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Shades of Black  By  cover art

Shades of Black

By: Debbie Manber Kupfer
Narrated by: Paul Winter
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Publisher's Summary

In 1952, London experienced the Great Smog. Around 4,000 people died and 100,000 became sick. It was this event that led Parliament to pass the Clean Air Act of 1956, which paved the way to cleaner air and was an important milestone in the protection of the environment. 

But what if the act was never passed? What if a young and unscrupulous politician and businessman had blocked its passing? 

Meet George Weeks.

A cautionary tale of the world that might have been.

©2020 Debbie Manber Kupfer (P)2020 Debbie Manber Kupfer

What listeners say about Shades of Black

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction reimagined

Audiobook. Book 4 stars, Narration 4 stars.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this audiobook for review.

I'm not always a fan of short stories, usually the longer the better for me (Gone With the Wind or War and Peace).

This story was pared down and succinct. It takes a historical event and reimagines it in a unique way. It had a good ending.

I would be interested in reading more of Debbie Manber Kupfer's work.

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Shades of Black

This is an awesome short story. Engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.
I only wish it was longer.
I will be looking for more from this author.
I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily left this honest review..

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"You've got to keep your promises ...

...when they're lucrative, that is."

This is a very short story of how the greed of one man could destroy the world. Poignant, too, because I remember the great London smogs which initiated the Clean Air Act. Some days it was, literally, impossible to see something two feet ahead: scary and dangerous in several respects.

Narration by Paul Winger was very good, well paced and modulated. Unfortunately, the acoustic quality was not good, having that same empty feeling of a small bathroom. Some padding on the narration booth mi ghost t help.

My thanks to the rights holder of Shades of Black, who, at my request freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. I like the title, the name of the man whose capitalistic promotion of his company above the welfare and lives of the population being Black, just as the residue of the smog left black sooty stains everywhere. Very short but a welcome word of warning in our present climate.

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Short but not memorable

With this story being short, a person would think I would have stayed with me. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I recall it included smog and George Weeks. The only thing I remember was what happened to him. I will not spoil the story. I did receive for an honest review.

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Too much unsaid

I received this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review. That said, there were too many underlying assumptions in this very short story. Even in Parliament, one person cannot be able to block environmental bills for the length of time to become black over the whole world, especially since London had undertaken steps to fight the pea soup fogs at the beginning of the industrial age. Mr. Weeks could not have been so naïve to believe at age 86 that he really had no responsibility or did not know. I had not noticed that it was only a 13 minute book, and was expecting flashbacks of Mr. Weeks' life. The ending was very abrupt. Paul Winter was a good narrator.

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Can't Believe this Smog Killed 12,000!

"Shades of Black (The Life and Death of George Weeks) " by Debbie Manber Kupfer is a thought provoking narrative on the effects of air pollution on the population of London, England in 1952, and the scarier implications for the rest of the planet. At first, I didn't realise that this was based on an event that actually happened at the time.  I was amazed by the amount of information that I learned in this short story. Prior to 1952, London was prone (& still is) to the smog because it sits in a type of valley & thus weather systems like anticyclones caused the smog to stall until blown away by a strong wind. These weather systems usually lasted 1-2 days but in 1952 it lasted 5 days which accounted for such a loss of life. My city also sits in a valley, and I can attest to the fact that living in a "bowl" does trap more pollutants as I never had an asthma attack until I moved here, as an adult, from a larger, more industrialised city. It was the respirologist who explained the weather phenomenon to me.  It took Londoners until 1956 to realise that 12,000 people had died during the Great Smog of 1952. Part of the reason for the delay in collating the in , themselves. So in effect, one area might have simply thought that they were having a bad week.
The author reversed the 1956 Parliament vote by introducing the character of George Weeks. By blocking The Clean Air Act, he started a chain of events that Debbie Manber Kupfer portrays in a rather unique way. The story is short but the message conveyed is as valid today as it would have been in 1956. It is a worthwhile short story to listen too, keeping in the back of your mind that we owe a thanks to the 12,000 Londoners who gave their lives, as it brought about the Clean Air Act of 1956 & 1962 which spurred other countries to do the same.
Some reviewers commented that their audio was of a very poor quality. That is rather unfortunate. The narration by Paul Winter, on my copy, was very well done and the audio was very clear. I had no difficulties enjoying this novelette and it deserves the 4.5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🎉 that I have given it.

I requested this ebook or audiobook from the author, through StoryOrigin, but I am not related too nor am I friends with this author. This review is my opinion after reading or listening to the novel in it's entirety.

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What if...

A short cautionary tale of how things could have been if the Clean Air Act of 1956 had never been passed in London. Quite an interesting what if.

This story was well written by Debbie Manber Kupfer. I do enjoy her writing style.

I was not a fan of the narration. The audio quality wasn’t very clean... however this may have been done intentionally to fit in with the theme of the story. Paul Winter’s character portrayal was spot on.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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Good story & narration, poor audio quality

This is the ninth book I have read/listened to by this author and I would listen to another. This was a different book as most of the others have been in the P.A.W.S. universe. It is short but poignant. It is unfortunate we truly have people in this world with George Week’s attitude. ——-

This is the first book I have listened to by this narrator ( Paul Winter ) and I would listen to another, however, the audio quality is very poor. It sounds like he’s in a tin can and lots of white noise competing for the narration volume. This is unfortunate because his narration style is quite good. I enjoyed his character voices and cadence. ——-

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence, there is the occasional swearing. ——-

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

Story 4/5
Narration 3/5

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A great listen

When my daughter was little she loved playing the what if game, only the consequences of her game we’re never as dire as a situation in this book. I thought this was a very entertaining book although very short still really good.

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Short, but great

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but this one was great. The author manages to create a whole word, societies, history, all in very few words and the twist in the story was very satisfying.

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  • Kerry Bark
  • 12-27-20

Quite bizarre

A very strange short story that wasn't really a story. Things happened and were said, but seemingly without reason.
"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

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  • Fred Jones
  • 09-17-20

An atmospheric bleak short story

I received a free copy of this story in exchange for an honest review
An atmospheric, bleak short story of an alternative present day where greed and self interest has caused catastrophe. Chillingly apt in 2020 if you substitute a pandemic. Well written and performed

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  • Vix83
  • 07-31-20

Interesting premise, but needs fleshing out

This short story was not what I was expecting when I requested a copy of this audiobook from StoryOrigin. The narration was good, and the premise of the story really interested me, but it was all over the place. The narrative continually flipped between the past and the present, and it was hard to follow at times. This could have been a brilliant book if the plot and characters had been fleshed out.
I was given a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

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  • Debbie McLean
  • 04-04-20

good

a good but short story, I'd like to see it included with other short stories xxxx