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Airhead

The Imperfect Art of Making News
Narrated by: Emily Maitlis
Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (361 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Airhead, written and read by Emily Maitlis.  

As anchor for the BBC's key political news programme, Newsnight, Emily Maitlis has interviewed some of the most powerful and controversial figures on the political scene. She plans each interview meticulously, knowing what she wants to ask and where she wants it to go, but as one of the most experienced journalists in her field she knows that no interview will ever go to plan. Anything can throw it - from the atmosphere in the room to her own feelings at the time to the mood of the subject. Often she leaves the interview with an entirely different perception of the interviewee, while sometimes it is all too sadly reconfirmed. 

Airhead explores just these moments. All we normally see are the interviews, but what were the conversations that preceded them or the shouting matches that ended them? From her interviews with US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and the last five British Prime Ministers, to Hollywood film directors and powerful internet and entertainment moguls like Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Cowell, Emily Maitlis explores how these powerful personalities came across. In the process she throws an illuminating torch on them, not just for what they represent but as individuals in their own right - with all their flaws and charms.    

©2019 Emily Maitlis (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

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Fascinating

An interesting view behind the scenes of a TV news reporter - but much more than that, a poignant assessment of TV news in the time of Trump, social media and ever increasing avenues of reporting. Above all, a fascinating insight into the “front woman” on our screens, her doubts and fears, triumphs and disappointments and the personal cost of being “above the parapet”

6 people found this helpful

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One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to.

So funny, insightful and heartwarming. An incredibly interesting book, and Maitlis’ writing and performance really bring this behind the scenes look at broadcast journalism to life. I’ll be listening to my favourite chapters again, no doubt.

4 people found this helpful

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A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news

A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news. Some parts made me laugh out loud at the image and absurdity of it all. Lots of subjects covered. Makes me want to watch Newsnight more than I do. Will change that. Trump is depressingly mentioned a lot; what a dickhead that man is.

4 people found this helpful

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Authentic and funny

So many laugh out loud moments and full credit to Emily Maitlis for calling herself out at regular intervals. Even when the truth put her in a bad light. She comes across as trustworthy and narrates superbly.

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Dodgy accents, brilliant stories

I love Emily Maitlis after listening!
Really interesting if you’re into the ins and outs of journalism/news reporting/television and how it all works.

She does some pretty questionable accents when reading quotes from Trump etc but I forgive her.

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Great

Really entertaining insight into the fascinating world in which Emily Maitlis. A most enjoyable listen.

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Brilliant!

Engaging, funny, sad and poignant all in the same chapter at times! Loved it x

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One of the best reads I've read in 2020

This book is surpringly good and much bettter than I expected. It's truly bite sized listening and easy listening but with a POV from a very briight woman who reads the book with her own personal style. The two chapters on Grenfell were connected and excellent and you can't help to love the Trump interview and her POV on him. The chapter on her staker is also brilliantly narrated despite being very personal. A must read for 2020.

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Just brilliant!

absolutely loved this book. Really interesting and diverse stories and read so well by Emily. I felt really engaged and couldn’t get through it quick enough! I was devastated when it was over! Really loved it and recommend it to everyone!!!

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Honest, Funny and Revealing:A few Hours Well Spent

I don't watch Newsnight and didn't really know much about Emily Maitlis, other than I once watched her present some awards at a dinner and I knew she was a BBC journalist.

This is a collection of reminiscences and anecdotes. It curates the life of a broadcast journalist and the bric-a-brac of being a celebrity who is paid to talk to the famous, infamous and passingly interesting people for public consumption (plus Piers Morgan). It is all the better for being read by the author, who seems to have written it to simultaneously assuage guilt about the voyeurism of her profession and to shed some light on what it is like to broadcast everything live, whether triumph or tragedy and then go home to live your own real life.

She comes across as smart, funny and self aware. There is the hint of the diva, but its not clear if that's a role she plays, an unavoidable consequence of the job she does, or a character trait. I thoroughly enjoyed it and, as one who listens to Audible daily on a 3 hour commute, I found myself sitting in the car in the garage when I got home, listening to the end of each story, before going to see my family.

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Profile Image for William Burke
  • William Burke
  • 18-09-19

Amazing book

Brilliantly written, brilliantly narrated by an amazing journalist & broadcaster with an amazing voice. It can only be Emily Maitlis. Captivating from start to finish.