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The Age of Daredevils

Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At the dawn of the twentieth century, a small but determined band of barrel jumpers risked their lives in one of the world's most wondrous waterfalls. Only a few survived.

By turns a family drama and an action-adventure story, The Age of Daredevils chronicles the lives of the men and women who devoted themselves to the extraordinary sport of jumping over Niagara Falls in a barrel - a death-defying gamble that proved a powerful temptation to a hardy few.

Internationally known in the 1920s and '30s for their barrel-jumping exploits, the Hills were a father-son team of daredevils who also rescued dozens of misguided thrill seekers and accident victims who followed them into the river. The publicity surrounding the Hills' spectacular feats ushered in tourism, making Niagara Falls the nation's foremost honeymoon destination, but ultimately set Red Hill Jr. on a perilous path to surpass his father's extraordinary leaps into the void.

Like the works of Jon Krakauer and David McCullough, The Age of Daredevils explores the primal force of fear and the thirst for adventure that drive humans to the brink of death to see if they can somehow escape.

©2016 Michael Clarkson. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Interesting

The facts given within are interesting...but this is not a spellbinding book. I could take it or leave it. It is a good choice if you have work to do that would get ignored if you were stuck in a book!

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting !

Loved this book. it was hard to put it down. Loved every chapter. verg interesting. everyone in this book was real.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A by gone era

You feel as if you know the River Boys who risk their lives and the consequences that play on their families lives saving people who come into contact with Niagara Falls. William Red Hill will always be remembered as a great Man and the patriarch of the Daredevil's.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

the hills are Heros

Great book because it was based on a great family. I've been back and forth to Niagara Falls so times in my life living in Erie PA. I've never once heard about the hill family until I listed this audio books. What a shame what an amazing family why isn't there a memorial to them there should be..but they were not rich. they didn't donate Millions to build a bridge. They just sacrificed their time and much of their lives to helping others. And there's no recognition anywhere in Niagara falls for them . I'm sure there is in heaven blessed be God to Hill families...great story.. I enjoyed it because not specific little vingetts. It was more biography about a family and their stunts their ups and downs. theirloves and their losse. I bought on a whimp but it ended up being a great listen.. only suggestion to know more about what happened w other members of The Hill Family edith? other younger sisters. harry?. it did say wesley the last surviving member. However the author didn't provide any detail he must have been one of the younger children. I want to know more about this family that is what interest me It's more of a personal interest Daredevil story very good. interested in hill Generations up until today.

18 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

What people will do for kicks

Interesting true stories of people who were risk takers by going over Niagra Falls. It was quite a cult and some made a living out of this kind of risky behavior. Having been to Niagra Falls, I was stunned that anyone would even think about trying this.

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3 for 3

3 for 3. Great reading. Great story. Well written. Not just the dry facts and dates, but a story filled with action and dialogue. I wondered at the start how the author could have so much information about what the participants were thinking, and about personal conversations, but as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that a tremendous amout of research and personal interviews were done to get the story. Loved the book, makes me want to visit Niagara Falls again with a fresh perspective.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

Many years ago my family visited Niagara Falls and while there we visited a museum that had some of the barrels that had been used for the various stunts. I found it very interesting to hear the story about the people associated with those exploits.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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who knew?

Interesting niche of History . Like flagpole-sitting and Marathon dancing people didn't have as many distractions as they do today.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Phyllis
  • Glendale, WI, United States
  • 09-01-18

Does it matter?

Mildly interesting at first but it dragged slowly to a non-ending. The stories of a bunch of dumb people risking their lives to go over the falls just doesn’t have any redeeming value.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Story seldom heard

I love little bits of history that rarely make the history books. Everyone knows the people went over the falls in a barrel but to know these people makes history come alive. The Hill family story needs to be told. It kept me involved & sometimes at the edge of my seat. I felt the heart sickness of the wives who were helpless to convince their husbands & father to their children to choose them over the falls. But there was a call, an obsession, or even a vision of fame & money that had to be fulfilled regardless of the insurmountable odds against success.