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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-15-18

Pretty good

If I could give it about 3.5 stars, I think that's where this would land, meaning it's a good book, but not great by any means.

Basically the book gives up a straight up northern perspective of the pre-civil war and civil war era, except for properly pointing out who was responsible for what, and the fact that the Democrats were defeated by the northern capitalist Republicans. With that said the portrayal of the Democrats is a bit cartoonish, as it's basically what modern Democrats say except for the fact they think it's not part of their history. I've read hundreds of books on the years leading up the civil war and the civil war itself and I found this part of the book to not have a lot of value to me as it's a very simple history that isn't all that nuanced. With that said I think the idea here is to preach to those who are just learning about this time period, in particular those on the left, not that I actually think anyone on the left will read this.

Once you get past the civil war / reconstruction and into the early 1900s the book gets more interesting with his history of Woodrow Wilson and then into FDR as he contends the movement in black support went to the Democrats in the 30s, not in the 60s. I would have liked some sort of data to back this up, perhaps that is provided in print but it's not provided in audio. I don't not believe him, and I've thought the same thing myself, but I'm not sure what data that is based on.

Then finally you get to the claim that the parties flipped under Nixon. I've always contended (well since I've started reading history anyways) that this is a fake narrative, and the simple way to look at it is, what do the parties stand for at different eras, and the Democrats have always been the anti-capitalist party who has viewed blacks as pets, never as equals, always as beings that have to be treated different, be they in slavery or now in the modern welfare state. The argument made by D'Souza is again not as clear as I would have liked - and lacks data to support the argument (which again might be a constraint of being an audiobook where you can't give links to source material).

Overall this book really would be eye opening for those that don't know the history, and I'd be concerned that those people would never actually listen to the book. Perhaps that's why it's so over the top about the civil war era, that's it's trying to rope in the social justice warrior crowd with cartoonish version of events in that era, but as someone well read on that era it was hard to get through.

D'Souza also reads the book and turns in a solid professional effort, no issues at all there. I listen to everything at 1.25x speed and everything sounded good, it wasn't rushed, everything was clear and easy to understand, I'd highly recommend listening at this speed as on a 13-hour book that cuts 2.5-hours from the total time and shouldn't cause any issues with retention or comprehension.

Again, overall, I'd say it's about a 3.5-star type of book.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-18

Mostly a good overview

I've been looking for any Vietnam audiobook that wasn't written by an anti-war activist, and you'd be shocked at how difficult it is to find. I don't want pro-war propaganda, but just a book that tells the story of what happened. I think this might be about as good as it gets for the current options, and even it goes way off the rails once we get to Nixon.

Overall it's a good overview, it really doesn't get into much in terms of specifics but it covers a long period of time, so even at 28 hours, when you're covering a period of time this large it's hard to get into much detail - I don't knock it at all for that. Personally I don't find 28 hours all that long so to me this book had no problem keeping my interest, I was never bored.

As for the author it's a bit more tricky. The guy is clearly a leftist, but I think he makes as honest of an effort as he can to tell the story... until Nixon is involved, then at that point his hate for Nixon comes through and the amount of detail in the story completely disappears. Also while talking about LBJ the author makes logical points that seem very convincing and seem informed, but when he gets to Nixon it's a lot more speculation and sinister motivation to everything. I'm not a Nixon fan, he's before my time, but it's an injustice to not give the same benefit of the doubt that is provided with LBJ, and that's where the politics of the author comes into play. So to me the book I think is a good history up until LBJ leaves author, but after that there is just way too much speculation and personal opinion for my taste.

Also the author rarely talks about American victories, instead most of the time is talking about North Vietnam victories in the south. I don't think there is a bias at work here, it's just that he seems to know a lot more about what's going on in the south so attacks there he just has more information on.

In closing I wish this book would have been written about 25 years later so access to more information from behind the scenes would have been available, in particular for 1969 and beyond, and I think the author would have had more access to NV records as well.

As it is I'm glad I read the book, and recommend it as an intro to the subject and to take you through LBJ's years.

For the reader he did a good professional job. Also I listen to everything at 1.25x speed as it speeds up things a bit and that keeps my mind from wandering, and this reader works and sounds perfect at that speed. Even if you don't normally speed up things, I'd recommend it as you lose nothing at that speed with most readers, and on a book of this length you save 5+ hours.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-18

Mostly dull

I love history books, it's all I read and when I see something new I never knew about show up I generally jump on it. This was part of those buy 2 get 1 free deals so I took a chance, based on the positive reviews, and picked this book up without knowing anything about the author or the subject.

Well... I have no idea why this book has such good ratings, it's just flat out dull. I learned a while back when listening to books if I listen at 1.25x speed my mind tends not to drift as much if I hit a slow part of a book, it helps me keep my attention on what I'm listening without sounding bad. Well in this book, the 1.25x speed trick didn't work, I was just bored for much of the book.

I still gave the book 3 stars since in parts it is interesting, and when it gets into a flow it did hold my interest and I really enjoyed it - but then it would just slam on the breaks with needless filler.

So in closing I'm not a fan of this book, it's not awful by any means, it's just dull and way too long with way too much filler. I love long history books WHEN they keep the story moving, this one just felt like an author trying to meet a word count and throwing in every detail they could find no matter how uninteresting it is.

The reader is OK, not bad, not good, just OK.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-18

Stinker does it again!

I picked this up when Audible had it as a daily deal, so for that price it's well worth the money. I don't need to further explain what the book is since basically everyone else has done that, and it's exactly what it sounds like in the preview, it's a fun throwback to Smokey and the Bandit mixed with every other 70s trucker movie you can think of. The voice acting and production is well done.

The only negative is that the book itself is maybe 3 1/2 hours or so long, then it has some actors commentary for perhaps the last hour and a half or so. I really had no interest at all in what some voice actors thought about what they read, and I wasn't sure if the point was to act like it was a reunion from many years ago or them just patting themselves on the back, in either case I just hit stop and didn't listen since I just wanted the story of Stinker, not people pulling back the curtain on what I just heard.

The book is just good fun, something different as I listen almost exclusively to history and hate most fiction, but parodies of this genre, I enjoyed it.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-18


First, I got this book for free - however I have no issues bashing a book I got for free, go check my other reviews and you'll see that. Unlike others who seemingly give anything that is free a positive review, this review is legitimate and only written after having finished the entire book.

With that out of the way here's my take on the book.

It's a very good and enjoyable book and an easy read, if you read the description that is what you get. The book moves along at a quick pace so nothing ever gets dull. There's a family dynamic to everything as well to bridge the cases along, but it's not overdone. The book is well written, by no means a 5-star classic, but it's not an amatuer effort either.

What may or may not be a downside is that there isn't a lot in terms of in-depth detail on the cases. The author gives you ideas on how she conducted searches, etc, but it's by no means going to satisfy those that want a lot of details. But again this helps the book keep the pace up and not get dull, so to me, that wasn't an issue, but it is a note for those who are looking for that.

Also the book had me worried at the beginning as it starts off a bit like a social justice warrior essay, but since this was written in 1990 instead of 2018 it didn't linger on that aspect for too long and it setup the next part of the story. So just a heads up for those looking for SJW-free content.

The reader goes a good professional job. I generally listen to everything at 1.25x speed and the reader is very understandable at that speed, no pops, it's not too fast, etc. Just a comment for those that prefer that to 1x speed.

Overall I really enjoyed the book.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-29-18


I share Florentine's disgust at these needy social media dullards and so I really enjoyed the book. Much of the original social media posts come from his podcasts, but the commentary on the posts is often different, more polished. It's a very entertaining read and the book flew by. Also Florentine did a great job as a narrator and thankfully he read it as I couldn't imagine anyone else doing this material and having the same level of disgust in their voice.

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1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-18


I got this free - and here’s my review.

I’ve literally read hundreds of civil war books but when I was offered to receive a review copy I decided I’d give it a chance since even if you are well read on something you can generally learn something new from a trivia book.

Well first and foremost it’s not what I would call a trivia book, it’s just a very simple overview of events of the civil war with quizzes at the end of each chapter. There’s a few trivia facts in the book - but it’s not a trivia book.

Next up is the content. Ugh. Amateur, politically correct, extremely light on knowledge. Yes the book is short at under 4 hours - but I really don’t know what you’d learn here that would be of any value. The content is written like it’s a 2018 public school text book, which isn’t a good thing since that means it’s extremely light on history and not written in a compelling manner. As for bring PC, yep, this is written for the generation of people that have to hear a disclaimer for 5 mins before anything of note is said in case it offends anyone. Also the insight into events is very swallow and extremely predictable.

It’s impossible for me to recommend this book to anyone as it’s just not well written, not a trivia book, and is much too lightweight to serve as even an introduction - for the time spent here you could learn a lot more in a basic overview of the war.

In closing I honestly believe the only thing I learned, the only thing, was the can opener was invented during the civil war, which is covered in like the first 10 mins of the book when the author spends 15 mins telling you how much you’re going to learn by reading this book. Times are approximate, not being literal in terms of time.

Sorry to bash the book after getting it for free, but those are the breaks when you ask for honest reviews.

The narrator for the book was fine and gave a professional reading.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-18-18


I love history books, I love learning about things I don't know much about - and I knew very little about the Falklands war. However this book just didn't do much for me as the book was written shortly after the war ended and as such it lacks much of the scope that comes with time. Also the account is all from one side, which I don't mind and which they clearly state is the case at the beginning of the book - it's not done from a bias standpoint that way, it's just that it comes from the known history available at the time and from Hastings being first hand on the scene - to me that makes the book much less interesting since you fail to understand the motivations of Argentina, and no that isn't a political statement or some PC garbage, I just would prefer to know what the thought process is behind different moves, etc.

So it's by no means a bad book, it's just a very complete one. I think if you knew more about the subject this might be more interesting, but for me I felt like I learned the basics and some details but came away with a very incomplete knowledge of the subject.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-03-18


A very enjoyable read and even with as much as I knew about JR I found out a ton of new stuff. This isn't just a rehash of things you've heard before, he really tells a more indepth story with a lot of new information and he keeps the story moving long. For wrestling books this is one of the more well written ones. Finally I really hope he writes another book where this one ends, it would be a shame not to get that.

5/5 stars - for anyone that is a fan of JR this is a must read.

Final note on the commentary, JR reads the book himself and as he himself has said before he's slowed down a bit over the years. In general I listen to all audiobooks at 1.25x speed and that helps keep my mind on track, but when I started this book what I noticed was that at 1.25x speed it sounded like JR from about 1996 or so. That's not at all a diss at JR, he just had a bit of different cadence back then, and honestly at 1.25x I think it made the book more enjoyable. Again, I know that sounds like a diss, but I really don't mean it to, I have it set to default to that, so when I started it and it sounded like 90s JR, I really pleasantly surprised and didn't even realize I had it speed up it sounded so natural good, so just a little tip for everyone out there.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-03-18

The gangster with a heart of gold...

First, having just finished the book, I must say the closing couple of chapters were a real disappointment because I didn't believe a thing he said - and the last chapter, in Mexico, sounds like pure fiction, way over the top fiction, which hurts the credibility of the rest of the book since the rest of it sounds mostly plausible and realistic. But it doesn't hurt the book too much, until those last couple of chapters I really enjoyed the book, it's one of the more entertaining mob books I've read in a long while, however Sal Polisi goes a bit overboard at times framing himself as having a heart of gold as he commits crime after crime after crime that destroyed people's lives. The sex parts of the book are OK, they don't drift into the ridiculous too far. The biggest issue in mob books when they talk about sex is that it often is just bragging and completely unnecessary to the story, in this one he does straddles the line but those parts actually help move the story along, so it wasn't an issue for me.

If you like mob books this one is a worthy addition and is an entertaining read, just do yourself a favor and stop listening when he takes the stand near the end of the book.

The reader did a good job. Also I've been listening to everything at 1.25x speed as I find my mind drifting less often when listening yet it's not too fast to easily follow along, so I like to add that at 1.25x speed the reader is completely understandable, no jerkiness to the audio.

I'd say 4.1/5 stars, which is good for mob books as many are very poorly written or written in a way that comes off as having no credibility. This one however is mostly credible and is very well written.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful