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F. Hopkinson

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  • 11
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The Best Audio Book I've Ever Bought

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

Reviewed: 25-04-19

The person tasked with writing the strapline for this book had the easiest job in the world - it is the greatest espionage story ever told, written and narrated by a master of the craft. For lovers of Le Carre, this is a must-have.

Grover Gardner lands it

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

Reviewed: 17-10-18

This is one of those situations where there are competing versions of Roughing It available on audio - and I'm glad I picked this one. Grover Gardner is exceptional. And a book like this is so much better in audio form because with rich dialogue and so many western voices, my own limited imagination certainly couldn't think itself into the voices that Grover conjures up. A real treat.

Far far better than anything by Vincent Crummles

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

Reviewed: 07-03-18

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

I have waited ages for an audio version of American Notes, always having taken a copy with me on trips to America and never having read it. Peter Joyce's version does not disappoint, it's a sheer and utter joy. Americans may feel uncomfortable about the mirror that Dickens held up to their 'new country', but he went there with the best intentions, hoping that the republic would thrive and throw off all the class struggles of the old country/continent. He hated the chewing of tobacco and the continual spitting, something you rarely see in its genuine form in historic films. Every member of congress had their own desk and their own spittoon.
It's interesting to read between the lines the restraint in his writing, plus the detail of his travel arrangements - the sleeping and eating and the minutiae of day-to-day routine.

What other book might you compare American Notes to, and why?

Peter Joyce is certainly a match for the great Dickens one-man-show actors such as Simon Callow.

1 person found this helpful

It''s always the Luftwaffe's fault

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

Reviewed: 07-12-17

What disappointed you about Panzer Commander?

It's yet another attempt at a German officer re-writing history in his favour. The German army are constantly being let down by the Luftwaffe. The message throughout is that if they had the supplies and materiel they would have won. It also skates over difficult areas like his knowledge about the Holocaust (even though his potential father-in-law was taken away) and von Luck deserts his great champion Rommel and mentions nothing of his demise. The interesting part is after his capture by the Russians and the system of camps they ran after the war.

Would you ever listen to anything by Hans von Luck and Stephen E. Ambrose (introduction) again?

Stephen Ambrose yes

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

Bronson Pinchot's delivery is very convincing, a great naration

One of the truly great biographies and audiobooks

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

Reviewed: 16-07-16

What other book might you compare The Beatles - All These Years to, and why?

I got the Hunter Davies 'official' biography on Audible and I'm glad I listened to it first, because this blows it out of the water. It is incredibly detailed, but delivered with lyrical touches. Whereas Davies had to avoid all the Brian Epstein back story, Mark Lewisohn is unimpeded in his portrayal of the true background to the greatest group of all time. He interlaces the stories of all the protagonists - George Martin, Epstein, Neil Aspinall, Richie Starkey, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe and the core friendship of John, Paul and George.

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

In Hunter Davies's book the narrator ends up sounding like Noddy Holder when he's trying to do some of the Liverpool accents. Clive Mantle handles it brilliantly. It is not the easiest job to do four voices you know very well along with Aunt Mimi and a supporting cast of hundreds. The combination of assured narration with a great book makes it the most compelling of Audio books.

Any additional comments?

It's going to be hard waiting for the next volume,

5 people found this helpful

A compelling and sophisticated biography

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

Reviewed: 17-01-16

What made the experience of listening to Alan Turing: The Enigma the most enjoyable?

Andrew Hodges' epic biography tells Alan Turing's story on a number of different levels. This is not just a chronology of facts and events in Alan Turing's life, but also an examination of some of the mathematical theories and the political background to the events that shaped and ultimately contributed to Turing's demise. It is a remarkable achievement. Stripped of sentimentality and coming across as scrupulously non-judgemental, it is a masterpiece of research and a recording that I will come back to.

What did you like best about this story?

Its precision

What about Gordon Griffin’s performance did you like?

It is difficult for any audio book narrator to cover the variety of accents that are thrown up by the narrative. In previous audio books, I've had the joy of listening to Crispin Redman reading Patrick Leigh-Fermor's travelogues, and the despair of listening to the extended voicemail message that is SPQR voiced by Phyllida Law. Gordon Griffin sounds slightly odd as a young exciteable Alan Turing, but his Malcolm Muggeridge is utterly brilliant, and you ended up wishing there were more Muggeridge quotes in the book. However overall it's a gripping narrative tale which Gordon Griffin enhances.

Any additional comments?

It gives you a far greater understanding of the cracking of the Enigma code and makes you realise that any previous documentary you have seen has only been skimming the surface.