The Audie Awards for excellence in recorded books will be announced on May 23rd.I’ve read all of the entries in the History Category and offer a brief opinion here of each.
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, by Ian W. Toll, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Audible Inc. This is definitely my choice for the 2013 Audie Award in the History Category.This book tells the story of the early naval activity in the Pacific from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the battle for Midway.I like that the author appears unbiased, mentioning the strengths and shortcomings on both the Japanese American battle commands.The story was engrossing, and Grover Gardner’s narration was excellent.If history had been taught this way when I was in school, I might have become a History major myself!
Da Vinci's Ghost, by Toby Lester, Narrated by Stephen Hoye, Tantor Media.This was rather a disappointment to me.The book seemed to go in circles, covering the same material multiple times from slightly different angles, with a sole focus on Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.Stephen Hoye reading was adequate, but not as good as when he’s read better books.
L.A. Noir, by John Buntin, Narrated by Kirby Heyborne, Tantor Media.Think Micky Cohen and other gangsters set in Los Angeles, and you’ve got L.A. Noir.I found the story interesting enough to hold my attention throughout, and Kirby Heyborne did well as narrator.However, as a history book, it’s not in the same class as Pacific Crucible.
Season of the Witch, by David Talbot, Narrated by Arthur Morey, Brilliance Audio.Having lived through the 60s, I really looked forward to listening to this one, but I was disappointed.The author brought in too much personal bias to consider it a true history book, and that was irritating.Still, it covered a number of important issues of the time, though I’m not sure how reliable the fact might be.Talbot’s narration was good and did help get through some of the annoying parts.
Twelve Desperate Miles, by Tim Brady, Narrated by Joe Barrett, AudioGO.This book, in my opinion, is another good fit for the history category.It focuses on Patton’s invasion of North Africa, the New Orleans banana boat and crew who brought in supplies, and the Moroccan harbor pilot who was crucial to the success of the mission.Brady did his research for this one, including reading the harbor pilot’s journals.Joe Barrett, who also read John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meaney, was excellent in his narration.This is my second choice for the Audie in History.
The Wrecking Crew, by Kent Hartman, Narrated by Dan John Miller, Tantor Media.Sorry, but this was my least favorite book in this category.The story line centers on the use of studio musicians to make the actual recordings of records that were supposed to be the work of music groups, such as the Beach Boys, in the 60s.It seemed far too repetitive, and just couldn’t keep my interest. The reading by Miller was adequate, but not inspiring.It just wasn’t my idea of a great addition to historical books.