Iron War

Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run
Narrated by: Seth Michael Donsky
Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (411 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The 1989 Ironman World Championship was the greatest race ever in endurance sports. In a spectacular duel that became known as the Iron War, the world's two strongest athletes raced side by side at world-record pace for a grueling 139 miles.

Driven by one of the fiercest rivalries in triathlon, Dave Scott and Mark Allen raced shoulder to shoulder through Ironman’s 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race, and 26.2-mile marathon. After 8 punishing hours, both men would demolish the previous record - and cross the finish line a mere 58 seconds apart.

In his new book, Iron War, sports journalist Matt Fitzgerald writes a riveting epic about how Allen and Scott drove themselves and each other through the most awe-inspiring race in sports history. Iron War goes beyond the pulse-pounding race story to offer a fascinating exploration of the lives of the world’s two toughest men and their unquenchable desire to succeed.

Weaving an examination of mental resolve into a gripping tale of athletic adventure, Iron War is a soaring narrative of two champions and the paths that led to their stunning final showdown.

©2011 Matt Fitzgerald (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Iron War

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fine Story....But the Narration!!!!

I had no problems with the substance and story of the book. Although I think my being an active age group triathlete helps to make the book more interesting than it would be to someone who has never been kicked in the face during an open water swim! The two protagonists are interesting people and their achievements, which are related in the book, are phenomenal.

On the other hand, the narration is just off. One of the worst of any audiobook I have listened to in 20 years (including back in the audio cassette days). The best way I can describe the narration is that it seemed like the book was narrated by Cruella DeVille. Seriously, listen for yourself.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story - HORRIBLE naration

I just couldn't get past the over the top narration lacking any flow or rhythm.

6 people found this helpful

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Worst Narration Ever

Would you try another book from Matt Fitzgerald and/or Seth Michael Donsky?

I simply can't listen to Seth Michael Donsky. If the subject matter were not so interesting to me, I would have stopped immediately. I can only listen to short pieces at a time. Matt Fitzgerald tries to hard to use metaphors to create understanding.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He has the worst enunciation and over the top breathing, and his style exacerbates the overdone metaphor hyperbole. It's hilarious at times, but mostly, it's just unbearable.

3 people found this helpful

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this book was as painful as a double ironman

Would you try another book from Matt Fitzgerald and/or Seth Michael Donsky?

absolutely not

Would you ever listen to anything by Matt Fitzgerald again?

absolutely not

What didn’t you like about Seth Michael Donsky’s performance?

Donsky's narration was grating in voice quality, but worse, he used the wrong intonations with the words he was reading. that said, he could only read the really poor writing.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

the general story of Scott and Allen was good, the extra garbage about who was thinking what when you couldn't know, failing to acknowledge that Allen would have received several penalties on the iron war day had all the stuff from the story been true, blaming the fathers for everything, it was too much, poor, poor trod upon typical America cry baby stuff throughout the book.

Any additional comments?

Mark Allen's divorce was acceptable because Allen was a peyote smoking mystic, but Allen was a terrible father ergo the divorce because he made his kid ride a bike while he ran? Mark Allen's father was a terrible father because he worked all the time to get through medical school, then after the divorce, his father was a terrible father because he called him every week and expected him to go to college which somehow equaled too controlling, then when Mark was doing tri, his father was there to support him at races and that was wrong too. Let's face it, regardless of what his father did, he would have been demonized to support the author's hypothesis that people really good at triathlon had bad fathers. Every body can find something to claim their father was terrible, sad that this had to be the overriding theme of this book when in fact, but for his father's money and financial support, Mark Allen would not have been doing triathlons rather than working those first years.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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But that narration...

Excellent story. The narrator's style just didn't jive for me. Still highly recommended. The inspiration is there, it's up to you (and me) to leverage it.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator is annoying!

The book is pretty good and entertaining. But the narrator's over pronunciation of every word was a distraction from the content.

The history of the 2 athletes and Ironman in generals was very interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, difficult to listen to the narrator

I have the hard copy version of the book. Bought the audiobook to listen to in my car and when biking/running. Narrator is difficult to listen to. Way over the top. Would have preferred a more conversational narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story...tough to listen to.

Truly a great story... A must read for the budding triathlete or the nostalgic IRONMAN...one point though, the narration is tough to get into. Nothing against Seth Michael Donsky, but I don't think his narration style was the best for this book. My first impression was that he wasn't an athlete and couldn't connect with the essence of story. After a couple if tries to listen, I finally increased the speed to 1.5x...that helped pick up the pace and make it tolerable/enjoyable. It's worth listen. Great story!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting story but horrible narration

I love these types of stories and this one is fascinating but the narration was down right horrible. It was too painful to finish.

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Wow - one of the best books on Audible

I’ve listened to over 200 books on Audible and can say that both the story as well as the performance is simply superb. Well done on an amazing book

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  • Matthew
  • 01-07-15

Great story, narrator is a turd

What did you like most about Iron War?

Excellent and in depth biographies of Dave and Mark, to give a clear lead up to the story of the race. Good and well timed additions of scientific research at the right places regarding running types, endurance science, sports psychology. Really well written words.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Iron War?

The actual race was gripping and emotionally charged for me, because it was so well lead up to by the preceding biographies. (Also, I'm training for my first Ironman and I listened to it while on my training runnings and cyclings)

What didn’t you like about Seth Michael Donsky’s performance?

This narrator is a total TURD and his performance should be flushed.

He ruined a great book.

Someone told him to record an audiobook and he enunciates EVERY frigging syllable as if his singing teacher will slap him for missing every consonant.

It's sh-- when listening to him talk as a narrative. It's HORRIBLE when listening to him read out the speech bits. Imagine, in the heat of battle, after struggling for hours, if you heard a prissy toad say in perfectly eloquent speech, "I'*m* goin*g* To Bury *Y*ou. You won'T wiNN *T*his *T*ime , *M*ark." [each starred letter is accentuated, each capital letter is spoken loudly, the double letters are drawn out and the pause... oh god, the pauses at the wrong places...]

Really, I work in IT and I've heard computer text-to-speech programs with more emotion during dialog than this loser.

A message for Mr Seth Micheal Dropkick: they have battled side by side for 8 hours. They don't give a sh-- about pronouncing every god-damned T and D. Oh, and pausing between "Iron" and "Man", every time, doesn't add suspense, it just shows how much of a turd you are.

Like I said: the narration ruined a great book.

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

Pumped my fists in the air at their victories. Shouted a "yes" at their challenges. (Yes, I was listening while I was training for my first ironman).

Filled me with rage and nausea listening to the idiot read it like a musical dictation class.

Any additional comments?

Sue the narrator. Use the money to pay a an experienced narrator to read it like a human.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 04-08-13

Fantastic

I really didn't think I'd enjoy a book lasting so long about one race. However this is one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. What amazing athletes!! Interesting to wonder what could have Dave Scott could have produced if Mark Allen hadn't trailed him all day up to the marathon. I'm not taking away from the athletic ability but he didn't do the same work and worked the system better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. J. Hedley
  • 08-22-20

Great story. Horrible tedious narration.

This is a great story and I loved the way Matt weaved in so many elements beyond the actual race. BUT the narration is awful. Tedious to the extent I almost gave up listening a few times. The narrator shouldn’t narration non-fiction. He would be great for fantasy children’s tales. He over enunciates so many words, overemphasises phrases for dramatic effect, and stumbles over simple phrases as he is simply trying too hard. Nothing wrong with his effort or passion, but who listened to a first cut and allowed him to continue?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-02-20

The narrator almost killed this for me

Gripping story - how could it not be? But the narrator’s bizarre tempo, emphasis and sound quality were awful. Shame

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  • antony jefferys
  • 03-12-20

Boring

one of the greatest stories in ironman read by the most bored person in the world

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  • Chris
  • 07-02-19

Terrible narration, I sent the book back, I’m so disappointed as it feels like an amazing story

Unlistenable! Such terrible narration, story could be good but I just didn’t get a chance to listen! Awful

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  • David Donne
  • 06-29-19

Dissapointed in the narration

I just couldn't listen to it after 5 minutes it is clear the author does not capture the magnitude, or gravity of this book. It is read with zero emotion and feels clinical. Sub heading of this book says Greatest Race Ever Run and yet it makes it feel like the most boring race ever run. was so excited to listen to this as i am just beginning IM training and feeling inspired this sadly killed it good job Chrissie wellingtons book hits the mark

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  • Sam
  • 03-11-19

The narration is laughable, but it's a great book!

Seriously the narrator is bad, the guy can't actually talk like that in real life. I read another review that likened him to the comic book guy from The Simpsons... and they were right! That aside, its a really good book, i'd definitely recommend it, and to be honest the narrator didn't bother me after the first hour or so, in fact, i found him quite funny.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-18

Great book, just need to get over the narration

Really enjoyed the book, but the narrator is very difficult to listen too. Sounds like the comic book guy from the Simpsons. Worth enduring though, as the book itself is great

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  • J. Ridge
  • 05-18-18

Amazing story, slightly irritating narrator

A truly extraordinary story which links sport, psychology and competition. The narrator has a very distinctive accent which is initially rather off putting. Persevere though. It is worth it.

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  • David
  • 09-01-15

great story - terrible reading

great story, but it sounds like the comic book guy from he Simpson reading it :(

2 people found this helpful

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  • MJ Conway
  • 10-08-18

Another Fitzgerald classic.

An excellent listen in my car journey to work. Was not sure at first about Seth Donskys voice but as the chapters went by, I loved it! The story is well researched, highly informative and gives you an excellent insight of what it must have been like at the time to witness one of the most famous duels in endurance sport. Loved the build up and finish. Highly recommend whether you are into endurance sports or not.

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  • Barnacles
  • 04-18-15

great story, average rating

Amazing and inspirational story. as a newcomer to triathlon the tale of this epic battle was new to me and this account is great. The forays into physiology and sports psychology were very interesting and complemented the story. The narrator has an odd manner which at times sounds a bit nuts, but the story more than makes up for this quibble. Highly recommended.