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Mr.

Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 21
  • reviews
  • 51
  • helpful votes
  • 40
  • ratings
  • Bridge of Spies

  • A True Story of the Cold War
  • By: Giles Whittell
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

Who were the three men the Soviet and American superpowers exchanged on Berlin's Glienicke Bridge on February 10, 1962? Bridge of Spies is the true story of those men - Rudolf Abel, a Soviet Spy who was a master of disguise; Gary Powers, an American who was captured when his spy plane was shot down; and Frederic Pryor, a young American doctor mistakenly identified as a spy. They had been drawn into the nadir of the Cold War by duty and curiosity, rescued against daunting odds by fate and by their families, and then all but forgotten.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Beyond dull.

  • By Mr. on 13-04-18

Beyond dull.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-18

A lash up of basic Cold War history, any of which could be accessed from Wikipedia without taxing anyone's brain, and a few moronic conspiracy tropes chucked into the mix. The narration just about copes with the porridge like prose, but the Archangel Gabriel couldn't make this sound anything more than average. I watched the truly awful film and thought the source material couldn't possibly be worse, but I was wrong about that. Sententious, pretentious, infantile. A proper con job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Towards the Flame

  • Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia
  • By: Dominic Lieven
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 15 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

The Russian decision to mobilize in July 1914 may have been the single most catastrophic choice of the modern era. Some articulate, thoughtful figures around the tsar understood Russia's fragility, yet they were shouted down by those who were convinced that despite Germany's patent military superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You must listen to the final chapter

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-06-15

Really terrific, but not a primer for this subject

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-15

I loved this book. It's clever, articulate and hugely informative, and it's beautifully narrated by the experienced and highly skilled Sean Barrett. I found the detailed analysis of the period very stimulating and not at all intimidating in its depth and breadth, but while not describing myself as an expert on the period, I did have a fairly good grounding in the main events of the time. My one caveat would be that it's probably not the best introductory book for this area of interest, but if you do have a rough grounding in its themes it will be a most rewarding listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Spain

  • The Centre of the World 1519-1682
  • By: Robert Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Clyde
  • Length: 21 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

The Golden Age of the Spanish Empire would establish five centuries of Western supremacy across the globe and usher in an era of transatlantic exploration that eventually gave rise to the modern world. It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change - it was a time when Spain learned to rule the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant intro to a history I knew little about

  • By Mary on 08-07-15

Enjoyable, clever, funny - but perplexing.

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

This is a perplexing book to review. The author states in the introduction that it will be a less formal history than is perhaps the norm, and in some ways this is the book's great strength. However, its gossipy tone in some sections seems to have drawn the narrator into feeling that an arch voice and delivery is always appropriate, and I'm not sure I agree. For example, I have been left with an image of Garci Lasso de la Vega as a kind of Kenneth Williams clone in Carry on Conquistador, and I'm not sure that does the greatest poet of his age justice. In fairness, the narrator does get on with his task, which is always to be admired, and has a fine, confiding tone. There are lots of terrific stories and vignettes which really help to illuminate the better known historical themes, and these are the book's greatest joys. There's also some fine analysis of broad political and cultural strands in Spanish and European society which would stand examination in much more august company. However, there are also significant longueurs which even the chatty narration can't cover. The discussion of Don Quixote feels as long as the novel itself, and for all but the most devoted literary scholar must be really taxing. Certain passages discussing the specifics of painting and sculpture fall into the same trap. Nonetheless, I'm glad I listened to it, I enjoyed the vast majority of it, and I laughed and learned a great deal from the experience. If I knew the Spanish for curate's egg, I'd quote it here.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Ardennes 1944

  • Hitler's Last Gamble
  • By: Antony Beevor
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Ardennes 1944 by Antony Beever, read by Sean Barrett. On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his last gamble in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border. Although Hitler's generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good indeed.

  • By Mr. on 06-07-15

Very good indeed.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-15

This is an excellent listen. Sean Barrett is a very fine narrator whose splendid command of language always pleases, and Antony Beevor takes a subject which has become generally reduced to narratives of the siege of Bastogne and explores it in its entirety. A skilful introduction outlines the state of the war in the west, putting the german attack into context, and introduces all the major players before describing the battle's events in a clear and stimulating manner. Hard to fault and much to enjoy.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Woman in White

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: Ian Holm
  • Length: 24 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 719
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 602
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599

Late one moonlit night, Walter Hartright encounters a solitary and terrified woman dressed all in white. He saves her from capture by her pursuers and determines to solve the mystery of her distress and terror. Inspired by an actual criminal case, this gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness and mistaken identity has never been out of print since its publication and brought Collins great fame and success.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Anthony on 13-01-11

Fine telling of a good story.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-14

This is a fine audiobook and I enjoyed it immensely. Having just listened to Peter Jeffrey's masterly telling of The Moonstone I was prepared to be disappointed by comparison, but Ian Holm does a lovely job of telling a complex and, by modern standards, long story. His narration is lucid, with a good pace which never lets the action drag. All in all, well worth a listen.

  • The Moonstone

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: Peter Jeffrey
  • Length: 18 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 393
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395

Considered the first full-length detective novel in the English language, T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as 'the first and greatest English detective novel'. The stone of the title is an enormous yellow diamond plundered from an Indian shrine after the Siege of Seringapatam. Given to Miss Verinder on her 18th birthday, it mysteriously disappears that very night. Suspicion falls on three Indian jugglers who have been seen in the neighbourhood. Sergeant Cuff is assigned to the case....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An absolute gem

  • By Joanne on 29-06-08

Hard to beat.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-14

I don't usually listen to fiction, being much more of a narrative history fan. However, I was an admirer of the late Peter Jeffrey and bought the Moonstone because of his narration. I could not be happier with this audiobook. The story, one of the earliest examples of detective fiction, fully deserves its high reputation among the great British classics, and Peter Jeffrey's handling of the epistolary nature of the narrative is magnificent. Old or young, male or female, Yorkshireman or Indian, he voices each with skill, taste and intelligence creating a wonderful recording. Highly recommended, my only regret is that Peter Jeffrey didn't leave more of a legacy for us to enjoy.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • All the King's Men

  • The British Soldier from the Restoration to Waterloo
  • By: Saul David
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85

The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Saul David's comprehensive history, All the King's Men: The British Soldier from the Restoration to Waterloo, read by the actor Sean Barrett. "The British soldier," wrote a Prussian officer who served with Wellington, "is vigorous, well fed, by nature highly brave and intrepid, trained to the most vigorous discipline, and admirably well-armed...

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The British general from the bits Saul David likes

  • By Ali on 13-07-13

Really splendid narrative history.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-14

This is a thorough and accessible history of the rise of the British redcoat. Using the careers of Marlborough, Wolfe and Wellington as its focal points, it touches all the high points from the Seven Years War to Waterloo, but does not shy away from failures like the American War of Independence or Cumberland's losses in the Low Countries. Elegantly written in simple, uncluttered prose, this is beautifully read by Sean Barrett, whose masterly phrasing, tone and pacing cannot be too highly praised. Just a cracking listen.

  • Churchill

  • By: Roy Jenkins
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 37 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200

In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A biography worthy of Churchill

  • By Francis on 29-11-07

Massive and impressive.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-05-14

This is a very fine piece of work. Long, with many strands to follow, the journey is made surprisingly easy by a deft narrative touch, meticulous research and an absolutely first class narration. As well as being a tremendously informative work with regard to its stated subject, this is a revealing piece in its demonstration of the political class's entrenched sense of entitlement on so many levels. This revelation must certainly have been Roy Jenkins' intention with regard to Winston Churchill, but I wonder if he realised how much of his own ruling class presumption and smugness would leak through in his story telling? A splendid historical biography, but also a pointer to how little the ruling elite differ from generation to generation and how very far removed they are from the lives and concerns of those whom they purport to represent. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Popes

  • A History
  • By: John Julius Norwich
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 236
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 143

Well known for his histories of Norman Sicily, Venice, the Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean, John Julius Norwich has now turned his attention to the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter himself – traditionally (though by no means historically) the first pope – to the present Benedict XVI.Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unques­tionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable iniquity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Stroll through 2,000 Years of European History

  • By R on 15-09-11

Enormously entertaining.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-14

This is a cracking piece of work, which balances research, deep background knowledge and erudition with an enormous sense of fun. Anyone familiar with John Julius Norwich will not be surprised by his love of language and the skill with which he deploys it; no more will they be surprised by his arch and witty perspective. Notwithstanding this, The Popes is hugely informative, and Norwich never ducks a controversy, especially in the era from Popes Pius the IXth to XIIth. Splendidly read by Michael Jayston, with great pace, clarity, vigour and wit. If you fancy a cackle at two thousand years of perfidy, while still being touched by surprising piety and goodness and learning a lot, have a listen.

  • The Siege at Peking

  • By: Peter Fleming
  • Narrated by: David Shaw-Parker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

In June 1900 the foreign legations at Peking were attacked by troops of the Boxer rebellion and Imperial Chinese troops. The ensuing siege lasted 55 days and shook the world. In this work, Peter Fleming traces its history and impact.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly entertaining.

  • By Mr. on 20-02-14

Thoroughly entertaining.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-14

This is a jolly good piece of work, narrative history of another generation, the kind of which fell from popularity for many years. Reading like an adventure story, the author marshals his material with all the skill and pace that one might expect form his more famous relative. It's well read and well paced and will suit those who like their history to be easily comprehensible and fun; those looking for a more dense analysis of China at the time might find it a little wanting, however. For me, a really good listen.