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P Garbett

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 26
  • helpful votes
  • 145
  • ratings
  • Crashed

  • By: Adam Tooze
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance, Adam Tooze
  • Length: 25 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116

In September 2008 the Great Financial Crisis, triggered by the collapse of Lehman brothers, shook the world. A decade later its spectre still haunts us. As the appalling scope and scale of the crash was revealed, the financial institutions that had symbolised the West's triumph since the end of the Cold War, seemed - through greed, malice and incompetence - to be about to bring the entire system to its knees.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must read for understanding the world today

  • By P Garbett on 21-08-18

A must read for understanding the world today

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

Reviewed: 21-08-18

Dealing first with the financial crisis of 2008 (the build-up to the crisis and the response of policy makers) and then the European sovereign debt crisis of 2010 - 2012, Adam Tooze has written as good an analysis as anything I've seen from strictly economic commentators. It helps enormously that he writes so well.
The book though is far more than an history of the financial shenanigans of Wall Street and the City of London, or the various policy responses of the Fed, BofE and ECB. At its heart the book deals with the question of how modern democratic politics interacts with the hugely complex, interconnected macro-financial system, as he labels it. Judged by the response of the GOP and the Conservative Party in Britain, parties that traditionally placed themselves as mediating this relationship, the signs are far from encouraging.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Winter Pilgrims

  • Kingmaker, Book 1
  • By: Toby Clements
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,217
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,139
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,134

February 1460. In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory. In fear for their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict. For this is the Wars of the Roses, one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history. Where brother confronts brother, king faces king, and Thomas and Katherine must fight just to stay alive....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fantastic read

  • By Loraine on 10-01-16

Bravo Toby Clements

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

Reviewed: 22-12-17

I bought this, the first of the Kingmaker series, when it was offered as a Daily deal. I had no strong expectation - The Wars of the Roses always have appeared to me a particularly uninteresting period in English history - but I was persuaded by the number of positive reviews. Now, having completed all four books in the series, I can only echo all those whose recommendations I followed. Toby Clements is a brilliant story teller, and this series with its two central characters, along with sundry others, in my mind sets the mark for historical fiction. Add to this the narration by Jack Hawkins and you have a perfect combination.

  • Citizen Clem

  • A Biography of Attlee
  • By: John Bew
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 26 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain's radical postwar government, delivering the end of the empire in India, the foundation of the NHS and Britain's place in NATO. Called 'a sheep in sheep's clothing', his reputation has long been that of an unassuming character in the shadow of Churchill. But as John Bew's revelatory biography shows, Attlee was not only a hero of his age but an emblem of it, and his life tells the story of how Britain changed over the 20th century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding biography

  • By michael Billington on 11-09-17

Good old Clem

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

Reviewed: 12-11-17

It is widely accepted that the 1945 Labour government was responsible for some of the most significant changes in Britain of the last 100 years. However, the character and contribution of the prime minister of the day in helping to bring about these changes is less appreciated that it should be, argues Bew. Attlee, a man of slight build, and someone whose reserve and shyness did not help his cause, was regularly dismissed by opposition and party colleagues alike – the famous quip by Churchill of a “sheep in sheep’s clothing.” And yet, he led the Labour movement for over twenty years; and even after the electoral defeats of 1951 (when Labour still received the largest share of the popular vote) and 1954, he remained the party’s biggest electoral asset.

As a counterpoint to the current political world, the politics of Clem Attlee (citizenship, patriotism and ethical socialism) and the character of the man himself are rightly given voice in this excellent short biography.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • High-Rise

  • By: J. G. Ballard
  • Narrated by: Tom Hiddleston
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 907
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 909

From the author of the Sunday Times best seller Cocaine Nights comes an unnerving tale of life in a modern tower block running out of control. Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on "enemy" floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for riots and technological mayhem.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Drama and Dystopia

  • By Jay on 10-03-17

Abigail's Party meets Clockwork Orange

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

Reviewed: 24-08-17

Any additional comments?

A book written in the mid-70's, and it shows. Ostensibly, this is an allegory about the fragility of society; more particularly, the fragility of social order among the materially and professionally successful inhabitants of a new high rise. It doesn't work. Just like the economy and infrastructure of the UK in the 1970's, the writing is clunky and uninspired.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Killers of the Flower Moon

  • Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
  • By: David Grann
  • Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 309
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 287
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285

In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And this was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • brilliant

  • By Ms. Ej Austin on 19-06-17

A tale of stupefying greed, corruption and racism

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

Reviewed: 29-04-17

Where does Killers of the Flower Moon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Osage county, 1920’s Oklahoma, and the native American people, the Osage, were notionally the wealthiest per capita of that time. Sitting atop vast oil reserves to which they had legal title, outsiders viewed their wealth variously as a source of fascination and envy. Indeed, and carrying over much of the vestiges of racism from the prior century, for many the Indians did not deserve to be so fortunate. Government policies of paternalism, corruption at state and local level in which whites were always favoured, and venal criminality leading to countless murders, meant for the Osage this period is remembered as the reign of terror.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Look Who's Back

  • By: Timur Vermes
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,371
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,286
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,283

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb satire on modern life

  • By Evolutionary Artefact on 16-09-14

A terrific satire.

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

Reviewed: 05-02-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Written in 2012 and published in Germany as Er ist weider da, this is a very prescient satire in which a revised Hitler finds himself transported from the Belin of 1945 to the same city in 2011. This takes some imagining, if only because the very existence of Hitler must be prime evidence against time travel. Still, given his remarkable similarity to the historical character, Hitler quickly establishes himself as a television personality. In this he proves himself to be a master of media manipulation; indeed, the more outrageous his comments the more positive are the reviews his performance receives. Asked early in this new career if his audience agrees with what he says, Hitler replies: "No, not at first; but with repetition they will." Sound familiar.

Be warned: the Hitler portrayed by Vermes is not an unsympathetic character. I think this is a deliberate decision by the author, because the reader is drawn into the manipulation the book satires so well. For some people though this might make the book very uncomfortable to listen to. If you are unfamiliar with the people implicated in the Hitler regime, I'd advise you listen first to the final chapter. It's not part of the novel but rather a brief description of individuals whom Hitler references at various times.

  • George Orwell

  • English Rebel
  • By: Robert Colls
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

Aside from being one of the greatest political essayists in the English language and author of two of the most famous books in 20th century literature, George Orwell was a man of many fascinating contradictions, someone who liked to go against the grain because he believed that was where the truth usually lay. George Orwell: English Rebel takes us on a journey through the many twists and turns of Orwell's life and thought.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • New Biography of a Great English Writer

  • By GC on 07-07-14

Not a biography of Orwell.

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

Reviewed: 29-01-17

What did you like most about George Orwell?

Some years ago I read the excellent biography of Orwell by Bernard Crick, published in 1980. I anticpated this book would present the findings of scholarship in the intervening years. In part it did, particularly with regards to material on Eileen Blair, Orwell / Eric Blair's first wife. The book though clearly was conceived as a literary essay, which then formed the basis of this book. Therefore, if you want a biography of Orwell there are far better books that this. If you are familiar already with Orwell's life, this book is not without merit. Orwell's Englishness and his conception of England is an interesting approach to understanding this brilliant and yet often contradictory of writers. More so perhaps at this time, post Brexit, when once more the concept of Englishness and what it is that defines this nation is to the fore.

  • Small Island

  • By: Andrea Levy
  • Narrated by: Andrea Levy
  • Length: 17 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 412
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375

Andrea Levy's acclaimed Small Island is a delicately wrought and profoundly moving novel of empire, prejudice, war, and love. It was awarded the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2004 Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize. It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A breath taking saga.

  • By Dolly on 01-10-15

A pleasure from start to finish

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

Reviewed: 22-12-16

What did you like most about Small Island?

The characters, the sense of time and place and the virtuosity of the writing. All this is wonderfully expressed by Andrea Levy. Her narration is a joy.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gilbert - in a literal sense a man for all seasons.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I don't believe there is a dull scene in the entirety of the book.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The small island of the title of course relates to Britain in the post-war period as much as to Jamaica or any of the other islands in the Caribbean.

  • Homo Deus

  • A Brief History of Tomorrow
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,486
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,700
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,658

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the best-selling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. Now, in Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the 21st century - from overcoming death to creating artificial life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Full of "wow, I never thought of it like that!"

  • By david on 17-03-17

What the future might hold for sapiens

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

Reviewed: 13-09-16

If you could sum up Homo Deus in three words, what would they be?

It is hard to do justice to this book in a few words. If though you enjoy books that strive to give the big picture, you’ll enjoy this, the sequel to Dr Harari’s Sapiens.

It builds on the central theme of the earlier book, which is the importance to our species of the myths and stories we share with one another. In the past these were about gods, then God, and more recently, starting in the West but now widely shared, the primacy and sanctity of each individual and his / her free-will. Over time these stories have enabled home-sapiens to co-operate in ever-larger groups and consequently to progress from our ancestors’ stone tools to what constitutes the modern world.

Dr Harari begins by describing what humankind has achieved in the last half-century – the defeat of famine, plague and (excepting certain areas of the world) fear of war. This is contestable: at best we are holding the line against bacterial nasties, whilst climate-change has the potential to greatly reduce agricultural production. This though is big-picture stuff and a certain amount of hyperbole is allowable. What next in the story of homo-sapiens? Well, Dr Harari envisages us enhancing and extending our lives. This will be achieved through the manipulation of our genes, use of so-called nanobots and, of course, the ubiquitous presence of computer algorithms that will continuously monitor our health, enhance our decision-making and ultimately guide us in all the areas of our lives.

Much of this will be familiar from other books; how artificial intelligence (AI) will shape the future. Writers portray either a future in which our capabilities and knowledge will expand beyond anything so far imaginable, or the doom-laden view in which AI will destroy countless millions of jobs and give rise to glaring inequality and humanity divided between a small class of techno-haves and the rest. Dr Harari definitely leans to the latter view.

The real strength of this book though is philosophical rather than simply speculation as to the direction of technology. What stories will homo-sapiens tell one another when non-conscious algorithms know each of us far better than we know ourselves? How will we give meaning to our individual lives when all we need do is ask Cortana, Google or whatever? Of course, you could choose to ignore the response; however, in that event you would pretty much guarantee being a have-not.

Dr Harari succeeds in what I understand to be his goal in writing this book. He does not say this or that outcome is inevitable; rather, he offers possible visions of our future based on the trajectory of present technology coupled with homo-sapiens’ evolved cognitive skill set and social behaviour. The book poses some big questions, bigger certainly than ordinarily allowed for within the time-frame of scientific research grants. These questions though may be fundamental to the future of our species.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Tales of the City

  • Tales of the City, Book 1
  • By: Armistead Maupin
  • Narrated by: Frances McDormand
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127

For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture...from a groundbreaking newspaper serial, to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales of the City is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't stop listening!

  • By E J STICKLAND on 27-02-16

Off to San Fran

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

Reviewed: 29-08-16

Where does Tales of the City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Other than I'm visiting San Francisco later in the year, this is not a book I ordinarily would have considered as a read. I'm so glad I did though.
Set in 70's pre-AIDS San Fran, it chronicles the lives of a small group of its inhabitants, whose lives interconnect with one another. The dialogue sparkles.
San Francisco is nowhere close to what it was like forty years ago - now the most expensive city in the US - but I'm going to enjoy name-checking the various locations mentioned in the characters' stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful