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Andrew

United States
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 27
  • helpful votes
  • 20
  • ratings
  • Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution in the 21st Century

  • By: Jeffrey Rosen, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Rosen
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 425
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 425

Although the courts have struggled to balance the interests of individuals, businesses, and law enforcement, the proliferation of intrusive new technologies puts many of our presumed freedoms in legal limbo. For instance, it's not hard to envision a day when websites such as Facebook or Google Maps introduce a feature that allows real-time tracking of anyone you want, based on face-recognition software and ubiquitous live video feeds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining & thought-provoking. Highly recommend

  • By Joseph on 10-27-13

Remarkable, Engaging, Thought-Provoking

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

Reviewed: 07-31-16

What did you love best about Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution in the 21st Century?

You may not agree with everything Prof. Rosen says, but his purpose in these lectures is not so much to advocate a point of view, but to educate the listener on the incredibly vast and diverse world of constitutional law, and to challenge you to think about what YOU believe. He covers the very origins of the constitution up to the Internet Age, net neutrality, and the "right to be forgotten." He obviously knows his stuff, frequently citing majority AND MINORITY opinions from the Supreme Court through the years to help the listener understand how and why constitutional law has changed and evolved. He frequently asks, "What do you believe?" Engrossing stuff to say the least, another winner from The Great Courses.

  • Battle Cruiser

  • Lost Colonies, Book 1
  • By: B. V. Larson
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,343
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,057
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,049

One starship will either save Earth or destroy her. A century ago our star erupted, destroying Earth's wormhole network and closing off trade with her colonized planets. After being out of contact with the younger worlds for so many years, humanity is shocked when a huge ship appears at the edge of the solar system. Our outdated navy investigates, both curious and fearful. What they learn from the massive vessel shocks the planet.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An Unlikely Hero

  • By Don Gilbert on 12-26-15

One and Done

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

Reviewed: 07-12-16

What would have made Battle Cruiser better?

I got Battle Cruiser on a Daily Deal. I had sworn off B.V. Larson after a few "Star Force" books, but I thought that a new series might show some improvement. And, with a daily deal, what did I have to lose? Well, let me say that within 30 minutes all the things I dislike about Larsons' style were back. and just as annoying as ever. I don't know that it could be improved. The linear storytelling, with completely idiotic characters consistently opting for the most ridiculous course of action possible, the consistently clunky dialogue, the poor plot development, continuity errors (!) such as suddenly discovering that the captured spaceship has "star drive" half way through the book, the protagonist's teenage angst about every decision, all contribute to a forgettable, even lamentable listening experience.

What was most disappointing about B. V. Larson’s story?

The protagonist simply is so monumentally stupid, and acts in such a juvenile manner throughout, it is beyond words. He just blunders from one stupid decision to another. It is so ridiculous at times, I find myself yelling at the narrator just for reading the story. I was hopeful of some improvement in the writing, but it is not to be found here.

Did Edoardo Ballerini do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

He did a workmanlike job with really poor material, though at times he got a little "breathy" for my taste. He was better when he did not try to make the narration make up for the regrettable dialogue. Mr. Ballerina was in any case an improvement over Mark Boyett, narrator for the "Star Force" books.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It wasn't too long and I did not use a credit on it.

Any additional comments?

Given the similar theme, the "Expanse" series by James Corey is infinitely better written and portrays a much more plausible future. If you are looking for a good series to tie into, try it. As for "Battle Cruiser," this is definitely my last B. V. Larson book. No hard feelings, it was mildly entertaining for short stretches, but I will not be following the Lost Colonies series.

  • In the Heart of the Sea

  • The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
  • By: Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,560
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,044
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,047

The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819 the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, and disease and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, horrible audio

  • By Eric Leal on 02-06-15

Interesting Subject, Solid Storytelling

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

Reviewed: 07-07-16

What made the experience of listening to In the Heart of the Sea the most enjoyable?

Well crafted tale, extensively researched. He provides enough background on Nantucket history, whaling, 19th century ships, the effects of dehydration and starvation, and so forth to provide perspective on the trials of the castaways without getting too vivid. A good telling of a compelling tale. I should note that I picked this up on a "Daily Deal" to fill in between credits and I thought it was well worth the (deeply discounted) price.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Heart of the Sea?

By far the description of how a whale gets rendered into whale oil. It was to say the least graphic and memorable. The conditions under which these men worked and the process for stripping a whale of its blubber and reducing it to barrels of oil was unbelievably disgusting.

Which scene was your favorite?

The story just sort of progressed without much hyperbole or flowery description - just matter-of-fact. It seemed appropriate for the subject matter. The narrator did a good job of maintaining an "even keel" (sorry) throughout.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think when the captain was faced with killing and eating a close relative in order for the rest of the survivors to stay alive, that was pretty poignant.

Any additional comments?

The last 17 or so "chapters" were a recitation of research notes. I have never had an audiobook that did this, and I quickly skipped over them to the end. Not really annoying, just not terribly interesting.

  • Agent to the Stars

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,062
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,077
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,067

The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hollywood Agent Represents Stinky Aliens

  • By Bryan on 04-22-11

A Completely Different "First Encounter" Story!

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

Reviewed: 06-25-16

What made the experience of listening to Agent to the Stars the most enjoyable?

I read that the author started this as a "practice" book, just to see if he could write one. Let me say, he can! He somehow combined a lighthearted romp through Hollywood with aliens and spaceships to create a completely different take on the typical first encounter story. It came down to earth, as it were, when the two races (human and alien) had to resolve some serious cultural differences for the plot to reach its conclusion, and the author showed a great ability to explore ethical issues without getting bogged down.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I have to say the smart-alecky wise-cracking alien named Joshua. He kept things light. The book never took itself too seriously. The narration by Will Wheaton was spot-on throughout.

Which scene was your favorite?

The entire sequence where he walked us through the actual first encounter was really great writing, There were several unexpected and absolutely atypical turns of events.

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

First, I would cast Will Wheaton as the protagonist, Tom Stine. Mr. Wheaton was great as the narrator for this book. As for the tag line, "First Contact, Hollywood Style".

Any additional comments?

This is one of the reasons I keep my subscription to Audible. I had never heard of this book, then one day it popped up on sale. I was between books so I snagged it, and what a delight it was. I will be looking into the author's other books soon.

  • The Dreaming Void

  • Void Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 22 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,659
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,622
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,636

AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. A powerful navy protects it from any hostile species that may lurk among the stars. For Commonwealth citizens, even death has been overcome.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't do it

  • By Kristen R. Daniels on 08-19-18

Enjoyable Return to the Void

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

Reviewed: 06-04-16

Would you listen to The Dreaming Void again? Why?

I have very much enjoyed the Void books by Peter F. Hamilton. It is widely praised as Space Opera on a grand scale. I generally don't listen to books twice, but this might be the exception. There is so much packed into the story that its easy to miss a detail. I will definitely be following The Dreaming Void with the next two books in the series.

What other book might you compare The Dreaming Void to and why?

I might compare to the Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson. Certainly anyone who enjoyed one series is very likely to enjoy the other. Both create very large and detailed universes where their stories unfold, and also use a similar storytelling style involving several character lines proceeding more or less concurrently.

Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

John Lee is a problem for me. I will listen to other books that he narrated because I want to hear the books, not because I enjoy his narrating style. He is just too "British" for me, very clipped and almost severe in his performance. I find that switching to Mr. Lee from another narrator that I have to listen for half an hour just to get his voice in my ear, then rewind and listen again. Also, he has an unfortunate tendency to "die off" at the end of phrases. Since I mostly listen in the car, I frequently find myself straining to hear. A steadier volume by the narrator is to me much more appropriate in an audio book. The direction doesn't help either, since there are no pauses at all when the story shifts from one character line to another, and I frequently find myself rewinding a minute or two after I figure out that the story shifted.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really, just really good science fiction in a unique and enjoyable style.

