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Logical Paradox

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  • Command and Control

  • Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
  • By: Eric Schlosser
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,032
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,866
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,859

Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved - and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning

  • By S. Mersereau on 10-14-13

The Best Book on Nukes!

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

Reviewed: 02-21-17

If you find the subject of nuclear weapons science, strategy, policy, and/or history even the least bit compelling, then this is the book for you to get!

I've long been very interested in these areas and I've listened to just about every book that Audible has on the topic. Among those titles have been many good reads and quite a few truly great ones. But among that crowd, Eric Schlosser's book "Command and Control" stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is simply the most comprehensive, wide-scoped, and ambitiously detailed book of its type that I've yet come across.

The book's central theme is the examination of the nuclear command and control system and the various aspects of risk management and safety that surround the development, deployment, and management of nuclear weapons. The book, however, goes well beyond that focus, to give a real tour de force treatment of nuclear weapons. From the very beginnings of the first nuclear weapons research, to the esoteric theoretical and scientific principles that make these devices possible, to the technical and engineering details of individual weapon system designs and the history of their development, deployment, and intended uses, all the way to the constantly evolving space of nuclear strategy and doctrine throughout every U. S. administration from FDR to George W. Bush... this book seemingly leaves no stone unturned.

The book is told as a narrative history, or more accurately histories (plural), of many nuclear accidents and mishaps. The well known Damascus Incident of 1980 serves as the unifying narrative, broken up into chunks that are told to the reader in bits and pieces, broken up by the recounting of numerous other incidents and countless historical, scientific, and political tangents that truly flesh out an impressive compendium for those interested in this kind of stuff. That Schlosser is able to tie all of this together in one book, while keeping it cohesive and maintaining a logical flow between its various parts is the mark of a true labor of love.

Equally impressive is the balance Schlosser is able to strike between a rich intellectual analysis and idiosyncratically personal human moments. The book treat its more complex technical and scientific information with integrity, while gracefully managing to stay deeply in tune with the humanity of the people and personalities in the story. Far from being cold and dry, this book is thoughtful, deeply inquisitive, and continually refocuses itself on quintessentially human problems and factors, all while never flinching or shying away from looking at the facts with a sober and steady view.

Highly recommended to anyone who's interested in the subject matter or who loves a good narrative full of techno drama and political machinations. also highly recommended for anyone interested in systems analysis and risk management, as the problems and issues that come to light as some of the key conclusions of this book are applicable to so many everyday people in today's world of complex integrated systems.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • System

  • The Shaping of Modern Knowledge (Infrastructures)
  • By: Clifford Siskin
  • Narrated by: Tim Andres Pabon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

A system can describe what we see (the solar system), operate a computer (Windows 10), or be made on a page (the 14 engineered lines of a sonnet). In this book, Clifford Siskin shows that system is best understood as a genre - a form that works physically in the world to mediate our efforts to understand it. Indeed, many Enlightenment authors published works they called "system" to compete with the essay and the treatise.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Difficult Read, but Worth It

  • By Logical Paradox on 02-09-17

Difficult Read, but Worth It

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

The only way to accurately describe this book is as a historical and philosophical survey of that human notion we know of as "System". Both as a conceptual tool for organizing and generating knowledge of the world (an explanatory model approximating reality) as well as an actual feature of the organization and behavior of that world, perhaps even fundamental to nature of reality itself as an information system containing many other systems at various scales, Siskin examines the subject with deft analytical and academic energy.

The book is at times earth shakingly profound in the revelations and suppositions put forward relating system to the world as well as to knowledge of the world and the magnificent moments when the author is able to steer what amounts to an intellectual locomotive in such a way as to unify vast strands of thought that serve to hint at tantalizing uniformities and commonalities across the disciplines. The depth of historical evaluation is equally impressive, almost recursive, as we are taking not just through the history of the idea of System, but the history of the idea of systems it relates to the history of ideas and indeed to the historiography of how history emerged as as separate discipline and how that discipline diverged so far from its brethren in both the humanities and the sciences for its phasis on the particular and the peculiar (the outliers) rather than a coherent knowledge system with unifying principles and explanatory forms.

Where the book suffers is a ponderous and dense writing style (even by my standards) that tends to (among other things) repeat the word "system" as a pronoun so often it becomes insufferable.

but, if you can make it through, you will come away with a richer understanding and a wider perspective of just how much is contained in (and promised by) that innocuous, overly repeated word: "system".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overcomplicated

  • Technology at the Limits of Comprehension
  • By: Samuel Arbesman
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 94

In Overcomplicated, complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman offers a fresh, insightful field guide to living with complex technologies that defy human comprehension. As technology grows more complex, Arbesman argues, its behavior mimics the vagaries of the natural world more than it conforms to a mathematical model. If we are to survive and thrive in this new age, we must abandon our need for governing principles and rules and accept the chaos.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Original perspective

  • By favoritethings on 07-23-16

Simply Great

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

One of the best books on applied complexity; that is applying complexity and complex systems theory (a highly abstract field) in ways the evaluate and explain the chaos of the modern worlds we live in.

A truly great book with practical implications for anyone who works with systems of any types. As an IT administrator, I could only nod my head knowingly as the author discussed the dual tendencies of accretion (adding to systems over time) and interconnectedness (the web of dependencies and interactions that link all the various parts of a system into a cohesive whole, which inevitably lead to complexity and incomprehensibility.

  • A Book of Five Rings

  • The Strategy of Musashi
  • By: Miyamoto Musashi
  • Narrated by: Alan Munro
  • Length: 4 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 110

This special edition of A Book of Five Rings contains one hour of traditional Japanese flute (shakuhachi) and 43 minutes of music by traditional japanese ensemble. The music appears track by track at the end of the two and a half hour audiobook and is included as wonderful compliment to this dynamic and elegant listening experience. Legendary 17th-century swordsman Miyamoto Musashi’s exposition of sword fighting, strategy, and Zen philosophy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wasted Space

  • By Logical Paradox on 12-20-15

Wasted Space

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

Reviewed: 12-20-15

The last chunk of the book is, as far as I can tell, several chapters of nothing but a flute playing. Not sure I understand why... but seems like padding to make this particular version of this classic text longer and therefore more complete.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The American Civil War

  • By: Gary W. Gallagher, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Gary W. Gallagher
  • Length: 24 hrs and 36 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,687
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,527
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,516

Between 1861 and 1865, the clash of the greatest armies the Western hemisphere had ever seen turned small towns, little-known streams, and obscure meadows in the American countryside into names we will always remember. In those great battles, those streams ran red with blood-and the United States was truly born.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Series

  • By Rodney on 07-09-13

Far Better Than Ken Burns

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

Reviewed: 08-25-15

minus the visuals, of course. But otherwise this course presents a comprehensive, sweeping, 360 degree, 3 dimensional Account of the war, from its complex web of causes and initiation, through the conclusion. All perfectly delivered in a coherent, scholarly, and yet approachable lecture series.

Among the best history courses from the Teaching Company and and excellent overview of a chaotic and complex period. The professor is strikingly objective and presents all sides of the notable controversies before noting his own take, dutifully calling out his opinions as such when offered.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • An Introduction to Infectious Diseases

  • By: Barry C. Fox, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Barry C. Fox
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 224

Cut through the medical myths and get a solidly scientific guide to keeping yourself and your loved ones as protected as possible from pathogens, including a no-nonsense guide to vaccinations, tips on keeping a healthier home environment, and valuable advice for world travelers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • easy to understand intro to infectious diseases

  • By Anthony on 05-27-15

lackluster

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

Reviewed: 08-20-15

Enjoyable for those interested in the subject, but not nearly comprehensive enough to meet my wants.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • How the Irish Saved Civilization

  • By: Thomas Cahill
  • Narrated by: Donal Donnelly
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 615
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 337
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 335

Thanks to Thomas Cahill, the pivotal era called the "dark ages" is brought back to vibrant life, its personages portrayed in all their seemingly contemporary humanity, its issues simply and compellingly spelled out. How the Irish Saved Civilization will change forever the way we look at our past, and ourselves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating book

  • By P on 08-15-04

Ireland in the Context of Western European History

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

Reviewed: 07-29-15

I enjoyed this work, if for no other reason than for it brings to light the history of a people (and a nation) of whom I'm quite ignorant.

Thomas Cahill's sweeping endeavor wrapps Irish culture and history into the wider context of Europe's widest trajectories, from early celtic civilization, to the role it played in the dynamics of Britain during the Roman conquest and eventual fall of the empire. In the dark ages to come, and in the medieval period to follow, Irish scribes, and indeed Irish cultural morays, had a much more pivotal role in setting the tone than I myself previously realized.

I think the book's title may take this notion a bit far. Plenty of the greco-roman works were preserved and retransmitted to the west, not from Ireland, but from the east... via Byzantium and Islamic influence in Spain, Sicily, Italy, and during the crusades. Yet, Ireland does seem to have played a very important, if not exclusive or even vital, role in the process. The book's main argument holds enough water to be worth reading for any fan of history.

What I think is this book's best asset, however, is the examination of Irish culture, mythology, paradigms, and traditions, and how those values and ideas influenced the wider world of the dark and early middle ages. I've not known of many of these heroes and stories, and the author recounts them in a light that brings them richness, texture, and humanity. We hear of Irish epics, Irish lore, a deeper exploration of Irish personalities such as Saint Patrick, and a wide array of Irish poetry and prose. The Irish are presented to us as a people with great creative energy, and values with which we today can empathize, such as a value for the written word and for ideas that caused Irish scribes to translate and copy even books they couldn't fully grasp or which they outright found to be folly. In particular, I found the verses and quotations to be memorable, full of heart and sensibility, and often recounted at length in this work, rather than in small snippets.

  • The Bandana Republic

  • A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates
  • By: Louis Rivera, Bruce George
  • Narrated by: Adisa Banjoko, Kareem Chadlfy, Chuck D, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3

Urban youth gangs are typically viewed as no more than training grounds for thugs and felons. This breakthrough anthology presents a far different picture, revealing present and former gang members' and street activists' artistic impulses, emotional sensitivities, political beliefs, and capacities to assess the social conditions that created them.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It surprised me in a good way

  • By Fjolnir on 07-08-10

Moving, penetrating, and gritty

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

Reviewed: 07-08-15

With incredible integrity, this anthology explores inner city ghetto life in general, and gang life in particular, through the poetry and creative writing of its constituents.

This is not t a journey for the faint hearted, nor the closed minded. No matter who who are, your beliefs and preconceptions are bound to be challenged along the way. The story is told from all sides, not just the dark side of gang violence, but the causal side of the socioeconomic forces and cultural dynamics that drive and perpetuate the underlying movements and structures. The dark side is well represented, as well as the light--the lesser known story of gang history and lore that has its roots in social clubs and community organizations whose aims and aspirations were no more and no less than the advocacy and advancement of the oppressed.

To express the Complex myriad of perspectives and thoughts and emotions carried therein is an impressive lineup of talented orators, verbalists, and lyricists such as Chuck D.

Is most of the work included in this anthology is by, at best, amateurs, the contents are expectedly and understandably uneven, ranging from the pedestrian and superficial to the profound and truly extraordinary. I would offer my opinion the most mundane work included within is well worth your time and contemplation if for no other reason then the undeniable and to most in comprehensible reality that pervades it's every word.

Whatever you might think thoughts being expressed, No reader or listener could legitimately contest or deny the visceral quality of its authenticity. And for those few works inside these chapters that stand out among the rest, they will leave with the reader or listener a long shadow that will linger over them for some time long after they've stepped away. Love it or hate it, Bandana Republic will tend to leave its mark not only upon your mind, but upon your soul. The depth of its pronouncements and the breath of its reach staying with you, indeed haunting you, and beckoning you to listen again.

  • The Vietnam War, Part 2

  • By: Wendy McElroy
  • Narrated by: George C. Scott
  • Length: 2 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

After WWII, Korea was divided in half at the 38th parallel. To the north were the Communists; to the south were the United Nations peacekeeping forces. In June 1950, North Korean soldiers backed by Soviet-built tanks poured across the parallel. The Korean conflict became on of the first expressions of the Cold War between Russia and America. It was an attempt to balance the power that had been thrown so badly out of alignment by WWII. But Korea would bring victory to neither side.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow. Just wow.

  • By Logical Paradox on 05-07-15

Wow. Just wow.

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

Reviewed: 05-07-15

in the space of just a few hours this book and its predecessor offers the nest synopsis and overview of Korea and Vietnam I've yet found. I've watched video documentaries many times longer that didn't come close to describing either conflict as well let alone draw the two together into a single overarching narrative that manages to place them in proper historical and geopolitical context both regionally and globally. fantastic! excellent use of quotes with convincing and engaging voice acting that accent a truly great overall production value highlighted by the fabulous narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fate of Africa

  • A History of the Continent Since Independence
  • By: Martin Meredith
  • Narrated by: Fleet Cooper
  • Length: 29 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

Martin Meredith has revised this classic history to incorporate important recent developments, including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, Robert Mugabe’s continued destructive rule in Zimbabwe, controversies over Western aid and exploitation of Africa’s resources, the growing importance and influence of China, and the democratic movement roiling the North African countries of Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Africa: Land of Hope and Horror

  • By Jeff on 03-08-14

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 03-16-15

I'm in awe of the breadth and scope of this book. The only title I've come across that truly does justice to the subject and tells the whole story in all its detail, he honestly and without compromise.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful