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West Seattle Bookworm

Seattle, WA USA
  • 2
  • reviews
  • 2
  • helpful votes
  • 7
  • ratings
  • The Golden Spruce

  • A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed
  • By: John Vaillant
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147

When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating history

  • By West Seattle Bookworm on 08-17-17

Fascinating history

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

Reviewed: 08-17-17

This book stretches out a what seems like a simple story of environmental terrorism by giving a ton of background. Going back not just centuries, but providing events in the context of millennia - weaving the disparate facts, opinions, and myths into one fascinating book. While at times the historical diversions seemed a little long winded, especially in the middle of the climactic act, it didn't annoy me & somehow worked. I really enjoyed the thorough exploration and deep history of the story presented in this book. My one complaint about the audio book performance is the mispronunciation of "Weyerhaeuser" - this was grating, plus there's no excuse because they have commercials on the internet where this can be checked.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • By: J. D. Vance
  • Narrated by: J. D. Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,787
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,037

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening!

  • By Gotta Tellya on 09-11-16

Engaging story & well articulated performance

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

Reviewed: 07-28-17

I really, really, enjoyed listening to this book. I listened to this right after listening to Weapons of Math Destruction. It was a great follow-on to that book, which covered how data (credit scores, recidivism models, etc.) has a huge negative impact on the poor in this country. Hillbilly Elegy is an up close & personal look at the poverty cycle from the view point of a child who was born into it and what it took to break out of it. As someone from a working class background, I found it insightful. It brought a new level of understanding to some of my family lore that is only ever alluded to, but not openly talked about and what might be behind some of the observed destructive behaviors.

Highly recommend for everyone high school age and up (contains adult language and themes), but especially for people interested in the public policy that addresses poverty and social justice, as well as those who interact with and could have a measure of positive influence with kids and families on lower end of the socio-economic spectrum - teachers, social workers, foster parents, and law enforcement and non-profit service providers to name a few.