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Bill in CT

West Granby, Connecticut
  • 12
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  • 5
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Facts and Fears audiobook cover art

A Peek Behind the Curtain

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

Reviewed: 08-26-19

James Clapper relates his experiences and perspectives from 50+ years as a professional intelligence officer and leader. The book is part autobiography and part commentary on the events of his career, particularly in his last eight years as Director, National Intelligence. He details how the hard-earned, but often incomplete intelligence products of the intelligence community (IC) served--and often failed to serve--political decision-makers to set policies or react to crises. Clapper's sometimes Quixotic view that the paramount goal of Intelligence is to only "speak truth to power," bypasses the inconvenient truth that knowledge IS power.

Mr. Clapper does a good job of describing limitations of the IC and its "intelligence failures," including 9/11, Arab Spring, Benghazi, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Snowden. Some successes are related, too (consolidation of national intelligence post-9/11, intel to the war-fighter, capture of Usama bin Laden). His insights on the events around Russian manipulation of the 2016 Presidential election is as fascinating as they are frustrating and fearsome. This book is a direct result of those fears ... Clapper skips the political echelons to "speak truth to [the ultimate American] power:" the U.S. electorate.
James Clapper's professional bona fides, credibility, and enduring patriotism lend strength to his message that America is in existential crisis caused by Vladimir Putin and Russia's continuing cyber-manipulation of American politics.

This book continues to be relevant and compelling in 2019. The reading by Mark Bramhall communicates subtle humor, exasperation, and other valuable nuances.

The Way into Darkness audiobook cover art

Nice Finish

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

Reviewed: 08-09-19

The trilogy combines fine world building with excellent characters and puts a very good story together around them. Of course, Michael Kramer can make a textbook sound good, but with a story like this, he adds whole dimensions with intonation and pacing. Altogether, an entertaining listen.

To Have and Have Not audiobook cover art

Not Humphrey Bogart ...

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

Reviewed: 07-09-19

I was curious to read the novel with the same name as the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall movie. Mostly, I'm disappointed, but probably because of my uninformed expectations. About the only elements the book and movie have in common are a few of the characters and small-boat sailing of the Caribbean. The movie changed the setting (both time and place) and provided a much different story arc.
Hemingway wrote this book as a series of vignettes around the "protagonist," Harry Morgan. Harry's antagonist is Fate. And he looses. Harry is a skilled sailor in the 1930's operating a small boat between Key West and Cuba. As times grow harder and Fate contrives against him, he is forced to take less savory jobs to support his wife and daughters in Key West. (Yep, no slim blond girl to fall in love with. Sorry Lauren Bacall.) He personifies the "Have Not" regular guy.
Threads of other characters shape the "Have" side of the title. People who are more well-to-do, but with less courage and morality than Harry. These characters display pitiful traits and feel sorry for themselves. They provide the social dichotomy that seems the point of the book.
Hemingway's story is very much a product of his time (the Depression) and probably his own experiences in the Spanish civil war. It is gritty, unsparing details of injury and pain. As Harry's narrator, Hemingway uses racist labels freely, but in a weird way does not act bigoted. The best parts of the writing were the loving details given to the waters between Cuba and the Keys, and the fishing and boating.
Noteworthy narration: Will Patton's performance was very, very good. Accents, tone, pacing, and intensity ... He truly made this audible book worth listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Traitor's Blade audiobook cover art

Stumbling Thru a Story

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

Reviewed: 03-20-19

This book had many of the elements of a pretty good story, but it missed some big points. I guess my main objection is the protagonist is more of an ambivalent-tagonist. I could not perceive much (if any) proactivity. There certainly was a bunch of reactivity and action, but it so lacked from intent. It leaves me feeling like I just barely survived a ride in a Manhattan taxi with the driver pickled drunk ...
Similarly, the gratuitous magic that popped up every so often did so without some underlying pattern. It seldom moved the story forward and you could never get a hold of why, who, or what limits it had. The taxi driver might have been high, too.
Disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama audiobook cover art

A good expansion of the musical ...

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

Reviewed: 01-15-19

... but it is still an abridgement of the H. G. Wells classic. I certainly missed the lyrics from Wayne's collaboration with Justin Hayward. Even so, this was a pleasant blast from the past. The only fault is Wayne's heavy hand with the sound effects.

The Singularity Trap audiobook cover art

Wow! Great!

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

Reviewed: 07-05-18

First, this is a complete novel, just like those during SF's Golden Era. The story is new, avoids tropes and stereotypes, and develops characters satisfyingly. And it is really good.
Second, Taylor proves he is not a one hit wonder ... Bobiverse books are great, this is great, but they ARE different, despite leveraging many of the same technologies.
Third, Porter is an incredible performer! His range of personalizations is huge with strong differentiation between characters.
Forth, I think Audible has seriously upped it's game with this production.

FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale) audiobook cover art

Another Little Jewel

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

Reviewed: 01-19-18

Thanks to M J Sullivan and Audible for another crafty piece of short fiction featuring Hadrian and Royce.

FREE: Professional Integrity (A Riyria Chronicles Tale) audiobook cover art

Nice Short Tale

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

Reviewed: 01-18-18

Tight short story with our intrepid duo. Reynolds did his characteristically excellent performance.
Thanks Audible!

Who's in Charge? audiobook cover art

Not Superficial

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

Reviewed: 11-30-17

Despite being nearly 7 years old, this book has good information on Neuroscience Frontiers. It does not shy away from the scientific explanations of brain activity as determined through experimentation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court audiobook cover art

Not Bing Crosby

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

Reviewed: 11-08-17

I must have been looking for the MGM movie version of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Unfortunately, Samuel Clemens did not write the screenplay.
This was definitely a late 19th century diatribe against slavery and aristocracy, and in favor of bully democracy. All good, but not as light-hearted as I was hoping.
Read it as if listening to Mark Twain spinning a tall tale. It has a good sample of his wit, as well as his biases. It is a long-winded yarn.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful