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Fatmusketeer

  • 9
  • reviews
  • 38
  • helpful votes
  • 18
  • ratings
  • The Last Hour

  • By: Harry Sidebottom
  • Narrated by: Dugald Bruce Lockhart
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank. Footsteps pound up the stairs. He's been set up. An enemy is closing in; he is cornered. He jumps.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great ‘page turner’

  • By Fatmusketeer on 22-07-18

Great ‘page turner’

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

Reviewed: 22-07-18

It is nice to have Ballista back after quite a gap. Harry Sidebottom knows how to tell a good story. It is packed with incident and the book is full of the historical details that bring it to life. Possibly some of the events in the book are a little contrived but it really doesn’t matter in the sweep of the story. Dugald Lockhart is a fine narrator. Anyone who enjoyed Ballista before should certainly enjoy this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion

  • By: Bill Messenger, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Bill Messenger
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

Jazz is a uniquely American art form, one of America's great contributions to not only musical culture, but world culture, with each generation of musicians applying new levels of creativity that take the music in unexpected directions that defy definition, category, and stagnation.

Now you can learn the basics and history of this intoxicating genre in an eight-lecture series that is as free-flowing and original as the art form itself.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A nice introduction but needs more content

  • By Chris on 03-07-17

Excellent introduction to The history of Jazz

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

Reviewed: 30-12-16

Where does Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to a lot of Great Courses. This is one of the best. It is very accessible, entertaining and illustrated with examples played by the lecturer who is a fine jazz pianist.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion?

One of Rachmanino's prelaudes was being 'ragged' when the composer (unknown to the pianist) was in the room....but I won't spoil the story.

What about Professor Bill Messenger’s performance did you like?

Bill Messenger is a fine jazz player and loves his subject. This came across very clearly in the course. An inspirational teacher.

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

Not advisable. I would recommend listening to some of the music talked about after each lecture.

Any additional comments?

The course material is adequate but not as comprehensive as some other courses. And I wish the course was longer!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

  • By: Robert J. Allison, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert J. Allison
  • Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures.

While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • good history, but beware if you're british

  • By Jason on 13-12-16

Very clear and enthralling lectures

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

Reviewed: 01-10-15

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I found these lectures fasinating. They were very clear individually but built together into a coherent story. I also found the Professor's conclusions convincing. But most important, it was a gripping listen and I couldn't wait to hear the next installment.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies?

Most memorable moments were the Salem witch trails and the Boston Tea Party.

Have you listened to any of Professor Robert J. Allison’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I found the Professor's delivery engaging and clear.

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

The story of pre-revolution North America

Any additional comments?

Being from the UK, I had less background knowledge than American listeners and there are a lot of characters. I found it very useful to review the course notes after listening to a lecture to consolidate my understanding.

  • An Officer and a Spy

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 16 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,374

January 1895: On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of 20,000 spectators baying ‘Death to the Jew!’ The officer is rewarded with promotion: Picquart is made the French army’s youngest colonel and put in command of ‘the Statistical Section’ - the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down Dreyfus.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Julian Summer on 12-10-13

Gripping book well read

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

Reviewed: 28-11-13

Would you listen to An Officer and a Spy again? Why?

The book has the advantage of taking a part of history that I knew a little about and making it completely accessible. And of course Richard Harris' prose is beautifully written.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I knew something of the Dreyfus affair but I didnt know about Picquart. His journey from being convinced of Dreyfus' guilt to being the leader in bring down the case against him is clearly and belivably made. All in all an impressive man.

What about David Rintoul’s performance did you like?

David Rintoul's voice is easy on the ear. He is good at differetiating characters without decending into steriotype accents. And he had me gripped.

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

There were a number of points where I finished reading and coukldnt wait to start again just ot find out what happened.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Rebecca

  • By: Daphne Du Maurier
  • Narrated by: Anna Massey
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,295

Daphne du Maurier's young heroine meets the charming Maxim de Winter and despite her youth, they marry and go to Manderley, his home in Cornwall. There, the sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers and the mystery she keeps alive of his first wife Rebecca - said to have drowned at sea - threatens to overwhelm the marriage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A classic story of love and life.

  • By John Nichols on 30-06-13

A bit of work but gripping in the end

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

Reviewed: 14-08-13

I found the first half of the book a little trying. The lead character is such a wimp that if I was Mrs Danvers I would have 'decked' her. But the second half is gripping once the heroine decides to stand up for herself. Anna Massey is as good as you would expect. The book is also fascinating in providing the detail and atmosphere of life in the inter war years.

  • The Sense of an Ending

  • By: Julian Barnes
  • Narrated by: Richard Morant
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 872
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 604

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Sense of an Ending

  • By Carol on 01-09-11

A real gem of a book

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

Reviewed: 30-06-13

This book absolutely hooked me. The story is gripping and I found myself looking forward to the time when I could get my next chance to listen. The narrative accelerated rapidly towards the end and I did a lot of thinkling about it to pull the threads together but the reading is sympathetic and the characters well deliniated. The real pleasure is in the beautiful writing, expertly delivered by Mr Morant, making it a very rich experience.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Rest Is Noise

  • Listening to the 20th Century
  • By: Alex Ross
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 23 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Adding colour and context to 20thC Compositions

  • By Sara on 01-07-14

Modern classical music made more accessable

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

Reviewed: 02-05-13

The greatest complement I can pay to this title is it made me want to go and listen to the classical music of the twentieth century. The story is clearly told and well structured, taking the listener from R Strauss' Salome to modern minialism and beyond. It certainly helped my appreciation of some very difficult pieces as well as helping to point out the seminal works. I could quibble that some composers such as Elgar and Rachmaninov bearly get a look in because, although they are popular, they don't fit the mainstream of modernism. Also if every there was an audiobook that cried out for musical samples, this was it. But I would recommend it to anyone wanting to gain an understanding of what has happen to composition in the last 100 years.

  • Lancaster and York

  • The Wars of the Roses
  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Maggie Mash
  • Length: 22 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 416
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 343
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 341

Lancater and York is a riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, from beloved historian Alison Weir. The war between the houses of Lancaster and York was characterised by treachery, deceit, and bloody battles. Alison Weir's lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos, and his wife Margaret of Anjou, who took up her arms in her husband's cause and battled in a violent man's world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Incredible Events - Oddly Dull in Presentation

  • By Alison on 04-11-14

Fastinating and gripping history

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-12-12

I bought this book because I am familiar with Shakespeare's history plays and wanted to find out more about the events of the Wars of the Roses. The book is well reasearched, full of detail and covers the period of the plays between Richard II and the end of Henry VI Part 3. It tells very clearly the gripping history of the period and the story of the vivid characters such as Queen Margaret of Anjou and Warwick the Kingmaker.

My one quibble is the same as that of a previous reviewer. The narrator is generally excellent, but I found the use of accents and voices for the quotes overdone (Allo', Allo' sometimes sprang to mind!).

I would particularly recommend this book to anyone with a knowledge of Shakespeare's history plays, particularly the Henry VI trilogy. It will enrich your enjoyment of the plays and the plays add resonance to the events narrated in the book.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Dramatised)

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale
  • Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66

It is 1962: the height of the Cold War and only months after the building of the Berlin Wall. Alec Leamas is a hard-working, hard-drinking British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters. His agents are either on the run or dead, victims of the ruthlessly efficient East German counter-intelligence officer Hans-Dieter Mundt.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant but short.

  • By Peter on 22-08-12

Gripping Spy Story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-01-10

This is a superbly acted dramatisatrion of the John Le Carre novel which had me gripped all the way through. The cast is uniformly excellent, but a particular mention from Brian Cox who is the 'spy' in the title. A very fine performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful