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Carl U.

Marin County, California
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 33
  • helpful votes
  • 27
  • ratings
  • Railroaded

  • The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America
  • By: Richard White
  • Narrated by: Paul Woodson
  • Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 53

The transcontinental railroads of the late 19th century were the first corporate behemoths. Their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the US economy. Their dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption. Their operations rearranged space and time, and remade the landscape of the West. As wheel and rail, car and coal, they opened new worlds of work and ways of life.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very In Depth and Enlightening

  • By MJK1 on 08-07-18

A different view of a famous subject

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

For some time now I've been fascinated by the railroads. Probably from living in CA near both Sacramento and San Francisco. I've read books about The Big Four aka The Associates and about the building of the Cental Pacific and Union Pacific, most notably the Steven Ambrose book Nothing Like It In The World. Railroaded takes an entirely different approach to the subject. The author looks not at the building of the railroad but the financing of the roads, why they were built, where and when they were built and some of their affects on our society. This is a large tome. It is both scholarly and entertaining. It will take a while to read and 23 hours to hear as an audiobook but I considered it well worth the investment of time. There is a lot to process about the men involved, the times, the birth of corporations in the U.S. and the political environment of the second half of the 19th century. I believe this book will be of interest those with a curiosity of American history, railroading, early corporate finance and the political enviornment of the time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • War on Peace

  • The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
  • By: Ronan Farrow
  • Narrated by: Ronan Farrow
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,436
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,292

American diplomacy is under siege. Offices across the State Department sit empty while abroad, the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We're becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later. In an astonishing account ranging from Washington, DC, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea in the years since 9/11, acclaimed journalist and former diplomat Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gifted Author

  • By JAL on 05-06-18

Dense but worthwhile

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

Reviewed: 08-29-18

This is one of the few author narrated books that I had no real complaints with about the narration. The authors premise that the U.S., in the past 20 years or so, has moved toward replacing diplomacy with aggression was intriguing to me. I believe he made his point. However, the book is full of very detailed descriptions of specific events. While I found the strories interesting I often lost the point and how it related to the overall premise of the book. I believe the author could have omitted some of the 'color' that tended to make the telling of the story almost like a novel. Did we really need to know that one of the diplomatic officers drank Sauvingon Blanc during the interview? Or that she wore a pashmina of a specific color?
Overall I believe the author was able to convey his concern and support it with facts. The final chapters focus on the current administration and they do not fill the read/listener with a sense that all will be well and things we turn out ok in time. Much the opposite. I'm more concerned that ever about the next several years.

  • Tinseltown

  • Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
  • By: William J. Mann
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,529
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,389
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,395

By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence; yet Hollywood's glittering ascendancy was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies - including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everybody's a dreamer...

  • By Steven on 01-08-15

WOW!!! I never knew

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This book really pulled me in. It is very well written and the narration was very good. I knew nothing of this early Hollywood story. If you know anything about early Hollywood you'll really enjoy this. I'm not a big fan of silent movies so I know very little about that era but I found this story enlightening. A lot has changed since the 1920s.....and a lot hasn't.
After reading the book I sought out a lot more information about the cast of characters and learned a lot. I will seek out other books by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Down the River unto the Sea

  • By: Walter Mosley
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,407
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,218
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,213

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island. A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story

  • By Claudia Peebler on 03-03-18

Just a bit short of Mosley's best

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This is classic Walter Mosley and I really enjoyed listening to the book. It seems a bit more contrived than other books of his but it's still a very enjoyable story and well written. If you're a Mosley fan you'll really like this. If you're new to Mosley I suggest starting with some of his earlier works, especially the Easy Rawlins series.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Facts and Fears

  • Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence
  • By: Trey Brown, James R. Clapper
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 18 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,853
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,692
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,691

When he stepped down in January 2017 as the fourth US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper had been President Obama's senior intelligence advisor for six and a half years, longer than his three predecessors combined. He led the US Intelligence Community through a period that included the raid on Osama bin Laden, the Benghazi attack, the leaks of Edward Snowden, and Russia's influence operation on the 2016 US election.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Speaking Straight, Unbiased Truth to Power

  • By Cynthia on 05-29-18

Everyone should read this book

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

First and foremost this is a book on how the Intellegence Community works and it does an excellent job of providing that information. James Clapper's life was spent as an intellegence officer. Secondly the book does a great job of describing how the intellengnce community has worked over the past 50 years to provide us with the data we have today on Russia and how they are attacking the United States. This is NOT a highly politicized rant by someone with an agenda. It's facts, and toward the end of the book, personal conclusions drawn from those facts layed out in a non-political manner. If you love America read this book. One humorous note, the narrator's voice reminded me of Vincent Price.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fascism

  • A Warning
  • By: Madeleine Albright
  • Narrated by: Madeleine Albright
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,431
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,402

At the end of the 1980s, when the Cold War ended, many, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, believed that democracy had triumphed politically once and for all. Yet nearly 30 years later, the direction of history no longer seems certain. A repressive and destructive force has begun to reemerge on the global stage - sweeping across Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States - that to Albright, looks very much like fascism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Jean on 07-04-18

This is a VERY important book

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

Highly recommended, read it, share it, discuss it. It's does a very good job of discussing the topic from a scholatic point of view applied to the real world.
The author draws on her experience and skill as a professor with a great deal of real world experience. She does not color her work with a lot of emotion and personal flavor, she sticks to facts and draws conclusions that are supported by those facts.
The #1 point I got from this book is this type of troubling and freightining policital leadership does not come on with a bang it grows and develops gradually for a lot of very valid reasons. However, that is one of the more disturbing elements of Fascism and perhaps the one message we all must hear clearly.
Ms. Albright, PLEASE hire a professinal to read the book. This applies not only to you but to Jake Tapper and David McCollough. Few authors are skilled as narrators.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Playing with Fire

  • The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics
  • By: Lawrence O'Donnell
  • Narrated by: Lawrence O'Donnell
  • Length: 17 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 686
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 640
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 638

The 1968 US presidential election was the young Lawrence O'Donnell's political awakening, and in the decades since it has remained one of his abiding fascinations. For years he has deployed one of America's shrewdest political minds to understanding its dynamics, not just because it is fascinating in itself but because in it is contained the essence of what makes America different and how we got to where we are now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant synthesis of history past and present

  • By Dwight on 11-12-17

Living History

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

As a person who lived as a man just entering adulthood in 1968, and one who was keenly aware of the polictics of the day this book was both a reminder and a glimpse behind the scenes. O'Donnell's narration is a very good one. A bit of his personal views on the situaiton come through but not enough to flavor the material do any signifiant degree. The material is both enlightening and a engaging. I love reading/listening to books on history but do not often have the chance to read about history I lived through. I recommend this book hightly to history fans of that era, especially those old enough to have lived it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark

  • One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  • By: Michelle McNamara
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn - introduction, Patton Oswalt - afterword
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,232
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,391
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,328

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer - the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade - from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Listen to Scare Yourself in the Dark

  • By Trixie Runnin' on 03-04-18

How incredibly timely

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

Reviewed: 06-05-18

I listened to this book just as the actual Golden State killer was being finally brought to justice. Having lived very near where all this too place I found it facinating. I was quite young when it all happened and while I remember it this book gave me an insight that I would not othewise have had. It also provides a huge back story to the still unfolding arrest and trial of the man who seems almost certainly the guilty party. A great read. I'm saddened by the knowledge that the author did not live to see the final chapters of this story unfold for her to bring it all to a conclusion.

  • The Hellfire Club

  • By: Jake Tapper
  • Narrated by: Jake Tapper
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,095
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 998

 Charlie Marder is an unlikely congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife, Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Could be happening now

  • By Barbara or Jerold Gendler on 05-24-18

Good, but I'd hoped for more

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

Reviewed: 06-05-18

The reading/acting does not help the story.... Mr Tapper not an actor; which in his day job is probably an asset but I believe this story would have been help a great deal had it been read by an accomplishe audio book actor/reader. The story mixes real life people with fictional characters which adds some sense of authenticity to the tale, but not enough. Early on I expected something more plausible than what developed. It was an enjoyable read but even though I knew it was a novel I hoped and perhaps expected it to be a bit more believable. Saying that however I would give Jake Tapper another chance if he chooses to write another novel.