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Josh Richards

Washington, DC
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Makers and Takers audiobook cover art

Strong on advocacy, and weak on examples.

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

Reviewed: 02-27-17

Would you try another book from Rana Foroohar and/or Rachel Fulginiti?

No

Any additional comments?

Poorly researched. Misstatements of law and theory. Ill-informed and faulty logic. Incorrect conclusions of root problems. Strong on advocacy, and weak on examples.

The Pentagon's Brain audiobook cover art
  • The Pentagon's Brain
  • An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen

meh

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

Reviewed: 01-12-16

What did you like best about The Pentagon's Brain? What did you like least?

The book provided interesting information on DARPA that I was unaware of. The delivery was terrible, and the story was not what I expected.

Has The Pentagon's Brain turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. But I will not choose other books by this author.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator (also the author of the book) annunciated her words in such a strange choppy manner, that it was particularly distracting. Each word felt like it was its own sentence, and there was never a comfortable flow to the cadence. There were also a number of acronyms that were mispronounced.

Was The Pentagon's Brain worth the listening time?

I’m not sure. I listened to the entire book, and was not upset with it. But there were a few points where I considered giving up, and I was happy when the book was over.

Any additional comments?

I was expecting a book detailing the history, structure, political dynamics, and insights to DARPA. The story does provide history, and is a chronological detail of DARPA’s progression throughout the years. However, it is more focused on the role DARPA has played on the battlefield throughout history, describing in great detail the various innovations that have come to be standard for battlefield operations. The feel of the book is strange, alternating between a dry academic style, where every acronym is explained, and each and every character’s security clearance level is indicated, to flowery argumentative language providing little substance. One component I took issue with was the author’s account of the invention of the laser. The author used the invention of the laser as an allegory for innovation in general and the scientific and technological advancement driven by DARPA. The author circles back multiple times throughout the book describing the work of Charles Townes in developing the laser as an example of this innovative spirit, but fails to mention even once the name of Gordon Gould, or mention the controversy over rights to the laser’s invention. The fact that this substantial point was ignored leads me to question the objectivity and diligence of the author in the rest of her writing.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

The Book of Honor audiobook cover art
  • The Book of Honor
  • The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives
  • By: Ted Gup
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller

Frank Muller

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

Reviewed: 11-24-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not in this format. I'm not sure I will be able to finish it. The narration is too distracting.

Would you be willing to try another one of Frank Muller’s performances?

No. He is an award winning narrator, and has an interesting voice. However, from my perspective, his cadence is monotonous. The intonation in each sentence is spoken exactly like the next. He reminds me of Gregory Peck, but in a way where every sentence is spoken as if it is the most significant sentence in the paragraph. Each sentence separate and unconnected from anything else. I don't think I can get through this.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful