Culture & Criticism Since 2003
The Vietnam War is said to have changed America forever, as families in the 60s and 70s were torn apart by a conflict many still don’t understand today. In The Vietnam War, historian Geoffrey Ward teams with filmmaker Ken Burns to try and give the war a human voice. They do so by juxtaposing the voices of the three Presidents who attempted to guide us through this war with the voices of soldiers from the United States, as well as the North and South sectors of Vietnam. The result is a riveting reportage of the war and the toll it took on two continents. Even though 50 years have passed since Vietnam became a household word at every American dinner table, the story nonetheless remains truly compelling on both an intellectual and emotional level as we scramble to make sense of one of our darkest periods as a nation. Read by Ken Burns. 8 hours on 10 CDs. Sample the narration here.
This book is as real as war stories get. Shooting Ghosts recounts the association between Marine Sergeant T.J. Brennan and renowned photojournalist Finnbarr O’Reilly, who was assigned to shadow Brennan’s squad in Afghanistan. Living along-side the soldiers, O’Reilly was able to see first-hand the way the war unfolded. And as this book shows us, it’s not anything like the movies; instead, the horrible toll exacted on all participants lasts forever. The real guts of the story are found in the passages that report on on Brennan’s brain injury after a Taliban ambush – both soldier and journalist coming to experience the grave affliction known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that will tie them together in perpetuity. Read by Mike Chamberlain and David Lawrence. 13 hours on 11 CDs. Sample the narration here.
This gripping story introduces us to Alex Blum, a kid with a singular goal – that being, to be a U.S. Army Ranger and fight against terrorism. But one moment of impulse, manifesting in an armed bank robbery, comes to derail the dream. Raw with emotion and populated with densely rich characters, Ranger Games shows us what happens when a soldier falls. 16 hours on 13 CDs. Read by Johnathan McClain. Sample the narration here.
In Coming Alive, Michels and Stutz attempt to put readers in touch with the “Life Force” that governs self-actualization and creativity. In order to reach this level, the authors say, one must first defeat the enemy within (which they call “Part X”). As most readers know, many a self-help book has set out out to guide individuals toward finding a purpose in life. However, most of these titles fall flat on their faces because they lack practical direction and substance. Coming Alive ends up being different due to the fact that the authors are not pontificating on topics in hypothetical terms. Instead, these guys have been there and done the heavy-lifting in terms of reaching the plateau. In turn, this book is about sharing the secrets on how to get there. Read by the authors. 8.5 hours on 7 CDs. Sample the narration here.
Let’s face it, Alzheimer’s is everyone’s great fear as this mysterious disease comes to rob memory and personality and everything that defined you as a person. However, as Dr. Bredesen (UCLA) delineates, there is hope on the horizon. In The End of Alzheimer’s, Bredesen unabashedly states that Alzheimer’s is a preventable and often reverse-able condition that responds to adjustments in diet and lifestyle. Moreover, Bredesen outlines ways that individuals can put the program into play themselves, establishing more reliance on the self rather than on medical facilities. The End of Alzheimer’s is a bold book about empowering the person, encouraging us to take control of ourselves and stop being afraid of old age. In this era of ask your doctor for a prescription, it’s a message everyone needs to hear without delay. Read by Marc Cashman. 9.5 hours on 8 CDs. Sample the narration here.