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Jean

Santa Cruz, CA, United States
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  • The Marshall Plan

  • Dawn of the Cold War
  • By: Benn Steil
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

The award-winning author of The Battle of Bretton Woods reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.

In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin's on the rise, US officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events.

Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Benn Steil’s thrilling account brings to life the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar US-Soviet relations—the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany. In each case, we see and understand like never before Stalin’s determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe.

Given current echoes of the Cold War, as Putin’s Russia rattles the world order, the tenuous balance of power and uncertain order of the late 1940s is as relevant as ever. The Marshall Plan provides critical context into understanding today’s international landscape. Bringing to bear fascinating new material from American, Russian, German, and other European archives, Steil’s account will forever change how we see the Marshall Plan and the birth of the Cold War. A polished and masterly work of historical narrative, this is an instant classic of Cold War literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Historic Learning

  • By Dan Davis on 04-07-18

A Deeply Researched Narrative

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

Reviewed: 10-18-18

This is more of an academic book that tells about the massive and complicated United States effort to aid Europe after World War Two. In 2017 I read “Harry and Arthur” by Lawrence J Haas. Having read that book help me have a better understanding when reading “The Marshall Plan”. Steil did not go into depth about any of the people involved, he just told what they did. Harry Truman (1884-1972) and Arthur Vandenberg (1884-1951) play key roles in this book. The other book that helped with obtaining more depth of understanding was “The Kennon Diaries” by George F. Kennan (1904-2005). Kennan wrote the first part of the Marshall Plan and plays a key role in this book.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Steil extensively researched the United States archival material as well as that of Britain, France, Germany, Czech, Serbia and Russia. Steil also discussed the founding of NATO.

Secretary of State, General George C. Marshall (1880-1959), guided the planning and implementation of the plan to help Europe recover from the devastation of the War. The United States was concerned about the spread of communism. If I read the book correctly, I think, Steil adopted the argument made by historians, Scott Parnish and Mikhail Narinsky in 1994, that the Soviets viewed the Marshall Plan as an aggressive move by the United States. Steil ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany. I found this book helped me understand what is happening today in the world and the great risk that is taking place with a return to the far-right totalitarianism around the world.

Steil tells the story in fascinating detail and I felt he created interesting portraits of the major policy makers of the United States and Western Europe. I found Steil’s writing style easy to read. I have read a number of books about the Marshall Plan and I think this one is excellent in explaining the big picture.

The book is fairly long at sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes or about 600 pages in the printed format. Arthur Morey does an excellent job narrating the book. Morey is an actor and well-known audiobook narrator. I have always enjoyed listening to him. He has won many Earphone Awards as well as voted Best Voice in Non-Fiction and also in History by the Audiofile Magazine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134

 Val Eliot, a young woman working on an English farm during the war, meets Mike, a US Air Force pilot stationed nearby. When Val rescues a Border Collie named Peter Woodhouse, who is being mistreated by his owner, she realizes the dog would actually be safer with Mike. And so Peter Woodhouse finds a new home on the air force base, and Val finds herself falling in love.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wonderful

  • By T. Bellan on 04-23-18

Delightful

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

Reviewed: 10-15-18

This is one of AMS’s stand-alone books. The story takes place during World War Two. We follow the following people: Val a young woman from the village that is sent to work on a farm; Mike is an American pilot that falls in love with Val; Ubi is a German officer, and most important is a Border Collie dog named Peter Woodhouse. We follow them during and after the war.

I enjoy AMS’s books. They always leave me feeling happy and satisfied. Of course, some of his books leave me pondering a moral issue. If you are looking for a good story written by a master storyteller then this book is for you.

The book is six hours and twenty-nine minutes. David Rintout does an excellent job narrating the book. He has a rich melodic voice that is easy to listen to. Rintout is a well-known audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained Scottish actor and has won many Earphone Awards for his audiobook narrations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • AI Superpowers

  • China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
  • By: Kai-Fu Lee
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115

In his provocative new book, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee - one of the world’s most respected experts on artificial intelligence - reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US, the leader in AI, at an astonishingly rapid pace. Building upon his longstanding US-Sino technology career (working at Apple, Microsoft, and Google) and his much-heralded New York Times Op-Ed from June 2017, Dr. Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a stunning impact on not just traditional blue-collar industries but will also have a devastating effect on white-collar professions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Controversial, otherwise even-handed; non-tech

  • By James S. on 09-29-18

A Must Read

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

This is a great book. It not only provides a history of AI both in the USA and China. Kai-Fu Lee also provides a history of AI’s both in the USA and China, and also incudes an in-depth analysis between China and the US’s approach to AI’s. He also discusses pros and cons of their abilities, engineering and politics.
The author explains technical methods so that a lay person can understand it. He also explains algorithms and data in an easy to understand manner. The author shows how AI’s effect our lives today and what is going to happen in the near and far future. He goes into explanations into what jobs will be lost and why as well as which job categories are safe. He also explains what type of jobs will be created in the future. I particularly found the information about teachers enlightening. I found the section on how the superpowers will affect the world most fascinating. This is definitely a must-read book.

The book is nine hours twenty-eight minutes. Mikael Naramore does an excellent job narrating the book. Naramore is an actor, voice actor and audiobook narrators. He has won many Earphone Awards and was the 2017 Audie Award winner.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Man of War

  • An Eric Steele Novel
  • By: Sean Parnell
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144

Eric Steele is the best of the best - an Alpha - an elite clandestine operative assigned to a US intelligence unit known simply as the "Program". A superbly trained Special Forces soldier who served several tours fighting radical Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Steele now operates under the radar, using a deadly combination of espionage and brute strength to root out his enemies and neutralize them. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Fiction Debut

  • By Jean on 10-11-18

Great Fiction Debut

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

This is Sean Parnell’s first fiction book. I am impressed with his authentic action story. The book is well written and the characters are realistic. Our protagonist, Eric Steele, is a member of a small elite top-secret unit. The story is filled with non-stop action. The action is a combination of military, espionage and political. The story moves around from the USA, Middle East, Northern Africa to Europe. The author provides some good descriptions of the various areas of action. The suspense builds throughout the story. This is definitely a cannot-put-this-down type of story.

The book is nine hours and nineteen minutes. R. C. Bray does an excellent job narrating the book. Bray is a well-known narrator. He has won many Earphone Awards as well as the Audie Award. He also has won the Voice Arts Award. He is an actor, voice artist and audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Moralist

  • By: Patricia O'Toole
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 23 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

By the author of acclaimed biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Adams, a penetrating biography of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). The Moralist is a cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reflections on a Changing Presidency

  • By Keith on 05-02-18

Elegantly Written

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

I have read about five or six biographies of Woodrow Wilson. What interested me about O’Toole’s biography is that she looked at Wilson from his view as a moralist. Wilson is ranked number eleven of Presidential Achievements; Abraham Lincoln, of course, is ranked number one.

The book is well written and researched. O’Toole covers in depth Wilson’s unprecedented wave of reform legislation. Wilson carried on Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft’s campaign against monopolies. He passed the Clayton Antitrust Act. Wilson did away with tariffs, the federal governments only source of income, and created the first permeant progressive income tax. When you read the book, you will discover the long list of his accomplishments. O’Toole did cover his racism and his opposition to the 15th amendment. O’Toole did a good job in presenting an unbiased biography. I enjoyed her beautiful prose. The book is easy to read. The author did a good job recording Wilson’s long history of strokes. I found the parallels to today most interesting and a bit scary. I have always found Wilson’s failure to compromise one of his worst faults. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Wilson.

The book is just over twenty-three hours. Fred Sanders does a great job in narrating the book. Sanders is an actor and a popular audiobook narrator.




2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Commanding

  • Kris Longknife, Book 17
  • By: Mike Shepherd
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123

While summoned to the Imperial Iteeche Court to be humanity’s Emissary, it turns out that what the Iteeche really want is a fighting admiral! You see, they’ve got this huge civil war going, and the Imperial side isn’t doing so well. Kris now has command of the entire Imperial Combined Fleet. Sort of. The Iteeche Empire has a 10,000-year-long history. There is nothing that won’t say, “We’ve always done it that way,” pointing to a track record lasting for thousands of years. Even when Kris reminds them they’re losing, many have a hard time changing. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of Action

  • By Jean on 10-08-18

Lots of Action

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

This is a continuation of the last book, number 16, about the Iteechee Empire civil war. Kris is in command of the Iteechee Emperor’s naval forces.

The book is well written and fast paced. As with all the other books in the series, my favorite character is the computer AI “Nellie” and her children. I found the ‘Nano’ battle conducted by Lt. Megan Longknife and Nellie’s child, Lillie, fascinating. I have enjoyed this series. It is a fun space opera series. Looking forward to the next episode.

The book is just over ten hours. Dina Pearlman does a good job narrating the series. It is great they have kept the same narrator through-out the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Every Day Is Extra

  • By: John Kerry
  • Narrated by: John Kerry
  • Length: 28 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65

Every Day Is Extra is Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington. Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for 50 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well-written, and a completely engaged performance

  • By S.R. on 09-05-18

Excellent Memoir

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

I enjoy reading biographies and learning about people’s lives and how they accomplished their careers. John Kerry (1943- ) tells the story of his life in great detail. He starts off with the history of his grandparents and moves on from there. I had not realized that Kerry was from patrician New England roots. He attended private schools in Switzerland and the USA. He learned to speak a number of languages.

The book is well written. Kerry devoted his entire career to public service. He provided great details about his life, but I wish he had provided more in-depth insight into people he worked with such as Obama, Hillary Clinton and his friend, John McCain. The memoir does provide an inside look at what happened during his time in the Senate and as Secretary of State. I particularly enjoyed the last part of the book about his time as Secretary of State. I was familiar with his service in Viet Nam as I had read “Tour of Duty” by Douglas Brinkley. If you enjoy memoirs I recommend this book to you.

The book is very long at almost twenty-nine hours or 600 pages. I enjoyed listening to Kerry narrate his book. Hearing the person tell their own story seems to bring an intimacy to the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence

  • By: Kai-Fu Lee
  • Narrated by: Kristi Burns
  • Length: 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

What worries you about the coming world of artificial intelligence?Too often the answer to this question resembles the plot of a sci-fi thriller. People worry that developments in AI will bring about the “singularity” — that point in history when AI surpasses human intelligence, leading to an unimaginable revolution in human affairs. Or they wonder whether instead of our controlling artificial intelligence, it will control us, turning us, in effect, into cyborgs.

"The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence" is from the June 23, 2017 Opinion section of The New York Times. It was written by Kai-Fu Lee and narrated by Kristi Burns.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Most Interesting

  • By Jean on 10-04-18

Most Interesting

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

Reviewed: 10-04-18

I recently added Kai-Fu Lee’s book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” to my reading list on Audible. I noted on Audible a free short article listed from The New York Times entitled “The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence” by Kai-Fu Lee. I just finished reading it and it was much different than what I expected. I was expecting some scary projection about what happens when singularity is reached. Kai-Fu Lee projects this hypothetical event to happen hundreds of years from now, if ever.

The author outlined the coming changes over the next few decades such as what industry jobs are at the most risk of being lost to smart machines, such as in transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, banking and financial. He stated that AI’s have difficulty in creativity, social interaction and compassion. Jobs that require creativity, social interaction and compassion should maintain jobs, albeit, they will probably be changed in many ways. Kai-Fu Lee claimed that this will result in more wealth in fewer hands and enormous unemployment.

The author stated that it is important now for school counsellors to steer students away for the occupation/profession that will become redundant and steer students into those less effected. He said it is important that schools start training students for the new jobs that will be created in the future.

Governments will also have to plan for the future looking at the education area because taxes will be decreased with the massive amount of unemployed people unless government and society is successful in making a planned and comprehensive movement of people into new jobs.

On a larger scale think about countries that buy AI’s from a country and are dependent on that country for upgrades and maintenance, etc. Also think of the profits a company can generate if it has significantly reduced wages from human labor. We are entering into the second major industrial revolution. The world is changing dramatically.

I cannot wait to read his book. It is 9 minutes long. Kristi Burns does a good job narrating the article.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Conclave

  • A Novel
  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 533
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 483
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 485

The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, 118 cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world's most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next 72 hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book, spoilt by its ending.

  • By Patrick Fitzpatrick on 12-06-16

Extraordinary

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

I have read a number of Harris’s books. I was surprised by the topic of this book. Most of Harris’s books have been about either Ancient Rome or World War II. This book is about the catholic church selecting a new pope.

The book kept me reading until two a.m.; then I started reading again as soon as wakened. The book is well written and researched. I find I enjoy the way Harris writes and his beautiful prose. Most of Harris’s books have a theme about the inevitable corrupting effects of power; this book is no exception. The book is about the current times as the last part of the book definitely reveals. Harris is a master storyteller. I am looking forward to reading more of his books. I highly recommend this book.

The book is just over eight hours. Roy McMillan does an excellent job narrating the book. I enjoyed listening to his voice. McMillian is an actor and audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Leadership

  • By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Beau Bridges, David Morse, Jay O. Sanders, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 146

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the man make the times or do the times make the man? In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon four of the presidents she has studied most closely - Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights) - to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized by others as leaders.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What makes a president great?

  • By tru britty on 09-25-18

Insightful

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

Reviewed: 09-30-18

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I also learned a few things about presidents, I have read many of their biographies. I am a big fan of Goodwin. She states she started working on this book in 2013 and it took her five years to research and write. I felt that the release of the book at this current time in our presidential affairs was quite pertinent.

Goodwin wrote biographies over the years of each of the presidents. She chose for this book: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lindon Baines Johnson. The book is divided into three thematic areas: ambition and recognition of leadership; adversity and growth; and how they led. In the final section Goodwin examines different types of leadership: transformational, crisis management, turnaround and visionary.

The book is well written and researched. I found it interesting that each president struggled with his own variety of emotional problems. Goodwin reveals how each president had different leadership abilities. I found the three case studies in part three most interesting. Goodwin has presented two republican presidents and two democrat presidents. The book is unbiased. The book is well organized and easy to read. Goodwin is a master storyteller; that skill brings history to life. I highly recommend this book.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is just over eighteen hours. The narration was excellent. Goodwin narrated the introduction and epilog. Beau Bridges, David Morse, Jay O. Sanders and Richard Thomas each narrated a president. It was great having different narrators as it allowed distinction between each president.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful