Too Much and Never Enough Audiobook

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man Audiobook
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Book Details

Written By: Mary L. Trump
Narrated By: Mary L. Trump
Date: July 2020
Duration: 7 hours 5 minutes

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Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man Summary

In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.

Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, New York, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.

A firsthand witness to countless holiday meals and interactions, Mary brings an incisive wit and unexpected humor to sometimes grim, often confounding family events. She recounts in unsparing detail everything from her uncle Donald’s place in the family spotlight and Ivana’s penchant for regifting to her grandmother’s frequent injuries and illnesses and the appalling way Donald, Fred Trump’s favorite son, dismissed and derided him when he began to succumb to Alzheimer’s.

Numerous pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have sought to parse Donald J. Trump’s lethal flaws. Mary L. Trump has the education, insight, and intimate familiarity needed to reveal what makes Donald, and the rest of her clan, tick. She alone can recount this fascinating, unnerving saga, not just because of her insider’s perspective but also because she is the only Trump willing to tell the truth about one of the world’s most powerful and dysfunctional families.

Too Much and Never Enough Audiobook by Mary L. Trump Reviews

“[T]he most devastating, most valuable and all-around best Trump book since he started running for president. In the vast Trump literature, this one is something new…[W]hat this book does do is help us understand him, offering the most incisive rendering yet of why he is the way he is.”Politico

“Mesmerizing beach reading and a memorable opposition research dump…It is salacious, venomous and well-sourced…Yet the narrative remains compelling.” The Guardian

“A delicious tell-all that does in fact tell all in a way one longs for a tell-all to do.” Vogue

“Dripping with snideness, vibrating with rage, and gleaming with clarity—a deeply satisfying read.” Kirkus (starred review) 

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Tough Love Audiobook Free

Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For Audiobook
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BOOK DETAIL

Written By: Susan Rice
Narrated By: Susan Rice
Date: October 2019
Duration: 22 hours 41 minutes

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Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For AudioBook Summary

Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way.

Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, DC, she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders—immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other—had high expectations that each generation would rise. And rise they did, but not without paying it forward—in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants.

Susan too rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors.

Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.

Although you might think you know Susan Rice—whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya—now, through these pages, you truly will know her for the first time. Often mischaracterized by both political opponents and champions, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor a victim, but a strong, resilient, compassionate leader.

Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.

Tough Love Audiobook by Susan Rice Reviews

 “This is a breathtakingly honest account by a true American patriot about what it’s like to grow up with tough love and then deploy those values on behalf of our nation’s foreign policies. Weaving together the personal and the professional, Susan Rice describes how her upbringing in a distinguished but at times struggling family helped prepare her to be a fierce champion of American interests and survive the unfair attacks on her in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy. This book will not only inspire you about the true sources of America’s greatness, it will also provide some lessons in empowerment, tenacity, and fearlessness.” –Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci 

Susan Elizabeth Rice is one of the most gifted, tenacious, and influential foreign policy voices of our times, and in her revelatory new memoir Tough Love, she takes us to the seats of power she’s occupied from the State Department to the United Nations to the West Wing of America’s first black president, whom she served as National Security Advisor. In reading these pages, it’s easy to see why President Obama would trust her to give him the clearest assessment of the facts on any day, at any moment, and to offer him unvarnished counsel on how best to keep the country safe. At the core of Rice’s story, and brilliant career, is a fearless commitment to the truth and an unwavering devotion to the lessons she inherited as the descendent of Jamaican immigrants in Maine and enslaved Africans in South Carolina: to prize education as the path up to the American Dream and to have the confidence to be herself. In this remarkably honest examination of the opportunities and struggles confronting those charged with national security, Rice has given us an inspiring autobiography while making a critically important addition to the history of U.S. foreign policy.­— Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University

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The review in The New York Times described Rice’s “retelling of the foreign policy decisions of the Clinton and Obama administrations” as “clinical.” The Times described how Rice had become a “lightning rod of partisan hatred” as she suffered the fallout for the Benghazi affair. Rice writes that she is most comfortable in the “policy-focused, behind-the-scenes roles” but was thrust into the limelight as a major player in Benghazi.

NPR called her memoir “candid” and said that she told her personal story with honesty.

Publishers Weekly called the book a “stellar debut memoir” of Rice’s “public service career”.

Call Sign Chaos Audiobook

Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead Audiobook
[yasr_overall_rating size=”large” postid=”1301″]

BOOK DETAIL

Written By: Jim Mattis, Bing West
Narrated By: Danny Campbell
Date: September 2019
Duration: 12 hours 1 minutes

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Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead Audiobook Summary

Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis’s storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas—and short-sighted thinking—now facing our nation. He makes it clear why America must return to a strategic footing so as not to continue winning battles but fighting inconclusive wars.
 
Mattis divides his book into three parts: Direct Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Strategic Leadership. In the first part, Mattis recalls his early experiences leading Marines into battle, when he knew his troops as well as his own brothers. In the second part, he explores what it means to command thousands of troops and how to adapt your leadership style to ensure your intent is understood by your most junior troops so that they can own their mission. In the third part, Mattis describes the challenges and techniques of leadership at the strategic level, where military leaders reconcile war’s grim realities with political leaders’ human aspirations, where complexity reigns and the consequences of imprudence are severe, even catastrophic.
 
Call Sign Chaos is a memoir of a life of warfighting and lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey about learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy, one relevant to us all.

Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis, Bing West Reviews

“Combining simplicity and thoughtfulness, Jim Mattis has produced a classic account of a lifetime of service. Call Sign Chaos is a lesson in leadership and an evocation of humanity in the cause of peace.”—Henry Kissinger

“In this magnificent memoir, Jim Mattis details many important events in his career, but he also does much more: He explains how he is informed by his experiences in a way that teaches you how to learn from your own. Read, enjoy, and learn.”—George Shultz

“A portrait of Mattis’s life-defining love for the Marine Corps . . .His prose sings.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
 
“A riveting read . . . General Mattis has had a lot of fine hours, but this could be his finest.”The New York Sun

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Lone Survivor Audiobook Free

Lone Survivor Audiobook
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium” postid=”1168″]

BOOK DETAILS

Written By: Marcus Luttrell
Narrated By: Kevin T. Collins
Publisher: Hachette Book Group USA
Date: May 2012
Duration: 14 hours 0 minutes

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Lone Survivor is a 2013 American biographical military action film based on the eponymous 2007 non-fiction book by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson. Set during the war in Afghanistan, it dramatizes the unsuccessful United States Navy SEALs counter-insurgent mission Operation Red Wings, during which a four-man SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team was given the task of tracking down the Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. The film was written and directed by Peter Berg, and stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana.

Lone Survivor Audiobook Summary

Follow along a Navy SEAL’s firsthand account of American heroism during a secret military operation in Afghanistan in this true story of survival and difficult choices.

On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive.

This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers.

A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow by blow, through the brutal training of America’s warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks.

In this rich, moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare — and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Upon first learning of the book in 2007, Berg arranged several meetings with Luttrell to discuss adapting the book to film. Universal Pictures acquired the film rights in August 2007, after bidding against other major studios. In re-enacting events, Berg drew much of his screenplay from Luttrell’s eyewitness accounts in the book, as well as autopsy and incident reports related to the mission. After directing Battleship (2012) for Universal, Berg resumed working on Lone Survivor. Principal photography began in October 2012 and concluded in November, after 42 days. Filming took place on location in New Mexico, using digital cinematography. Luttrell and several other Navy SEAL veterans acted as technical advisors, while multiple branches of the United States Armed Forces aided the production. Two companies, Industrial Light & Magic and Image Engine, created the visual effects.

Lone Survivor Audiobook Reviews

First, I think the narrator does an incredible job. I don’t think it is important that his “fake Texas accent” isn’t perfect, but he is clearly a professional and inserts great emotion into the story telling. Sometimes a bit over the top, but that’s OK, he’s an actor and that’s his job. He does a fair job trying to mimic other American dialects based on the characters speaking, too.

The story itself is also remarkable. I won’t spoil it, but what Marcus went through and how he describes it is a work of art.

What I disliked most was the author’s incoherent and regular bashing of his political enemies. He sounds less like a professional warfighter and more like a partisan spokesmouth when he does. I’m perfectly fine with an occasional jab that highlights how Government policies made his job harder. A bit of name calling is OK too, as I understand how passionate Marcus is about these things. I get all that. However, I’m not interested in recurring 10-20 minute rants about it. I don’t want to take a break in the action of a gunfight to hear about the evils of American media, the rules of engagement, or other laws in which Marcus feels should not apply to him. This book could have been trimmed by at least an hour just removing the political rants.

My advice: Unless you enjoy political talk shows and tabloid opinion pieces, fast forward through the rants and enjoy the rest of the book, because it’s excellent. I too am a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and I understand the hardship, though I’ve never suffered to this extent.

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Lone Survivor opened in limited release in the United States on December 25, 2013, before opening across North America on January 10, 2014. It received generally positive reviews; some critics praised Berg’s direction, as well as the acting, story, visuals and battle sequences, while others derided the film for focusing more on its action scenes than on characterization. It grossed over $154 million, of which $125 million was from North America. It was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2013, and received two Oscar nominations for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

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No Easy Day Audiobook

No Easy Day Audiobook
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium” postid=”1164″]

BOOK DETAILS

Written By: Mark Owen, Kevin Maurer
Narrated By: Holter Graham
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Date: September 2012
Duration: 6 hours 50 minutes

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No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden (2012) is a military memoir by a former member of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) who participated in the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. The book was written by Matt Bissonnette under the pen name Mark Owen. It details Owen’s career with DEVGRU, including several combat missions in which he participated with the unit. At least half of the book focuses on Owen’s participation in the mission that killed bin Laden.

No Easy Day Audiobook Summary

The #1 New York Times bestselling first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy SEAL who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments.

From the streets of Iraq to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean, and from the mountaintops of Afghanistan to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group—known as SEAL Team Six—has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.

No Easy Day puts readers alongside Owen and his fellow SEAL team members as they train for the biggest mission of their lives. The blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen’s life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death, is an essential piece of modern history.

In No Easy Day, Owen also takes readers into the War on Terror and details the formation of the most elite units in the military. Owen’s story draws on his youth in Alaska and describes the SEALs’ quest to challenge themselves at the highest levels of physical and mental endurance. With boots-on-the-ground detail, Owen describes several missions that illustrate the life and work of a SEAL and the evolution of the team after the events of September 11.

In telling the true story of the SEALs whose talents, skills, experiences, and exceptional sacrifices led to one of the greatest victories in the War on Terror, Mark Owen honors the men who risk everything for our country, and he leaves readers with a deep understanding of the warriors who keep America safe.

Owen and his publisher’s decision to release the book without first submitting it for United States Department of Defense (DoD) review generated controversy. The DoD claims that the book contains classified information, which the book’s publisher denies. In late August 2012, advance publicity increased the initial print run from 300,000 copies to 575,000. This ultimately led the publisher to release the book on September 4, a week earlier than the originally planned September 11 release date. It also made the New York Times bestseller list.

No Easy Day Audiobook Reviews

I feel I have to title my review this way because although I’m very glad this event happened, and I have boundless admiration for the people who participated in the raid, including the author, I can’t honestly say it was a great book.

To be fair to ‘Mark Owen’, his ghostwriter, Kevin Maurer, does bear some responsibility for taking a tired, pseudo military thriller approach to the story. The first half of the book is a very mediocre, dramatized ‘montage’ approach to what it takes to be a Navy Seal and rise up through the ranks to do the type of special operations detailed in the book. As heart-pounding action-thrillers go, it’s lacking in the kind of tangible, humanizing elements that elevate good stories of this kind out of the G.I. Joe stereotype.

The second half of the book deals with the raid itself in a very dry, accurate and factual way. It paints a clear picture of the anti-climactic demise of Osama Bin Laden. It probably would have taken a ghost writer with superior skills to Maurer’s to forge the rising anticipation, the fear, the frustrations into a more gripping read/listen.

I need to make it clear that I’m not dissing the Navy Seal. I’m just saying a better ghost writer might have done more to bring his story to life.

Many critics have questioned this author’s motives for writing the book, and I think the end of the story really exposes them. He’s clearly not in it for the money – since most of the profits from this book are going to veteran’s charities. I think he’s a man who is bitter about the ‘spin’ the media and the administration gave the killing of Bin Laden, because having been an eye-witness to it, he feels the factual truth was good enough and didn’t require embellishment.

But he’s also a man, like many in front line positions, who holds tremendous animosity towards anyone with a say in military policy and decision-making who isn’t sitting beside him in combat gear, holding a firearm. I think most people who experience war on the front lines feel this way. But it sours the end of the book rather badly. Because the author is clearly not a fan of Obama, and says so often and, at times, in disparaging ways.

This book is a) a first hand account of the raid, b) a portrait of what these admirable and brave people go through to serve their country and c) a concerted effort on the part of the author to deny the present administration any share in the glory of Bin Laden’s final demise.
(Note to future administrations: If you say you’re going to have a beer with the guys your pinning medals on, you’d better keep your promise. Otherwise they end up bitter and write books like this one.)

And although I thoroughly commiserate with the author’s ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ feelings, I also think it does damage to the nobility of an account of what was a brave, courageous and well-implemented military action. I wouldn’t want to walk in Owen’s shoes, nor would I want to be responsible for making decisions about the fate of a whole country, its security, its economy and its place as superpower.

I think it may be a central flaw in attempting to write a first person account of this sort of experience too close to the actual event, without the distance of some time and consideration to put the events in proportion. There have been some outstanding first-person accounts of war, but rarely are they written so soon after the event.

The narration by Holter Graham was perfect for the material.

Shortly after the book’s announcement, Owen’s identity was revealed as Matt Bissonnette and the DoD confirmed that he was in fact the author. For media appearances, including an interview on 60 Minutes, Owen appeared incognito. In August 2016, he was ordered to return his royalties of US$6.8 million to the US federal government.

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In the book, Owen chronicles his upbringing in Alaska and his long desire to be a SEAL. Owen completed BUD/S training in 1999 and served with SEAL TEAM FIVE. He recounts the rigors of his entry into DEVGRU and describes several operations in which he participated with the group in Iraq and Afghanistan. Owen also discusses his involvement in the Maersk Alabama hijacking rescue operation in 2009. Throughout, he describes the camaraderie, professionalism, and dedication of his teammates during extremely demanding training and dangerous combat missions.

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Outlaw Platoon Audiobook

Outlaw Platoon Audiobook
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium” postid=”1160″]

BOOK DETAILS

Written By: Sean Parnell, John Bruning
Narrated By: Ray Porter
Publisher: HarperAudio
Date: February 2012
Duration: 10 hours 18 minutes

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Outlaw Platoon is a 2012 war story memoir written by Sean Parnell and John R. Bruning. The book details Parnell’s 2006–2007 experiences as an infantry platoon leader during the War in Afghanistan.

Outlaw Platoon Audiobook Summary

A riveting story of American fighting men, Outlaw Platoon is Lieutenant Sean Parnell’s stunning personal account of the legendary U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division’s heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kesh, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century—an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.

A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger’s War as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America’s War in Afghanistan.

After receiving his commission through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Duquesne University, Parnell led 3rd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. The company was based near the Pakistani border in Barmal District of Paktika Province on an extended 16-month deployment. After the deployment, Parnell was awarded two Bronze Star Medals and a Purple Heart. Parnell left duty as a lieutenant and retired as a captain. Before embarking on Outlaw Platoon. Parnell’s coauthor, military historian John R. Bruning, embedded himself with a unit in Afghanistan in 2010 in preparation for writing the book for Parnell.

The book is popular in military circles, and was discussed as part of the Commandant’s Book Club at the United States Military Academy in 2013.

Outlaw Platoon Audiobook Reviews

I want to start off by saying that I have several hundred audio books and have enjoyed most and loved some. I always make sure to rate books that I listen to using the star system, however I have never sat down and composed a full review. This book moved me in ways that I find hard to express. There were times in this book that I was incredibly angry, times when I was happy for the guys of Outlaw Platoon, and times that caused me to tear up. War brings out the best and worst of humanity, it shows us what kind of people that we share the planet with. This book was by far the best audio book that I have ever listened to. I have to mention that there are some parts of the book that I found to be very disturbing, although the very nature of war has a way of being very disturbing at times. The lengths that the enemy will go to to inflict pain into coalition forces is savage. The camaraderie and brotherhood of Outlaw Platoon is absolutely amazing. I do not have the time to review books like I should, but this book moved me in so many ways that I though that it was important to do so. This may sound strange to some but this book made me wonder why I did not enlist to serve our country, I am still young enough to do so and it is always in the back of my mind. Again I cannot stress enough that everyone should listen or read this book, this book really deserves a sixth star rather than just five. I hope this review is helpful to those considering this book. Brad Thor gives this book a great review over on Amazon.com and is worth reading. Also be sure to download the companion to this book, it includes a map that makes it easier to understand the area that Outlaw Platoon patrolled.

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Parnell discussed writing the book for an episode of Pritzker Military Presents and for the Episode 192 of the Jocko Podcast.

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Destiny of the Republic Audiobook

Destiny of the Republic Audiobook
[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium” postid=”1149″]

BOOK DETAILS

Written By: Candice Millard
Narrated By: Paul Michael
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Date: September 2011
Duration: 9 hours 48 minutes

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Destiny of the Republic Audiobook Summary

James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.

Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history.

The book went on to win the following awards:

Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime (2012)
Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Nonfiction (2012)
PEN Center USA award for Research Nonfiction
One Book – One Lincoln Award

Destiny of the Republic Audiobook Reviews

I love to be blown away by a book!! I love that rare ocassion when you randomly pick up a book and hope it will at least hold your interest just until something else comes along, to listen half-heartedly, then–be drawn in thoroughly, completely–to the point where you forget everything around you and become so engrossed in the story that the house could be burning down around you and you wouldn’t notice till your toes got hot!

In the case of Destiny of the Republic, it isn’t the history of 20th president James Garfield alone that catapults this book into the category of toe-toasting “amazing”…it is the meticulous research and straightforward writing of former National Geographic writer and editor, Candice Millard–a truly great historian/author (and we could probably add detective). A book about Garfield would never have been tops on my Wish List, but I’d read Millard’s first book, River of Doubt, (about Theodore Roosevelt’s trip on the Amazon) and found it fascinating. Based on that read, I figured I had a winner. Now I have to say, Destiny of the Republic is even better, and I have a new picture of Garfield and wonder what might have been.

The book establishes the dignified character of Garfield, the high esteem the people had for him, his erudition, and his humanity. It goes into detail about the schizo plottings of the crazed assassin, Guiteau (and some fascinating history of the “insanity plea”). But, it focuses largely on the 79 day period while Garfield, Guiteau’s led bullet lodged somewhere deep in his back, suffered at the hands of the woefully arrogant Dr. D. Willard Bliss, and the dedicated Alexander Graham Bell’s fervent race against time to perfect his “induction balance machine” in hopes of locating the bullet and saving Garfield from Dr. Bliss, and therefore, Garfield’s life. The details of the dreadful and ridiculously archaic treatments Garfield suffered through at the hands of the ignorant Bliss, and the account of the autopsy, are painful to read about and shed light on the great progress medicine has made. At his trial for the murder of Garfield, Guiteau nonchalantly admitted to shooting Garfield, but insisted that he did not kill Garfield, rather it was “malpractice killed Garfield.”

A slower first half, but you’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing tale, some fascinating medical history and facts, all wonderfully narrated by Paul Michael. *If Candice Millard wrote the history books for school–the students would never miss a day. Fantastic read I highly recommend to history buffs and non-history buffs alike.

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Millard’s book received positive reviews upon publishing by organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Times, and The Seattle Times.

Del Quentin Wilber of The Washington Post said of the book, “Millard has crafted a fresh narrative that plumbs some of the most dramatic days in U.S. presidential history.”

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