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  • Quarterly Essay 58

  • Blood Year: Losing the War on Terror
  • By: David Kilcullen
  • Narrated by: Nick Farnell
  • Length: 3 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

Last year was a “blood year” in the Middle East - massacres and beheadings, fallen cities, collapsed and collapsing states, the unravelling of a decade of Western strategy. We saw the rise of ISIS, the splintering of government in Iraq, and foreign fighters - many from Europe, Australia and Africa - flowing into Syria at a rate ten times that during the height of the Iraq War. What went wrong?In Blood Year, David Kilcullen calls on twenty-five years’ experience to answer that question.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Three Hour Piece of Genius

  • By Kindle Customer on 09-06-16

A Three Hour Piece of Genius

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

Reviewed: 09-06-16

If you could sum up Quarterly Essay 58 in three words, what would they be?

Acute, Informed, Persuasive

What other book might you compare Quarterly Essay 58 to and why?

I have never read anything as perceptive., Should have been required reading for all those seeking higher office.

If you could give Quarterly Essay 58 a new subtitle, what would it be?

'READ THIS FOR THE TRUTH'

Any additional comments?

Recommended to me by a former Ambassador to the US as 'a singular read of the last two years." Spot -on and brilliant. I would read anything this man writes and hear anything interpreted by the narrator.

  • Valiant Ambition

  • George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
  • By: Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 991
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 894
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 891

In September 1776 the vulnerable Continental Army, under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle), evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic book that every American should read

  • By Ross on 11-02-16

The Other Side of a Forgotten Hero

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

Reviewed: 09-06-16

What did you love best about Valiant Ambition?

The book dispels the kneejerk reaction posed by the name: Benedict Arnold

What was one of the most memorable moments of Valiant Ambition?

The battle and maneuvering at Lake Champlain should have won Arnold lasting admiration

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

Arnold's triumph over adversity becomes a metaphor for valor. No promotion, bankrupt, outmaneuvered, far from home, mis-guided by early Washington...he fought on with brilliance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The White Road

  • Journey into an Obsession
  • By: Edmund de Waal
  • Narrated by: Michael Maloney
  • Length: 11 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 53

Extraordinary new nonfiction, a gripping blend of history and memoir, by the author of the award-winning and best-selling international sensation The Hare with the Amber Eyes. In The White Road, best-selling author and artist Edmund de Waal gives us an intimate narrative history of his lifelong obsession with porcelain, or "white gold".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Marvelous and addictive

  • By Elizabeth on 09-27-17

Don't Give This at Christmas

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

What would have made The White Road better?

The "Hare" was magnetic with the draw of family, 1890s Paris, Jewish families trading grain and the artifacts of brilliant life. The White Road had no grip; no life derived from the Hare.

What could Edmund de Waal have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

History, personality, emotional investment.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

  • Pacific

  • Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers
  • By: Simon Winchester
  • Narrated by: Simon Winchester
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 474
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469

Best-selling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature. Winchester's personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Ponderous hard to keep attention

  • By Mark on 01-01-16
  • Pacific
  • Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers
  • By: Simon Winchester
  • Narrated by: Simon Winchester

Winchester Less Than Superlative

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

What did you like best about Pacific? What did you like least?

Winchester's handle on geology, tectonic plates, oddities of spirit are unique but this 'massive' view lacks cohesion, a driving theme or a 'take-home' message. Why paste seqments without glue?

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Did not get that far

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

He is a good narrator but his levels of excitement speak to each investment he has in the theme

Do you think Pacific needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Urge him to move back to earhquakes, insanity, science history.

  • House of the Rising Sun

  • A Novel
  • By: James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,082
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,075

From its opening scene in revolutionary Mexico to the Battle of the Marne in 1918, and on to the bordellos and saloons of San Antonio during the reign of the Hole in the Wall Gang, House of the Rising Sun is an epic tale of love, loss, betrayal, vengeance, and retribution that follows Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland on his journey to reunite with his estranged son, Ishmael, a captain in the United States Army.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Okay…I'll Say It

  • By Craig on 12-11-15

Thriller Equal of Faulkner

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

What did you love best about House of the Rising Sun?

Burke had addicted me to New Iberia and now to Holland. This is deft, historic and crafted...one big cliffhanger. The beauty is the lack of Burke's mystical dream sequences which populated the N'Orleans series. Holland is moral and sharply defined.

What other book might you compare House of the Rising Sun to and why?

Any of Zane Gray

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

Paton is to Burke as Hill is to Childs and Mantegna to Parker

  • H Is for Hawk

  • By: Helen Macdonald
  • Narrated by: Helen Macdonald
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,932
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,664
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,655

When Helen MacDonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored her own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mabel The Hawk--The Fire That Burned The Hurts Away

  • By Sara on 04-09-15

The Hawk, not the Author, is Mesmerizing

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

If you could sum up H Is for Hawk in three words, what would they be?

Detail followed by Depression

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

I hope she gets help.

What does Helen Macdonald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

There is a magical detail of eyes, face, feathers, heartbeat, movement, trepidation and spiritual awakening. However by the last third, every word depressed the reader.

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

The first two-thirds, the TH White, the narrative were brilliant...then maudlin took over.

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 155,551
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 143,536
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 143,381

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

Mesmerizing On Every Level

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

Would you consider the audio edition of The Martian to be better than the print version?

This is captivating as an emotional story, a scientific investigation, a thriller.

What did you like best about this story?

Every problem he encounters is addressable; every threat explorable.

What does R. C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A calm intelligent voice that is deep into the excitement.

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

The book made me tingle. Paresthesias are rewarding.

Any additional comments?

Read it and let it nourish you.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • D-Day

  • The Battle for Normandy
  • By: Antony Beevor
  • Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 19 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 326
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195

From critically acclaimed world historian Antony Beevor, this is the first major account in more than 20 years to cover the whole invasion, from June 6, 1944, right up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians were by the Luftwaffe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A commendable book

  • By Michael on 01-19-10

Mandatory Before You Visit St. Mere Eglise

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

If you could sum up D-Day in three words, what would they be?

Authoritative

What other book might you compare D-Day to and why?

Longest Day, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Two Sisters of Sinai

What does Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A careful read without passion

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

NO

Any additional comments?

This is the verve, the color, the five thousand and the twenty foot view. This is entrancing, careful,

  • All the Light We Cannot See

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Doerr
  • Narrated by: Zach Appelman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43,441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,797
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,809

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Afraid to Write a "Less-Than-Positive" Review

  • By Elizabeth on 08-06-14

Great Writing and Character

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

Reviewed: 10-17-15

Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

The print version has microscopic chapters which are easy on the eye but hard on the intellect. This format floats in the audio version as the scenes alight and the mystery and elegance is enhanced. A better read than write.

What other book might you compare All the Light We Cannot See to and why?

In many ways the book is similar to Embers. The storyline is an internal dialogue played out against a swath of history and from a single vantage. On the other hand there is a web which the reader should explore and is articulated in Thunderstruck about the early world of Marconi and Crippen.

Which character – as performed by Zach Appelman – was your favorite?

How much better can it get than to have the creation of a town within the mind, and as a model and as a vivid reality during the bombardment of the War.

If you could rename All the Light We Cannot See, what would you call it?

All the Light; would suffice. This is a visionary experience and the recreation of the fantastic anthropologic museum in Paris is worth the price of admission

  • The Three Musketeers

  • By: Alexandre Dumas
  • Narrated by: Bill Homewood
  • Length: 26 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299

Romance, treachery, courage... The Three Musketeers has it all! In one of the greatest adventure stories ever written, the dashing young swordsman D'Artagnan and his daredevil companions Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, become embroiled in duels, love-tangles, and sinister intrigues which threaten the future of King, Queen, and France herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • classic and well narrated

  • By Benjamin J. Hackett on 05-18-16

Take the Long Road Home...the Best Audible

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

Reviewed: 10-17-15

Would you listen to The Three Musketeers again? Why?

Not only a re listen but the stimulus to a listen to all of Dumas with the COUNT having the slight edge. This is captivating, humorous, luminous, intriguing. This is 21st century writing in the guise of the 17thC court. These are heroes, villains and a wonderful stew of retribution in every shade. This is not a kid's book, this is not your GrandMa's Dumas, this is not stodge. This is joy, laugh out loud and yelling from the top row: 'Get the villain...watch out'.

What other book might you compare The Three Musketeers to and why?

The Count of Monte Cristo has a sharper edge and plot line with a single protagonist and a singular path to revenge BUT the Musketeers are droll, driven by honor and seduction and never failing in their devotion.

Which scene was your favorite?

There is a wonderful, conflicted attempt of D'Artagnon to save the reputation of Anne of Austria; Queen of France and lover of the Duke of Buckingham. Beware of starting this section at midnight as your partner will see the light burn for the next hours

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

Laughter, guffaws, belly cries and the reduction of any desire to ever 'get even'

3 of 3 people found this review helpful