October/November 2013

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History & Biography STREET WITHOUT JOY: The French Debacle in Indochina Bernard B. Fall Read by Derek Perkins Fall gives an insider's history, at times amazingly dramatic, of the disastrous French war in Indochina, 1946-1954, and the follow-up into the 1960s. British narrator Derek Perkins is in command of pace, emphasis, and expressive modulation. He manages to convey Fall's dry cynicism about the war, and his admiration and sympathy for those who fought it, without overemphasis or calling undue attention to technique. His French is very good, as is his American accent. When quoting French in translation, he gives it an accent that can be a bit much, but it does help orient the reader. Overall, he provides an admirable reading of a remarkable story and an important piece of history. W.M. Tantor Media 13.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452613178 $49.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452643175 $95.99 GETTYSBURG: The Last Invasion Allen C. Guelzo Read by Robertson Dean Analysis of the Battle of Gettysburg is a crowded field, but Guelzo's easy writing style and depth of detail have created a standout. The weaving together of politics and personalities with all of the pathos and action of the battle itself results in a text that a broad range of listeners will find riveting. The very density of the detail in this sweeping story requires a helpful guide, and Robertson Dean's steady voice and unflagging pace fill this role admirably. Dean keeps his delivery clear and unadorned, letting the material deliver its own considerable drama and emotion. Listeners need not be experts on Civil War battles to find this an accessible and satisfying look at an iconic event in American history. M.O.B. Random House Audio 22.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780385394321 $30.00 Books on Tape Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780385394338 $65.00 (also DD) THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Daniel James Brown Read by Edward Herrmann When you have an author who writes with enthusiasm about a topic as arcane as competitive rowing and a narrator of the caliber of Edward Herrmann, the result is a fun and compelling work. There's action and drama, particularly when the story moves to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the American crew's unexpected but well-earned gold medal. But it's in the details of the sport itself—the equipment, the training, the personal commitment of the crew members—that both author and narrator especially shine. Herrmann's tone is steady yet conversational. The book itself reads like an extended magazine profile, and Herrmann's pace exactly matches the writing. R.C.G. Penguin Audio 14.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781611761696 $49.95 (also DD) Recorded Books Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781470352509 $123.75 (also CS, MP3, DD, PRE) Herrmann's pace exactly matches the writing. MACARTHUR'S WAR: The Flawed Genius Who Challenged the American Political System READY FOR A BRAND NEW BEAT: How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America Bevin Alexander Read by Sean Runnette Mark Kurlansky Read by Stephen Hoye One secret to a good narrator is this: Is he or she interested in the content of the book? It comes across in intonation, pace, and emphasis, and Sean Runnette demonstrates it here. The author is opinionated—this is a political analysis as much as a discussion of the controversial g e n e r a l . Bu t Ru n n e t t e doesn't rant; he reads at a conversational pace, yet there is an element of tension in his voice: What happens next? Can't wait to know! Consequently, the listener is drawn in and has a hard time hitting the "stop" button. This is not a performance but a highly skilled reading, an exceptionally good one. D.R.W. The Motown classic "Dancing in the Street," covered by everyone from the Grateful Dead to Mick Jagger and David Bowie, has endured as a timeless dance floor staple. Beneath its pulsating rhythm it can be read as a metaphor for the social upheaval of the 1960s—one of the first popular "soul" records to earn the distinction. Basing his book on that viewpoint, Mark Kurlansky provides a plethora of facts about the musicians involved as well as the tumultuous era itself. Stephen Hoye is a fine narrator, but his stately voice seems a bit stiff for the streetwise subject matter. On the other hand, given the book's perceptive sociopolitical orientation, perhaps Hoye's stolid treatment is intentional. J.S.H. Tantor Media 7 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452612119 $34.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452642116 $71.99 Tantor Media 8.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452613291 $34.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781452643298 $71.99 October/November 2013 I 27

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