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Annette

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Gripping & very real with superb narration!

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

Reviewed: 03-16-17

Probably the best fiction narrator I've encountered. The story itself, (although somewhat far fetched only due to one major coincidence near the end which I won't spoil), seemed quite authentic overall in terms of military lingo, logistics, human characterizations of both the good guys and the bad guys, interpersonal relationship development, and dialogue. The storyline is timely and thoroughly gripping. The eventual peak in the action was incredibly tense. I really loved this book and will have a hard time waiting for the next installment in the series. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Probably a great book, but the narration pitiable.

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

Reviewed: 11-28-15

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book should be re-recorded. I couldn't even get through the whole audio recording. McCants, the learned author has some tremendous insights and valuable knowledge about the inner-workings of Islamic terrorist group commonly referred to as ISIS. It's a subject that fascinates me, hence I listen to or read as much as I can on the subject. BUT - I've purchased hundreds of titles from Audible.com and I regret to admit that this well-written book has the worst narration of any audiobook I've listened to so far. So, do yourself a favour and buy the real book and read it!

Would you be willing to try another one of Stephen McLaughlin’s performances?

NEVER!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

An In-Depth Account that Humanizes Bonaparte

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

Reviewed: 05-12-15

This book makes no claim to be anything but a defence of Napoleon Bonaparte as someone deserving the title "Great." While never failing to highlight Napoleon's mistakes or weaknesses, the author certainly does make the case for his greatness. He does so with loads of factual information, including many telling and surprising comments from Bonaparte himself taken from some of his thousands of letters.

Roberts' biography serves to dispel the various, often inane historical caricatures of Bonaparte and draws the listener into appreciating the compelling, enigmatic nature of a brilliant man with unsurpassable charm, energy, leadership skills, strategic vision, a ridiculous attention to details, a manic desire for knowledge, and of course a longing to rule and mould society.

My main criticism of the book is that the author continually introduces new characters of which there are many, often with only a fleeting description, and then refers to said characters over and over again without ever referencing his original description; this left me almost continually uncertain of the identity of many individuals whom the author referred to, particularly pertaining to those in the military and government. More frustratingly, I often didn't even know which countries these men represented. Perhaps this is one "flaw" that is made less evident by reading the book instead of listening to it.

Still very much worth the read. I learned a great deal about the main character, and about French and European history that I was previously unaware of.

Thrilling, amusing, and heart-wrenching.

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

Reviewed: 01-26-15

Much more than I expected. Says it's "based" on true events. Not certain how much of the narrative is real, but if it comes close to demonstrating the extraordinary courage, dedication, talent, camaraderie, and self-sacrifice of the Navy Seals -- and the types of operations they undertake, then I nominate them for the greatest of international heroes. Narration is perfect.

The Heart and the Fist Part 2 audiobook cover art
  • The Heart and the Fist Part 2
  • The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL
  • By: Eric Greitens
  • Narrated by: Eric Greitens

Inspirational, Funny, and Highly Educational

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

Reviewed: 01-01-15

The Heart and the Fist introduces listeners to an exceptional man with a timeless message about strength, courage, honour, and compassion. Possessing remarkable athletic and intellectual skills which earned him a Rhodes Scholarship, as well as wisdom and courage beyond his years, Eric Greitens manages to remain deeply humble and consistently demonstrates gratitude. He simply has it all, including the depth of character and physical and mental stamina to become a Navy Seal officer. Embedded into his psyche is a moral awareness which guides all of his decisions. I can't really think of many people with more integrity than this guy, now dedicating his time to the organization he founded for giving wounded vets who can no longer do battle, the opportunity to serve in other substantial ways.

The book is as entertaining as anything I've listened to thus far. My only criticism is that is too short by about half. I finished it feeling a bit cheated. I want to know much more about Eric's adventures as a humanitarian and soldier. I wanted him to teach me more. In the meantime until his next book, I'll ponder his wise counsel and attempt to integrate what he's learned into my own life.

Masterful storytelling, but gratuitous sex.

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

Reviewed: 10-03-12

Would you listen to Winter of the World again? Why?

I would listen to this again and eagerly await the final instalment in the trilogy. Follett knows history and although his focus on creating left-leaning (but not necessarily Communist) heroes is overdone, he attempts to provide balance and his overall treatment of WWII is fair and frequently keenly insightful and thought provoking. The intertwining of his fictional characters with the portrayal of actual historical players is handled deftly. Although the coincidences are objectively far-fetched, his ability to weave a compelling story with distinctive, complex characters prevents the listener from rolling his or her eyes too often. The true hero of this book is Carla, the young German raised by Social Democratic (Socialist) parents who takes enormous risks and makes great sacrifices in order to counter the Nazi culture permeating her homeland. In yielding to the culture of our post-Christian 21st century, Follett presents this character as a "saintly" atheist, when it would be more likely that a German possessing her radical righteousness and love for humanity would have probably been a devout and authentic Christian.

I'm confused by Follet's need to often graphically detail the early sexual encounters of almost every character, and half way through my listen, I began to wonder if this author might be a bit obsessed with this intimate aspect of our humanity; the sex scenes started to get boring and somehow I can't help but wonder if he was trying desperately to illustrate that there was little difference between today's sexual mores and the sexual behaviour of Western society over 60 years ago. I think he may have strayed a little from the historical evidence in this regard.

What other book might you compare Winter of the World to and why?

I would compare Herman Wouk's "Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" to this book, by virtue of the intertwining of compelling fictional and historical characters and simply by the similarities in their handling of historical fiction. I would suggest, however, that although Follet matches Wouk in storytelling, Wouk is the greater master of English prose.

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

John Lee is a superb reader, although at times he reveals a somewhat monotone reading voice. His ability to provide the characters with authentic-sounding native accents is no less than remarkable, easily transitioning from a working-class Welsh speaker to an upper-class English accent, to the vocal depiction of a Southern U.S. soldier with amazing ease. Sometimes men struggle with giving their characterizations of women's voices authenticity, but Lee manages this beautifully. This man is one of the great audiobook actors.

Any additional comments?

I was pleased to listen to an account of WWII which did not demonize the entire German nation, highlighting the heroic acts of individuals who either overtly (as in the case of the Catholic priest who spoke out against the euthanasia program and was subsequently executed) or covertly worked to limit the powers of the Nazi regime. I was also pleased with Ken Follett's reference to the profound similarities between the oppressive totalitarian natures of both Nazism and Communism. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a 20th century history buff, or even more importantly to someone who needs to know more about WWII, but finds non-fiction boring.

Once again, I would place a caution on this book for younger readers, or for those who desire a great work of historical fiction but who do not feel the need for frequent descriptions of sex acts which may be at first titillating, but which eventually become ridiculous and intrusive by their frequency.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful