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Charles Fred Smith

Plano, Texas
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 190
  • helpful votes
  • 262
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  • D DAY Through German Eyes

  • The Hidden Story of June 6th 1944
  • By: Holger Eckhertz
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,385
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,195
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,193

Almost all accounts of D-Day are told from the Allied perspective, with the emphasis on how German resistance was overcome on June 6, 1944. But what was it like to be a German soldier in the bunkers and gun emplacements of the Normandy coast, facing the onslaught of the mightiest seaborne invasion in history? What motivated the German defenders, what were their thought processes - and how did they fight from one strong point to another, among the dunes and fields, on that first cataclysmic day?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A work of fiction

  • By John Lindsey on 05-22-16

Good Perspective

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

Seeing the events of D-Day with a German perspective was quite good. This is a compilation of in-depth interviews with German survivors of the battle on each of the named beaches - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno. The interviews were very well done and you can understand much better what we were facing in Normandy. I was surprised at the effect on the Germans that Allied tanks and flame weapons had on the German defenders. The total air supremacy of the Allies had a telling effect as each blamed the Luftwaffe for not giving them a chance. Those knowledgeable of the battle will get a fresh perspective from this piece.

  • The Perfect Weapon

  • War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age
  • By: David E. Sanger
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 567
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 561

In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, and the subsequent leaks of the emails they stole may have changed the course of American democracy. But to see the DNC hacks as Trump-centric is to miss the bigger, more important story: Within that same year, the Russians not only had broken into networks at the White House, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff but had placed implants in American electrical and nuclear plants that could give them the power to switch off vast swaths of the country.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • BY FAR the best book to date on this topic!

  • By aaron on 07-09-18

Nightmare Scenario Coming

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

This is an outstanding review of emerging Cyberwarfare that we probably don't know is threatening our very existence. This story puts together all the US attacks on others such as Iran and the attacks launched on the US which are justified as "well you started all this." Very well written and documented. Puts the story with the headlines. This one will give you nightmares of the potential of a weapon with the power of a nuke but available to every small actor with a computer. We are in the lawless era of computer warfare and don't even realize it.

  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,411
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,297

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files, and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One, and the White House residence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actually Humanized Trump for Me

  • By BigNutz on 12-15-18

Not What I Expected

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

After finishing this book I have a completely different view of President Trump than I expected. Although he seems to be the master of chaos and his administration seems utterly confused, I now have a better understanding of what he is attempting to do and the unusual ways he deals with issues. Woodward did a masterful job in writing with a basic presentation of facts and quotations as he has since writing All the President's Men. Woodward comes across as neither pro or anti-Trump but as an observer of a very complex and often chaotic attempt to manage the country's business. This book is definitely not a sensationalized "tell all" that others have been.

  • The Fleet at Flood Tide

  • America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
  • By: James D. Hornfischer
  • Narrated by: Pete Larkin
  • Length: 23 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 696
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 643
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 641

One of America's preeminent military historians, James D. Hornfischer has written his most expansive and ambitious book to date. Drawing on new primary sources and personal accounts of Americans and Japanese alike, here is a thrilling narrative of the climactic end stage of the Pacific War, focusing on the US invasion of the Mariana Islands in June 1944 and the momentous events that it triggered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding history

  • By adam on 11-27-16

Wrap-up in the Pacific

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

Reviewed: 10-03-17

Hornfischer is one of the very best, most readable authors on military subject matter. I have read all of his works and they are each unique and elegant in the method he uses to tell the story. He carefully mixes stories of the participants from highest ranking to the lowest peasants within the text of the historical event as very few authors can do. Flood Tide is the story of the bloody Pacific campaigns that ended WWII but he continues to treat the issue of "was the A-bomb necessary?" and what were the casualty implications on an America tired of personnel losses if we had to invade the Japanese home islands. He spends much time on the invasion of Saipan and less on Iwo Jima and Okinawa but he shows the change in Japanese strategy in defending as the war drug on. He also gives a clear view of the Japanese "death-cult" which was driving the Japanese civilians as well as the military to a suicidal finish. Great book. Highly recommended.

  • Snow & Steel

  • The Battle of the Bulge 1944-45
  • By: Peter Caddick-Adams
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Tim Reynolds
  • Length: 31 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168

Between December 16, 1944 and January 15, 1945, American forces found themselves entrenched in the heavily forested Ardennes region of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg defending against an advancing German army amid freezing temperatures, deep snow, and dense fog. Operation Herbstnebel - Autumn Mist - was a massive German counter-offensive that stunned the Allies in its scope and intensity.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • fascinating and thorough, painful narration

  • By richard on 01-05-15

Survey of ETO

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

Reviewed: 08-08-17

This book has pieces of excellence but wastes detail on non-Bulge operations. While the Battle of the Bulge is central to the book about 1/3 is wasted on ETO ops from Normandy to German surrender and even Hitler's bad breath. As a retired General officer I got tired of the time as "0800 a.m."and Phase lines called "Phrase lines". Much time is wasted on continually announcing unit commanders who are inconsequential and names of Belgian towns in both German and French. I admire the author's interest in the subject but if you want to know the battle read "A Time for Trumpets."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Commander in Chief

  • FDR's Battle with Churchill, 1943
  • By: Nigel Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
  • Length: 14 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82

Nigel Hamilton's Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close-up as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel - suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs - of Roosevelt's battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read the Entire Trilogy by Nigel Hamilton

  • By Charles Fred Smith on 07-08-17

Read the Entire Trilogy by Nigel Hamilton

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

Reviewed: 07-08-17

I have read the first two books of the trilogy, "Mantle of Command" and "Commander in Chief". The last in the series is still to be published. Most WWII historical buffs have fallen into the Churchill trap "The history of the Second World War will be kind to me for I shall write it."

The first two books in this series by Nigel Hamilton, a British historian, have well portrayed the Churchill - FDR relationship from their first meeting in 1941 throughout the war. Mantle of Command covers 1941 and 1942 while this book, Commander in Chief, deals with 1943. Hamilton's research is from documents left behind by FDR and personal stories of eye-witnesses. Many of the stories take on a much different slant from descriptions in Churchill's work. From these two volumes the reader can see that from 1941 on FDR ran the war in spite of some of his own generals as well as Churchill. It is obvious the Churchillian role diminished in late 1942-43 although he did succeed in getting us involved in Italy which became a quagmire. The FDR-Churchill battle concerning the post-war role of the British Empire and its colonies is extremely interesting. It is sad FDR did not live to write a history as he drove the events from 1942 on. Hamilton, the author of the "Monty" Trilogy sensed this and has done a great job of presenting modern research to rewrite much of the FDR-Churchill relationship.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Never Call Me a Hero

  • A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway
  • By: N. Jack "Dusty" Kleiss, Timothy Orr
  • Narrated by: Mike Ortego, Cassandra Campbell, Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

An extraordinary firsthand account of the Battle of Midway by one of its key participants, timed to the 75th anniversary: American dive-bomber pilot "Dusty" Kleiss helped sink three Japanese warships (including two aircraft carriers), received the Navy Cross, and is credited with playing a decisive individual role in determining the outcome of a battle that is considered a turning point in World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love the story, disagree with the title.

  • By STC on 08-21-17

Midway First Hand

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

Reviewed: 07-08-17

Kleiss did an excellent job in describing his piece of the battle of Midway. I knew Dick Best who is mentioned many times in the book and Kleiss' story mirrors that of Best in all respects. Kleiss limits his coverage of Midway to that of Scouting 6. They played a major part in the battle and his accurate personal stories are compelling. I particularly enjoyed his description of the Enterprise missions from December 7, 1941 to the return after Midway. This is a personal narrative to extend the knowledge of readers who have read "Shattered Sword". The personal stories of his courting his wife and young adventures were not particularly interesting to me but others may like his personal appeal. The author makes no attempt to cover any historical event he did not personally participate in. The personal story of a pilot in combat is excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Battle for Hell's Island

  • How a Small Band of Carrier Dive Bombers Helped Save Guadalcanal
  • By: Stephen L. Moore
  • Narrated by: Pete Bradbury
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 62

From the author of Pacific Payback comes the gripping true story of the Cactus Air Force and how this rugged crew of dive bombers helped save Guadalcanal and won the war. November 1942: Japanese and American forces have been fighting for control of Guadalcanal, a small but pivotal island in Japan's expansion through the South Pacific.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • agonizing audiobook full of facts

  • By chris on 04-13-16

Too Much Filler

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

Reviewed: 07-14-16

The prime story was well done and informative. This would take about 75% of the book. The remaining content was extraneous to the air battles of 1942. The entire last chapter could be dumped. The author is noted for naming everyone possible whether playing a pivotal role or not. I have read three of Moore's books and they all have the same complaint: too much worthless trivia.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Texas Rising

  • The Epic History of the Lone Star Republic and the Rise of the Texas Rangers, 1836-1846
  • By: Stephen L. Moore
  • Narrated by: P.J. Ochlan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73

The official nonfiction companion to the History Channel dramatic series Texas Rising (produced by the same team that made the record-breaking Hatfields and McCoys): a thrilling new narrative history of the Texas Revolution and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers who patrolled the violent western frontier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well Documented Texas History

  • By Charles Fred Smith on 03-23-16

Well Documented Texas History

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

Reviewed: 03-23-16

Texas Rising was extremely well done compared to the TV mini-series of the same name. While not as detailed as the Fehrenbach Texas opus, this book tells the complex story from the standpoint of the Texas Rangers. Well written and fast moving, this presentation is well done. As a native Texan, I wish the narrator had consulted a Texican about pronunciation of many Texas landmarks which do not bear the true Spanish sounds. Refugio and Llano were abused several times. Otherwise I recommend the book and have used it as a text in a Texas history class I have taught.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Armor and Blood

  • The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II
  • By: Dennis E. Showalter
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 355

While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis E. Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II's Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army's brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rich got ot right

  • By Frank J. Habic on 08-28-13

Kursk Overview

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

Reviewed: 12-17-13

This is an extremely readable overview of the Soviet-Nazi War from 1941-43. It provides an excellent overview of the pivotal tank battle of Kursk in July 1943. This is an excellent book to get started reading (or listening to) the immensity of the "Great Patriotic War". The book is not intended to be a detailed reference on the Battle of Kursk but it conveys the awesome size of the involvement. If you are searching detail on Prokoravka-Kursk then go to Zamulin's "Myths Uncovered" but for an overall understanding of the battle and its impact on the war, I highly recommend this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful