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I.F.Coyle

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 52
  • ratings
  • Queens of the Conquest

  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Julia Franklin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England's queens in the century after the Norman Conquest. Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in 1066, to the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating book but at times difficult to listen

  • By BookWorm on 01-11-17

A Difficult Period

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-18

The concept of a multiple biography of the early Norman Queens sounds an interesting one, the problem is that the material the author has to work on is very limited. She could have gone down the road of reciting the Primary Sources (charters signed, donations to the Church etc.) or she could have gone down the road of unsubstantiated speculation. Unfortunately she opted for both. So we are left with often tedious lists of charitable giving spiced up with often groundless speculation about when Royal couples might have ceased conjugal relations.
I was often reminded of those TV documentaries on archaeology that attempt to reconstruct sculptures of faces from half a skull.
Nice try, but she falls between the two stools of academia and pop history. It's not helped by a very strange reading. Someone clearly "got at" the script and placed random full stops and colons in the middle of sentences. Very odd.

  • Adams

  • An American Dynasty
  • By: Francis Russell
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

John and Abigail Adams and their descendants have profoundly influenced life in the United States for more than two centuries. From the great political and philosophical contributions of Founding Father and President John Adams, the roster of Adams luminaries is unprecedented: diplomat and sixth president, John Quincy Adams; pre-Civil War "Voice of Honor", Charles Francis Adams; and authors Henry and Brook Adams. The story of the Adams dynasty is as impressive and compelling as its legacy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Story of America

  • By I.F.Coyle on 12-02-18

A Story of America

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

Reviewed: 12-02-18

I loved the David McCullough biography on the 2nd President of the US. This book tells the story of the succeeding generations up to the 1st World War. Politicians,journalists, Ambassadors, poets, novelists and on and on. Reading or listening this book will give you, as well as a good potted biography of each of the Adams dynasty a really strong background in 19th Century American history. Excellent work

  • Truman

  • By: David McCullough
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 54 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 39

Hailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the 33rd president of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He Gave 'em Hell

  • By Sally Graham on 04-04-17

What Biography Should Do

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

Reviewed: 18-11-17

I downloaded this audiobook some time ago but was a little daunted by its length. To any reader of this review, don't worry, its a long biography that rarely flags. The author has paced the book really well and the reader has done a fine job in keeping that pace going.

Truman was the President in the year I was born, but is relatively unknown today. He came to power at a crucial and dangerous time in world history with very little preparation for the job. He passed the test with a mixture of intelligence, awareness, diplomatic skill and good old common sense. Some of the issues he was faced with: the Rise of Soviet Russia, the Nuclear Bomb, Korea, the devastation of Western Europe, China, the Berlin Airlift, Industrial unrest, the appalling McCarthy witch-hunts, McArthur, any one of the decisions he had to wrestle with would have left most politicians reeling. Looking at the current incumbent of the office Truman held with such dignity, one can only give thanks that the Wheel of Fortune placed the little man from Independence, Missouri in charge. It could have been so much worse!

McCullough was clearly a great fan, but the book rarely slips into hagiograpghy. Most importantly it performs the primary function of a biography, it tells the story of a man's life in linear style, and leaves you with a greater knowledge of the man and his times.
A brilliant listen, strongly recommended

  • The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians

  • By: Janice Hadlow
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 27 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81

An intensely moving account of George III's doomed attempt to create a happy, harmonious family, written with astonishing emotional force from a stunning new history writer. George III came to the throne in 1760 as a man with a mission. He wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life too - to show that a better man would, inevitably, make a better ruler.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Probably a great book but...

  • By Clementi on 04-09-15

Fascinating story

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

Reviewed: 07-04-16

Where does The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best historical biographies I can recall listening to (if the life stories of about 25 people can be described as being "a" biography)

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians?

The descriptions of George III's descent into madness is, as always, a fascinating field for historical speculation, and the relationship of the Prince Regent with his wife again, as always provides some fine farce!

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

No

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

The isolation of the Princesses by their parents is a challenge for any historian to justify, and some of their sad letters to their brothers and putative husbands/lovers are particularly moving

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this reading. It seems to me to be a particularly challenging task to progress the life stories of so many people in a coherent and understandable manner, a task that the author has achieved.
The story is so fascinating that I kept seeing it as a potential "bonnet-drama" on BBC on Sunday night!
Its a long "listen" but at the end I was under the impression that the lives of the sons of George and Charlotte were rather ignored at the expense of the fascinating (if ultimately dull) lives of the daughters...the fate of Mrs. Jordan would provide enough material for a book of its own!
That apart I can strongly recommend this book and this reading of it. Thanks.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,541
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,269
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,282

Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator Hand Picked By Tartt- Outstanding!

  • By Tara Mcgrath on 02-12-13

Not for me!

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

Reviewed: 11-03-15

What disappointed you about The Goldfinch?

Difficult to say what was so disappointing about this book without running the risk of plot spoilers, but briefly, the plot has more holes in it than your average kitchen colander: there's not a character in there that one could have any sympathy for or empathy with and finally the author could well have spent a little cash on employing an editor!

What will your next listen be?

Napoleon the Great

Did David Pittu do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Narration OK. The book itself was very repetitive, and there's only a certain number of ways you can describe a self-indulgent adolescent getting high.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Goldfinch?

About the last half hour and most of the scenes in Las Vegas.

Any additional comments?

Feel quite proud of myself that I got to the end of it!
Why did our "hero" show no interest at all in who was responsible for the traumatic events at the beginning of the book, and why did he not simply mail the object in question back (There you go, done without plot spoiler!)?

  • Desolation Island

  • Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 5
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 340
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305

Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy - and a dangerous disease which decimates the crew.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another winner

  • By I.F.Coyle on 14-04-13

Another winner

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-04-13

Having read all these books (twice) over the years, I still find them endlessly fascinating, and Mr Jerrom's reading has added immensely to my enjoyment of them all.



Desolation Island starts off slowly, as many in this series do, but builds to a clever, exciting (go on, I'll say it, "rip-roaring", but I'm drawing the line at swashbuckling!) climax with everything you could wish for in a sea-adventure: sea-chases, battles, plague, near-mutiny, a spectacular wreck on a desert island. All seen through the contrasting eyes of our two very different, but complementary heroes, Stephen Maturin and "Lucky" Jack Aubrey.

Excellent...really didn't want it to end. I've already downloaded the next one. Why no "Mauritius Command" though?

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Don't Know Much About the American Presidents

  • By: Kenneth C. Davis
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey, Kirby Heyborne, Mark Bramhall, and others
  • Length: 23 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

For more than 20 years since his New York Times best seller Don't Know Much About History first appeared, Davis has shown that Americans don't hate history, just the dull version dished out in school. Now Davis turns his attention to what is arguably the most important and most fascinating subject in American history: our presidents. From the heated debates over executive powers through the curious election of George Washington in 1789 and, for more than 200 years, up through the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the presidency has been at the heart of American history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • stunning...

  • By Sam on 26-10-12

A really good "Beginner's Guide"

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-04-13

I developed an interest in United States Presidents having watched the excellent drama-doc "John Adams" a few years ago, so I was a bit disappointed that my he only got a C in Mr Davis' somewhat erratic scoring system, but on the whole I found this narrative very informative.

Details did somewhat jar: pronouncing Andrew Jackson a racist who earned his fame by his genocidal attacks on native-Americans and then giving him an A (or was it an A+) seems a tad random, and to go through the entire gamut of 20th Century Presidents without even a mention of that eminence grise for many of them, J.Edgar Hoover also seems a little odd.

However, I do know more about all American Presidents than I did. The presentation was good (although the repetitive if informative lists did not lend itself to an audio-book format).

I can definitely recommend to the novice student of the topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 11.22.63

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,002
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,993

What if you could go back in time and change the course of history?11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless.... King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill who becomes the love of Jake's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Return to top form

  • By John on 14-12-11

Superb

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-13

My first contact with Stephen King's work, having never been a great fan of the horror genre, but I may have to re-think. This was a superb listening experience. A wonderfully-crafted piece that managed to thrill, evoke and even get sentimental without (quite) tipping over into mawkishness (although its a close-run thing occassionally.)

Time travel is always a difficult concept to get hold of, but King has managed it brilliantly here, and his vision of pre-Vietnam America "feels" very authentic. His characters are very believable and one can easily empathise with the main protaganists.

Its a very long book, and I got the feeling in the Jody scenes that King was rather "wallowing" in an idealised past, but hey, I just got in there and wallowed as well!!

It made my lonely commute on cold January mornings fly-by. Sometimes I just didn't want to get there! Brilliantly read as well. Very strongly recommended.

  • H.M.S. Surprise

  • Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 3
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 502
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 440
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 439

H.M.S. Surprise, the third in O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin series, follows the variable fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey's career in Nelson's navy, as he attempts to hold his ground against admirals, colleagues, and the enemy, and accepts a commission to convey a British ambassador to the East Indies. The voyage leads him and his friend Stephen Maturin to the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and through the archipelago of Spice Islands where the French have a near-overwhelming local superiority.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant storytelling

  • By D. Cottam on 23-12-12

Completely brilliant

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-10-12

I thoroughly enjoyed this. O'Brien is really getting into his stride by Volume 3. We're spending more time at sea now, but the main characters continue to develop both on sea and on land. When's the next one out??Hurry, hurry, hurry!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Post Captain

  • Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 2
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 611
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 531
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 530

This tale begins with Jack Aubrey arriving home from his exploits in the Mediterranean to find England at peace following the Treaty of Amiens. He and his friend Stephen Maturin, surgeon and secret agent, begin to live the lives of country gentlemen, hunting, entertaining, and enjoying amorous adventures. Their comfortable existence, however, is cut short when Jack is overnight reduced to a pauper with enough debts to keep him in prison for life. He flees to the continent to seek refuge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Post Captain

  • By John on 27-06-12

Not my favourite

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-12

Not my favourite Aubrey-Maturin. Rather too "land-locked" for me....and there's girls in it!!!
Seriously, a rattling good listen as O'Brian fleshes out the characters of our two heroes and even gets them involved in (sometimes) rather too complex love affairs. He gets into his stride in HMS Surprise, but leaves this book with well-rounded and interesting characters, ready to give Bonapate a damn good hiding!

Excellent and convincing reading by Mr Jerrom, who again manages to make even the most obscure sounding naval terms understandable. Even Stephen Maturin might understand them.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful