As a Brit, I had always had a vague notion that Howard Hughes was a mainstay of the US economy, an aviator, and an eccentric.
I had no idea that he was as wacked in the head as he obviously became in later life - the readings from his memos in the "Operations Manual" for his company are astounding.
Thouroughly enjoyed this book - the narrator is nicely neutral adding to the experience without ever becoming irritating.
Give it a go.
Forget everything you thought was motivating Howard Hughes. This is a highly entertaining inside story of a man who marched to a drummer on a different planet. The richest man in the world sits in the stench of a filthy darkened room, obsesses about germs, mucks up multi-million dollar business deals, compulsively lies and has no comprehension, much less concern, about the havoc he causes others. This is a great listen.
It is difficult to like a book about an unlikable character and in Howard Hughes there was much not to like. Had he not had the cash machine of the Hughes Tool Company, he would have been one of those people who drifted through life never quite putting it together in either their personal or professional lives. In his later years, he either would have been institutionalized (in one era) or living on the street (in another). Nevertheless, this author and this reader pull it off and make the experience of listening to this life a fascinating experience. I will never forget the Howard Hughes instructions on opening a can of peaches.
I thought The Last Lion, American Cesar, and John Adams were the best biographies Audible had to offer. I was wrong, Howard Hughes is a must read !
Wow, this guy can sure write and, no doubt, he's done his research. I wish he could have edited as well. We are inundated with facts and figures and unimportant people (at least to the story) that detract from the insightful tale of Howard Hughes and what made him tick. That Hughes is a mighty figure and an interesting character goes without saying. However, in this bloated tome the interesting facts can easily get bogged down with the trite.
All in all, this is a great book. The research is excellent and Hughes' story is fascinating, though incredibly depressing. What a pathetic individual. He was brilliant but he was a brilliant, spoiled brat.
The writing is good but has some definite issues. The author frequently describes Hughes thoughts about particular topics as though he knows exactly what Hughes was thinking. Hughes didn't keep a diary and apparently didn't carry on a lot of personal conversations in the latter half of his life, so I don't know how the author would know his intimate feelings. I find this sort of pure invention in biographies annoying. There are also some very wierd similies and metaphors used in the book (unfortunately, it's hard to go back and find an example in an audiobook). Fortunately, the excellent research saves the book from some of the minor failings of the writing itself.
The narrator was very good in tone and pace though I too was astonished at the number of basic mispronunciations.
Even though this book was very long, it sure doesn't feel that way. The Narrator sounded great. He has a voice that you can lose yourself in. Howard Hughes was quite a interesting subject. I never got bored, even when Mr. Hughes started, his now famous, strange routines.
I expect this book will contrast greatly with the current movie "Aviator" about this strange man. It's not just his eccentricities that developed later in life that make him strange. Hughes developed neurotic tendencies early in life. He was not a very good man, but certainly a very lucky man, and a clever man at times. It became uncomfortable to listen to the meaningless, dragging out final years of his life. It didn't help that I was bed ridden with bronchitis while I was listening to it :-)
If you liked the movie Aviator you will love this book. The movie is very true to the book which of course goes into much more wonderful detail. This is one of the better all around great jobs that Audible has brought to market. The author did a great job, the narrator did a great job and Audible did a great job bringing the book to the audible market. Well done.