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Ed

Wallingford, CT, United States | Member Since 2003

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  • Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Russell S. Bonds
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (346)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (287)

    On April 12, 1862—one year to the day after Confederate guns opened on Fort Sumter and started the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union spy named James J. Andrews and 19 infantry volunteers infiltrated Georgia and stole a steam engine called the General. Racing northward at speeds near 60 miles an hour, cutting telegraph lines, and destroying track along the way, Andrews planned to open East Tennessee to the Union army, cutting off men and materiel from the Confederate forces in Virginia.

    auther says: "Sometimes Facts can be more exciting then Fiction"
    "Good Story, Annoying Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because I remember the 1956 movie as one of the most thrilling of my young life, and I wanted both to relive the experience, and to hear how close the movie was to the facts.
    It turns out it was very close; in fact, from the description of the appearance and charisma of the leader James Andrews, the ever-likable Fess Parker was the perfect choice. This book, of course, goes into greater detail than the film, and corrects some errors and fills in missing facts, especially of the events after the raid, and even what became of each of the surviving raiders.
    But I found the narration to be very annoying. Bronson Pinchot's voice is strong, and his diction perfect, but his intonations, his interpretation of what he was reading, was awful. He never simply reads what has been written, trusting the words to have their effect. Instead, he puts emphasis on everything he says, in my opinion, usually the wrong emphasis. And when he quotes from the writings of any of the raiders, he invariably made them sound whiny. This book needed a producer to tell him, just read the words, the power is there, you don't have to compensate.
    The book, however, was strong enough to make up for the narration. I'm very glad to have relived a part of my childhood. Now if the can only do the story of Jean Lafitte.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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