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HittsMcGee

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 2
  • helpful votes
  • 8
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  • Arsenals of Folly

  • The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race
  • Written by: Richard Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

In a narrative that moves like a thriller, Rhodes sheds light on the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s, as well as the arms-reduction campaign that followed, and Reagan's famous 1986 summit meeting with Gorbachev. Rhodes' detailed exploration of events of this time constitutes a prehistory of the neoconservatives. The story is new, compelling, and continually surprising - a revelatory re-creation of a hugely important era of our recent history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Rhodes does it again!

  • By HittsMcGee on 2019-04-18

Richard Rhodes does it again!

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-18

Another classic by Dick Rhodes, the third installment in his four part series on nuclear weapons. I am, and forever will be, a devout fan of the first in this series, "The Making of The Atomic Bomb." "Dark Sun" captures the early nuclear arms race as the two adversaries obtain thermonuclear bombs. "Arsenals of Folly" confluently picks up on the story of the Cold War by narrating the escalation of nuclear warheads upon increasingly powerful and accurate ICBMs. As always, Rhodes does a swell job of providing not only geopolitical perspectives on every major event of the Cold War, but also highly personal stories of the world leaders, from Eisenhower and Krushchev to Bush and Gorbachev. If you want to learn about endless debates of Reagan's Star Wars, this is the book for you.

Rhodes focusses on the rise of Gorbachev, painting a clear picture of how the young, starving farm boy grew into the most revolutionary Soviet leader since Lenin (my personal hot take...but he did win a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Cold War).

In all honesty, however, this book misses the charm that The Making of the Atomic Bomb possessed. In my opinion, TMAB remains the best history book on nuclear weapons, because of how intimately the scientists' stories are told, and how the tension of nuclear war gradually yet consistently rose throughout the entire book. Also, I'm a fan of science, so Dark Sun and Arsenals of Folly, which lack depth in science content are lower on my list of Rhodes novels.

  • The New Jim Crow

  • Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • Written by: Michelle Alexander
  • Narrated by: Karen Chilton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stats that speak

  • By kary on 2018-09-09

Is the War on Drugs institutionalized racism?

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-12

Yes. Racism againsts Africa Americans was was born in America and prevailed throughout its history until present day. Whenever a system of oppression was abolished, it was replaced with a new one; ie: slavery to segregation to mass incarceration. In fact, Michelle Alexander argues that the current issues with the War on Drugs, tolkenism, and colourblindness make racism as prevalent today as 50 years ago.

The book starts off with a captivating introduction that summarizes the story's key points while being easy to comprehend. The subsequent chapters elaborate on each point, covering slavery, Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, colourblindness, and tolkenism. It provides cited statistics and details from historic court cases.

This was my first book outside of my science bubble, so it was a lot for me to digest. If you take it at your own pace it covers a wide array of evidence and arguments. Great book.

  • Failure Is Not an Option

  • Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
  • Written by: Gene Kranz
  • Narrated by: Danny Campbell
  • Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 25

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great story of the space program

  • By Marcus Galantus on 2019-04-12

Learn about mission control from the greatest

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

Reviewed: 2019-01-17

Gene Kranz humbly tells the story of his rise from Air Force pilot to legendary NASA Flight Director. Compared to the novel The Right Stuff which focusses on the bravado of fighter jock/astronauts, Failure Is Not An Option describes how NASA conquered the Moon through the pure grit of mission controllers.

  • The Right Stuff

  • Written by: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid
  • Length: 15 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers that made The Right Stuff a classic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great History, Mediocre Reading

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-09-13

Mercury astronauts and fighter pilot jocks

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

Reviewed: 2019-01-06

Tom Wolfe tells the evolution of fighter jocks from Air Force test pilots into NASA astronauts. It provides personal insight into the lives of the Original Mercury Seven, as well as the daring tales of Chuck Yaeger's historic supersonic flights.

Fantastic narration by Dennis Quaid, accents and all.

  • The Science of Energy

  • Resources and Power Explained
  • Written by: Michael E. Wysession, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Michael E. Wysession
  • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

To better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A wide review of energy, from electricity to coal.

  • By HittsMcGee on 2018-11-20

A wide review of energy, from electricity to coal.

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

Reviewed: 2018-11-20

Covers everything about ENERGY, from physics to policies
Grade12 level
Scientific point of view
Objective>Opinionated

  • Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

  • Written by: Richard A. McKay
  • Narrated by: Paul Woodson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

In Patient Zero, Richard A. McKay presents a carefully documented and sensitively written account of the life of Gaetan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed - and who received widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as patient zero of the North American outbreak.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Was Dugas a modern Typhoid Mary?

  • By HittsMcGee on 2018-08-06

Was Dugas a modern Typhoid Mary?

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

Reviewed: 2018-08-06

An important perspective on how North America reacted to the mysterious disease that predominantly affected gay men, caused several strange symptoms, and whose cause was unknown. As people have done for all of history, fingers were pointed at a single man and his promiscuous behaviour. In this novel, McKay does a great job of explaining why and how the Patient Zero narrative was invented. In fact, which he prodigiously attempts to reverse the harm caused by the narrative, and focusses on the human side of such a tragedy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Inconvenient Indian

  • A Curious Account of Native People in North America
  • Written by: Thomas King
  • Narrated by: Lorne Cardinal
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104

The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history - in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America. Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mandatory listening for all Canadians

  • By m salem on 2018-05-15

VERY Important Book for All North Americans

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

Reviewed: 2018-07-21

I was looking for an entry to literature by and on First Nations Peoples. It was a very good choice. Compared to the many heart-wrenching novels such as the Orenda and Indian Horse, this book was an easy read, and highly informative. The narrator was witty and satirical at the best of times, and seriously critical at important beats. Thoroughly enjoyable book.

My only criticism is that it had an unclear story structure and seemed to have ended abprupty.

Overall, this book is perfect if you want an easy-to-read yet informative history of the North American people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mao

  • The Unknown Story
  • Written by: Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 29 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

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
  • Excellent

  • By Rosendiem on 2019-02-24

Important story_But biased perspective & too long

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

Reviewed: 2018-07-06

The story of Mao is integral for everyone to learn. He was the most influential leader this world has ever seen, yielding absolute power over nearly 1/4 of the world's population for 30 years. In his time as leader of the People's Republic of China, he was responsible for an authoritarian regime that claimed over 45 million death of his own citizens. Every person today should know his story. However, the secrecy of his regime makes it challenging to obtain a non-biased history. Chang and Halliday's narrative do a decent job of exposing the dark side of Mao. It is a deeply detailed book, which was too long for me to stay engaged. And it is definitely biased against Mao, making it a less holistic history.