I really enjoyed this biography read excellently by Alex Jennings. The author had a colourful character to write about which helps, but she has created a pacy life-story that cracks along like a novel, but is also a work of scholarship involving much delving into archives. Dickens is presented as a complex man, not all good, and driving himself to extinction by over-work. The characters and themes of his books are woven into the biography and one can see how his life experiences have enriched his writings.
Who would have thought that about 25 hours of listening about the life of William Pitt the Younger could be so interesting, informative and engaging. I?m interested in history but only had a vague knowledge of the life and times of this historical character associating him in my mind with being the youngest Prime Minister ever and his exhibiting acumen over financial matters. What a life it was and at such a turbulent time in European history. William Hague has produced not only a book of great scholarship, over the details of the political scene, but also a cracking good narrative that had me eager to return to the recording to find out what happened next to this extraordinary man. The biographical side of the book reveals the complexity of Pitt?s character and his interactions with all the famous men (and it was virtually only men) set against a series of crises in Britain, including the ?madness? of George III, and repeated wars in Europe.
The authors writing style is well-suited to being narrated and is ably read by Richard Burnip. The narrative is enriched by the fact that the author is a politician who knows the ins and outs of the parliamentary system and pokes fun at the shenanigans of his predecessors. Events subsequent to the publication of this book show that little has changed over the last 200 years.
I see that there is an abridged version of this book that some may think an easier listen, but I would recommend this unabridged book as there is so much going on during Pitt?s life that is pertinent to current events coupled with the fact, that in my opinion, this is a cracking good listen.
David Attenborough is a giant of natural history and this book charting his many TV series brought home to me just what a contribution he's made to our understanding of the natural world. I hadn't really realized what hardships and privations he's had to go through to capture the footage of unusual life forms in inaccessible places. It's fascinating to hear how the advances in technology have aided his work and enabled him and his team of dedicated camera and sound men bring the natural world into our living rooms. This is a wonderful book and I enjoyed every minute of it. Attenborough is an excellent raconteur with a lively sense of humour. Unreservedly recommended as a great listen.