The 747 that went up whole and came down in 876 pieces invaded every part of my life. My only consolation is that, without being able to turn around, she never saw the giant hole where the rest of the aircraft should have been. It was an oblong oval opening to the tumbling sky, bordered by torn cables, shredded aluminum aircraft skin, sheared beams, and spars, and accented with sparking severed wires. And I hope she couldn't comprehend what was actually happening if she lived long enough to ride this nearly three-mile-high, free-falling hell-ivator all the way down to the ocean's surface, and then sink to 140 feet below, where her body would wait to be recovered.
This is a TWA Flight 800 memoir told by author Mark L. Berry, a former TWA pilot whose fiancé Susanne was one of the 230 passengers and crew who died when that flight exploded at 13,760 feet off Long Island's southern shore. While primarily read by the author, 94 voice actors help bring the numerous people to life through a full-cast production (including small guest appearances by podcasters Scott Sigler, Seth Harwood, and Mike Bennett). The print and e-book versions contain lyric snippets from 34 original songs infused into their respective chapters, which grew to 41 in the two years this 348-page book was recorded and mixed-giving this audiobook its own soundtrack. The full songs can be heard on the author's website.
©2013 Mark L. Berry (P)2015 Mark L. Berry
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I will be returning this book. Although the story seems well written, the presentation is so foreign and jarring to me that I could not enjoy the well-crafted words. I will be looking for this book in print or Kindle version instead. Wonderful story so far though and although this audio version is not right for me, it may well be right for you!
"Amazing, tragic, sad and funny story all at once!"
The story line itself is very personal, and tragic, but the life experiences that the author puts into words are written with such detail that you can feel as if you were along side with him. It is a very honest from the heart memoir.
The pilot chapters were my favorite to like. The other chapters were liked for their geographical references. No one wants to admit liking the sad chapters, but they pull you along through the story and connect it all together.
Mark L. Berry's performance is quirky, and he reads in a halting kind of way, but one can become addicted to him reading the Chapter # alone! I listened to the audio after reading the book, and was surprised at the depth of feeling and non-expression he put into the reading at the same time. The songs were an awesome addition.
My reaction to this book was that of hearing a journey through lives so connected. I was sad to not be reading/listening to it anymore when it was finished.
Yes - absolutely. I would also recommend to friends that may not know Mark, may not understand flying, and may not understand the personal impact that TWA 800 had on so many lives, including me grieving for 2 close friends, Mark & Susanne.
I could be selfish and say I am my favorite character, though only a small part of speaking, but involved in many stages of Mark's life. Seriously, no one is less favorite in the book, all have and do play an important part of Mark's life.
There are way too many to pick just one.
I really wish I could listen in one sitting, but due to the length and parts I kept replaying over, it too a little time to get through all.
Mark is a long-time friend dating back to the days in Greenwich and we have experienced many things in life together, one of which was when TWA 800 wend down. Susanne was also a friend from GHS and UCONN and we all felt and still feel pain. Mark has always had the ability to tell great stories and he has now mastered the ability to share those stories with words. From "Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun", "Street Justice" and now "13,760 Feet: My Personal Hole in the Sky" - Great Books, Great Times, Great Friend. Thank you MLB - Cheers - Simon (aka Spy)
"Engaging Autobiography with Global Consequences"
Mark L. Berry does an interesting job presenting his autobiography. He weaves his personal experience with technical details of piloting, relating all of this to the controversial conclusions of the downing of TWA Flight 800. While I am not one who embraces conspiracy theories, his questioning of the official explanations of the Flight 800 crash are rational and reasonable, despite his clear emotional connection to the crash.
The alternating of his personal experiences, from childhood and courtship to his post-crash experiences, created a compelling narrative. While some of the narrative may not appeal to all audiences, his sketches provide great insight into the lifestyle of airline personnel and the challenges and realities they face. Berry presents these in a manner that is easy to follow, being transparent about motivations and obstacles. Berry also does a good job putting a human face on a headline disaster. Too often, it is easy to dismiss notorious events and focusing on a body count without considering that all of the people lost had a web of relationships and the disaster has real world ripples affecting many lives.
The proposal scene is very poignant, because it reflects the "mostly planned" theme of the entire narrative. While Berry had the big pieces figured out, the essential details were undetermined and fell naturally into place.
I listened to much of this book while doing a long drive. Unlike many audiobooks, that make me drowsy after extended listening and I need to turn them off from time to time, I kept this narrative going. Part of this was the interspersion of the music. While the music may not be for everyone, I found it entertaining.
The quality of the audio is variable. In some spots, there are abrupt changes in the mix. Similarly, some of the voice actors are difficult to understand.
I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone. Fiction or nonfiction, it maintains the capturing qualities of a fiction story, and coming from a fiction reader myself, it kept my attention intensely throughout the entire story.
There are many things about this story I like best. The writing style is very unique and while may seem confusing at first, is quickly wrapped up and explained in detail leaving the listener with a sense of amazement. The emotional ties are also fantastic. With chapters switching between depressingly misfortunate, to comedic occurrences and adventures, it grips your attention through the entire audio.
I really enjoyed the suspense of the mountain climbing scene. The way it was written and spoken gave a great deal of tension and almost made it feel as if you were right there climbing along side Berry.
I consider myself to be a relatively physically unemotional man. I rarely laugh or cry at anything, whether it's a book, movie, or tv show. But I found myself laughing quite a few times during this book, and tearing up in others. As I previously mentioned, chapters seem to switch between comedic and somber, and in quite a few instances I would find myself smiling at the end of one chapter, and quite sad at the middle of the next.
A basic summarization could be put as such:
Mark L. Berry’s 13,760 Feet: A Personal Hole in the Sky, is the biography of the writer’s crazy life full of depressing misfortune, and hilarious happenings. In a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy, 13,760 Feet is a decently lengthy and incredibly interesting story that leaves you amazed at the style of writing and emotional strength packed inside of a 15 hour long audio tape. With over 60 voice actors to portray each character, and more than 40 original songs composed by Berry, this book is simply a masterpiece. Overall, the complex but intriguing writing style, beautiful songs, and incredible emotional impact put together in this audio book is amazing. I would highly recommend this to any reader, fictional or not, and commend the writer for making suck an amazing piece of literature.
This story touched my heart, very special.
I loved that the author narrated the book, couldn't wait to see what would happen next.
"Thoughts from a fellow pilot"
There's more to the story than the plane crash. Plenty of humorous sidebars that help readers to glean more insight into the lifestyles of airline crew members.
I'm not sure that I've ever quite read a book in this format. There are a lot of good stories within 13,760 Feet. At times it reads like a romance novel, sometimes a comedy, sometimes a drama.
I have listened to snippets of his earlier books. Mark has definitely been practicing his craft and honing his skills as a writer as well as a reader.
This was a page turner. It took me through a wide spectrum of emotions throughout the book. Some parts were tough to read. But I found the narration even more intense at times. Mark Berry is an intense guy and this book has his heart written on the page.
Mark writes in an easy to read and understand style. He doesn't use a lot of technical talk to explain aviation related concepts to readers who are not pilots. And I can honestly say I greatly appreciate that he doesn't waste the readers time with unnecessary pages of lengthy, over detailed descriptions of generic settings.
Absolutely everything: the story itself, the lyrics, the performance of the author and of the other characters. The emotional strength and the depth of the author's story at a professional and human level. He truly is an amazing pilot and man and he has succeeded in transforming his grief in a blessing for his readers.
I am an air traffic controller and, of course, I enjoyed the book because it took me "airborne" every time I listened to it. I was mostly admirative of the author's resilience, which was evident in every page.
I was amazed by the lyrics, that made the entire book alive, I truly never experienced such a wonderful way of telling a story. I was completely drawn into it and found it hard to put down. I really had the impression that he was there, right there in front of me, telling me his story. Once, I as so engrossed in listening that I even missed my train! :-)
I would not have experienced an amazing witness of strength and love for life and desire to continue to give a meaning to one's life. I think he really set an example of how we can get over our griefs and orient our lives and be happy in them in spite of all the hardship. At the beginning of his book, Mark Berry says he was not as tough as his father was and would have wanted him to be. But I think his father can be nothing else than VERY proud of him. He is someone I can look up to too, even if I have only "met" him through the pages of his book.
Absolutely. But I would want to listen to it more than once. I am at my second listening, and I feel as if I discovered an even greater depth. I even took the courage to contact the author through his website, and he answered my message and we proved himself to be a charming man.
I really recommend this book to everyone. I also invite everyone to go to his website and listen to the songs, that are precious and meaningful and truly brilliant. To him, I can only say "thank you" for having shared his experience so openly and frankly.
"A memoir by a former pilot - very emotional"
13,760 Feet: My Personal Hole in the Sky
Author: Mark L. Berry
Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged
Narrator: Mark L. Berry
Length: 15 hours, 2 minutes
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Release Date: April 3, 2015
Publisher: Trans World Author Inc.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
This audiobook is written and narrated by Mark L. Berry. Mark is a former TWA pilot.
This is a memoir of how the plane crash of TWA Flight 800 affected his entire life.
He was not the pilot of that fateful flight, but one of the passengers was his fiancé Susanne.
The flight exploded in the air at 13,760 feet off Long Island's south shore. There were 230 passengers and crew onboard and every single one of them died.
This memoir not only chronicles the crash itself, but also his courtship of Susanne and how her death affected his life and the lives of many others.
Mark has also written, or co-written forty one songs that are included in this audiobook.
I am not a music critic but I found the songs redundant. Each one basically tells the same part of Mark's story that the narrator had just spoken, except with music as a background. Also, I do not want to offend the author, but the songs are not very good. That does not mean they won't appeal to someone else, they just did not appeal to me.
The story itself is interesting and my heart definitely goes out to the author and to all the families and friends of all those who perished in this horrible incident.
I imagine that writing this story was heart wrenching for Mark Berry but I hope it helped him to heal and to move on from losing his fiancé.
I rate the book and the narration as 3.5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐
"Great story of life, loss and rebirth"
This story was enjoyable because of the authenticity brought to it by the author. Having worked in the "back office" of the airline industry, and at one time having pursued a position in the "front office," the story lays out a "what might have been" narrative for me in my own career path. Moreover, the aspects of the author's personal life are so vividly described, it is very easy to find yourself pulling for him as he navigates his turbulent course. This story of the author's life, the pain of his losses, and his path forward is very compelling.
I liked the authenticity of the story. Having been close to the airline industry for many years, this story brings to life the realities of a life in the clouds.
The author's work is greatly enhanced by the use of the songs he wrote and included in the audio book. The provided an added flavor that a written book could not provide.
No. I wanted to take it in a piece at a time.
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