Any additional comments?

I am definitely "in" for the next two books in the series.

0 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Path Between the Seas

  • The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
  • By: David McCullough
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 31 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,176

The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women who fought against all odds to fulfill the 400-year-old dream of constructing an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures. McCullough expertly weaves the many strands of this momentous event into a captivating tale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing accomplishment in history

  • By HEIDI GOMEZ on 04-27-16

Another Great David McCullough History

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

Reviewed: 05-18-16

Would you listen to The Path Between the Seas again? Why?

I might listen to it again! David McCullough has a way of bringing history to the present by telling the stories of the people who made the history happen. The story of the Panama Canal, like his previous history of the Brooklyn Bridge, focuses on the times and the people. It is a great perspective and makes the story of their triumph and failures seem immediate, even many years after they happened.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Path Between the Seas?

The period of time when Teddy Roosevelt provided the driving force to get the canal project going, especially his visit to Panama. I was not aware that his visit was the first time a sitting President had traveled outside the United States! What a sight he must have been tramping around in the mud of Panama!

Have you listened to any of Nelson Runger’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have also listened to Nelson Runger's performance of "The Great Bridge", another lengthy David McCullough history. His narrating style works perfectly with McCullough's writing, as he provides enough vocal variation to provide texture, but never imposes himself on the material. It is a perfect balance.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really - it is history after all, but the way McCullough spins the story it feels very much up to date.

Any additional comments?

"The Path Between the Seas" is another great book from David McCullough. If you like his other books, you will like this one too.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • CyberStorm

  • By: Matthew Mather
  • Narrated by: Tom Taylorson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,575
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,212
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,211

Sometimes the worst storms aren't from Mother Nature, and sometimes the worst nightmares aren't the ones in our heads. Mike Mitchell, an average New Yorker already struggling to keep his family together, suddenly finds himself fighting just to keep them alive when an increasingly bizarre string of disasters starts appearing on the world's news networks. As both the real world and the cyber world come crashing down, bending perception and reality, a monster snowstorm cuts New York off from the world, turning it into a wintry tomb where nothing is what it seems.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes - satisfied a craving

  • By Jan on 01-14-14

Nothing Special

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

Reviewed: 04-27-16

What would have made CyberStorm better?

Cyber Storm was a decent premise that was sabotaged by consistently idiotic conduct by the main characters. Our protagonist acted like a complete moron for pretty much the entire book. The survivalist's wife repeatedly undermined his efforts to help them survive in a desperate situation. They were throwing parties in desperate survival circumstances. Then, toward the end, a transparently ridiculous premise unraveled in a completely predictable way. Not at all satisfying.

Has CyberStorm turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, not at all. For Dystopian fiction, Margaret Atwood's trilogy (Oryx and Crake) set the standard. Many others rise to excellence. This one just did not cut it.

What three words best describe Tom Taylorson’s performance?

A bit laggy. I liked the performance better when I put my iPos Nano on 2x playback speed. that got the cadence about right.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from CyberStorm?

Oh there are so many. The last 50 pages were just ludicrous.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Einstein Prophecy

  • By: Robert Masello
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,010
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,494
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,481

As war rages in 1944, young army lieutenant Lucas Athan recovers a sarcophagus excavated from an Egyptian tomb. Shipped to Princeton University for study, the box contains mysteries that only Lucas, aided by brilliant archaeologist Simone Rashid, can unlock. These mysteries may, in fact, defy - or fulfill - the dire prophecies of Albert Einstein himself.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not so good

  • By Robin on 03-30-16

Fun Casual listen if Not Terribly Original

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

Reviewed: 02-16-16

What did you like best about The Einstein Prophecy? What did you like least?

In general, the book moved quickly enough through its relatively well-worn story line - ancient Egyptian artifact has mysterious supernatural powers, beautiful and exotic young woman archaeologist, etc. - but largely compensated for the lack of plot originality with a clever interweaving of the life of Albert Einstein and his genius friends in and around Princeton University during the critical period of World War II when the future of the world could be determined by which country was first to harness the power of the atom. Since I got it on a Daily Deal for $2.95, I was ultimately pleased with my purchase.

Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Masello? Why or why not?

Perhaps, if I could get it on a Daily Deal.

Which scene was your favorite?

I will give the author credit, he seemed to be writing with a possible future screenplay in mind and many of his scenes were downright cinematic. I would say the scene in the Princeton museum where the protagonists opened the mysterious artifact was very compelling and visual.

Was The Einstein Prophecy worth the listening time?

Yes it was. Sometimes I put a book on 2x playback speed to hurry it along, with this book I was never tempted to do so.

Any additional comments?

The narration was solid, never distracting and with all the various accents that were called for I think that Christopher Lane did a fine job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Blood of the Cosmos

  • The Saga of Shadows, Book Two
  • By: Kevin J. Anderson
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 21 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 890
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 807

As the second book of the trilogy opens, the humans and Ildirans, having narrowly escaped annihilation at the hands of the Shana Rei and their robot allies in book one, are desperate to find a way to combat the black cloud of antimatter of the Shana Rei. The mysterious alien Gardeners, who had helped them previously, turn out to be a disaster in disguise and because of them, the world tree forests are again in danger.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very entertaining! !!

  • By Sharon F. on 06-06-15

Dependable, Entertaining Space Opera

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

Reviewed: 02-10-16

What made the experience of listening to Blood of the Cosmos the most enjoyable?

Kevin Anderson books - and I have listened to lots of them - are a very dependable listen. He has a writing style (you could call it a formula) that uses many, relatively short chapters to move several story lines ahead concurrently, occasionally intersecting them and taking the story in an unexpected direction. His universe, first detailed in the Saga of Seven Suns series, continues on in the new Saga of Shadows series. This was book two of.. three? More? Who knows. If you liked his other books, this one is a can't-miss. Short on science perhaps, but long on story telling.

What other book might you compare Blood of the Cosmos to and why?

Well any of Kevin Anderson's previous books in either series. If you liked them, you will like this.

Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, Mark Boyett is the voice for the entire series. He does a very nice job, never lets his voice get in the way, keeps things moving. Also, he does a good job of maintaining consistent pronunciations across the book series.

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

The Shadows Strike Back. (second act of a three act play).

Any additional comments?

Solid choice, great for casual listening while commuting. If you like this, go back and start the Saga of Seven Suns.

  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond

  • By: Sean Carroll, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Sean Carroll
  • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,983
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,745
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,728

In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this discovery, including the basics of quantum mechanics; the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics; how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and the importance of symmetry in physics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very well done

  • By Jon Dahl on 03-12-15

Outstanding Glimpse into a Strange World

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

Reviewed: 01-28-16

What made the experience of listening to The Higgs Boson and Beyond the most enjoyable?

Dr. Carroll has a great passion for his work, and works his way through explanations of extraordinarily complex phenomena using simple, easy to understand analogies to everyday things. His enthusiasm is contagious, and his energy in delivering each lecture never falters. He humanizes the subject extremely well, telling us about the people who contributed to the journey that resulted in the discovery of the Higgs as well as the technical side. Although most people would consider me a "technical" person, I really "got" only a fraction of this material, yet is was an enjoyable listen as long as I stopped after each 30-minute lecture to let it all sink in! I believe that I will need to listen to this again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The HIggs Boson is the star of the show! The entire concept of field theory and energy-mass equivalence the way Dr. Carroll explains it is "relatively" easy to grasp!

Have you listened to any of Professor Sean Carroll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, thi was the first.

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

No way, my head would explode. The 30-minute lectures are perfect.

Any additional comments?

Great book, excellent narration, highly recommended.