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This audio book is a great example of how a good book can be butchered by a bad narration. Kessler uses his connections within the FBI to present an interesting history of the Bureau from J. Edgar Hoover to the modern era, providing some depth on a number of headline cases and skimming over quite a few lesser ones. The book's sub-title "The Secret History of the FBI" is very misleading. There's little information here that's not covered elsewhere, particularly in the narratives on Hoover, the Lindbergh kidnapping, organized crime cases, Martin Luther King and the civil rights era as well as old and recent spy cases. However, Kessler digs up information on the inner workings of each of the FBI's directors, particularly William Sessions that is not well known. The section on Sessions and his wife alledges numerous ethical allegations, much previously reported. If you're interested in an overview of the history of the FBI, hitting on the key figures and cases, this is an good choice. But READ it. The audio narration of this work by Raymond Todd is just short of horrendous. Todd plods through the pages as if he's in a hurry to finish and get to another appointment. It's clear that there was no effort to edit the audio and clean up mistakes, of which there are numerous. It's also clear the narrator did not pre-read the material before firing up the microphone. The "Road and Gun Club" not "Rod and Gun Club" is just one example of numerous misreads. The listener can hear the reader squirming in his chair, there's moments when it sounds like the narrator is eating and sometimes getting dry throat or choaking. Worst the is apathetic tone throughout the read that made me wish I had the book in hand rather than the narrator in my ears for 17+ hours.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This has to be one of the most annoying narrators I've listened to all the way through. I can handle mono-tone and other quirks, but this guy doesn't know how to pronounce MANY simple words/names. i.e. SAC ("Sack"; for Special Agent in Charge), Ickes (Harold Ickes, pronounced Ick-ees, has been in democratic administrations from FDR to Clinton), and many more.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful