LISTENER

Chris F

North West UK
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  • 19
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  • Prisoners of Geography

  • Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
  • By: Tim Marshall
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,923
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,905

If you've ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower or why China's power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here. In 10 chapters, using essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Step back and look at politics through a new lens

  • By Unique Pseudonym on 25-07-17

Fascinating take on geo politics

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

Reviewed: 07-05-19

A genuinely different take on geo politics, using the geography of regions and nations to explain current and past political situations.

The narration is clear and interesting to listen to and I found myself looking forward to listening - which is quite a feat for a relatively dry book on geo politics and history!

The only couple of issues are a clear bias towards the USA in both assessment of its history and current and past political actions and spending a little too much time on temporary issues - one example is the Nicaraguan canal across Central America that is no longer going ahead.

I definitely recommend the book, however and I feel better informed for having listened to it.

  • Say Nothing

  • A True Story of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland
  • By: Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Narrated by: Matthew Blaney
  • Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 48

A shocking true story of murder, extreme politics and the deep scars left by the Troubles in Ireland of the 1970s and the human consequences. A taut tale of murder, extreme politics, institutionalised violence and the deep scars left by such turmoil. In this powerful, scrupulously reported book, Patrick Radden Keefe offers not just a forensic account of a brutal crime but a vivid portrait of the world in which it happened. The tragedy of an entire country is captured in the spellbinding narrative of a handful of characters, presented in lyrical and unforgettable detail.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Immense, powerful, exquisite and raw.

  • By Jings on 06-03-19

Meticulously researched story from the troubles

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

Reviewed: 10-04-19

This is a well researched story of the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville in Belfast in 1972.

Using multiple sources going over many years, it tells the stories of several people, with a focus on the disappearance of Jean, a widowed mother of 10. The author is honest about sources and how there is bias in every telling, but I felt it was a balanced and fair telling.

The story focuses on Dolours Price and her sister, along with Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes amongst others. It is engaging and frank. Some passages are upsetting.

It is not a history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, although it does encompass some incidents that listeners may remember.

The timeline is sometimes confused and will jump one decade to another, but it is possible to understand.

There is a real problem with the editing in many chapters, with long pauses at inappropriate times where the editor has not removed gaps properly. In some chapters it makes the listening experience frustrating, as the pause can sometimes imply the end of a sentence, or sound like it is being done for effect when it is no such thing and simply a poorly edited narration.

This does not occur until about 1/3rd of the way in and a couple of later chapters do not suffer from it, but it is a very distracting.

The only other issue is that the author chose not to include what sounded like extensive notes that were in the printed version. These would apparently explain where there are disputes about the stories told, or seeming discrepancies. I understand that this could have been distracting, but I believe they could have been included and it is a shame they weren't.

Despite this, I very much enjoyed listening to the book and recommend it to anyone with an interest in the troubles.

  • A Life of Crime: Memoirs of a High Court Judge

  • By: Sir Harry Ognall
  • Narrated by: Mike Grady
  • Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

A witty and candid memoir of life at the Bar and on the Bench, from former High Court Judge Sir Harry Ognall. The Hon. Sir Harry Ognall is a retired judge of the High Court, Queen's Bench Division. For many years, he enjoyed a formidable reputation as an advocate at the criminal Bar. As counsel, and later as judge, he was involved in numerous high-profile trials, both here and abroad.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • not Bad for the money

  • By Terry clark on 31-08-18

A little brief and light on detail

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

Reviewed: 21-06-18

Fascinating memoir including some of the biggest trials in my lifetime, but I felt it was too brief (no pun intended) and glosses over years and many trials.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Line Becomes a River

  • By: Francisco Cantú
  • Narrated by: Francisco Cantú
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Line Becomes a River, written and read by Francisco Cantú. How does a line in the sand become a barrier that people will risk everything to cross? Francisco Cantú was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012. He worked the desert along the Mexican border, at the remote crossroads of drug routes and smuggling corridors, tracking humans through blistering days and frigid nights across a vast terrain. He detains the exhausted and the parched.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compassionate and humane...

  • By Jack Williamson on 04-06-18

Moving but sometimes feels like an essay

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

Reviewed: 21-03-18

The story begins strongly, with the author's service in immigration/border patrol. The mid section of the book feels like there are too many quotes from other writings and it sounds more like an essay than a book. There seems to be more dream description than writing about real life too.

A narrative appears again in the final third, although it left me wanting more.

  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

  • By: Richard P. Feynman
  • Narrated by: Raymond Todd
  • Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,095
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 904
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 909

With his characteristic eyebrow-raising behavior, Richard P. Feynman once provoked the wife of a Princeton dean to remark, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" But the many scientific and personal achievements of this Nobel Prize-winning physicist are no laughing matter. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Endlessly interesting

  • By Simon on 06-08-09

The best audiobook I have ever listened to.

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

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Where does Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best one. Varied stories from a unique perspective. Brilliantly narrated.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

When he described "cracking" various safes. Such a random, endearing and yet typical thing for him to do.

What does Raymond Todd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

An expressive tone. Real humour in the reading too.

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

The death of his first wife. It was described in a very matter of fact way, but he mentioned it again in the context of an incident that occured years later and it was very poignant.

Any additional comments?

This is a brilliant memoir by a fascinating, clever man with a cheeky sense of humour and a brilliance rarely seen.

  • Vietnam, 1969 - 1970: A Company Commander's Journal (No.1)

  • By: Col. Michael Lee Lanning
  • Narrated by: Alexander MacDonald
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Lieutenant Michael Lee Lanning went to Vietnam as an eager young patriot who was confident of surviving the war. After six months in-country, he was promoted at age 23 to company commander, and his sense of duty began to shift from his nation to preserving the lives of the men in Bravo Company.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply excellent

  • By Chris M on 03-04-16

Brilliant story of the Vietnam war.

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

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Would you listen to Vietnam, 1969 - 1970: A Company Commander's Journal (No.1) again? Why?

Yes I would listen again. It covered such an intense experience, I am sure there are details I missed.

What other book might you compare Vietnam, 1969 - 1970: A Company Commander's Journal (No.1) to, and why?

The first book written by Mr Lanning - "The Only War we Had". This book is better; better constructed, far better narration, better details.

Which character – as performed by Alexander MacDonald – was your favourite?

Mr Lanning.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

The narration of the first book really put me off. It was monotone and soporific. However, this improved immeasurably in this book and really added to it. The narrator gave different voices to different characters and used a broader range of tone and volume.

  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

  • By: Tim Harford
  • Narrated by: Cameron Stewart, Gavin Osborn
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159

A million listeners bought The Undercover Economist to get the lowdown on how economics works on a small scale, in our everyday lives. Since then, economics has become big news. Crises, austerity, riots, bonuses - all are in the headlines all the time. But how does this large-scale economic world really work? What would happen if we cancelled everyone's debt? How do you create a job? Will the BRIC countries take over the world?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The perfect book for that business flight

  • By Alistair Kelman on 29-08-13

Informative and accessible

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

Reviewed: 16-06-17

Would you consider the audio edition of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back to be better than the print version?

No, I think the print version would be better as it would be easier to go back and re read sections that are of interest or that aren't 100% clear.

What other book might you compare The Undercover Economist Strikes Back to, and why?

Freakonomics. It deals with the way money works, although Freakonomics is more about cause and effect and causation versus correlation.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The chapter about the Washington baby sitting club as it highlighted basic principals of spend versus save.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

This is a really boring film. Don't watch it.

Any additional comments?

I had hoped that the author would have read the book; I enjoy his programmes on Radio 4. The narrator was good, but not as good as Mr Harford.

  • Here Comes the Clown

  • A Stumble Through Show Business
  • By: Dom Joly
  • Narrated by: Dom Joly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245

In 2004 Dom Joly wrote a spoof autobiography called Look At Me, Look At Me. In Here Comes the Clown, he takes up the story of his life from 14 January 2000 when the very first episode of Trigger Happy TV aired on Channel 4 and everything changed for him. Suddenly he was famous; reality was weirder than any fiction he could conjure up. This is the story of what happened next, through snippets of recollections from his adventures in show business....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just wonderful... So honest and refreshingl

  • By mr on 23-08-15

Fascinating insight by a truly talented man.

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

Reviewed: 16-06-17

What did you like most about Here Comes the Clown?

We used to love watching Trigger Happy TV and it was great to hear how it came about; how it was conceived and filmed.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dom Joly. It's his book :)

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

No, but I enjoy listening to Mr Joly and enjoyed whatever programmes I have seen him in. He is engaging and appears frank and honest without over sharing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it was ideal for listening to in the car as there were distinct episodes.

Any additional comments?

A very enjoyable book; I learned something from listening to it, found the narration clear and engaging and would certainly look for another (factual) book by Mr Joly.

  • The Only War We Had

  • A Platoon Leader's Journal of Vietnam
  • By: Col. Michael Lee Lanning Lt. Col. (Ret)
  • Narrated by: Alexander MacDonald
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Michael Lee Lanning's journal of his first tour of duty in Vietnam provides an unvarnished daily account of life in the field. The blood, fear, camaraderie, and tedium of combat and maneuver. Fleshed out with narrative and detail years later, the pages of this memorable book, first published in 1987, show an eager young recruit growing before the reader's eyes into a proud but bloodied combat veteran. Subsequent volumes in his Vietnam Trilogy will detail Lanning's tour as a company commander and his post-war investigation into the mind of the enemy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Soporoific narration, odd cadence. Good story.

  • By Chris F on 16-06-17

Soporoific narration, odd cadence. Good story.

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

Reviewed: 16-06-17

What did you like best about The Only War We Had? What did you like least?

The diary format of the book. Gave a strong sense of order and time.I liked the narration least, although I felt the book would have been improved by more quoted dialogue and talk of the actions of others - granted it is in effect an extended diary.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not really relevant as few others are mentioned by name.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes. I think it would make a good film and I don't recall a film of this nature. Something like Full Metal Jacket or Born on the Fourth of July, but they both had (reasonable) agendas and following one man day by day would make a fascinating film.

Any additional comments?

I found the narrator pleasant to listen to, but his odd cadence and frequent use of a low voice was both distracting and made it difficult to concentrate on. It sounded as though he was bending his head down to read an uncomfortably placed script. It really is most odd.

  • Yes Please

  • By: Amy Poehler
  • Narrated by: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,057
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,042

In Amy Poehler's highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much).Powered by Amy's charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, and including a star-studded guest list of vocal appearances.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not the giggle fest I thought it would be...

  • By Laura Chambers on 07-06-15

Dissapointingly self obsessed and unaware

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

Reviewed: 22-04-17

Would you try another book written by Amy Poehler or narrated by the narrators?

No I wouldn't.

What could Amy Poehler have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Amy told anodyne anecdotes from her time in showbiz. There were no insights as such and the celebrity cameos were awkwardly inserted and neither funny nor useful

Which scene did you most enjoy?

None

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

Disappointment.

Any additional comments?

A missed opportunity from a genuinely funny actor and writer. It strikes me that Amy wrote the least she could about her own life to be able to class this as a memoir, rather than a few hour irrelevant ramble.

She is painfully unaware of her privilege and her abnormally cosseted life and upbringing eventually grate; she only just avoids being insufferably smug.