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Terry Masters

  • 7
  • reviews
  • 50
  • helpful votes
  • 9
  • ratings
  • The Doomsday Machine

  • By: Daniel Ellsberg
  • Narrated by: Steven Cooper
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 358
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 356

The Doomsday Machine is Ellsberg's hair-raising insider's account of the most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization, whose legacy - and renewal under the Obama administration - threatens the very survival of humanity. It is scarcely possible to estimate the true dangers of our present nuclear policies without penetrating the secret realities of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, when Ellsberg had high-level access to them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Insider Story

  • By Terry Masters on 12-07-17

Fascinating Insider Story

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

This is an excellent book on nuclear weapons policy and planning at the highest levels of government as told from an insider's perspective. Given the author's personal involvement in the topics discussed, it is a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of a highly secretive realm. There are mind-blowing historical facts described, and probably everyone should read and contemplate the associated issues. Be forewarned, though, the price of becoming informed will probably be increased cynicism, fear and incredulity.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • A Savage War

  • A Military History of the Civil War
  • By: Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh, Williamson Murray
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 24 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

The Civil War represented a momentous change in the character of war. It combined the projection of military might across a continent on a scale never before seen with an unprecedented mass mobilization of peoples. Yet despite the revolutionizing aspects of the Civil War, its leaders faced the same uncertainties that have vexed combatants since the days of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Book about Conclusions

  • By Terry Masters on 10-18-17

A Book about Conclusions

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

Reviewed: 10-18-17

This purpose of this book is to present and support the conclusions of the authors. The cherry-picked facts included (and omitted) serve only that purpose: this is not the broad, unbiased survey of military history suggested by the title.

If you're inclined to agree with the authors' take on the War, you may be able to enjoy this book, assuming you tailor your expectations appropriately. The book emphasizes slavery, criticizes scholars who talk of the states' rights role in the war and generally sets up a north-protagonist, south-antagonist narrative, though it portrays both sides as predominately inept. I'm sure that had such wise men as the authors been around in the 1860's to explain things to the cretans, the Civil War might never have taken place or, at least, been a quick and easy process.

The authors are clearly teachers because they repeat the same conclusions over and over
and freely pass judgment on the actions and decisions of every government official and soldier described, on both sides. If you are enamored with college professors and veiled condescension from on high, this book is for you. For me, such style is a hallmark of commentary, not what this book purports to be -- a "history" should not be so judgment-heavy. Keegan's history of the Civil War is far and away superior in this regard.

I found it particularly off-putting that the authors repeatedly use the third person to reference their own previous writings as support of some of the claims in this book. Accordingly, I question whether there is an underlying agenda here, though I do not care to speculate on what it may be. I would rather read a book of facts/information etc. and draw my own conclusions, rather than rely on someone else to tell me what to think, repeating it over and over to be sure it sinks into my thick head.

8 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • How America Lost Its Secrets

  • Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft
  • By: Edward Jay Epstein
  • Narrated by: Michael Bybee
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

After details of American government surveillance were published in 2013, Edward Snowden, formerly a subcontracted IT analyst for the NSA, became the center of an international controversy: Was he a hero, traitor, whistle-blower, spy? Was his theft legitimized by the nature of the information he exposed? When is it necessary for governmental transparency to give way to subterfuge? Edward Jay Epstein brings a lifetime of journalistic and investigative acumen to bear on these and other questions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A different way of looking at things

  • By Stephanie M. McKay on 05-12-17

Excellent Investigative Report on Snowden Etc.

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

Reviewed: 01-23-17

This will be an interesting read for anyone interested in the Snowden affair. The author avoids politicizing the events and offers a thorough and engaging description of Snowden's actions as well as relevant history of intelligence/counterintelligence. The book is a relatively objective, well-sourced study, containing a great deal of information and analysis often omitted or glossed over in portrayals of this often over-simplified topic.

  • The Elephant in the Room

  • A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the "Alt-Right"
  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 652
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 595
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591

'But Hillary is a known Luciferian,' he tried. 'She's not a known Luciferian,' I said. 'Well, yes and no,' he said. In The Elephant in the Room, Jon Ronson, the New York Times best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, Them, and So You've Been Publicly Shamed, travels to Cleveland at the height of summer to witness the Republican National Convention.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As Others See Us--

  • By Gillian on 10-26-16

Short but Good

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

This is an interesting, enjoyable listen, like Jon's books. It's a short essay on a topic surrounded by misinformation, half truths, apologists, etc.. Jon has a unique perspective and style, and his writing comes across as an exploration of that topic rather than a veiled agenda being pushed on the reader. For that reason alone, this essay is worth a listen. His take on Jones, Stone etc. are particularly good. My only complaint is that I finished the book wishing for a more in-depth exploration of the topic.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Murder Room

  • The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
  • By: Michael Capuzzo
  • Narrated by: Adam Grupper
  • Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 270
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 160

Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter—a renowned FBI agent turned private eye, a sculptor lothario who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as “the living Sherlock Holmes”—were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders of innocents. They decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beware of staring into the abyss,it stares back

  • By Melvin Lindsey on 08-18-10

Superficial, Moderately Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 07-15-15

The writing-style of this book is more challenging than that of this audiobook review. There are so many adjectives, cheesy metaphors and over-characterization of the supposedly real people and events described in this book, that it might as well be a work of fiction. In other words, the writing style is sufficiently preposterous as to trivialize much of the serious stuff contained herein.

The book has some entertainment value, on par with a "true crime", Friday night cable news magazine program. And, like that genre of entertainment, it is sufficiently superficial to leave you wondering about the litany of relevant nuances and complexities omitted for some silly sake, such as unnecessarily manufacturing drama, broadening the prospective audience and/or advancing the author's own naive world view. So, this book does an entertaining job of highlighting the unrealized potential of this topic.

  • The Dead Hand

  • The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
  • By: David E. Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 20 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 981
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 844
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 837

During the Cold War, world superpowers amassed nuclear arsenals containing the explosive power of one million Hiroshimas. The Soviet Union secretly plotted to create the "Dead Hand," a system designed to launch an automatic retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States, and developed a fearsome biological warfare machine. President Ronald Reagan, hoping to awe the Soviets into submission, pushed hard for the creation of space-based missile defenses.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Credible study into Russia's weapons programmes

  • By Andrew on 07-01-10

Good Read, But No So Much About the Dead Hand

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

Reviewed: 07-11-15

This book is a well-researched informative read, although the title is somewhat misleading: while the Dead Hand and nuclear weapons are covered, more detailed exposition is devoted to Soviet-era chemical and biological weapons programs and the relevant political/diplomatic events preceding and during the unraveling of the USSR. Reagan and Gorbachev are discussed at length, as is the history and operation of the Soviet anthrax program. Nuclear weapons and pre-1980 US-USSR relations and weapons programs are covered, but to a lesser extent than one might expect given the book's title.

Though my curiosity re: the dead hand hasn't been fully satiated, there are some fascinating details and insights in this book. The author has succeeded in shedding some new light on a topic shrouded in secrecy, and, as such, helped communicate the terrible nature of these weapons, the political dynamics that led to their creation, and the successes and failures of the mechanisms setup to curb their proliferation.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Picasso: Creator and Destroyer

  • By: Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington
  • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

This landmark biography penetrates the barriers of legend to bring to full and intimate life a man whose burning passions - for painting, women, and ideas - were matched by a compulsion to invent reality in his life no less than in his art. Here is the tragic story of a man who, from his teenage passion for a gypsy boy to the chilling bitterness and betrayals of his old age, was unable to love and was driven to dominate and humiliate the women - and men - who fell under his hypnotic spell.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Biased, Subjective and Unsubstantiated.

  • By Terry Masters on 06-18-14

Biased, Subjective and Unsubstantiated.

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

Reviewed: 06-18-14

The thesis of this books is that Picasso was a serial misogynist and user of people. Yes, the book contains some tenuous evidence to support the thesis, but mostly consists of conjecture and unsubstantiated conclusions about Picasso's psychology.

Picasso was one of the most noteworthy artists of the 20th century who completed over 50,000 works of art during his lifetime, but this book isn't about that. At worst, it was written to undermine that monumental achievement; at best, it is the subjective musings of a pretentious woman concerned only with perpetrating her naive opinion of this man's psychology and behavior on the masses. This book is so blatantly written to support the author's agenda that it should not be categorized "biography." I was hoping to hear a well-researched account of Picasso's life and times...but instead I listened to a non-artist, non-psychologist sit in judgment of a long-dead man who made some of humanity's great artwork. I don't doubt he was flawed, but I prefer to draw such conclusions myself, rather than blindly accept Arianna Huffington's analysis.

It's a shame that this is the only "biography" of Picasso on Audible. Don't buy this book expecting even a semi-objective account of Picasso's life, but if you'd like to hear Arianna Huffington describe a terrible person, destroyer of people (particularly women) and souless man who also happened to be one of the great artists of all time, then this book is for you.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful