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Publisher's Summary

How much should you pay for a return trip to the moon? How are Winnie the Pooh and the artificial heart related? Did teenagers exist before 1950? If not, who invented them? James May's 20th Century answers all these questions and more.

In this exclusive download released to tie-in with the BBC TV series, James May explores the iconic themes of the century: flight, space travel, television, mechanised war, medicine, computers, electronic music, skyscrapers, electronic espionage, and much more.

But he also reveals the hidden story behind why some inventions like the Zeppelin, the motorcycle side car, or the Theremin struggled to make their mark. He examines the tipping points � when technologies such as the car or the internet became unstoppable � and gets up close by looking at the nuts and bolt of remarkable inventions.

Packed with surprising statistics and intriguing facts, this is the ideal book for anyone who wants to know how stuff works and why some stuff didn't make it.

©2007 James May and Phil Dolling (P)2007 Hodder and Stoughton Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 05-15-09

Very informative and entertaining

For all the fans of Jeremy's ramblings on Top Gear, this is a must read. He points out just how much the innovations of last century have impacted our lives. He brings to life some of the most interesting and misunderstood facts about these inventions, and it is clear from his narration that he is passionate about the subjects. Very well researched, very well written, very well performed. I learned a lot and laughed a lot. Great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book and narration!!

I love listening to James May reading his books. Very entertaining with interesting topics. Great.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

James May is awesome!

If you could sum up James May's 20th Century in three words, what would they be?

Any one that watches Top Gear knows.

Who was your favorite character and why?

James is funny in the way only he can be funny.

If you could give James May's 20th Century a new subtitle, what would it be?

The book that puts Jeremy Clarkson to sleep.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely James May

If you are a fan of James May from Top Gear UK... then you already love this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jared
  • United States
  • 03-17-11

James May is Gold

Everything he does is both very informative, which I love, but also very entertaining. This book gives a good background on a lot of things I had never realized before and probably would never have taken the time to look up if not presented in this format.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anabella
  • 03-20-09

An Enjoyable & Informative Listen

This is a very good audiobook that requires no knowledge of the accompanying TV series or indeed any enthusiasm for motors ! James May is very engaging as a reader and his enthusiam comes through clearly. I was expecting a Top Gear approach to things but instead this book takes you on a fascinating tour of the 20th Century through vehicles, technology and human ingenuity and is full of little known facts. I found myself lost in this book quite a few times and have listened to more than once. Great value & well recommended !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon Webster
  • 11-21-08

Buy it

Very enjoyable, a great listen again and again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark Field
  • 06-07-18

Well researched but....

Well researched but some topics feel like a bit of a filler. Ended up skipping a topic about clothes.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mael Dujardin
  • 04-12-18

very nice

informative and easy to listen to. if anything, I wish it had been longer. still very good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • michael d porteous
  • 03-17-17

Great

I find James may very easy to listen to, great book, well read, 5 stars

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Luke Edwards
  • 12-01-15

good for a credit.

Not as good as his others but still an entertaining listen.
As others have said, lots of interesting facts and a good companion to the tv series.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kingbrill
  • 07-04-15

An enjoyable listen

What about James May’s performance did you like?

As a narrator James May is very listenable.

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

Yes I could - it's an easy listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nick Gear
  • 07-15-13

some thing to listen to again and again

What did you like most about James May's 20th Century?

that he read it himself

What did you like best about this story?

all of it

Which character – as performed by James May – was your favourite?

there are no characters as its a factual book

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

concorde