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Nikoli Gogol

Edmonton
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 164
  • helpful votes
  • 53
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  • The Beginning of the End

  • Apocalypse Z
  • By: Manel Loureiro
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,928
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,754
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,757

A mysterious incident in Russia, a blip buried in the news - it’s the only warning humanity receives that civilization will soon be destroyed by a single, voracious virus that creates monsters of men. A lawyer, still grieving over the death of his young wife, begins to write as a form of therapy. But he never expected that his anonymous blog and journal would ultimately record humanity’s last days. Governments scramble to stop the zombie virus, people panic, so-called Safe Havens are established, the world erupts into chaos; soon it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Meanwhile, in Spain...

  • By Lesley on 05-10-14

Mind-numbingly Boring

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

Reviewed: 03-13-15

A self-absorbed Spanish lawyer finds himself in a world filled with zombies.

This is presented as if read from a journal. Give me a break. Journal entries are terse comments describing a situation not elaborate flowing verbose prose.

Every possible cliche is used. Cars won’t start till the last moment; the climb down the rope will result in a fall hurting an ankle; an entry into a house will invariably be too noisy alerting the zombies… How many guys would spend time and precious paper writing in a journal that they can’t use a pistol, that they fear shooting themselves in the foot, and worrying if they will be able to shoot a zombie in the first place?

Every action has to be second guessed agonized. Man up buddy! Stop the hand-wringing. You are in a zombie novel. Act accordingly.

  • Marathon

  • The Battle That Changed Western Civilization
  • By: Richard A. Billows
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Gage
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

Published to coincide with Marathon's 2500th anniversary, a riveting history of the historic battle. The Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. is not only understood as the most decisive event in the struggle between the Greeks and the Persians, but can also be seen as perhaps the most significant moment in our collective history. 10,000 Athenian citizens faced a Persian military force of more than 25,000.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Effectively evokes the world of ancient greece

  • By Aaron on 11-02-10

Misleading Title

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

Reviewed: 12-11-13

This is a 9 hour book referring to the battle of Marathon. The first six hours are about the political history of Athens and its neighbors. The next hour is devoted to the actual battle where most descriptions are prefaced by “according to Herodotus”. Then it becomes a survey of architecture, drama, philosophy and sculpture.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Devil and Bobby Hull: How Hockey's Original Million-Dollar Man Became the Game's Lost Legend

  • By: Gare Joyce
  • Narrated by: Bernard Clark
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

In his prime, few could dispute Bobby Hull's athletic brilliance - the first to have five fifty-goal seasons, the highest scorer on the 1976 Canada Cup team, the first to use the slapshot as a scoring weapon, and the first hockey player to sign a million-dollar contract. With his body-builder torso, and his 100 mph volleys across a rink, the world of hockey glory was his to lose. And he did. With his publicized marital troubles and his defection from the NHL to the WHA, Hull's star began to fall, leaving him broke and in exile from the game.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Learn the Names.

  • By CaptHowdy on 10-21-12

Great Story, Horrible Narration

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

Reviewed: 06-21-13

Bobby Hull was a phenomenal player who revolutionized the game. More than anyone else, he caused the NHL to expand to cities where the NHL would not have ventured and his efforts resulted in raising the salaries of players.

I watched Bobby Hull play live and on television. He was a complete player who could skate, shoot, and pass better than anyone else on the ice with him. Off ice he would spend endless hours signing autographs, talking to fans, and submitting himself to interviews.

The author shows a darker side to Bobby Hull and the ugliness of the business of hockey. The NHL will never live down the fact that they kept Hull from participating in the 1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Summit.

The narrator spoils the story by not having done his homework. He pronounces Russian and Swedish hockey player names flawlessly but completely butchers half of the Canadian players' and sports officials' names. Take the name Henri Richard, it is not pronounced as Bernard Clark chooses as the Shakespearean Kings Henry and King Richard. Rather the correct pronunciation is "On-Ree Ree-shard". This mangling renders some of the play by play accounts to be ridiculous and grating. Worse, no 10 minutes of narration goes by without a mispronounced name.

  • Tamerlane

  • Conqueror of the Earth
  • By: Harold Lamb
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 235
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 139

In yet another superb historical work, Harold Lamb brings the mighty Tatar leader to vivid life and shows how this ruthless commander used his superior intellect and magnetic leadership to overcome one obstacle after another. Tamerlane was truly one of the most remarkable personalities ever to emerge from the steppes of Central Asia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The man that conquered Afganistan

  • By curt on 12-23-08

A Monster Depicted A Military Figure

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

Reviewed: 04-30-13

Although the author describes some of Tamerlane's atrocities, he is far too kind to a brutal monomaniacal warlord.

Tamerlane is estimated to have killed 17,000,000 people, about 5% of Earth's population at the time. He would have enslaved huge numbers, maimed or wounded others, and left orphans and widows.

His attacks stretched from the Levant to China. He eradicated most of the Christians from Asia. Baghdad never recovered from his sack of that city. An equal opportunity aggressor, he attacked Hindus in Delhi and other cities. To what end? He claimed to be the aligned with Allah but he slaughtered many Muslims. Personal glory, captives, plunder is a more likely motivation.

Harold Lamb is a popular writer, not a serious historian. Many of his comparisons of tactics are related to what Napoleon did. Lamb also has biographies about Hannibal, Suleiman, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan, all of whom waged wars of aggression.

The narration is too rapid. There are too many characters to keep track requiring rewinding. An accompanying map and chronology would have been helpful.

It should be noted that Chechnya was Tamerlane's stomping ground and that radicalized older of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers was named after Tamerlane, namely, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Drone Warfare

  • Killing by Remote Control
  • By: Medea Benjamin
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14

Weeks after America invaded Afghanistan in 2002, Medea Benjamin visited that country. There, talking with victims of the strikes, she learned the reality behind the "precision bombs" on which US forces were becoming reliant. Now, with the use of drones escalating at a meteoric pace, Benjamin has written this book as a call to action. Drone Warfare is a comprehensive look at the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who "pilots" these unmanned planes, who the victims are, and what the legal and moral implications are.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Future of War and the End of Privacy

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 12-22-12

The Future of War and the End of Privacy

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

Reviewed: 12-22-12

Out of a concern about objectivity, I would not have bought this book if I knew beforehand that the author is a prominent left wing activist. I am very pleased to have listened to this audiobook.

The book describes the use of drones in war as killing and surveillance platforms. Considerable detail is given about the types of drones that exist or are in planning stages. Civilian use is described where drones are used or a growing number of purposes from patrolling borders to fighting forest fires.

The author then presents a long list of negative factors in the use of drones.

The chief concern is that they are proliferating at an exponential pace. Other countries and non-state entities, including terrorists, are acquiring them. The use of drones is being explored at national, state, and municipal levels.

Drones malfunction and operators are prone to error. This can lead to the killing or maiming of civilians.

Medea Benjamin devotes much of the book to legal and moral concerns associated with the use of drones. These are too numerous and complex to summarize in a review but they are well reasoned, researched, and presented. Whether you agree with Benjamin or not, you should be aware of these issues. Drones will have an increasing worldwide role in the coming years.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Russia: Part Two: The Rise and Fall of the Soviets

  • By: Martin Sixsmith
  • Narrated by: Martin Sixsmith
  • Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations. After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Re-Broadcast of a BBC's "Russia: The Wild East"

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 12-01-12

Re-Broadcast of a BBC's "Russia: The Wild East"

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

Reviewed: 12-01-12

Is there anything you would change about this book?

There is an astonishing lack of proportion and emphasis. The communist regime killed millions of peasants. The prison system established by the communists was a source of slave labor as well as a means of suppressing dissent. The Russians dealt with minorities in a particularly bloody and brutal manner. While each of these topics is covered, it is hasty. Instead, Martin Sixsmith spends an inordinate amount of time on covering the day-to-day minutia of the USSR's downfall and his coverage of it for the BBC.

If you’ve listened to books by Martin Sixsmith before, how does this one compare?

I have read his Putin's Oil which is a superior work.

Did Martin Sixsmith do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

This is a rebroadcast of BBC's "Russia: The Wild East, Part 2" presented in 25 episodes. Although Sixsmith is the primary narrator, there are interviews, clips from news accounts, tape recorded speeches of historical figures, quotes from poems, choirs singing in the background, etc. In many respects the historical characters speak for themselves.

Could you see Russia: Part Two: The Rise and Fall of the Soviets being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

There is far too much turf to cover for this to be made into a movie.

Any additional comments?

Martin Sixsmith is a BBC journalist who served in the USSR, Poland, and Washington. He was Tony Blair's Director of Communications and has written both fiction and non-fiction books. I would recommend this audiobook for someone who wants a general overview of the events of the past century. However, it does not come close to describing the full magnitude of atrocities perpetrated by the Soviet regime.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Founders of the Western World

  • A History of Greece and Rome
  • By: Michael Grant
  • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

Through his in-depth analysis, Michael Grant introduces us to the political, military, cultural, social, economic, and religious life of the times that were the building blocks of what we now call the Western World. He creates a vivid panorama of the Greco-Roman world by bringing together the most dramatic events on record from its beginnings in 1,000 BC to the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century AD.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Introduction to Classical Greece and Rome

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 11-25-12

Good Introduction to Classical Greece and Rome

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

Reviewed: 11-25-12

What did you love best about The Founders of the Western World?

Michael Grant has written extensively about Greece and Rome and this is a summary of his larger works. It provides fundamental information about eras that continue to influence our daily lives.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Founders of the Western World?

In an introductory book of this nature one would expect discussion of politics and wars. Grant includes this but also spends a an impressive amount of time on the arts of the period.

What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?

Professional job of narration.

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

The film could only be a length documentary as the topic of the book spans over a millennium.

Any additional comments?

Audible should be providing the copious maps from the book as a download.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Modern Scholar: Rock 'n' Roll and American Society: Part One

  • From the Beginning to 1960
  • By: William McKeen
  • Narrated by: William McKeen
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

An author and university professor whose books include scholarly works on the Beatles and Bob Dylan, William McKeen here tackles the role of popular music in American culture. Beginning with the emergence of rock in the 1950s, and including the meteoric rise of artists such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, McKeen examines the growth of the recording industry while incorporating the social and intellectual history of the country.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Informative But Factually Flawed In Some Respects

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 10-12-12

Informative But Factually Flawed In Some Respects

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

Reviewed: 10-12-12

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The author describes the roots of Rock 'n Roll from the time of Charlie Patton forward to 1960s. There is the obligatory nod to Robert Johnson. Various genres of music from blues to country to gospel have an influence on an emerging musical format. In addition to artists like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddly, Buddy Holly, there is coverage of DJ's, record producers, songwriters, and managers who are described in this account. The lecturer often indicates the influence particular musicians had on those who followed.

What other book might you compare The Modern Scholar: Rock 'n' Roll and American Society: Part One to and why?

Any collection of articles by Lester Bangs. Audible has many biographies and autobiographies of musicians.

What about the narrator’s performance did you like?

The author and narrator are the same and the presentation is in lecture format. The lecturer is polished and easy to follow.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

A movie could probably not be made of this subject.

Any additional comments?

Audible usually provides an accompanying booklet in PDF for with a Modern Scholar title but fails to do so here.The lecturer makes some grating errors and omissions. Johnny Cash did not put tissue paper under the strings of his guitar to achieve his sound. Country music of that era did not feature drums so Cash would put regular paper under his guitar strings to mimic the snap of a snare drum. Les Paul is mentioned as a pioneer who made electric guitars and experimented with multi-track recording. However, completely unmentioned was Leo Fender who had a far greater influence. Leo Fender made the first electric bass guitars that truly give rock music its drive and its rhythm. His Stratocasters and Telecasters are used by more musicians than Les Paul guitars. Finally, Leo Fender made wonderful amplifiers to suit the needs of musicians, including the need for distortion and reverb.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Peloponnesian War

  • By: Donald Kagan
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallace
  • Length: 19 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99

For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century BC the ancient world was torn apart in a conflict that was, within its historical context, as dramatic, divisive, and destructive as the great world wars of the 20th century. The Peloponnesian War pitted Greek against Greek: the Athenians, with their glorious empire, rich legacy of democracy and political rights, and extraordinary cultural achievement, against the militaristic, oligarchic Spartan state.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just The Facts And You Will Need Maps

  • By Nikoli Gogol on 01-22-12

Just The Facts And You Will Need Maps

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

Reviewed: 01-22-12

I listened to this book in advance of reading Thucydides' "The Peloponnesian War".

The author presents the work in an objective manner, providing an account of what transpired and not engaging in polemics or comparing this war to others.

The story is impossible to follow without reference to maps. Just as an example, geographic place-names like Naupaktos, or Mthone, or Locris are bandied about and there is no way of knowing what the author is referring to without reference to maps. To remedy this, I borrowed Kagan's book from the library but though it has multiple maps, they are of poor quality. You are best off by following along with "The Landmark Thucydidies" by Robert Strassler. Pity that Audible did not provide a pdf file for maps and names.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • I'm with the Band

  • Confessions of a Groupie
  • By: Pamela Des Barres, Dave Navarro
  • Narrated by: Pamela Des Barres
  • Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 261

As soon as she graduated from high school, Pamela Des Barres headed for the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars' backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s. Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Noel Redding, and Jim Morrison, among others. She traveled with Led Zeppelin; lived in sin with Don Johnson; turned down a date with Elvis Presley; and was close friends with Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Ray Davies, and Frank Zappa.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Un-listenable....

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-04-12

A Charming Account of R&R Heroes From Groupie

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

Reviewed: 10-28-11

The expectation of a book authored by a groupie is that it would be a salacious tell-all about sexual encounters with musicians. There is plenty of that in the book but the author is unfailingly positive and generous in her description of her amours.

There are three things that make this book a standout.

First, Pamela Des Barres can write. Although her book is based on her diaries, the book is wonderfully descriptive and witty in her unique style.

Secondly, Pamela Des Barres can narrate. This is her story and listening to the book is like having Pamela Des Barres tell her life story directly to you. Her voice modulates particularly when quoting someone and she otherwise personalizes the story for the listener.

Thirdly, Pamela Des Barres is very upbeat and happy.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful