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Matthew

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  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 8
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  • Earthsearch

  • The Complete Radio Series I and II (Dramatised)
  • By: James Follett
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156

The acclaimed BBC Radio 4 space drama arrives in its entirety for the very first time, with a bonus introduction by creator and writer James Follett. The starship Challenger has been on a 115-year-long mission, exploring other galaxies for suitable Earth-like planets to colonise. The present crew of four were born on the ship and have never left it. But when the Challenger attempts to return to the crew's home planet, it discovers that the Earth has vanished!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stands up to the test of time

  • By Wendy on 22-08-06

Highly enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 24-12-16

I remember this on the radio when it was first broadcast, but only caught a few episodes at the beginning. I have always wanted to hear the whole story, so just great to find it here on Audible after all these years. Like all the best sci-fi it makes you think about what life would be like in a future where space travel were possible. If you passed decades in suspended animation, how would you then relate to people you knew who had aged while you remained the same? What kind of person would you be if you had spent your whole life growing up on a spacecraft? And perhaps the most pertinent question for our own near future - what happens when computers have true intelligence and free will?

It all makes for an epic drama that moves along at a cracking pace. The only negative I found is that the story moves along too quickly at times and characters sometimes appear and disappear from the narrative rapidly. Overall though, it's great stuff and highly enjoyable. Well worth a listen.

  • Jamaica Inn

  • By: Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by: Tony Britton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 997
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 806
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 804

Jamaica Inn stands alone on Bodmin Moor, stark and forbidding, its walls tainted with corruption. Young Mary Yellon soon learns of her uncle Joss Merlyn's strange trade here. But does he deal in blacker secrets still?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, bad choice of narrator

  • By L on 03-04-11

Great performance

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

Reviewed: 21-01-16

I have to disagree with other reviewers. I thought Tony Britton did a superb job narrating this story. I really think he brings all the characters to life, including the women. Well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Kennedys

  • An American Drama
  • By: Peter Collier, David Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
  • Length: 20 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Who are the Kennedys? Are they the brilliant, heroic, extraordinary people their admirers believe them to be? Or are they arrogant, competitive, self-absorbed children of a willful and immensely rich patriarch, as their detractors claim? In fact, they are all of these things, and more.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Comprehensive family history

  • By Matthew on 04-03-15

Comprehensive family history

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

Reviewed: 04-03-15

This book has a focus on the personal family history of the Kennedys. If you are looking for information on Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, assassinations of JFK and RFK, Chappaquiddick, etc,, in fact any individual event in the Kennedy's history, this is not the book to listen to. Most of these events receive little more than a few sentences. If you want a basic overview of family life then this is ok.

The final three hours are quite boring as they focus on the more recent Kennedys in the 80s who are relatively uninteresting compared with their more well known predecessors and don't seem to have done very much except getting wasted on drugs.

The main criticism of the book is that it tends to show the Kennedys as being little more than gung-ho airheads. I have listened to other Kennedy books which gave a much more balanced and realistic biography. This isn't helped by the poor reading. Christopher Hurt probably got the job reading this one as he does a passable impersonation of JFK, but he rattles through at a fair pace, breezily describing great events of history and deep personal tragedy alike as though he's reading some light romantic fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Chocolate Wars

  • From Cadbury to Kraft: 200 years of Sweet Success and Bitter Rivalry
  • By: Deborah Cadbury
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

In Chocolate Wars best-selling historian and award-winning documentary maker Deborah Cadbury takes a journey into her own family history to uncover the rivalries that have driven 250 years of chocolate empire-building. Beginning with an account of John Cadbury, who founded the first Cadbury's coffee and chocolate shop in Birmingham in 1824, Chocolate Wars goes on to chart the astonishing transformation of the company's fortunes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hisotry of Chocolates and Quakers

  • By Heike on 20-11-13

Choco delights

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

Reviewed: 21-11-14

As a card carrying chocoholic I found this book to be a really enjoyable story of the Cadbury family and, to a lesser extent, the early Quaker dominance of chocolate manufacture in England. I almost felt it a patriotic duty to buy Cadbury's after listening.

There is a certain quality of Finty Williams' voice that makes her the perfect narrator for this book. Her voice by turns has the soft snap and the velvety smoothness of the finest chocolate. She reads like she's enjoying it too. Superb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Command and Control

  • By: Eric Schlosser
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 20 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400

A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? Schlosser reveals that this question has never been resolved, and while other headlines dominate the news, nuclear weapons still pose a grave risk to mankind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping and insightful

  • By Kate on 13-11-13

Fascinating insights

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

Reviewed: 21-11-14

It's frankly incredible that we have never suffered a peacetime military nuclear disaster. I was fascinated to learn about the arms build up after 1945 and the terrifying policies of America and Russia.

The author goes into great detail to tell the history of nuclear weapons development and the many accidents that nearly caused catastrophe. If you like cold war history then you'll enjoy this one. Well worth listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

  • A History of Nazi Germany
  • By: William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 57 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,526
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,039
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,032

Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A unique account

  • By Richard on 07-12-10

Epic and riveting history

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

Reviewed: 21-11-14

This really is the authoritative account, especially regarding the events which the author witnessed first hand. It's a mammoth book to listen to, but don't be put off - even if you are already familiar with the history, the narrative takes you along from start to finish.

I would add a word of praise for the narrator, Grover Gardner. He reads like he knows he's narrating an epic that will be listened to for years to come and does a fantastic job. It must be a daunting task to take on such a marathon read, but his even, measured approach brings the events to life, being both gripping while also bringing the right note of pathos and reflection. Probably as good a narration as you will find in any audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Norman Conquest

  • The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
  • By: Marc Morris
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79

An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, poor reading

  • By Matthew on 21-11-14

Great story, poor reading

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

Reviewed: 21-11-14

What did you like best about The Norman Conquest? What did you like least?

The book takes in the whole scope of history from Viking raids before the millennium through to life under the Normans after the invasion. If you are looking for an in depth account of the battle of Hastings itself you may be disappointed. The battle is just one relatively small part of the narrative.

The only negative regarding the book is that I think it tries to cover too much, especially in the first half. Names and dates are rattled off with little to flesh out the story or people involved.

Regarding the narration, I can only agree with other reviewers. Frazer Douglas sounds like an intelligent guy, so it's extraordinary that he manages to mangle the pronunciation of so many familiar English and French place names. He also speaks as though there is, a, comma, after, every, single, word. When he quotes from the Anglo Saxon Chronicle or some other historical text, which he does frequently, he slips into tones of whispered sincerity that sounds like an impersonation of David Attenborough nearing a family of mountain gorillas, which is amusing, but annoying.

Still, if you want an overview of the history of the times it's pretty good.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Dead Hand

  • The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
  • By: David E. Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82

During the Cold War, world superpowers amassed nuclear arsenals containing the explosive power of one million Hiroshimas. The Soviet Union secretly plotted to create the "Dead Hand," a system designed to launch an automatic retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States, and developed a fearsome biological warfare machine. President Ronald Reagan, hoping to awe the Soviets into submission, pushed hard for the creation of space-based missile defenses.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping story of the cold war arms race

  • By Matthew on 19-08-14

Gripping story of the cold war arms race

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

Reviewed: 19-08-14

Any additional comments?

This is an excellent retelling of the nuclear arms race between east and west, including the not so well known history of the biological weapons race. It's a fascinating period of history when world war three actually seemed like a possibility. The main focus is on the later Reagan/Gorbachev era. Superbly read. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful