice president minutes before a mammoth act of terrorism kills the President, most of his cabinet, all but a few members of Congress, the entire Supreme Court and all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suddenly Ryan is President, which is where Executive Orders begins.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't some of us wish Jack ryan was real?

  • By Thomas on 05-10-12

Almost Prophetic

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

Reviewed: 08-24-14

Any additional comments?

Several times during "reading" this book current events blurred together with the storyline.

May today's real bad guys fare just as poorly as the bad guys in this book.

Where's Jack Ryan when you need him?

Excellent performance, engaging story with plenty of mostly plausible twists and turns, difficult to stop listening.

  • The Birth of Britain

  • A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Volume I
  • By: Sir Winston Churchill
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 909
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 595

The English-speaking peoples comprise perhaps the greatest number of human beings sharing a common language in the world today. These people also share a common heritage. For his four-volume work, Sir Winston Churchill took as his subject these great elements in world history. Volume 1 commences in 55BC, when Julius Caesar famously "turned his gaze upon Britain" and concludes with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Birth of Britain

  • By Terry Pettengill on 02-11-07

These people are civilized?

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

Reviewed: 06-02-14

Would you try another book from Winston Churchill and/or Christian Rodska?

Winston Churchill uses the English language like Paganini played a Stradivarius.

What other book might you compare The Birth of Britain to and why?

Lost to the West by Lars Brownworth. The history of England becomes horribly convoluted by the 1300s and only gets worse. Even Churchill can't make it make sense (to me).

Brownworth managed to make Byzantine history make more sense.

Any additional comments?

Mr Churchill's writing style is fascinating. Mr Rodska's performance is first class.

As the book goes on, the History deteriorates into a sorry and bewildering mess. Makes it hard to believe that England recovered from all that to become a Great Power.

  • Ghost

  • Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent
  • By: Fred Burton
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 349
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 220

For decades, Fred Burton was a key figure in international counterterrorism and domestic spy craft. As a member of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service in the mid 1980s, he was on the front lines of America's first campaign against terror. Now, in this hard-hitting memoir, Burton emerges from the shadows to reveal who he is, what he has accomplished, and the threats that lurk unseen except by an experienced, world-wise few. Told in a no-holds-barred, gripping, nuanced style, this behind-the scenes account of one counterterrorism agent's life and career is a riveting listen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Masterful, Real-Life Glimpse. Brilliant!

  • By Lew on 06-16-08

How it looks from the inside

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

Reviewed: 11-11-13

Any additional comments?

The writing is a little wooden and sometimes repetitive. But the book isn't supposed to be entertaining for it's literary style, it's fascinating for the inside perspective delivered personally by the author.

It's as if Fred is sitting in the living room over a bourbon telling you all about it. It's a truly personal "confession".

I really enjoyed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Soldier Svejk

  • By: Jaroslav Hasek
  • Narrated by: David Horovitch
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 77

A soldier in the First World War who never actually sees any combat, Josef Svejk is the awkward protagonist - and none of the other characters can quite decide whether his bumbling efforts to get to the front are genuine or not. Often portrayed as one of the first anti-war novels, Hasek's classic satire is a tour-de-force of modernist writing, influencing later writers such as Hemingway, Faulkner and Joseph Heller.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Too abridged

  • By igoriokas on 07-25-10

If you need a good laugh

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

Reviewed: 07-05-12

What did you love best about The Good Soldier Svejk?

Svejk is the embodiment of Czech passive resistance to foreign domination, in this case Austro-Hungarian, and later, Russian Bolsheviks. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's really a "patent idiot" as he proudly proclaims, or a conniving saboteur who can wreck the simplest orders with creative application of cheerful obedience coupled with elastic morality.

But Svejk the idiot seems positively sensible when confronted with the Imperial war machine, which even without Svejk's help manages to sabotage its own greatness through equally imbecilic acts of obedience.

If you're feeling a bit oppressed by some misbegotten authority or asinine bureacracy, this book is for you. The Czechs have mastered the art of patient suffering, so the book is surprisingly lighthearted given the weight of its content. You'll feel a lot better afterwards.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Good Soldier Svejk?

Svejk helpfully offers to haul a load of books from brigade office and deliver them to the staff. When the train is called to leave midway through the task, Svejk commits a blunder so serious that even he is not authorized to know what he has done.

Who was the most memorable character of The Good Soldier Svejk and why?

Svejk of course is the centerpiece of the novel. Second after that is probably poor Lieutenant Lukaš, a career officer and lothario who fails on numerous occasions to rid himself of Svejk.

Any additional comments?

The audiobook is "abridged" from the original without serious loss. There is a certain amount of ribald activity and some really eloquent cursing (how many ways are there to call a soldier a "bastard"?), delivered in a British comedic style that would be at home in a Monty Python.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful