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Michael J. Kelley

  • 7
  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 40
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  • Without Precedent

  • Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times
  • By: Joel Richard Paul
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 17 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 173

No member of America's founding generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next 40 years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. As Chief Justice of the United States - the longest-serving in history - he established the independence of the judiciary and the supremacy of the federal Constitution and courts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scholarly and Accessible

  • By Diana Black Kennedy on 03-01-18

The Forgotten Founding Father

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

Reviewed: 04-18-18

This work filled a real gap for me. My reading group has started studying The Constitution-- its origins, influences on its creators and details about the controversies that existed as our
Constitution was born. I noticed early on that the references to John Marshall and his contributions to the formation and implementation of The Constitution were the most numerous of any in our reading sources. The fine work by Law professor Joel Richard Paul completely filled my knowledge gap about Marshall.

The book details Marshall's humble beginnings, his military career and the influence of George Washington, his prickly relationship with his cousin Jefferson, his important sojourn to France with Pinckney and Gerry after the Revolutionary War as well as his early role in Federalist-Republican politics. The fledgling Supreme Court, barely had a place to work and live in during it's early days in Washington. Marshall's brilliance and steadfastness helped to define the roll of the court as the defender of the Constitution in several early and crucial cases such as Marbury V. Madison, a ruling that helped to establish judicial review.

Marshall's family and social relationships are also detailed. What a surprise to learn that this polymath wrote poetry!

After listening to this audible book (and also purchasing the book!), I strongly believe that John Marshall deserves a place along side of Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton and Jefferson as one of Founding Fathers.

For anyone interested in the early history of our country, and especially the early struggles of the Supreme Court to become a strong and independent arm of our tripartite Republic,
I highly recommend this book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Alfred Molina
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,587
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,933
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,887

Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wish the sample was not from the preface!

  • By Kristopher S. on 11-13-17

The Polymath to Beat All Polymaths!

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

Reviewed: 01-22-18

This biography of Leonardo from Vinci is one of the finest and best researched that I have read, topping even the exceptional biographies that Isaacson has already produced about other polymaths: Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Einstein.
Because this book is so profusely illustrated with Leonardo's drawings and portraits, however, I think the audible edition MUST be accompanied by the written edition. This audible edition is well done with a very good narration by Alfred Molina and, as a special treat, Isaacson "bookend" contributions in the introduction and the conclusion. It was indeed a pleasure to listen first and imagine what the Leonardo portrait or drawing would look like in the printed edition.

BUY THEM BOTH!

Michael J. Kelley

  • Master and Commander

  • Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Patrick Tull
  • Length: 16 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,948
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,932

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Choice of Narrators

  • By Frank R. Adams on 04-23-10

A wonderful period piece of historical fiction!

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

Reviewed: 11-22-17

Satisfies in many ways:
Authentic in recreating this time in history; characters are well drawn and believable; nautical terms are explained through the growing knowledge of Dr. Maturin assisted by his friend and teacher, Captain Aubrey; story is visually described and scenes can be clearly imagined; and the narrator is excellent!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Death of Santini

  • The Story of a Father and His Son
  • By: Pat Conroy
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 374
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 331
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 323

Pat Conroy's father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son's life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, "I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for 'hate.'" As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father's behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat's lifeline to a better world - that of books and culture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Conroy at his best

  • By ZORRO on 12-05-13

Conroy's Final Attempt to Reconcile with Dad

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

Reviewed: 07-20-17

What made the experience of listening to The Death of Santini the most enjoyable?

As usual, Conroy captures the humorous, sad and, hopefully, factual details of his dysfunctional family. In eventually reconciling with his Father, he travels a tortuous trail with many side roads and detours. It is classic Conroy, made more poignant with the sad realization that this would be his last work.

What did you like best about this story?

Darkness plus explosive humor throughout.

What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

I think this was the WRONG voice for this story...the Chicago/New York accent just graited on me throughout...a poor match for this story of a SOUTHERN family in and out of crises.

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

LOL

Any additional comments?

Sorry that his voce has been stilled.

  • Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire

  • A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character
  • By: Kay Redfield Jamison
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 17 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

In this magisterial study of the relationship between illness and art, the best-selling author of An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison, brings an entirely fresh understanding to the work and life of Robert Lowell (1917-1977), whose intense, complex, and personal verse left a lasting mark on the English language and changed the public discourse about private matters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Review of Robert Lowell by Kay Jamison

  • By Margaret C. Neumann on 05-10-17

The Perfect Combination

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

Reviewed: 05-22-17

Would you listen to Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire again? Why?

Yes. The story itself is remarkable, and the poetry that is woven through the story is enhanced by the reading of it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire?

The numerous examples of Lowell's courage "under fire"...that is, his ability to repeatedly return to his creative self after multiple attacks of mania and depression.

What about Jefferson Mays’s performance did you like?

His reading of Lowell's poetry was superb!

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

It made me realize what those with bipolar psychosis must deal with and what courage it takes to know that, even under therapy, this disease can come back into their lives without warning.

Any additional comments?

This was a tour de force by Dr. Jamison! She captured Robert Lowell's life, his creativity, his mental illness and his courage in one complex portrait. No biography that I have read has ever so accurately portrayed the essence of the two elements of creativity and mental illness in terms that a layperson or a medical professional could understand. Her feat was likely facilitated by her own experience with manic depressive disease. Her creative and empathetic writing is exhibited for all to enjoy in this amazing book!

  • As the Crow Flies

  • A Walt Longmire Mystery, Book 8
  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,060
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,679
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,657

Craig Johnson has won multiple awards and earned starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews for his New York Times best-selling Walt Longmire mysteries. Embarking on his eighth adventure in As the Crow Flies, Sheriff Longmire is searching the Cheyenne Reservation for a site to host his daughter’s wedding, when he sees a woman fall to her death. Teaming up with beautiful tribal chief Lolo Long, Walt sets out to investigate the suspicious death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply one of my favorite series.

  • By B.J. on 07-22-12

Complex but worth it

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

Reviewed: 08-31-16

Complex tale with overlapping plot lines and lots of characters.
The marriage of Longmire's daughter is woven through the story and leads to one of the most emotional scenes in any of the Longmire stories I have read.
One of his best!

  • Not All Bastards Are from Vienna

  • By: Andrea Molesini, Antony Shugaar - translator, Patrick Creagh - translator
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

In the autumn of 1917, Refrontolo - a small community north of Venice - is invaded by Austrian soldiers as the Italian army is pushed to the Piave river. The Spada family owns the largest estate in the area, where orphaned 17-year-old Paolo lives with his eccentric grandparents, his headstrong aunt, and a loyal staff. With the battlefront nearby, the Spada home becomes a bastion of resistance, both clashing and cooperating with the military members imposing on their household.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WW I: Fiction or Reality?

  • By Michael J. Kelley on 04-08-16

WW I: Fiction or Reality?

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

Would you listen to Not All Bastards Are from Vienna again? Why?

Yes. This story fills in blanks about enduring the disaster that was WW I in Italy and is peopled by authentic voices speaking truth about their time. It seemed to have the veracity of one who lived through this difficult time.
It had elements of The Leopard as the landed gentry were engulfed by the invaders from the north and faced the loss of, not only their traditions and possessions, but their freedom.

This is also the story of a boy becoming a man, the intelligence deployed by the family, especially Paolo's aunt, to outwit the German and Austrian soldiers and the creativity the strength that besieged people can bring forth when confronted by an evil enemy.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Not All Bastards Are from Vienna?

The last scene with the heroes facing the firing squad

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene with Grandfather speaking his mind

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

There were many tense scenes with the threat of violence omnipresent.

Any additional comments?

The narrator captured the voices of both men and women, young and old, and German and Austrian accents extremely well.