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vanessa

Member Since 2008

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 157 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Vasily Grossman
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh, David Tennant
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    Kenneth Branagh stars in BBC Radio 4's ambitious eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman's epic masterpiece set during the Battle of Stalingrad. This powerful work, completed in 1960, charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the KGB placed the manuscript under arrest and Grossman was informed his book would not be published for at least 200 years.

    Alifa says: "Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate"
    "MAGNIFICENT!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) to be better than the print version?

    Life and Fate is a wonderful, rich, beautifully written story, but it's also a tough read. This dramatized version is much more accessible and superbly done.


    Which character – as performed by Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant – was your favorite?

    This is a real ensemble with threads of dozens of characters' stories woven together.Viktor's doctor mother is based on the author's own mother who died in occupied Ukraine and even without knowing that, her farewell letter to her son and her lingering presence in his consciousness is very moving. For some reason in this version I quite like Zhenya's tank commander and the scenes with Tolya and his radio operator.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wanted to, but didn't. Listening or reading this story leaves you with a lot to think about and a bit emotionally wrung out. I was glad when each chapter gave me a convenient place to stop.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Defeating Hitler: Whitehall's Secret Report on Why Hitler Lost the War

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Paul Winter
    • Narrated By Alex Wyndham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Published for the very first time, the top-secret report Some Weaknesses in German Strategy and Organisation 1933-1945 was prepared by Whitehall's highest intelligence body, the Joint Intelligence Committee, and presented to Britain's Chiefs of Staff in 1946 to "set down certain aspects of the War whilst there are still sources available who were closely connected with the events described". Paul Winter sets this unique and important document in its historical setting, providing biographies of key figures referenced in the report and a timeline of the crucial events of the Second World War.

    vanessa says: "Hard work"
    "Hard work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only if they REALLY loved history.

    I found the perspective of the British Intelligence workers in the immediate aftermath of the war absolutely fascinating at times, but this is basically a departmental report meant for internal reading only. It is tedious, slow and at times deadly boring, don't expect any action or drama, but there is some gold dust in there too. The introduction is smart and thought provoking and if you are up for it Defeating Hitler is well worth the effort.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Frederick Taylor
    • Narrated By Matt Bates
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (44)

    In Exorcising Hitler, Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany's year zero and what came after. Despite almost total destruction, a combination of conservatism, enterprise and pragmatism in relation to former Nazis enabled the economic miracle of the 1950s. And we see how it was only when the '60s generation (the children of the Nazi era) began to question their parents with increasing violence that Germany began to awake from its sleep cure.

    Die Falknerin says: "Into a conquered nation"
    "Thorough, Facinating and Well Narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Exorcising Hitler the most enjoyable?

    The narration. No matter how well versed you are in the subject area even the best non fiction of this kind can get a little dry at times, but the excellent narration kept things flowing.


    What other book might you compare Exorcising Hitler to and why?

    Endgame by David Stafford, Germany 1945 by Richard Bessel come immediately to mind. This is easily my favourite.


    Have you listened to any of Matt Bates’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to anything by this narrator before. I did appreciate that unlike a lot of narration for this genre Matt Bates' performance never felt or sounded condescending. For some reason some of the best books of this kind are narrated in a stilted, stuffy way that distracts from the material.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books of this kind available on audible. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Countess

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Eva Ibbotson
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (77)

    Rupert, the young Earl of Westerholme, returns home from the war - and Anna, a housemaid, falls hopelessly in love with him. But they can never be together - Rupert is engaged to the snobbish and awful Muriel. And anyway, Anna is only a servant. Or so everybody thinks.

    connie says: "paint-by-numbers masterpiece"
    "Predictable, Lighthearted Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If they were looking for a light-hearted easy listen.


    What three words best describe Davina Porter’s voice?

    The narration, like the story, is fun, easy to listen to and inoffensive. Well matched.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Burial Rites

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Hannah Kent
    • Narrated By Morven Christie
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.

    elizabeth says: "I really tried but can't listen anymore"
    "an ok story beautifully narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Burial Rites to be better than the print version?

    Undoubtedly. The story itself, though well written is a bit disappointing. There is a lot of build up but it doesn't end up leading anywhere. I might not have continued to the end if it weren't for the wonderful narration.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The detail of life in 1800's Iceland was infinitely more interesting than the story itself.


    What about Morven Christie’s performance did you like?

    EVERYTHING. This is actually the second book I have bought from Audible with Morven Christie narrating, though I didn't notice at first as the other performance was very different and in a Scottish accent. Each character's voice is distinct and clear, when they story says they sound tired or anxious, they do. I will definitely be listening to any future offerings by this narrator.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Abigail Reynolds
    • Narrated By Rachel E. Hurley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    What if the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry...is her husband? In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet tells the proud Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy that she wouldn't marry him if he were the last man in the world. But what if she never said the words? What if circumstances conspired to make her accept Darcy the first time he proposes?

    SandyH says: "Finally....finally..."
    "BAD. SO VERY VERY BAD"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy?

    I love Darcy and Elizabeth. I think I must have read Pride and Prejudice at least once a year since I was 12. The couple in this story bear no resemblance in any way to the characters I love so much. It reads like bad fanfiction written by someone who saw the movie once.


    What could Abigail Reynolds have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I will not be bothering with any other offerings from this author.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rachel E. Hurley’s performances?

    It's difficult to tell with something so painfully bad as this how much of said badness the narrator may or may not be responsible for. Presumably she made it the whole way through the story at least once, which is a lot more than I could manage.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    All of the above and more, but not in a good way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1231)
    Performance
    (890)
    Story
    (901)

    Anne Elliot has grieved for seven years over the loss of her first love, Captain Frederick Wentworth. But events conspire to unravel the knots of deceit and misunderstanding in this beguiling and gently comic story of love and fidelity.

    Emily - Audible says: "Juliet Stevenson is Simply Amazing"
    "A wonderful classic beautifully read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Persuasion rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Persuasion is my favourite Austen and not only does this version do it justice, it was even better than I remembered.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I am quite partial to the scenes where Anne is so very aware of Captain Wentworth's presence, even when they interact very little. We have all been there and to my mind this kind of longing and depth of feeling can be somewhat lacking in Jane Austen's other books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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