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michael Billington

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  • Fire and Blood

  • 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) (A Song of Ice and Fire)
  • By: George R.R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 26 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 104

Set 300 years before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire, Fire and Blood is the definitive history of the Targaryens in Westeros as told by Archmaester Gyldayn, and chronicles the conquest that united the Seven Kingdoms under Targaryen rule through to the Dance of the Dragons: the Targaryen civil war that nearly ended their dynasty forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent excellent excellent

  • By Amazon Customer on 22-11-18

The epic story of house Targaryen

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

Reviewed: 29-11-18

This is not a novel so it might not be for everyone but I loved it. It covers the House Targaryen from Aegon the Conqueror to the end of the regency of Aegon iii it shows both sides of the Targaryen coin the greatness and the madness. from the hideous tyranny of maegor to the genius of Jaehaerys I found myself really caring about the characters and being moved by the tragedy that was the dance of the dragons. excellent narration by Simon Vance also made this an enjoyable listen I would highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Iron King

  • The Accursed Kings, Book 1
  • By: Maurice Druon
  • Narrated by: Peter Joyce
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

From the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work. France became a great nation under Philip the Fair - but it was a greatness achieved at the expense of her people, for his was a reign characterised by violence, the scandalous adulteries of his daughters-in-law, and the triumph of royal authority.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very enjoyable

  • By Kelly on 04-06-15

Great book which inspired a great book

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

Reviewed: 06-10-18

This is one of the wonderful books that I would never have found but for audible. George R.R. Martin says this inspired ASOIAF and it is easy to see why. Dynastic rivalry, deceit and betrayal and excellent descriptions of the way in which power can be used and abused.

  • Citizen Clem

  • A Biography of Attlee
  • By: John Bew
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 26 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain's radical postwar government, delivering the end of the empire in India, the foundation of the NHS and Britain's place in NATO. Called 'a sheep in sheep's clothing', his reputation has long been that of an unassuming character in the shadow of Churchill. But as John Bew's revelatory biography shows, Attlee was not only a hero of his age but an emblem of it, and his life tells the story of how Britain changed over the 20th century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding biography

  • By michael Billington on 11-09-17

Outstanding biography

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

Reviewed: 11-09-17

Would you consider the audio edition of Citizen Clem to be better than the print version?

it is wonderful to finally have an unabridged edition of this amazing biography. I enjoyed the audio edition better.

What did you like best about this story?

to learn about the life of one of the most important political leaders in this nations history. the monumental achievements as well as the failures of Attlee.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Learning about the way in which labour would not serve under Neville Chamberlain and how Attlee supported Churchill.

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

seeing how Attlee's experience of social work in the east end of London changed him and how he began to view social conditions in a new way.

Any additional comments?

This is an amazing biography and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in politics and/or history.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • John Quincy Adams

  • Militant Spirit
  • By: James Traub
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 25 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind - a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise yet dedicated himself to politics and government. The son of John Adams, he was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office - at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful biography of the 6th Us President

  • By michael Billington on 26-11-16

Wonderful biography of the 6th Us President

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

Reviewed: 26-11-16

Where does John Quincy Adams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favourites. informative and enlightening and one I would highly recommend to anyone interested not only in US history but history and biography in general.

What other book might you compare John Quincy Adams to, and why?

American Lion by Jon Meacham. it takes the listener behind the stereotype of John Quincy Adams which is that of a failed one term president and unlikable curmudgeon. The listener might not learn to love Adams but they will hopefully come away with an appreciation of his talents and his many overlooked virtues

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Hard to choose one episode but I really enjoyed the description of Adams role in the Amistad case.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

You feel for Adams in sheer misery he endured during the presidency. And the death of his children and the suffering he endured as a result was something I had not previously known much about.

  • The Passage of Power

  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson
  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 32 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 78

The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating insight into a pivotal decade

  • By Kirstine on 01-03-14

The fall and rise of LBJ

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

Reviewed: 29-05-16

Would you listen to The Passage of Power again? Why?

Yes, this is a wonderful book and I have found more in it with repeated listening.

What did you like best about this story?

You see how Lyndon Johnson endured the worst period of his career and as a result of an assassination obtained the prize he had always wanted. You also see and learn how he rose to the challenges he faced.

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

Yes and he was excellent as always in his narration of this series of books

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found myself laughing when u hear some of the words and stories LBJ used to get other politicians to work with him.

Any additional comments?

This is the 4th volume of the years of lyndon Johnson. These are to my mind the greatest political biographies of any politician. Essential for understanding the use and abuse of power in mid 20th century America.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Destiny and Power

  • The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
  • By: Jon Meacham
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 25 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

Based on rigorous research, hours of private interviews, and extraordinary access to Bush's diaries and to his family, Destiny and Power paints a vivid and affecting portrait of the distinctive American life of a man from the Greatest Generation: his childhood in Connecticut, his heroic service in World War II, his entry into the Texas oil business, and his storied rise in politics from congressman to U.N. ambassador to head of the CIA to 41st president of the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A wonderful biography of an underrated president

  • By michael Billington on 13-11-15

A wonderful biography of an underrated president

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

Reviewed: 13-11-15

Would you listen to Destiny and Power again? Why?

yes Meacham has written a brilliant book that is both highly informative and easy to listen to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

George H.W Bush, he emerges as a far more interesting and complicated man than his public image would suggest.

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

The narration is excellent, very impressed with the reading.

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

Ambition, Power and tragedy

Any additional comments?

This is a book I was really looking forward too and it did not disappoint. Well written and full of wonderful insights. Brilliant

  • Hitler

  • A Biography
  • By: Ian Kershaw
  • Narrated by: Damian Lynch
  • Length: 44 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 899
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 816
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 810

Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in the 20th century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A licked Hitler

  • By Amazon Customer on 24-05-16

Finally kershaw's masterpiece for uk audible

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

Reviewed: 13-11-15

Would you consider the audio edition of Hitler to be better than the print version?

Yes, the print version is wonderful but is heavy going, Prefer the audio version

What did you like best about this story?

The chapters dealing with Hitler's early life. Fascinating to see the future Nazi leader as he lives the life of a wastrel and layabout.

Which character – as performed by Damian Lynch – was your favourite?

Found the narration to be excellent all round

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

The chapter dealing with the holocaust and the awful suffering that was planned and inflicted on innocent people.

Any additional comments?

This is a one volume abridgement of Kershaw's original two volume set, even still it is the best biography of Hitler. Goes some of the way to explaining how Hitler came to rule in Germany and how he was able to cause the suffering he did. Extremely glad to have this available to us in the UK.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Path to Power

  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson
  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 40 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 97

This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling story of a complex man

  • By PauseToThink on 14-10-15

The epic story of LBJ's early years

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

Reviewed: 10-12-13

What made the experience of listening to The Path to Power the most enjoyable?

Excellently narrated by Grover Gardner who handles Caro's amazing prose perfectly.

What other book might you compare The Path to Power to, and why?

Master of the senate, the passage of power

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The detailed account of Johnson first campaign for the congress

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • For Love of Politics

  • Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years
  • By: Sally Bedell Smith
  • Narrated by: Marc Cashman
  • Length: 21 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4

During their eight years in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton worked together more closely than the public ever knew. For Love of Politics is the first book to explain the dynamics of their relationship, showing that it is impossible to understand one Clinton without factoring in the other.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Balanced account of the Clintons in the White Hous

  • By michael Billington on 01-09-13

Balanced account of the Clintons in the White Hous

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

Reviewed: 01-09-13

What did you like most about For Love of Politics?

It is balanced in its judgements but by presenting the information as it does allows the listener to reach their own conclusions.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Very pleased and surprised at how my own view of the Clintons had altered.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Fascinating to learn how involved Hillary Clinton was in the policy making process and how she imposed her will on others.

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

Politics is Personal

Any additional comments?

Would recommend to people seeking a far minded account. Avoids both hagiography and blanket condemnation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Coming of the Third Reich

  • By: Richard J. Evans
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71

There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A mam-moth work

  • By SHM on 25-11-11

An essential Work

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

Reviewed: 08-07-13

Where does The Coming of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the finest audiobooks I have purchased and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in history.

What other book might you compare The Coming of the Third Reich to, and why?

I would compare this book to William Shires Rise and Fall of The Third Reich, and the works of Ian Kershaw. For the comprehensive nature and its exploration of the forces which led to the rise of the Nazi's.

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

I have listened to Sean Pratt's performance on Michael Burlingame's Abraham Lincoln: A Life. I would say this is a better effort.

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

I was disgusted at the descriptions of the virulent anti-Semitism which pervaded much of German society.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful