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Stephen

  • 18
  • reviews
  • 16
  • helpful votes
  • 63
  • ratings
  • 1948

  • Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America
  • By: David Pietrusza
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 18 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Award-winning historian David Pietrusza unpacks the most ingloriously iconic headline in the history of presidential elections - DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN - to reveal the 1948 campaign's backstage events and recount the down-to-the-wire brawl fought against the background of an erupting Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the birth of Israel, and a post-war America facing exploding storms over civil rights and domestic communism. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 1948 Presidential election retold by Truman hater

  • By The Fabulous GT on 01-21-19

Fascinating History

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

Reviewed: 03-06-19

David Pietrusza told the story of the 1948 presidential election with a good overview of the main characters- Truman, Dewey, Thurmond, and Wallace. He managed to build suspense for the outcome.

What I wish the book contained though was a bit more analysis on why Truman won and why Dewey lost. The author does a great job explaining events but doesn't fully address why Truman surged in the last three months of the campaign. Why did people connect with him on the campaign trail? What explained his change in fortunes? Yes, Dewey and his advisors ran a terrible campaign but there's more to Truman's victory than Dewey's loss. Otherwise this is a wonderful read (listen).

  • Something Wonderful

  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution
  • By: Todd S. Purdum
  • Narrated by: Todd S. Purdum
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rediscovery of an innovative team of artists

  • By Brian T. Cahill on 04-14-18

Something Wonderful... Except for Narrator

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

Reviewed: 01-28-19

The book itself was something wonderful indeed. It covered the personal lives of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, the stories of the shows they created, technical aspects of their production, and their impact on musical theater in the 20th Century. The book tells a great story that helped me to appreciate R&H. The only drawback was the narrator (who was also the author). His voice and tone were pleasant, but he mumbled a lot so it was hard to follow him.

He should have taken elocution lessons from a certain Professor Henry Higgins in a competing musical at the time- My Fair Lady (Lerner and Loewe)- the RAIN in SPAIN stays MAIN-ly in the PLAIN.

  • Kansas City Lightning

  • The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker
  • By: Stanley Crouch
  • Narrated by: Kevin Kenerly
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker is the first installment in the long-awaited portrait of one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America. Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: A revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Multifaceted Gem

  • By Dave on 11-04-14

A Disappointment

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

What bothers me about this book is that almost the entirety of it focuses on Charlie Parker's early life before he became famous his recording career. There's no discussion of Parker's collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie and his role in the development of bebop, there's no discussion of his relationship with Miles Davis, there's no discussion of his recordings such as his Dial recordings, Charlie Parker with Strings, or Jazz at Massey Hall. There's no discussion about his later life in California. The book comes up way short on presenting the story of a musician and his career that deserve more.

  • George Whitefield

  • God’s Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century
  • By: Arnold A. Dallimore
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 175

This fast-paced, inspirational narrative reveals how God used one man of great courage, discipline, and humility to bring countless souls to Christ. God’s accomplishments through George Whitefield are to this day virtually unparalleled. In an era when many ministers were timid and apologetic in their preaching, he preached the gospel with aggressive zeal and undaunted courage. In the wake of his fearless preaching, revival swept across the British Isles, and the Great Awakening transformed the American colonies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Engaging and Interesting! Great Narration!

  • By LP on 08-21-16

Good Introduction to the Life of George Whitefield

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

Reviewed: 12-15-18

This book condenses a two-volume biography of George Whitefield. In this condensed version, the larger context and nuances of The Great Awakening, his views on slavery and why some crowds were hostile to him are glossed over. The narrative at times seems disjointed. But a good introduction to George Whitefield that should spur one to read his sermons and delve deeper into studying his ministry.

Bob Souer is my favorite narrator and his reading of this book is wonderful.

  • Game Changers

  • Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town
  • By: Art Chansky
  • Narrated by: Mirron Willis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Among many legendary episodes from the life and career of men's basketball coach Dean Smith, few loom as large as his recruitment of Charlie Scott, the first African American scholarship athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Drawn together by college basketball in a time of momentous change, Smith and Scott helped transform a university, a community, and the racial landscape of sports in the South.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story If You Get Past the Awful Narration

  • By Stephen on 11-05-18

Great Story If You Get Past the Awful Narration

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

The narrator mispronounces words like "Carrboro," "Adolph Rupp," and "Rathskellar" (a Chapel Hill landmark restaurant) and even worse and most unforgivably says "AC" instead of "ACC" (Atlantic Coast Conference) in NUMEROUS places. In other places he mumbles. That's sloppy narrating. His narration is distracting and reinforces the impression an outsider who is unfamiliar with UNC is reading it. Otherwise it's a very good story about the legendary Dean Smith and UNC basketball that deserves a more competent narrator.

  • Why Marx Was Right

  • 2nd Edition
  • By: Terry Eagleton
  • Narrated by: Roger Clark
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82

In this combative, controversial book, Terry Eagleton takes issue with the prejudice that Marxism is dead and done with. Taking 10 of the most common objections to Marxism - that it leads to political tyranny, that it reduces everything to the economic, that it is a form of historical determinism, and so on - he demonstrates in each case what a woeful travesty of Marx's own thought these assumptions are.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Brilliant Narrator

  • By Stephen on 08-11-18

A Brilliant Narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

The narration was brilliant. I expected more from the author Terry Eagleton though. Eagleton does a good job in making Marx's ideas accessible and relevant. However he sometimes gets caught up in the cleverness and wit of his prose at the expense of shedding light on Marx's concepts of class, history, alienation and cultural theory.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Strange Career of Jim Crow

  • By: C. Vann Woodward
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

The Strange Career of Jim Crow is one of the great works of Southern history. Indeed, the book actually helped shape that history. Published in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ordered schools desegregated, Strange Career was cited so often to counter arguments for segregation that Martin Luther King, Jr. called it "the historical Bible of the civil rights movement." The book offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws, presenting evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1890s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • the truth is Stranger Than Fiction

  • By A. Brown on 11-28-16

Worst Narration Ever

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

The book itself provides a fascinating history of the South after Reconstruction and subsequent Jim Crow periods. The writing style and subject material are dense, which makes it hard to listen to- perhaps would be easier to read the book. What made this book difficult to get through was the awful narration. The narrator’s tone was irritating, smug and condescending and reminds you of the smartest person in the room.

  • The Secret Coalition

  • Ike, LBJ, and the Search for a Middle Way in the 1950s
  • By: Gary A. Donaldson
  • Narrated by: Gregory St. John
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

The politics of the 1950s revolved around two primary leaders, one Republican and one Democrat both moderate, and both willing to compromise to move the nation forward. The Republican leader was President Dwight Eisenhower. His two administrations changed American politics. Ike’s desire to be president of all the people, to run his administration down the middle of the road, to be a modern” Republican, set the stage for what the Republican Party would be for decades to come.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Insightful

  • By Jean on 11-20-16

Good Historical Survey of the Eisenhower Era

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

What made the experience of listening to The Secret Coalition the most enjoyable?

Learning about how LBJ was able to control the different Northern liberal and Southern conservative factions within the Democrat Party; learning about Eisenhower maintained a coalition of moderate and conservative Republicans within his party; and learning how their abilities to forge compromise unraveled toward the end of the 1950's

What did you like best about this story?

There did not seem to be a lot of original source material presented. The author did not present new conclusions about the period. There may have been a consensus of a moderate approach in foreign and domestic policies within both parties during the period. LBJ and Eisenhower masterfully held their respective coalitions together during much of Eisenhower's presidency. But there never was a secret coalition between the two men, which makes the title and premise of the book misleading. Both men were motivated by their own political self-interest and not out of goodwill. Still it's an interesting book about this period of American political history.

Which scene was your favorite?

Coverage of the events in Little Rock in 1957

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

There were some sloppy errors in the narrative- Senator Mike Mansfield was from Montana not Ohio and Senator Robert Taft died in 1953 not 1958. The narrator's pronunciation was Khruschev was irritating.

  • The Gatekeepers

  • How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency
  • By: Chris Whipple
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 963
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 857
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 850

The chiefs of staff, often referred to as "the gatekeepers", wield tremendous power in Washington and beyond; they decide who is allowed to see the president, negotiate with Congress to push POTUS's agenda, and - most crucially - enjoy unparalleled access to the leader of the free world. Through extensive, intimate interviews with 18 living chiefs (including Reince Priebus) and two former presidents, award-winning journalist and producer Chris Whipple pulls back the curtain on this unique fraternity. In doing so, he revises our understanding of presidential history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great history of the Chief of Staff position

  • By Loren on 04-15-17

Fascinating History and a Must Read

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

Reviewed: 02-22-18

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would enthusiastically recommend this book because it presents the history of a powerful position in every Presidential administration but one that goes unnoticed. The author presents the close but often complicated relationships between the Presidents and their Chiefs of Staff.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gatekeepers?

There were many. James Baker represents the consummate model for the Chief of Staff position. His high moment was how he handled Reagan's assassination attempt and keeping a frightening and volatile situation from becoming chaos. I enjoyed learning about Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and how they served as Chiefs of Staff under Gerald Ford.

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

The narrator was straightforward and did a great job.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't know what the tag line would be but I would want to make sequels with James Baker in them.

Any additional comments?

The author dropped the ball when he wrote about Andrew Card's role in the Bush 43 Administration. Up until that point, the author stayed focused on the President and his Chief of Staff. He spent too much time focusing on Bush's decision in going to war in Iraq and lost his focus on Card. The author treated George W. Bush unfairly. The author spun Obama's relationship with Congress as Republican intransigence and did not address Obama or his chiefs of staff's role in that dysfunction. The author was fair and evenhanded until he wrote about Bush and Obama and then the bias came out... Of course that was before he got to the Epilogue where he talks about Donald Trump. The only thing I can say is I hope President Trump lets his chief of staff be the trusted advisor he needs him to be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Most Elegant Equation

  • Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics
  • By: David Stipp
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 5 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

Bertrand Russell wrote that mathematics can exalt "as surely as poetry". This is especially true of one equation: ei(pi) + 1 = 0, the brainchild of Leonhard Euler, the Mozart of mathematics. More than two centuries after Euler's death, it is still regarded as a conceptual diamond of unsurpassed beauty. Called Euler's identity, or God's equation, it includes just five numbers but represents an astonishing revelation of hidden connections.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good treatment of the subject

  • By Kindle Customer on 04-09-18

A good introduction to Euler but could have been more focused and less disjointed

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

What I liked about this book was its introduction to Leonhard Euler and his contributions to mathematics. I also learned about the beauty of pi and transcendent numbers.

The style was very accessible although the book has diagrams that couldn’t be presented in an audiobook. If I had followed along with the book in hand I could have followed the chapters on trigonometry and geometry better.

The narrator was very good.

What bothers me about this book is the author wrote that Euler’s Formula was also known as God’s equation yet didn’t elaborate on Euler’s Christian worldview. Euler’s faith was integral to his work in mathematics. The author glossed over this with the comment that Euler was pious and a Protestant. But why call Euler’s Formula God’s Formula without a discussion about Euler’s faith and how it informed his work? I think the fact that Euler was a Christian during the Enlightenment, a period of Deism and secular humanism, explains why he’s not held in as high regard as say Diderot, Rousseau, and Voltaire.

The author started out with helpful metaphors but after awhile they became distracting and not relevant to presenting the material.

6 of 13 people found this review helpful