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Leslie

abingdon, MD, USA
  • 20
  • reviews
  • 52
  • helpful votes
  • 37
  • ratings
  • The Dictator's Handbook

  • Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics
  • By: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,532
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,173
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,155

For 18 years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest" - or even their subjects - unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Think you understand politics, think again!

  • By Michael on 07-01-14

Thought-Provoking, Cynical and Timely

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

Reviewed: 08-30-18

Very informative and timely, especially given the current administration’s move towards authoritarianism. A must-read for any politically-minded citizen.

  • The Great Influenza

  • The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History
  • By: John M. Barry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 19 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,071
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,367
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,374

No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating medical who-dun-it

  • By Annie M. on 07-30-13

Misleadingly Titled but Nonetheless Fascinating and Informative

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

Reviewed: 08-01-18

This book is much more than an analysis of the 1918 pandemic; instead it’s a three-pronged study of the early development of today’s American medical system, the societal ramifications of America’s involvement in WWI and lastly the impact of both on the 1918 pandemic. A fascinating - and eye opening - history lesson.

I found the narrator’s delivery rather hyperbolic. Although given the overwhelming amount of potentially mind-numbing technical medical data and background information, this melodramatic approach might be what allows the listener to maintain interest in the story as a whole.

Definitely worth a listen if you’re into history.

  • Prairie Fires

  • The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • By: Caroline Fraser
  • Narrated by: Christina Moore
  • Length: 21 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 658
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 606
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 605

Millions of fans of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls - the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true story of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder's biography.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read If You Don’t Want Your Childhood Memories Destroyed

  • By Leslie on 03-05-18

Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read If You Don’t Want Your Childhood Memories Destroyed

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

Reviewed: 03-05-18

The narration for this book is some of the best I’ve listened to; the story itself was well organized and presented in a clear and entertaining fashion. That being said, the picture drawn of Laura Ingalls Wilder makes her all too human and much less sympathetic than she made herself out to be in her Little House novels. The other members of her family - especially her daughter - fare no better. The truth may set one free, but in this instance that freedom comes at the expense of a much beloved American myth.

It should be noted that Ms. Fraser does an excellent job weaving the geopolitical vagaries of Wilder’s lifetime with her personal ups and downs. I was struck by the similarities between today’s social dysfunction/division and that experienced by Americans 100 years ago. Different era, same issues. We appear doomed to eternally repeat the same discourse, the same socioeconomic battles.

Excellent read if you’re ready to put aside another childhood “truth”.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Royal Sisters

  • Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret
  • By: Anne Edwards
  • Narrated by: Corrie James
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 77

In Royal Sisters, Anne Edwards, author of the best-selling Vivien Leigh: A Biography and Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor, has written the first dual biography of Elizabeth, the princess who was to become Queen, and her younger sister, Margaret, who was to be her subject. From birth to maturity, they were the stuff of which dreams are made.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Where's The Rest?

  • By Simone on 12-19-17

Is Edwards an Official Mouthpiece for the Royal Family?

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

I found this account very pro-royal family: Elizabeth and Margaret lived happily ever after just as all royals do, despite their woeful travails. Way too much time was spent on their childhoods and Elizabeth’s early years as queen. There’s no discussion of Margaret’s life after her breakup with Townsend, other than to comment that she married Snowden only to divorce him years later. What was the reason for the divorce? What was the official reaction to such a violation of the church dogma that had kept her from marrying Townsend years before? The questions are numerous and unanswered.

And, since the subject of this book was the relationship between Elizabeth and Margaret, I assumed the author would cover all of the years until Margaret’s death in as great detail as their childhoods and early adulthood. Sadly, the author chose not to do so. The summary conclusion of the book was cursory at best and rather boilerplate. Disappointing to say the least.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

  • By: Robert J. Allison, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert J. Allison
  • Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 559
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 496
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures. While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Subject Matter is wonderful, Narrator no so much

  • By Jeremy Tillman on 02-25-15

History We Never Learned in School

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

Reviewed: 08-28-17

Fascinating details about the early development of the American continent by the Europeans prior to the birth of the U.S.A. Any history buff should thoroughly enjoy this lecture series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shattered

  • Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign
  • By: Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 16 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,951
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,947

It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the tragic story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgment about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary's campaign - the candidate herself.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good, But Slanted

  • By JereMiami on 05-04-17

Nothing New for Political Junkies

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

If you followed the 2016 election cycle closely, this book is just a repeat of what you already know. The most blatant omission is a discussion of how Clinton's team gamed the primary against Sanders. Karma wasn't nice to HRC, or the country, as we are all now stuck with President Trump.



  • The Help

  • By: Kathryn Stockett
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 38,234
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24,084
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 24,099

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great surprise!

  • By Jan on 12-02-09

Outstanding - and Even Better Than the Movie

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

Reviewed: 07-15-15

This should be required reading for all high school students. It teaches invaluable, thought-provoking lessons about social inequality, racial bigotry and sexism, which are still relevant issues 50+ years after the era presented in the book.

  • Tudors

  • The History of England From Henry VIII to Elizabeth I: History of England, Book 2
  • By: Peter Ackroyd
  • Narrated by: Clive Chafer
  • Length: 19 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188

Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain's most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental audiobook in his History of England series, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't give up on the narrator

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-07-16

A Great Listen for Any Anglophile

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

Reviewed: 07-02-15

This second work by Ackroyd on British history is equally informative and fascinating as the first. The length of time covered here is considerably shorter and easier to get your head around. The narrator's style becomes familiar and is much less distracting. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment: The Reformation.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Autobiography of Henry VIII

  • By: Margaret George
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 41 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 390
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 392

Margaret George's novel brings into focus the larger-than-life King Henry VIII, monarch of prodigious appetites for wine, women, and song.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Retraction

  • By Paul Matthews on 10-04-07

Entertaining Historical Fiction

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

Reviewed: 06-16-15

The book is interesting enough to have kept me listening to all 40+ hours. That being said, I constantly found myself questioning the accuracy of the history presented due to the obviously fictionalized conversations and scenes presented as memories documented by Henry VIII - and his trusty fool. Regardless of this issue, the narrator is outstanding - and probably one of the reasons I listened to the end.

  • Foundation

  • The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors: The History of England, Book 1
  • By: Peter Ackroyd
  • Narrated by: Clive Chafer
  • Length: 18 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 631
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 582
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577

In Foundation the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, in 1509. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past - a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Most Annoying Narrator EVER

  • By JudieBee on 12-25-15

Fascinating History with Rather Stylized Narration

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

The subject matter is informative and sprinkled with entertaining anecdotes; the narrator takes some getting used to though. Still it's well worth the listen.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful