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Publisher's Summary

When The Moon's a Balloon was first published in 1971, it received huge acclaim. The book became a classic and has gone on to sell over five million copies worldwide.

Rich in hilarious anecdote, it tells the story of Niven's school and Sandhurst days, his posting to Malta with the Highland Light Infantry, and how he escaped the army for a new life in the States. There he joined New York high society, before crossing the continent, lured by Hollywood. He returned to Britain to serve during the Second World War, but then made Hollywood his home.

A self-confessed name dropper, Niven's encounters range from garden walks with Churchill to finding Greta Garbo swimming naked in his pool.

©1971 Marulto Establishment (P)2005 Headline Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"An immensely enjoyable, witty and racy memoir." (Sunday Times)
"Forthright, bawdy, and often hilarious, zany and zestful, his anecdotes should keep you entertained for hours." (Sunday Express)

What listeners say about The Moon's a Balloon

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful....but....

my only regret about this audiobook is that it is too brief, I wish it was longer.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Lizzie
  • Lizzie
  • 09-04-13

Abridgement leaves something to be desired

Would you try another book written by David Niven or narrated by David Niven?

I adore David Niven's writing style and narration.

Would you recommend The Moon's a Balloon to your friends? Why or why not?

I cannot recommend this book because the abridgement leaves out so much of the written work.

What about David Niven’s performance did you like?

David Niven's delivery of the abridged autobiography is excellent.

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

The lighthearted style of the writer/narrator made this a very good listen. There were some very sad passages and the emotions were alluded to, but it never became mawkish.

Any additional comments?

On the whole I was disappointed, probably because I had read the book when it was originally published and I am very aware of the huge gaps that the abridgement has left. It is such a shame as the book was one of the best of its type. I was going to buy and listen to the next instalment of David Niven's memoir, but I think that I will re-read the book instead - simply because I am so disappointed with this audiobook.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison St Pierre
  • 09-18-12

Everything I had hoped it would be!

A fabulous book, beautifully written and skillfully delivered by this enchanting author. The book moves very quickly and packs in lots of information. I listened to it twice and the second time, I picked up a lot of the detail I lost in the first reading. David speaks beautifully and his charm exudes throughout. A book I will surely enjoy listening to again. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ben
  • 08-08-11

Velvet Niven

I have been reading a lot of autobiographies lately but I still return to this one as the most honest and moving. Short, heartfelt and authentic read by the man himself.

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Nubs
  • 10-23-19

The moon's a balloon

Very good,but very short,I read this book years ago and there is a large portion missing,it is very poor value for money.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-05-20

Disappointingly short.

I was dissapointed by the brevity of this abridged version that I had not noticed at purchase. Its a great storey well told by Niven but far too short. Avoid this abridged version.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 03-14-13

I expected more

I normally avoid "abridged" versions of books, and in fact I only bought this version by accident.



Not sure if the full version would be any better - but I felt this version was a quick summary of events with no detail and few amusing anecdotes.



By all means listen to the full version - but this was disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • loldonely
  • 10-03-20

Two Chapters BAD.

Only two chapters in this book, just NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Should be the WHOLE BOOK.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Arthur
  • 07-08-13

Absolute Classic

What did you like most about The Moon's a Balloon?

Hearing the narator read his own biography. I have been put off several biographys in the past where 'ghost readers' are used!!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Apart from David, there are so many other characters to choose from as he glances in and out of other peoples lives that it is impossible to pick just one.

Have you listened to any of David Niven’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I am half way through 'Bring on the Empty Horses' and this is just as captivating. I did read the 'hard copy' version of 'The Moons a Baloon' many, many years ago but hearing the man read his own story is just awesome.

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

All of them !

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs. M. Smeeton
  • 06-30-13

So suave

Where does The Moon's a Balloon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

an excellent autobiography- memories of a bygone golden age in movies, recounted in a smooth, suave manner but never smarmy if you know what I mean? Some fascinating anecdotes, some laugh out loud funny moments and just a pity it seems over too soon.

What other book might you compare The Moon's a Balloon to, and why?

This is the same smooth and relaxed style of Michael Caine's autobiography.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrew George
  • 11-09-20

my dad

my dad told me about this book so many years ago. he raved about it and he was right as usual. very amusing and enlightening. a story made better by the fact that I grew up watching niven films. everyone has sadness and he was no exception.

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  • Julia
  • 09-24-15

would prefer unabridged version

too short on detail - lose the richness of David's stories. left me wanting more

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark Rookes
  • 06-01-15

Great era in movieland

This book was about a fine actor whom lived through the same era as my father and as such I related to the live for the day ethos that prevailed during war time. Serendipity played its part in Niven's life and took him on a great journey where life was for living. Tragedy in life also was what made him the gentleman he was.
I am looking forward to part two Bring on the empty horses.