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Paul

Watertown, ma, United States
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 77
  • helpful votes
  • 85
  • ratings
  • Swansong 1945

  • A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich
  • By: Walter Kempowski, Shaun Whiteside (translator)
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove, Christine Williams
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

Swansong 1945 chronicles the end of Nazi Germany and World War II in Europe through hundreds of letters, diaries, and autobiographical accounts covering four days that fateful spring: Hitler's birthday on April 20, American and Soviet troops meeting at the Elbe on April 25, Hitler's suicide on April 30, and finally the German surrender on May 8.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good except for one bad narrator

  • By Aa-bomb on 07-06-15

Could Not Finish Because Of Williams

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

Reviewed: 11-21-15

I found this fascinating and such a great idea - a collage of voice illustrating the end of Nazi Germany. Running the gamut from important (Hitler in the bunker) to unimportant (an American blandly writing home), this book was right up my alley. It took about 30mins to kick into the rhythm of it. Ultimately, though, I can't continue with it because of Christine Williams and her coy, fey, read-everything-like-I'm-in-a-young-adult-novel voice. Eric Dove manages (if not always successfully) to differentiate between the voice of people he's reading. Williams just doesn't care. Everyone sounds the same. Her "listen to my charmingly empathic style of speaking" gets old quickly and, for me, made me cringe every time she spoke.

Really, really sad the producer allowed this.

  • Mein Kampf: The Ford Translation

  • By: Adolf Hitler, Michael Ford (translator)
  • Narrated by: James Smith
  • Length: 27 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 836
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 762
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 756

For the first time in 65 years, a modern, easy to understand, truly complete and uncensored edition of Mein Kampf has been released which reveals more than any past translation. This is also the first translation available in an English language audio format. Older translations altered passages, omitted passages, mistranslated Hitler's words, and made some parts more sensational while concealing the true meaning in other parts of the book.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Annoying Pop-Ups

  • By margot on 10-20-13

"Pearls before swine"?

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

Reviewed: 08-24-15

I'm happy there's finally an audio version of Mein Kampf. Sadly, it's this one. I can't speak to the controversy surrounding the translation. I *can* speak to the narration. Or rather "narrations". The translation this is based on "helpfully" includes explanations of some of the references Hitler uses. There are three problems with this. The biggest of which is that in order to do this, they switch to a different narrator, a woman whose voice grates. This seems like it was an afterthought since the transition sounds abrupt and jarring. The main narrator gets cut off in mid-sentence for the explanation and then the narration just as abruptly resume. The second is that the two narrators can't even agree on pronunciation. There should really only be one way to pronounce a German name. That's not the case here and it casts serious doubt on the reputation of the audiobook. Most annoyingly, the inserted explanations assume you're an idiot. Do you really need to explain the meaning of "Pearls before swine"? "Recalcitrant"? Is that really such a "hard" word?

The main narrator does a decent job, He sounds convincingly thuggish though sometimes he seems like he's on the verge of laughing when laughter isn't appropriate. The insert narrator...dear lord...she reminds me of pre-Higgins Eliza Doolittle.

For those who've wanted to listen to this it's your only option on Audible and beggars can't be choosers. (This means that you can't really complain about the situation you're in because there's no other choice than to be in that situation.)

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Beyond Belief

  • My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
  • By: Jenna Miscavige Hill
  • Narrated by: Sandy Rustin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,021
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,668
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,664

Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org - the church's highest ministry - speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology

  • By Tim on 02-07-13

Amazing Story - Horrible Narration

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

Reviewed: 03-08-14

I'm not sure why this was narrated as if it were an American Girl story. I'm glad I stuck it out but especially in the early chapters the book sounded like some kind of alt-reality Disney story which took away from a lot of the power.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • With Amusement for All

  • A History of American Popular Culture since 1830
  • By: LeRoy Ashby
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 33 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

With Amusement for All is the first comprehensive history of two centuries of mass entertainment in the United States, covering everything from the penny press to Playboy, the NBA to NASCAR, big band to hip hop, and other topics including film, comics, television, sports, and music. Paying careful attention to matters of race, gender, class, economics, and politics, LeRoy Ashby emphasizes the complex ways in which popular culture simultaneously reflects and transforms American culture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So Much Fun!

  • By Paul on 11-28-13

So Much Fun!

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

Reviewed: 11-28-13

An amazing overview! Well put together with great narration that kept me listening even after I was done driving. I love books like this that give you history in a context that you may not consider.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Rasputin

  • The Untold Story
  • By: Joseph T. Fuhrmann
  • Narrated by: Curtis Sisco
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 118
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 106

A century after his death, Grigory Rasputin remains fascinating: the Russian peasant with hypnotic eyes who befriended Tsar Nicholas II and helped destroy the Russian Empire, but the truth about his strange life has never fully been told. Written by the world's leading authority on Rasputin, this new biography draws on previously closed Soviet archives to offer new information on Rasputin's relationship with Empress Alexandra, sensational revelations about his sexual conquests, a re-examination of his murder, and more.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Legend of Rasputin

  • By Steve on 05-02-13

"GODZILLA IS DESTROYING THE CIDDY"

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

Reviewed: 11-28-13

The narration is just miserable. Sisco never met a "t" that he liked, which would be fine if the subject's name wasn't "RaspuTin". So, you're treated to hearing "Raspudin". His tone varies between sounding computerized and sounding like the bad dubbing on a Japanese monster movie.

The book itself is fine, if a little low-brow. This is not a scholarly work but will give you an overview.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Mao

  • The Unknown Story
  • By: Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 29 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 637
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 470
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 471

Based on a decade of research and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before, and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him, this is the most authoritative biography of Mao ever written.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fills many gaps! Very good..but!

  • By Jene on 08-07-06

Wao!

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

Reviewed: 03-26-13

It's cliche, but I could listen to Robertson Dean read the phone book in one sitting. I love everything about his speech and mannerism. He's simply the best narrator there is.

I ripped through this 26hr book in under a month, which may be a new record. It's that good.

The slow rise from fey, middle class academic to brutal sociopath warrants the time it takes for make the journey. In that way, the structure of the book serves the story. Dictatorships don't happen overnight. They take thought, planning.and careful manipulation of those around you. What's stunning, though, is how this thoroughly unlikable man managed to starve and murder tens of millions of his own people and remain in power. Often, especially in the last half of the book, I found myself screaming at my iPod for the citizens to start an actual revolution against Mao.

If there's a moral to the book, it's that education is the key. Keep the people ignorant and illiterate and dictatorship is easy. Mao continued to read voraciously as he destroyed the books and culture of those he was supposed to protect. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is powerlessness. Get the book and get some knowledge.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • C Street

  • The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy
  • By: Jeff Sharlet
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Guskin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside the C Street House, the Fellowship residence known simply by its Washington, D.C., address. The house has lately been the scene of notorious political scandal, but more crucially, it is home to efforts to transform the very fabric of American democracy. And now, after laying bare its tenants' past in The Family, Sharlet reports from deep within fundamentalism in today's world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not Much Of A Sequel

  • By Paul on 11-28-11

Not Much Of A Sequel

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

Reviewed: 11-28-11

If you read The Family, save your time and money. If you haven't read The Family, get that book first. And I *highly* suggest you get The Family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Huey Long

  • By: T. Harry Williams
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 31 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99

He was one of the most extraordinary figures in American political history, a great natural politician who looked, and often seemed to behave, like a caricature of the red-neck Southern politico - and yet he had become, at the time of his assassination, a serious rival to Franklin D. Roosevelt for the presidency. In this "masterpiece of American biography" ( New York Times), Huey Long stands wholly revealed, analyzed, and understood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning, Compelling and Relevent

  • By Paul on 11-28-11

Stunning, Compelling and Relevent

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

Reviewed: 11-28-11

Long can be easily called the father of the OWS movement. It's somewhat surprising that his name doesn't come up more often. His methods, though, raise thorny questions about how far one can push ethical boundaries to achieve fairness for all. Say what you will about the man, he had the courage of his convictions lacking in politics today. To stand up to Roosevelt because his agenda wasn't radical enough, that took, let's say, testicular fortitude.

The greatest praise I can give this book is that I finished at 32hr book in 10 days which is pretty much a record for me.

The only carp I have - Wiener's accents border on offensively clownish at times. I got used to the Cajun drawls but the Black and Hispanic made me wince.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • What Happened

  • Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception
  • By: Scott McClellan
  • Narrated by: Scott McClellan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 402
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 70

Scott McClellan belonged to President Bush's select inner circle of trusted advisers during one of the most challenging, contentious periods of recent history. Over a period of more than seven years, he witnessed, day-to-day, exactly how the presidency veered off course, not only by its decision to topple Saddam Hussein, but by an embrace of confrontational politics in the face of an increasingly partisan Washington and a hostile media.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Something is Missing

  • By Frank J. Regan on 07-24-08

The Importance of a Narrator

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-25-08

I was a little shocked to find that McClellan chose to narrate this himself and even more shocked when I heard him speak. He's in my all-time bottom 10 of narrators. The biggest problem was the decision to pronounce "a" as "ay" rather than "uh" as in "The president had AY problem" and, worse, "We talked AYbout how we would deal..." Combined with his flat, monotone style he frequently sounds like he's reading a junior high essay at ay national competition. Odd words, too, come flying out at you, most notably "peccadillo" which given the somewhat hayseed reading sound outstandingly clunky.

The book itself is frustrating. Despite preaching aybout bi-partisanship he rarely misses the chance to dig at the "preceding administration" (aka the Cintons). That's not to say that he spares the Republicans but it feels as if the Democrats started it all and, well, what can you do?

I find the writing atrocious. "The curtains in the president's office could stop ay bullet but they couldn't keep out the sunshine..." Please. That's just hacky and polyana-ish. Which is kind of the message of the book. He was there to work for the president and not think too hard. With Plamegate, he asked Rove if he was involved, Rove said no and that was good enough for him. It's not his fault that he was lied to. And in hindsight, maybe he *should* have asked a few more questions but instead he'll write a book.

The other weird thread comes out in the constant references to Texas as if being a Texan gave you instant street cred with McClellan. Maybe that was part of the problem, too.

McClellan insists that it's not a poison pen letter to Bush. And if you think that this portrait of Bush as a "good man" who really didn't know what was going on is flattering, then I guess it's not.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy audiobook cover art
  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

  • The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, & High-Finance Fraudsters
  • By: Greg Palast
  • Narrated by: Greg Palast, Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Award-winning investigative journalist Greg Palast digs deep to unearth the ugly facts that few reporters working anywhere in the world today have the courage or ability to cover. From East Timor to Waco, he has exposed some of the most egregious cases of political corruption, corporate fraud, and financial manipulation in the US and abroad.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great information, poor presentation

  • By Josh on 01-30-07

Good Content But A Mess

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-20-08

Palast is a classic muckraker pathologically driven to bring down Republicans and Big Business. That's a good thing, but after writing a review of Janet Folger's shrill book, I realize that it's the other side of coin with the caveat that Palast actually does serious research. Still, it's tough to listen to his hysteria sometimes.

What's even harder to listen to is the rotating cast that reads the book. To move from a male to a female narrator for no real reason makes me wonder if Palast just got bored that day and Garafolo was available. Plus - accents are great...if you can do them, otherwise they just sound stupid and blunt the message of the book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful