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Toronto, ON, Canada | Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 210 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By William Manchester, Paul Reid
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer, Paul Reid
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A worthy final volume in a great biography"
    "Just a note about the American reader"
    Any additional comments?

    To answer the review of someone who complained about the "American narrator": it surprised me too, until I realized that only the first part of the narration was read by Paul Reid, the co-author, he of the broad accent and mis-pronunciations. After he has described the character of Churchill, the competent (and British) Clive Chafer comes in and picks up the story. So just hang in there for the intro: it's a couple of hours long, but smooth sailing from then on. And after all, it was an American (in fact, two) who wrote this, so their voice should be in there somewhere!

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jane Ridley
    • Narrated By Carole Boyd

    Entertaining and different, this is an enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to the throne. Known as Bertie, the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents.

    Robyn says: "cannot fault this audiobook"
    "Not for the Hard of Hearing"
    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Carole Boyd?

    Someone who spoke distinctly, and with a better modulation in tone: this read can be hard to listen to. The narrator has a low voice: she starts at mid-register and gradually works her way down to a deep breathy whisper, setting a pattern that all too often repeats. That in itself is tedious, but it also means the last few words of a sentence can be lost completely. She may have been chosen to make the racy bits seem more scandalous, but that too is a drawback. She doesn't have a corresponding tone for the serious history in the story: it all comes off sounding like scandal. And when something private or delicate or intimate, like a personal letter, has to be read, it is muttered throughout at a barely audible level. The last section of the book is plagued with this problem. And I am not hard of hearing! This is the first of dozens of audiobooks that I've listened to that was difficult in this way. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone without a good set of speakers and a great deal of patience.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Wade Davis
    • Narrated By Enn Reitel

    In this magisterial work of history and adventure, based on more than a decade of prodigious research in British, Canadian, and European archives, and months in the field in Nepal and Tibet, Wade Davis vividly re-creates British climbers’ epic attempts to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s. With new access to letters and diaries, Davis recounts the heroic efforts of George Mallory and his fellow climbers to conquer the mountain in the face of treacherous terrain and furious weather.

    Tara says: "Really enjoyed it"
    "The Truth About Everest"
    Would you listen to Into the Silence again? Why?

    Once is enough for the length of the book. But a good listen.

    What other book might you compare Into the Silence to and why?

    Books about Robert Falcon Scott and the Antarctic expedition. ITS also describes in detail the insane overconfidence of the Brits who tried a big adventure.

    What aspect of Enn Reitel’s performance would you have changed?

    He mispronounced the names of important battlefields in WW1, such as Ypres and Passchendaele. Also had obvious difficulty with the Tibetan place-names: the little pause before each name is attempted, becomes tiring. The voice is beautiful: he should have had better advice.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The insane overconfidence of the expeditions was laughable. One sees them painfully learning how to do it (not very well). Their awful snobbery about all things and people non-British is an eye-opener, and led to some of their tragedies.

    Any additional comments?

    In comparison with a TV documentary I saw recently, the book told a true story in great detail, and tried not to romanticize it. Fairly clear that Mallory did not summit, and also that he was hardly the hero people imagine. But he was human, obsessed, and charismatic. He made Everest famous, with now-dubious results, as his is one of the corpses that now make the place a monument to folly.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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