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1983

The World at the Brink
Narrated by: Ben Onwukwe
Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: History, 21st Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Summary

1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles.

Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast.

Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing.

This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983.

1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.

©2018 Taylor Downing (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enthralling but let down by narration

An excellent insight into how close we came to war, with some fascinating detail. Narration is poor, though. American accents are all over the place, and the rest is delivered in a rasping croak which sounds like it's being read by a carrion crow.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

American accents!?

Ok the content was good and the narration very good until the parts where there are quotes for Americans, for some mad reason the narrator puts on a terrible and inconsistent American accent that manages to slowly change back into an English accent by the end of the quote. Inextricably some of the quotes for Russians are also done in a strange America type accent. I got to chapter three and couldn't take it anymore the accents where so off putting I had to give up on the book.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

This is a very good listening. A well written, very well narrated audiobook, covering some of the most momentous times of the cold war era, ending up with the arms reductions treaty now being scuttled by the incompetent Trump administration.

Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Awful American Accents

This recording is basically unlistenable. The awful accents he tries to mimic, which seem to go in between different regions and strengths even in the same sentence, totally ruin it. And his voice in general is so gravelly and low it’s hard to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Awful awful narrator

The most irritating and uncomfortable audio. So off putting I can’t listen to another moment having paid for it. Sounds like a very hungover guy with a cold croaking away. Like nails on a blackboard after a while. Avoid, I wished I had listened to a sample first, I’ll never make that mistake again !!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book - terrible narration

Interestingly, the British narrator uses the same "american" accent for every single american person in the book (from Regan to Schultz)... Makes it hard to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Poor Narration

Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, the Cold War history is fascinating to me. Unfortunately I had to give up on this book quite early on due to the poor narration which I found monotone and frankly quite boring.

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1983

I was 21 in 1983 and most of what went on passed me by, thankfully. It is fascinating.

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Completely Engaging

I found this book completely engaging from start to finish. I remember many of the events of 1983, but I never knew the full story about what really went on. Highly recommended. The narrator is very good, the subtle accents added a bit extra to the narrative too! One of the best Audible titles I have listened to.

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VERY Scary as to what COULD have happend

This was recommended and I just didn’t realise how compelling and frightening it would be, I was amazed at the content and have passed on the recommendation

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  • Brad Crisler
  • 27-04-18

Dead Hand is better...

And more detailed. This narrator should stick to his native English accent. He truly has the most annoying, embarrassing and insulting American accent. Ever. Please. Stop.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas
  • 12-06-18

Complaints About Narrator's Accents are dead-on

The story is interesting enough, but Narrator's U.S. accents are grating. Each time an American speaks, he sounds like a weird cartoon character. I made it to chapter 8 before giving up.

1 person found this helpful