I'll make this brief: this is a really entertaining audiobook. I was interested in this story long before I downloaded and listened to this audiobook; and in fact. I have always been fascinated with the Cambridge Spies, so I was obviously pre-disposed to the subject.
The book is not so detailed to be tedious. It moves quickly and is very engaging. It moves through Philby's story, touching on a few peripheral stories without getting bogged down by them - like Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, as an example. He involves them to the extent that they contribute to Philby's story.
Secondly, the narration is brilliant. Often a downfall of many audiobooks, the narrator in this case is very good.
I would highly recommend this audiobook to people interested in the story of Philby, who aren't going to nit pick on details but are genuinely interested in a good story of the key person in the Cambridge Five.
I was disappointed in this audiobook. This isn't the fault of the story - or the narrator; in fact the narrator was quite good. I just wasn't interested in the story. I don't sail, but I do enjoy stories about sailing - especially those that involve adventure and daring: stories about the Vendee Globe, sailing around the world alone, the Sydney-Hobart race; or just tales of people who pack up their life savings, buy a boat and sail off.
But this is about none of that - it's not an adventure story. It's a book about the life of Mike Plant. And as someone who enjoys tales of sailing, but doesn't really follow sailing, I didn't know, and genuinely wasn't interested in this story. Perhaps if there was more "sailing" in the story, I might have enjoyed it a bit more. But the focus really was, as the title says, "the story of Mike Plant". And despite his obvious talent and character, I really wasn't that interested.
If you're more than just a casual observer of sailing - and you know who Mike Plant is, and perhaps followed his exploits - this audio book will probably hold something for you. If you don't know who he is, and you just enjoy a good sailing yarn - then in my opinion you are likely to be disappointed.
At the risk of dating myself, I only flew on a Pan Am aircraft once - which is somewhat amazing, as growing up I flew a fair bit. But I'll chalk that up to being Canadian, and therefore I typically flew Canada's carriers. But I distinctly remember that trip - and the awe when I saw that I'd be flying from the Orient to LA on. . . Pan Am. It had a mystique that was unshared by other airlines. For a few years, I parked that memory; but there have been many times, as an adult still travelling internationally, as I've looked at the liveries of the aircraft in Charles de Gaulle or Heathrow, that I've wondered, what whatever happened to Pan Am?
This audio book answers that question. It's a fascinating social history of Pan Am, in an easily digestible, captivating narrative. When I first heard the sound bite, I was concerned about the narrator - but I quickly came to realize he was an inspired choice. At times the book is almost "campy" - the Sky Gods and the Imperial Sky God. But this really fits the story. And the narrator, with his slow, at time exaggerated drawl - perfects the tone of the book.
This was a really enjoyable audio book about a subject that has piqued my interest many times since that first flight. It's very easy to listen to: have a little patience with the narrator to start and you'll soon realize his genius for this book. For those who are interested in the history of aviation - and were taken in by the mythical aura of Pan Am - this will be very enjoyable.
This is a really great audio book if you're interested in this genre. As the author mentions early on - you can't help wonder if you could learn anything new about the Dam Busters; that surely the story has been told many times. But then think about the number of books about it that you might have read. The story here is a just a great yarn - enough detail to keep it interesting,but not so much that it gets bogged down. This is an audiobook that really moves; unlike some other audiobooks - even ones I've enjoyed - I can't think of a moment when it slowed down. And the narrator was awesome - I'll keep an eye open for others that he reads. I would highly recommend this audiobook.
Let me put a little of my bias right up front: I don't watch NASCAR, I occasionally watch CART, I always watch F1 (until a single driver is dominant two thirds through the season), and I always make sure I capture a little bit of the 24 Hrs of Le Mans - after all, who can watch the whole thing?!. But I love all the characters and the history of motor racing - and I really love stories about it - in the same way that I love hearing about the Space Race - regardless of how often I hear them.
With that prelude, I really enjoyed this audiobook: the narrator was exceedingly good - and between he and the author, it was a very well told story that succeeded in creating suspense at each stage of the story.
If you don't like racing at all, then it's probably not for you; but if you're looking for a good story - and not inclined to fixate if some details are glossed over in the interest of good story-telling, then this is well worth the investment.
He was a very good narrator - perfect for this story.
This is a terrific audiobook. The narrator is fantastic and the subject exceeded my expectations. When I came across this audiobook I was a little torn because the title and description suggested that it would lean bit too much towards the story of a single hijacking and the two main characters, as opposed to a look at the dawn of air hijackings. But it was a perfect balance. The first 40%, or so, sets the stage, introducing the characters, but also providing great backdrop about the outbreak of hijackings in the late 60's and early 70's - something I was looking for. But it is told in a way that is interesting - not analytical - but conveying the atmosphere of the time. And then the author (and narrator) gradually tell more and more of the story of the two main characters - drawing you in to their specific tale. This takes up the balance of the audiobook - about 60%. . . and by this point you're primed to go inside the telling of a single hijacking. This is a very entertaining audiobook; it's not a heavy academic study - it's an enjoyable listen, providing the right balance of context, and a "what's going to happen next" tale. Oh, and it's the perfect length for an audiobook.
I think the narration of a book is critical to how much you enjoy it, and Damian Lynch did a fantastic job. His accent and tone gave this a gritty "cop" atmosphere that really matched well with the story. He was very easy to listen to, and gave the story credibility - I could easily believe that he was the major character telling the story; he should be commended for his performance.
This was a really entertaining audiobook. The story was very interesting - telling the tale of a police unit that shut down crack houses in a borough of London. The narration was excellent, and the story easily absorbing. The author easily conveyed the horrendous impact of crack - in terms of contributing to violent crime, and the human degradation. If I had one criticism it would be in the pace and lack of detail in how they went about identifying and crashing the houses; while there was good description about the houses and the overall story of shutting down the houses, the recounting of some of the raids seemed almost too easy - which clearly it wouldn't have been. But as an entertaining story, this was very enjoyable.
It's not often that I could say that I'd listen to an audiobook a second time - but fortunately I can anticipate that I'd forget some of the detail; and I enjoyed this book so much that I might actually listen to it a second time
I really enjoy following F1 - and enjoy listening to stories about the hay day of racing - and I've watched Grand Prix many times - I never expected to be able to find an audiobook that actually recounts the true version of what was fictionalized in the movie. This audiobook is very well narrated, and it easily held my attention as it recounted the career growth and rivalry of two principal drivers from the Golden Years of F1. More importantly it really focuses on the story and atmosphere - and not on the intricate details of racing - and that made it enjoyable - and it was the perfect length.
I often look past bad pronunciation in audio books because typically it doesn't bother me - but perhaps that's because I'm Canadian, and when they apply to the US - particularly some US figures - I'm not as familiar with them and I can let them fly; but in this case I couldn't. While the narrator was acceptable in his story-telling, his pronunciation of Canadian names - particularly those around Quebec ( a hard "a" in autostade, or worse, a hard T in Laurentians, were just two examples) - was so appalling that it was a distraction - exacerbated because place names were so central in the opening parts of the book. After 45 minutes I had to stop as he bastardized every place name he mentioned. This is unfortunate because it seemed like a good story - and it's unfortunate that this doesn't come out in the audio preview. In this case, poor pronunciation was a practice that I couldn't put up with for very long; but, like me with other audio books, perhaps others who are less familiar with the names won't be as affected by the narration, and can listen to what is likely a decent yarn.
I'm not sure what benchmarks Audible uses in selecting narrators, but given that the narration of a book is so central to the enjoyment one derives, and the frequency with which one ends an audiobook prematurely due to bad narration, I really think this is something Amazon/Audible need to invest more time in reviewing before selecting a narrator - because surely their standards on narration cannot be that far off the average listener on Audible. . . yet from the number of reviews that reference "poor narration", it would seem that they set the bar pretty.
I haven't read the print version - that's why I listen to Audiobooks - to listen to books I don't have time to read. . . "too many books/too little time!"
Not that I recall - but I will add him to my list of good narrators.
After listening to the first few minutes of this book I was a little concerned with both the narration and the story, which I feared was going to be dull and monotone.But within 5 or 10 minutes I was really surprised. It quickly turned into an unbelievably entertaining listen - containing a perfect blend of drama and humour - and it was very well read. For someone who doesn't know much about the Roman Catholic church, the Pope or the Vatican, but keeps tabs on the news, it was just a very interesting and entertaining look at the workings and stories that make the Vatican so interesting to people in no way affiliated with the Catholic church; and it was done so in an educated-reality-TV-cum-PBS-documentary sort of a way. Finally, to me the narrator, can make or break an audiobook; and in this instance he really contributed to an entertaining listen.
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