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Bob Upndown

  • 22
  • reviews
  • 27
  • helpful votes
  • 28
  • ratings
  • Operation Mincemeat

  • The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 695
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 535

From the best-selling author of Agent Zigzag, the thrilling true story of the greatest and most successful wartime deception ever attempted. One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British solder floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Brilliant

  • By Brian on 11-03-12

Wow, what a book!

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

Reviewed: 04-07-19

Beautifully researched, written and narrated. Taught all the way, hanging on pretty much every word. Highly recommended. Such a great plot, It deserves a modern film of the story.

  • Across an Angry Sea

  • By: Cedric Delves
  • Narrated by: Benedick Blythe
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

In early summer 1982 - winter in the South Atlantic - Argentina's military junta invades the Falklands. Within days, a Royal Navy Task Force is assembled and dispatched. This is the story of D Squadron, 22 SAS, commanded by Cedric Delves. The relentless tempo of events defies belief. Raging seas, inhospitable glaciers, hurricane-force winds, helicopter crashes, raids behind enemy lines - the Squadron prevailed against them all, but the cost was high. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superb recortd of events from the inside

  • By Bob Upndown on 16-06-19

A superb recortd of events from the inside

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

Reviewed: 16-06-19

Don't be put off by other reviews knocking the narrator. Whilst the style is tad staccato early on, I found his voice very easy on the ears, especially as the book develops. To allow yourself to be put off would be akin to watching your favourite team win lift the FA Cup only to complain about the sight of a nearby overflowing litterbin. Meh...bigger picture to be had.

I can't over emphasis what an important account this book is. It really gets deep into the strategy and mindset of the commanders. It serves to reinforce the quality of the soldiering and personalities of those who serve to make up the SAS. It also helps to lay flat the myth of the SAS somehow being a breed of invincible superhumans.


The book tells the story from the invasion to the outbreak of hostilities and beyond. The SAS were very much the spearhead of events but had superb backup from conventional forces, also highly professional. The helicopter insertion on the Fortuna Glacier, the backup of the naval 4.5 inch guns and the daring missile attack from a Wessex on the HQ in Stanley all feature in the book and interplay with the SAS actions.

Overall an excellent read from a first hand account and an incredibly sharp minded soldier. Absolutely recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • What If?

  • Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  • By: Randall Munroe
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 696
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 637
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 630

From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd, What If? gives hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions. How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good fun that descends into silliness

  • By Dr L Madden on 01-12-14

An entertaining book to dip into

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

Reviewed: 25-12-18

This book is very humorous and covers some very interesting if rather fanciful scientific concepts.

  • Operation Sealion

  • How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940
  • By: Leo McKinstry
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 96

The thrilling true account of Hitler's first defeat. One of Britain's most remarkable victories of the Second World War. In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superbly written and narrated

  • By Bob Upndown on 04-10-18

Superbly written and narrated

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

Reviewed: 04-10-18

This book is superbly written and leaves few if any stones unturned. If the Nazis had been a little better equipped and acted sooner the outcome of the war may well have been so different. The will was certainly there, it was the practicalities that got in the way. Nazi preparations for life after an invasion were chilling. I hadn't realised quite how well Britain was prepared to resist invasion, and thankfully this preparedness and resolve paid off but couldn't be taken for granted. Great book, very well researched and I found it an easy listen despite the 17 hours. Be prepared to hear much around the subject but it all feeds back to give an excellent and relevant account of events. Enjoyed listening to it as much as Spitfire. Highly recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Vulcan 607

  • By: Rowland White
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 135
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 128

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Vulcan 607 by Rowland White, read by Roy McMillan. It was to be one of the most ambitious operations since 617 Squadron bounced their revolutionary bombs into the dams of the Ruhr Valley in 1943.... When Argentine forces invaded the Falklands in the early hours of 2 April 1982, Britain's military chiefs were faced with a real-life Mission Impossible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • brilliant

  • By mr d on 13-02-18

Outstanding account of an outstanding event

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

Reviewed: 26-06-18

I read the book when it came out and loved it. The audio book contains the exact same words as the physical book, but I was taken with just how well the tone and style of the narration brings the subject to life. It's incredibly well written and fast moving. It paints an accurate picture of events and gives enough additional background material to nicely set the context. I'd say this book is a modern classic, a real masterpiece of writing. The excellent narrator brings it to life and paints vivid mental pictures.

  • The Road to Little Dribbling

  • More Notes From a Small Island
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Nathan Osgood
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,615
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,489
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,490

Twenty years ago Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the best-selling travel book ever and was voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the 20th anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey around Britain to see what has changed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • funny, perceptive and grumpy

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-10-15

Some very funny and enlightening moments

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

Reviewed: 04-03-18

Overall a good listen with a first rate narrator. Some very funny lines that had me creased with laughter. Other listeners mention foul language but it's mostly in context and places the desired emphasis on the point. Is Bill becoming a grumpy old man? Absolutely! Which is why I like his work. His views on US/UK differences are so astute and well observed. A darn good read/listen though not his finest work.

  • Phantom Boys

  • True Tales from Aircrew of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Fighter-Bomber
  • By: Richard Pike
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Regarded as one of the most versatile fighters ever built, the Phantom F-4 was the US Navy's fastest and highest-flying aircraft. It was flown by both US military demonstration teams (Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thundercats) from 1969 to 1973. It ended its service in 1991 with the RAF. But it continued to serve a variety of air forces across the world, with some still in service 50 years after its first flight.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth a listen but nothing special

  • By Bob Upndown on 12-02-18

Worth a listen but nothing special

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

Reviewed: 12-02-18

Many gems of information amongst much rambling. Not as good as some others in the series but the Phantom didn't see much action in the UK aside escorting Bears away from UK airspace. That made for good content but the rest of the book spent much time talking about the Lightning and general accidents and mishaps. I got the impression the Phantom was desperately unreliable from this book. I know it had an unreliability reputation in service but I guess the best stories and anecdotes would be based around this theme rather than anything else given it's history. I liked the narrator, I know some folk find him to be an acquired taste but he works well for my ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mars Rover Curiosity

  • An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer
  • By: Rob Manning, William L. Simon
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66

In the course of our enduring quest for knowledge about ourselves and our universe, we haven't found answers to one of our most fundamental questions: Does life exist anywhere else in the universe? Ten years and billions of dollars in the making, the Mars rover Curiosity is poised toanswer this all-important question.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Building a rover under the bureaucracy of NASA

  • By Wakeman on 04-05-18

A very good account of recent Mars missions.

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

Reviewed: 02-02-18

Overall a good listen. Many fascinating moments with a few odd dry spots. Pleased I purchased it. Would be nice to have had an updated more on it's scientific findings but people move on I guess.

  • Ask an Astronaut

  • My Guide to Life in Space
  • By: Tim Peake
  • Narrated by: Robin Ince, Tim Peake
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303

How does it feel to orbit the Earth 10 times faster than a speeding bullet? What's it like to eat, sleep and go to the toilet in space? And where to next - the moon, Mars or beyond? Ask an Astronaut is Tim's personal guide to life in space, based on his historic Principia mission and the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A good informative listen.

  • By steeledarren1973 on 25-10-17

Everything you always wanted to know...

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

Reviewed: 05-01-18

What a fabulous book! I hung on every word. A truly fabulous yet accessible account.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Bomber Command

  • By: Max Hastings
  • Narrated by: Barnaby Edwards
  • Length: 18 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 416
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418

With an introduction read by Max Hastings. Bomber Command's offensive against the cities of Germany was one of the epic campaigns of the Second World War. More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF's attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle began in 1939 with a few score primitive Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons, and ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Mosquitoes razing whole cities in a single night.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding!

  • By Jonathan Cunningham on 19-06-16

Covers so many aspects

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

Reviewed: 03-11-17

It covers the bases very well though it can ramble a little and the chronology is a tad vague. The accounts of the bombing of Darmstadt were very harrowing but most worthy.
Overall I listened to it over a period of a few months as I kept picking it up and putting it down. Fascinating in parts, dry in others. I finally made it to the end after 18 hours, a good journey but not one I'd do again.