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Buretto

Tokyo, Japan
  • 106
  • reviews
  • 247
  • helpful votes
  • 206
  • ratings
  • Gumption

  • Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers
  • By: Nick Offerman
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,777
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,518
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,504

The star of Parks and Recreation and author of the New York Times best seller Paddle Your Own Canoe returns with a second book that humorously highlights 21 figures from our nation's history, from her inception to present day - Nick's personal pantheon of "great Americans".

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It was just ok

  • By Charlie Kapuscinski on 11-10-16

All the right enemies, but could have been better

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

I vaguely knew of Nick Offerman. I've seen him here and there, but was never motivated to buy his books. But looking at the the negative reviews here, and reading the contents filled with right wing paranoia, I figured I'd give him a shot. The truth is, he is opinionated, but not nearly as left wing as most of those reviewers would have you believe. But unfortunately, he's not nearly as interesting, either.

The first problem is not with the subjects themselves, but with the way they are presented. Some are done not nearly enough justice (Eleanor Roosevelt, Carol Burnett, Willie Nelson), some are so embarrassingly fawned over, that it's hard to resist pushback (Yoko Ono, Conan O'Brien, Theodore Roosevelt, Jeff Tweedy). He does reasonably well with Fredericks (Olmstead and Douglass) and Benjamin Franklin, but most of the others made me wish he'd just given me the name to check out myself. The most egregious hero worship may be for Teddy Roosevelt, though. He only touches on a few shortcomings, nearly completely ignoring his self-aggrandizing (that is, untruthful) military exploits, and his imperialist racism with regard to the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Cuba and Puerto Rico. I don't mind glorifying "gumption", but let's make it warts and all.

The second is the comedy. To me, it's kind of pedestrian and cookie-cutter. I get that he's a man of the people, down-to-earth type, but it wears thin. And not to put too fine a point on it, a middle aged white man using black urban slang and dialect ironically is no less cringe-inducing than when it's done by a tone-deaf middle aged white man.

The truth is that I probably agree with Nick Offerman on 99% of social commentary which is presented in this book. I just wish it had been done either more humorously, or more interestingly.

  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

  • By: Richard P. Feynman
  • Narrated by: Raymond Todd
  • Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,198
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,715
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,722

With his characteristic eyebrow-raising behavior, Richard P. Feynman once provoked the wife of a Princeton dean to remark, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" But the many scientific and personal achievements of this Nobel Prize-winning physicist are no laughing matter. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious and inspiring

  • By Brad Grimm on 11-09-09

Entertaining and motivational

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

I'm tempted to write that my first reaction was that it's easy to be a smart aleck when you're a genius. And that probably still goes. But the book reveals so much more, showing the man's thoughts, sometimes inspired, sometimes puerile, but always interesting. It should inspire anyone who reads it, to be curious, and follow that curiosity to wherever it leads. Rather than acting like we know how everything works, everyone should embrace that we don't know how anything works, and take joy in seeking to find the answers.

  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

  • A Sortabiography
  • By: Eric Idle
  • Narrated by: Eric Idle
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 135
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

 

We know him best for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python - from the Flying Circus to The Meaning of Life. Now, Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on an unforgettable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater, and film. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Idle name-dropping, which can't be helped

  • By LJ on 10-09-18

Wonderful reminiscences

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

This book is exactly what I expected when I first saw it, and suspect it will be for others, as well. There's sufficient Python material to satisfy fans, and thankfully not too much. And such as it is, the reminiscing is focused more on the creative processes and less on rehashing bits (though it has to be said the title song does take up its fair share of the stories). Adeptly, without being vicious, nor overly sarcastic, Idle manages to convey some of the tension within the troupe, but doesn't dwell. Easily, my favorite parts were his memories of, and escapades with, George Harrison, sharing a truly loving friendship.

  • The Captured

  • A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier
  • By: Scott Zesch
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 307
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312

On New Year's Day in 1870, 10-year-old Adolph Korn was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comanches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe's fiercest warriors. Forcibly returned to his parents after three years, Korn never adjusted to life in white society. He spent his last years living in a cave, all but forgotten by his family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kidnapped - 10 Year Old Adolpy Korn

  • By Roy on 09-08-10

Comprehensive, even-handed account

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

It's not often that an audiobook is so compelling that I stray from usual listening patterns. But this one is. It's very well done, particularly laying out the history of native and european contact in the region. It might be easy to stake out a position based on emotion and speculation, but the author stays above the fray, dealing only with the first hand accounts (allowing the reader to determine the veracity of those accounts for themselves) and historical facts. With that given, by tracing the consequences, intended and otherwise, of government policy, business interests, and native responses, the book paints a fairly clear picture of how and why these abductions occurred and why the abductees reacted as they did. Really interesting book.

  • The Spirit Woman

  • Arapaho Indian Mysteries
  • By: Margaret Coel
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Brush
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

An historian, who is convinced that the memoirs of 19th-century Shoshone heroine Sacajawea are stashed somewhere on the reservation, has disappeared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Attention Holder

  • By Harry KG5JX on 04-25-18

It is what it is

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

Reviewed: 10-05-18

Should this book be given special consideration because it helps express some underrepresented voices? Perhaps, it does. And certainly the underlying theme that runs throughout the book is one that should be shared and exposed, particularly as it pertains to native women. But two dimensional characters and cliched gender relationships are dime a dozen in these kinds of stories, and unfortunately, this one does not rise above. Some of the prose is a bit overwrought in an attempt to be extravagantly descriptive, but it fell flat for me. Which is sad, because I tried this book because it was different than my usual fare...(and despite the garish cover art, as if Thomas Kinkade were born Shoshone).

All in all, it's just okay, not terrible, but nothing special either.

  • Little Shoes

  • The Sensational Depression-Era Murders That Became My Family's Secret
  • By: Pamela Everett
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

In the summer of 1937, a California crime stunned an already grim nation. Three little girls were lured away from a neighborhood park to unthinkable deaths. After a frantic week-long manhunt for the killer, a suspect emerged. Justice was swift, and the condemned man was buried away with the horrifying story. But decades later, Pamela Everett, a lawyer and former journalist, starts digging, following up a cryptic comment her father once made about losing two of his sisters. Everett unearths a truly historic legal case that included the genesis of modern sex offender laws and the last man sentenced to hang in California.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterful presentation of secrets and crime case!

  • By deb on 05-31-18

Narrow your expectations

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

Reviewed: 09-24-18

My first reaction was that the summary had over-promised what the author was going to present. Looking back though, I'm willing to acknowledge that I may have read more into it than was strictly stated. While not deceptive, I do think the summary leaves an impression that there may be more than is actually in the book.

As it is, the story is a fairly dry, methodical presentation of a crime, investigation, and trial. In terms of problems within the criminal justice system, it has some value. However, the connection of police and court procedure with the actual crime is a little tenuous, relying a bit too much on the author's familial interest.

The narrator reads well, but has just enough obvious mispronunciations to be distracting. Not egregious by any means, but just enough to make the listener wonder about the diligence of the recording and editing process.

  • American Detective: Behind the Scenes of Famous Criminal Investigations

  • By: Thomas A. Reppetto
  • Narrated by: Arthur Flavell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5

From the Roaring '20s to the 1970s, detectives reigned supreme in police departments across the country. In this tightly woven slice of true crime reportage, Thomas A. Reppetto offers a behind-the-scenes look into some of the most notable investigations to occur during the golden age of the detective in American criminal justice. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Thinly veiled political agenda

  • By Buretto on 09-09-18

Thinly veiled political agenda

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

Reviewed: 09-09-18

I'd expected to get some insight into famous investigations, as the title and summary promised. I did not expect to get the author's opinions about Hollywood, civil libertarians, unions, social scientists, multiculturalism, socialism... Basically, anything that the author can roll into the convenient blame ball of *leftist", for which he clearly hold considerable animus. There's a bit of criticism directed at police, but usually only the dumb flatfoot cops and politically-driven administration, but rarely the vaunted detective.

The book is loaded with coded language regarding race, sexuality and political persuasion. Sometimes the prejudice is right up front. He makes sure to note when criminals were black, at odds with the pointy headed profiler's assessment (DC sniper), and when criminals were probably homosexual. For Leopold and Loeb that may have been relevant, but none of the others. And he spends time defending J. Edgar Hoover's honor against spurious "accusations" of homosexuality. Why that is of any relevance is anyone's guess.

And he hates Clarence Darrow. Really, really hates him. From what I can gather, for nothing more than being a lawyer who would give his clients the opportunity to escape the death penalty. The author clearly holds capital punishment as a necessity for a lawful society.

But the real shame is that the parts of the book which do, in fact, delve in to interesting cases, are made completely unreliable. If the author is willing to make misleading, and often false, statements about cases, and significant figures involved in those cases, how can the reader/listener trust anything? The author is thoroughly disingenuous with his mischaracterisations of historical figures (nearly all of which is easily debunked or contextualised with research).

The final insult is the treatment given to Black Lives Matter. Only in the last 10 minutes of the book is it addressed, and then the blame is placed.... well, you can probably guess where it's placed. Suffice it to say, the author doesn't believe in liberal policing plans or, it seems videos of police brutality. It may have been best to just ignore it altogether, as by the end of the book, the listener can't doubt what the author feels about BLM.



4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable

  • By: Lacey Baldwin Smith
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 601
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 537

Here at last is a history of England that is designed to entertain as well as inform and that will delight the armchair traveler, the tourist, or just about anyone interested in history. No people have engendered quite so much acclaim or earned so much censure as the English: extolled as the Athenians of modern times, yet hammered for their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. But their history has been a spectacular one.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly enjoyable history

  • By Dennis K. on 11-23-17

Misses on all three counts

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

It's probably a clue when a book such as this one references a different book multiple times (1066 and All That) in presenting examples of irreverence. I suppose 9h43 probably must be considered brief for English history (actually much less, since there was no way I was going to be listening at 1.0x), but even then it seemed to go forever. It's just thoroughly unmemorable. Virtually nothing humorous at all, unless the reign of Queen Victoria being deemed "interminable" qualifies as dry wit. Even the straight histories have more intrinsic charm. Give this one a miss.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Quackery

  • A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
  • By: Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

What won't we try in our quest for perfect health, beauty, and the fountain of youth? Well, just imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine - yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison - was dosed like Viagra. Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-10-18

Ouch! Yum! Burn!!!

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

If you grew up in the 90's and/or think that "Friends" was the height of comedy in recorded history, this book might be for you.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for an interesting little book that will be informative and entertaining to hold you over until your next serious book, you'll be sadly disappointed. Very little presented is new information (the usual suspects... Kellogg, Mesmer, Starvation Heights). That which is somewhat new, is done in such a slapdash fashion, with annoying asides like the ones in the headline, or tagged with snarky remarks, that the information is lost in the mix.

The narrator did a reasonable job conveying the banal sense of humor, and only mispronounced a handful of names.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Nobody's Girl Friday

  • The Women Who Ran Hollywood
  • By: J. E. Smyth
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 13 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars 1

The first comprehensive history of Hollywood's high-flying career women during the studio era, Nobody's Girl Friday covers the impact of the executives, producers, editors, writers, agents, designers, directors, and actresses who shaped Hollywood film production and style, led their unions, climbed to the top during the war, and fought the blacklist. Based on a decade of archival research, author J. E. Smyth uncovers a formidable generation working within the American film industry and brings their voices back into the history of Hollywood. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • An excuse for a hatchet job on Katharine Hepburn

  • By Buretto on 08-12-18

An excuse for a hatchet job on Katharine Hepburn

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

This book is 1/3rd phone directory, 1/3rd resume reading, and only 1/3rd story. I wish that were a joke.

I also wish this the actually story had been told better. I was intrigued by the promises of the summary, but it sadly fails to fulfil any of that promise. I was hoping to hear about the contributions of women in the film industry. I didn't care about their politics, nor whether they identified as a feminist (of whatever wave), and I certainly didn't care about the author's opinion about who was legitimately feminist and who wasn't. The first two chapters of the book is filled with, quite literally, readings of studio phone books. When the book does start to get into details, it mostly just relays a string of resumes of prominent women in various departments of filmmaking.

Rather unintentionally, it reveals that self-importance, as well as mediocrity, in Hollywood knows no gender. When it does refer to work quality, it's almost always in terms of box office and awards (naturally, filmmakers deciding on whom among themselves to glorify). I believe that I learned that women were responsible for an over-reliance on closeups, along with interminable music bridges to give the audience the appropriate cue on how they should be feeling. That may be a bit of an exaggeration on my part, but it does reflect the kind of outsized claims that the author makes.

But, where it really goes wrong is the dreadful hatchet job on Katharine Hepburn. Throughout the book (when it chooses to actually relate facts about women in Hollywood) there is a lot of condescension regarding who was not a feminist, who wasn't feminist enough, who was a 1st wave versus 2nd wave feminist.... And it culminates in a shameful takedown of Katharine Hepburn as self-serving and anti-woman, stopping just short of calling her a female version of an Uncle Tom. Even the tepid efforts by the author for redemption for Hepburn in later years, specifically in The African Queen, are ironically given in relief to her male co-star Humphrey Bogart, and later dismissing her as nothing more than Spencer Tracy's facilitator and flunkie. To make historical commentary, and perhaps feeling that the record is being straight is one thing. But this last chapter was mean-spirited, particularly when the woman is so prominently featured on the cover.

I was merely disappointed up to the last chapter. Mostly names and resumes, without much substance. A few notable actors, writers, editors, costume designers were given notice, and that was welcome. But too little to salvage it from the books ignoble ending.