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Richard

Huntsville, AL, USA
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 239
  • helpful votes
  • 969
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  • The Perfect Pass

  • American Genius and the Reinvention of Football
  • By: S. C. Gwynne
  • Narrated by: Santino Fontana
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 92

New York Times best-selling, award-winning historian S. C. Gwynne tells the incredible story of how Hal Mumme and Mike Leach - two unknown coaches who revolutionized American football in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s - changed the way the game is played at every level, from high school to the NFL. Hal Mumme is one of a handful of authentic offensive geniuses in the history of American football. In 2015 ESPN Magazine, the nation's leading sports magazine, called him the single most influential football coach in the last quarter century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Being a retired sportswriter in Texas, this book wAs amazing

  • By Larry on 01-13-17

Hal Mumme: A coaching biography

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

Although I enjoyed this book, and came to admire Coach Mumme, this book is not as much about the game of football as it is about about the history of the game and one man's struggle to improve the game. The listener hears about the conflicting goals of the coaches, the school athletic directors and administrators. The history of the rules regarding passing the ball is eye opening. Who knew that passing the football was such a terrible thing to do?

I was a very young kid watching Joe Namath in his white taped shoes sending the ball flying all over the field on television in the 1960s. Bear Bryant seemed ok with that, since nothing happened on his teams that "The Bear" was not ok with. So I am still a bit confused about the need to fight for the usefulness of passing a football" in the eighties. But I am just a saturday afternoon fan and its all fascinating.

Since we sent two children to Auburn we follow that team too and it seems Gus owes much of his strategy to Hal Mumme too. The writers speak about the SEC being smash mouth football. But from fifty years of watching SEC teams, I think they are just as happy to pass the ball if it will win a game. The people protecting the quarterback and the people trying to get to the quarterback seem just as dangerous to each other as when they were rushing the ball down the field. In the end as someone who watches those games high in stadiums and on television It is great to actually see the ball. When the ball is tucked into scrums of people moving around in a pile, the tension as to who has it is intense, but for fans its great to see it flying. This was the point that the writers made that i really understood. Anyway go Coach Mumme.

  • On Power

  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Robert A. Caro
  • Length: 1 hr and 42 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,686
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,509
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,501

From two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and two-time National Book Award winner Robert A. Caro: a short, penetrating reflection on the evolution and workings of political power - for good and for ill.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why how power is acquired and how it is used

  • By Richard on 05-11-17

Why how power is acquired and how it is used

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

Reviewed: 05-11-17

This time Robert Caro does his usual excellent job of writing, but not to explain how other people think and work, but why he has chosen to do the work he has essentially given his life to. No one can summarize his work as well as Caro has. I certainly will not try. But I will say I have read his two books on LBJ and am now anxious to read his book about the power broker Robert Moses, as well his third LBJ book.

His work is better than fiction. To use a familiar phrase, you can't make this stuff up.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • The Georgetown Set

  • Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington
  • By: Gregg Herken
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 17 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

In the years after World War II, Georgetown's leafy streets were home to an unlikely group of cold warriors: a coterie of affluent, well-educated, and well-connected civilians who helped steer American strategy from the Marshall Plan through McCarthyism, Vietnam, and the endgame of Watergate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Too much power

  • By Kathleen Freeland on 08-20-16

Government by Invitation

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

Reviewed: 12-01-15

This is in fact a well written, well researched book about how a not very large group of people, who influenced each other, including sitting politicians, and the people who read their articles and essays in respected magazines, and newspapers such as the Washington Post and Newsweek. If people were not invited to the select Sunday suppers, large cocktail parties, then then they did not get the big "scoop", or the hint as to what the American voter is thinking.

It is a bit unsettling that some of these people such as Joe Alsop, who is really fascinating, and very articulate, helped to steer United States into some of the policies that we as a country are still dealing with today, such as Vietnam, and the middle east. Or at least he thought he did. He had the ear of both Kennedy and Johnson, so maybe so. His war reporting from Vietnam is almost funny. But at the time it was published, it was taken with great seriousness and influence.

Listening to the book it is difficult to tell at this time who was using whom, politicians or journalist. The Sunday dinners, cocktail parties, etc. where Big Ideas were discussed and to which only the select were invited is fascinating. Oddly enough Ben Bradley who became editor of the Washington Post is not described as having the best invitation of them all, frequent dinners at the Kennedy White House. His book about that is fascinating.

As combative as things are in Washington now, and as dangerous as the world is now, it is just as well these are not the people dealing with it. Except for Mrs. Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post during the Kennedy and Nixon Administrations. The lady may well be a national treasure.

  • Lady Bird and Lyndon

  • The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President
  • By: Betty Boyd Caroli
  • Narrated by: Amanda Carlin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61

A fresh look at Lady Bird Johnson that upends her image as a plain Jane who was married for her money and mistreated by Lyndon. This Lady Bird worked quietly behind the scenes through every campaign, every illness, and a trying presidency as a key strategist, fundraiser, barnstormer, peacemaker, and indispensable therapist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lady Bird & btw Lyndon

  • By Richard on 11-27-15

Lady Bird & btw Lyndon

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

Reviewed: 11-27-15

This is an excellent double biography. It in no way takes the place of Robert Caro's masterpiece, but it does give us LBJ's mother's background and influence as well as his failed politician father's.

But Lady Bird's (aka Claudia) Johnson's childhood and parents are the stuff of novels. Her brothers older than she, were reared for the most part in boarding school, and to a lesser degree so was she. I think the most dramatic example I can give of her parenting as a young child is that after her Mother's death, her Dad put her on a train in Texas to visit her relatives in Alabama, her mother's wealthy ones, and his own less prosperous family. Her only companion on the trip was a sign that said please "Deliver this Child..."

Children with this background often do not do well. But Lady Bird, grew strong, smart, and charming. She dealt with her over powering father and to a degree his series of new wives.
At thirteen when there was no one to take her to school, her Dad bought her a car and she drove herself, she could balance a checking account and read accounting files before she graduated high school. And although her husband looked to be verbally abusive, she always maintained she let it flow around her, and yet she was always totally devoted to him.

This is a truly interesting look at a fascinating woman. There is not much new on LBJ, but it is well worth a look at his life in the light of his wife and daughters.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Aeronaut's Windlass

  • The Cinder Spires, Book 1
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 21 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,346
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,338

Since time immemorial the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy's shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Brave New World

  • By Don Gilbert on 10-02-15

The Aeronauts

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

Reviewed: 09-30-15

If this were not such a trusted author, I am not sure I would have continued after the first few chapters. We are begin with a character who is brilliant, but bored and in order to get what she wants, which is to join the Guard, she is willing to blast her way out of her mother's drawing room. Her Mother tells her house guards that her opposition to her daughter's leaving is really manipulative. Because the daughter only does things she thinks other people do not want her to do, the Mother is only pretending to oppose her. HUH? So what military unit would accept a spoiled brat, where is the wind ship Captain?

But this is Jim Butcher and yes, his characters grow and learn. And the reader is delighted to be with them. The characters and their story lines are woven together so skillfully that by the end of the book, which by the way is non stop action, we not only know them well, but are invested in them. When the book ends we miss them. Jim Butcher just gets better.

I am not sure why the narrator read this book as if he were quietly teaching a course in Victorian literature at one of the British Universities. I think the publishers, really should rethink the direction given to this reader. The choice of voice used here would be great for Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, even Bram Stoker. But the people in this book are warriors.

Euan Morton is a skilled narrator. I listened to his early work, in which he did a credible American soldier's accent, and seamlessly went into an SAS operative, along with family members of these two men. So in spite of the skills he brought to this book, the Publishers chose the most low key academic voice, even during a deadly battle of wind ships, hand to hand combat, and Pub brawls.

And still this is a great book. It is well worth the time spent listening to it.

56 of 74 people found this review helpful

  • Magic Shifts

  • Kate Daniels, Book 8
  • By: Ilona Andrews
  • Narrated by: Renee Raudman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,927
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,701
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,696

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate - former Beast Lord Curran Lennart - are adjusting to a very different pace. While they're thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect story arc for the whole series

  • By Richard on 08-04-15

Perfect story arc for the whole series

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

Reviewed: 08-04-15

I can think of only one other series which develops the overall story without once tripping over earlier plot lines, and this series is flawless. While waiting for this book I listened to all seven of the early ones from the beginning. And wow, do these authors nail it.

Not only does the story arc keep climbing over all eight books without a stutter, the characters grow and change from book one to book eight, and still remain remain consistent. Goodness, many authors can't keep their characters within their original personalities within one book, much less eight.

In the early books we learn that Curan formed the Atlanta pack of different shape shifters because as a youngster his family was torn apart by a band of loupes, shape shifters who have gone crazy. He wanted his future family protected. The Pack repaid his work by not fully accepting his human wife, (well they kept challenging her to duels to the death for leadership of the Pack while he was in a coma, so that's less than accepting). So leaving the Pack that he spent years forming and supporting was not a deal breaker to keep both it and Kate safe from a great Evil. Doesn't mean it wasn't hard. Curan may not have the title of Beast Lord, but it is more than a title it is what he is, and leaving left a hole. The man is Bored.

Thank goodness his wife's problems are quite interesting. Being a mercenary and skilled swords woman, she has mad job skills. Her former employers the Mercenary Guild are willing, if not happy, to hire them both. Even the Lion of Atlanta, and the daughter of Evil (she does not take after her father) have bills to pay. And moving to suburbia has pitfalls of its own.

As usual Renee Raudman goes from an intelligent strong female character, to a growly male Curan, to an even more growly Jim, so smoothly that the listener is not jarred once.

Needless to say I love this series and these characters who are strong enough to have equally strong friends.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • The Speechwriter

  • A Brief Education in Politics
  • By: Barton Swaim
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 106

Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn't have to live by the rules. Using his experience as a speechwriter, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A well-written complainers guide

  • By Kindle Customer on 08-03-15

Not exactly new

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

Reviewed: 07-26-15

I suppose the American voter has to be reminded that nothing has changed. The author/narrator seems shocked and saddened that the politicians are not to be trusted. Except of course we get it. Perhaps a bit of history included in his remarkable education would be helpful. Nixon is still within living memory. The people who followed him are just as interesting. Except maybe Carter, and although he is acknowledged as a good person he is not remembered as a strong President. Perhaps its not them, its us.

As smart as this author is perhaps he could suggest some remedies. We get that the people running for office are defining issues in their favor. We get that today's party politics are a better machine than anytime in history. So don't whine, without at least offering a fix.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Humblebrag

  • The Art of False Modesty
  • By: Harris Wittels
  • Narrated by: Harris Wittels
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 177

From comedian and writer ( Parks and Recreation, Eastbound & Down) Harris Wittels comes a hysterical breakdown of boasts, brags, and self-adulation disguised as humble comments and complaints - based on his popular @humblebrag Twitter feed. >Something immediately annoyed Harris Wittels about Twitter. All of a sudden it was acceptable to brag, so long as those brags were ever-so-thinly disguised as transparent humility....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cathartic to hear your sassy voice. We miss you.

  • By Arthur Hatch on 05-03-15

Criticize published tweets...repeat

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

Reviewed: 06-27-15

I have to agree with the last reviewer. For someone who has such contempt for the tweets of others, he certainly spent hours and hours reading them. He even put them into groups but even these were distinctions without differences. I think I was expecting some insight resulting from the amount of time spent reading and copying these things. But all this book does is copy the tweet, point to the obvious, copy the next tweet point to the obvious for page after page.

I understand that this is a matter of not managing my own expectations. I was hoping for insight. As polished as the author/narrator is, I think even he was becoming bored by the end.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Fated

  • Alex Verus Series, Book 1
  • By: Benedict Jacka
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,287
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,867
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,875

Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future-allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success. But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Dresden meets the Temple of Doom

  • By Jessica on 05-15-14

Do not expect the Iron Druid or Harry Dresden...

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

Reviewed: 03-29-15

I bought this because one reviewer stated that if a listener likes this list of (novels I love) from Mercy Thompson to the Iron Druid to the great Harry Dresden, that this book is like those books. Hmmm, not really. It is good. Some of the plot points here parallel some of the plot points in those books. But there is a cheerful acknowledgment of the bad guys, and a sense of "bring it" I can handle you in this group of books, that is not in Fated. Fated has a sort of world weary acknowledgment that the bad guys, dark mages, etc. are out there, and ok, I have to clean up this mess one more time, that creates a different atmosphere here, less energetic than the books above, but still good. This just does not have the same atmosphere as the books to which it has been compared. The humor is there, just much lower key, and a bit gray.

49 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • All the Great Prizes

  • The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt
  • By: John Taliaferro
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 22 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 267
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 242
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 239

If Henry James or Edith Wharton had written a novel describing the accomplished and glamorous life and times of John Hay, it would have been thought implausible - a novelist’s fancy. Nevertheless, John Taliaferro’s brilliant biography captures the extraordinary life of Hay, one of the most amazing figures in American history, and restores him to his rightful place. John Hay was both witness and author of many of the most significant chapters in American history - from the birth of the Republican Party, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War, to the prelude to the First World War.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Historical Biography- Well Read

  • By IRP on 03-09-14

History on a Very Personal Level

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

Reviewed: 10-14-14

This book is not only a very good review of some of the most turbulent eras in United States history, it is told from the view of someone both intelligent and honorable. This is not just the personal view of his biographer, but a view found in the written words of those he worked for and with. From the Civil War to the Spanish American War and beyond this man worked for the best interest of the United States as he saw it. He was not perfect, he held the views of his education and his friends including Henry Adams, (yes he of the acerbic Adams clan). This man lost a personal friend at the Battle of Gettysburg, and still was horrified decades later at the thousands dead in a battle which occurred outside of the borders of the United States. Following Hays life gives a personal view of some of the most formative times in American history.

This book actually gave me an understanding of some actions the American government took in the early nineteen hundreds that are still have reverberations all these decades later. It begins slowly like most biographies, but give it time, it is well worth it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful