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mike

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Outstanding Addition to the Genre

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

Reviewed: 05-21-18

I listen to books in this genre for edification as well as entertainment. Chapman nails it on both counts. This book will force you to think in a more comprehensive strategic manner. The big takeaway is that unless you have trained for this you're going to die. If you've only trained alone, you're going to die. If you rely on myriad medications or a CPAP or insulin to maintain 98.6, you're going to die. If you haven't developed strong bonds within your community, well, you get it. When the SHTF, people will automatically revert to their base, primitive natures. Good old Bob down the street will suddenly appear to you as a fat, useless eating machine. You're going to judge him (and everyone else) on a calories to production ratio. We should all be asking ourselves what we could contribute to our communities if we were transported back to the 1880s. Because if you're not useful, you will not last very long. So, great book with substandard delivery. Fehskens reads the narrative in an acceptable, albeit dry, Joe Friday-like manner. The dialogue is a different tin of sardines. It is delivered sans contractions and nuance. It has a machine voice quality but with less humanity. I..need..to..talk..to..Fred..about..that. We..will..need..more..ammo..to..grease..more..skells. We..do..not..want..to..be..caught..short. It's like a robot talking to a water-head. See if Kevin Pierce is available. He's the gold-standard for this type of fare. Even if they keep the same reader it won't stop me from getting Book 2. Great job Chappy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Hunter Still Has Some Teeth

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

Reviewed: 06-20-17

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

Bray is exceptional. He handles the material perfectly. It was a joy to listen to, with a couple of niggling exceptions. Bray repeatedly refers the the Browning Automatic Rifle as the "bar", instead B.A.R. And Des Plaines (IL.) is pronounced "dess plaines", just like it's spelled, not "de plain" like Fantasy Island. I blame the producer. These things should be worked out prior to recording.

Any additional comments?

This is really a beautiful piece of work. The story is fascinating and nobody this side of James Lee Burke understands (and can explain) the nature of hard men better than Hunter. One of Hunter's best.

Prefer My Casey Undiluted

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

Reviewed: 05-03-17

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The fictional narrative in this book is strictly a delivery device for Casey's Libertarian/Austrian philosophy and his worldview. Which I agree with for the most part. But, when you start with what will be a largely indigestible message to many and try to build a thriller around it, you're almost invariably going to end up with a paint-by-numbers story with wooden characters. The product will be further diluted if, at the outset, you've decided that this will be a series and not a standalone novel. I think it's Casey's plan to write one book dealing with each of Block's Undefendibles. I'll take my Casey straight, in dirty glass.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Harry Dent Loves Him Some Harry Dent

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

Reviewed: 04-20-17

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Self-love is much easier if you pretend that your past failings, um, never happened. Remember Dow 40,000? Just Google HD to find out how accurate he has been. Dent is a pure salesman. Nothing wrong with that, just don't confuse him with someone who can accurately predict the future. That being said, I agree with much of what Dent says in this book. Based purely on the massive amount of public and private debt we are heading for a worldwide, systemic shake-out. Get out of the market? Yes. Position yourself in cash? Agree. Avoid gold like the plague? (Dent predicted gold at $250 by 2011 I believe). Dent has a simplistic, binary view of gold. Inflation=gold goes up. Deflation=gold crashes. Gold is also a hedge against instability and crises of confidence. And recently it has performed well in deflationary cycles. Also, the gold price is based largely on the paper price. If we reach a point where people/institutions start demanding delivery in large enough numbers I'm betting the the paper and physical markets will decouple. Gold is the ultimate bet against the Fed/IMF/Goldman Sachs system. Goldman Sachs knows this and has been buying physical gold. How about buy government/corporate bonds? I just feel that Dent is wrong on this but I have no data to back it up. Also, Dent is basically a demographics guy. Confusingly, he waits until chapter 13 to tell you that, by the way, he and he alone believes that the baby boom generation began around 1931 and not 1945. And most of his predictions are based on the fact the millennials don't exist in large enough numbers to take over the consumption duties of the BBs. But he never even addresses, or mentions, Gen X. Very odd. Just remember: Harry Dent can remain irrational much longer that you can remain liquid.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

Sabermetric Nirvana

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

Reviewed: 04-06-17

Would you listen to Ahead of the Curve again? Why?

Kenny loves baseball, which makes him my friend. He was also a fairly early adopter of Jamesian analytics. He's been fighting the baseball Luddites for a long time and, lately, he's been winning. This is a fascinating book. Kenny filters baseball mythology through a Sabermetric filter and tells us what happened and why. If you're familiar with Moneyball you know what's coming. He does tend to end every sentence as if it were punctuated with an exclamation point. For the first hour I thought he was yelling at me. His Enthusiasm Adjusted Vocal Level (eAVL) is around a weighted 4.7, which is assertive bordering on aggressive. You get used to it after a while. Kenny loves his subject and you will too. If you're new to Sabermetrics you'll be watching the game entirely differently after this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ahead of the Curve?

The chapter on Williams/DiMaggio.

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

Expertise and a love of the game.

Fascinating History

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

Reviewed: 08-19-16

Would you listen to Altamont again? Why?

Brilliantly researched, perfectly crafted. If you're over 55 and were reasonably tapped into popular culture in 1969, this reads like a whodunnit starring a cast of people that you at least feel like you know. Just an amazing tapestry of events that led to the death of Meredith Hunter and, ostensibly, the end of an extremely short period of naive innocence for the nascent Boomer Generation. Much like Gimme Shelter, the documentary of The Stones '69 American tour, this is written cinema verite. You will feel like you are there. But unlike the movie you will actually see how, over a period of months, a series tragic decisions were made by mostly guileless people with, again, mostly, pure, or at least reasonable motives. These decisions led to what has been called the worst day in rock-n-roll history. How was the acid at Altamont different than it's "Summer of Love" predecessor? What role did The Grateful Dead play in setting up the concert? How did The Stones Hyde Park experience with English Hell's Angels lull them into accepting the California Angels as concert security? What role did Rock Scully play? Who the hell is Rock Scully? Why was the concert moved, 36 hours before the start, to the hellhole that is the Altamont Speedway? Was Meredith Hunter just and innocent kid in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was he something more nefarious? Was Mick Jagger to blame? The author says yes to this last question, although over 9 hours he does not make a compelling case to back his contention. At best he shows correlation (Jagger wanted to give a free concert and didn't want cops present) but no causation. In his explanation Selvin seemed to be judging Jagger's decisions after running them through a filter of post-Altamont knowledge. To me, the events that finally took place that day feel as though they were almost predestined. Although I disagree with the author's ultimate conclusion, I loved and highly recommend this book! I was sorry when it ended.

What other book might you compare Altamont to and why?

Hell's Angels by Hunter Thompson. Not as poetic as HT, but just as powerful.

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

Yes.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Don't Listen To While Driving!

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

Reviewed: 06-13-16

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I am a huge Klosterman fan, but multiple times during this book I thought that he had either lost his touch or I was having a series of grand mal seizures. Chuck is great at microscopically thin-slicing a premise, dragging you through a labyrinth of seemingly unconnected thought-bites before expertly tying all the extraneous pieces together into a potentially worldview changing conclusion. Don't expect too much of that here. The vast majority of these thought experiments are discursive and left dangling, a maddening series of non-sequiturs. Even when he does close the loop it's mostly unsatisfying. He actually stated that Barack Obama was the greatest President during his lifetime because he was black and as a black man it was really difficult to get elected. True. But, for a guy who earns his living making fine distinctions, how could he not he not differentiate between getting elected President and actually being President. (And, unless you're 16 or under there is absolutely no way that you could make a substantive argument for Obama being the best during your lifetime).

Would you be willing to try another book from Chuck Klosterman? Why or why not?

Sure. Chuck is very talented and I'm sure he'll bounce back.

How could the performance have been better?

Having a British fembot read the book made the experience all but unbearable. Jane Austen, yes. Klosterman, no.

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

Disappointment.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

Patchwork Boredom

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

Reviewed: 06-07-16

What disappointed you about Flash?

The popularity of this one has completely eluded me. It feels like the author has borrowed scenes from other (better) stories and movies and sewn them together like a bad mask. Characters are one dimensional and uninteresting and have to do too many dumb things to keep the narrative going. Hint: If you want to hide a discernible feature on your face and you're a grown man, stop shaving! Or I guess you could purposely get sunburned and cover it with aloe glop. I would choose the former.

Would you ever listen to anything by Tim Tigner again?

Doubtful.

Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

None of them.

What character would you cut from Flash?

Too easy, all of them.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Written By A Marine Sniper?

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

Reviewed: 10-02-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This an odd series of books (I've listened to 3 so far). The stores are interesting, although like all thrillers they strain credulity. The characters are 3 dimensional and likable (or unlikable when necessary). But there are so many bizarrely inexplicable errors and omissions that it is difficult not to laugh (or scream) at times. The Omissions: This is not Stephen Hunter with all of fascinating "inside baseball" details about barrel harmonics, spin drift and terminal ballistics. It is overtly vague about all things that pertain to firearms and their use. In the books an AK-47, M40A1 and Dragunov sniper rifle all shoot a "7.62 round". Which is true, kind of. They shoot 7.62x39, 7.62x51 and 7.62x54 respectfully. These are different rounds with different applications. It's kind of like saying that a Camry, Corvette and an Indy Car all have engines. The Errors: Why would an M40A1, which is built from a Remington Model 700, have a modified WInchester M70 floor plate? Where do you get a flash hider that "eats up" the report of .338 Lapua round? (Come to think of it, where do you get a suppressor that does that?) How do you shoot someone with a .50 caliber bullet from a rifle that is chambered in 7.62x51? (You have to span books 2 and 3 for this nugget). Why would 2 separate marines use the Army expression of enthusiasm "Hooah", instead of the Marine Corps equivalent "Oorah"? Why would the best Spec Ops troops in the world shoot the world's most deadly terrorist, blow up the building he was in and then not sift through the rubble to make sure he's dead (he's not). Jack Coughlin was a Marine Scout Sniper, one of the best. But I find it difficult to believe that he has much of anything to do with the writing of these books. And he certainly does not proof-read them. That being said, I'll probably listen to a couple more.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

A Must For Stones/Richards Fans

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

Reviewed: 12-29-13

What did you like best about this story?

Multi-layered and full of interesting insights. Even though Richards was under the influence the majority of the time he was apparently still paying attention. Richards does not shy away from painting himself in an unflattering light which gives the book added credibility. The narrative is at its' best at the beginning (Richards' childhood) through the Beggar's Banquet to Exile on Main Street Era, when the Stones, uh, made their bones. As you get beyond the late 70s and Some Girls the story loses momentum, much as the Stones were losing their cultural relevance. A few takeaways: Richards is a lot smarter than he let's on. He has great respect for Jagger although they haven't been friends since he (Jagger) sold out the band to go solo in the 80s. He worships Charlie Watts, is very complimentary of Mick Taylor and apparently didn't think enough of Bill Wyman to mention anything much about him except that he makes an awful cup of tea.

What about Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley ’s performance did you like?

The performance (or performances) are both exceptional and jarring. Johnny Depp does the first few hours and is replaced without warning by Joe Hurley who does an adequate but slightly over-the-top Keef impersonation. Several hours later it's back to Depp and then Richards himself narrates the last hour or so. A very odd and unnecessary series of narrator shifts.