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Summary

At the dawn of the twentieth century, a small but determined band of barrel jumpers risked their lives in one of the world's most wondrous waterfalls. Only a few survived.

By turns a family drama and an action-adventure story, The Age of Daredevils chronicles the lives of the men and women who devoted themselves to the extraordinary sport of jumping over Niagara Falls in a barrel - a death-defying gamble that proved a powerful temptation to a hardy few.

Internationally known in the 1920s and '30s for their barrel-jumping exploits, the Hills were a father-son team of daredevils who also rescued dozens of misguided thrill seekers and accident victims who followed them into the river. The publicity surrounding the Hills' spectacular feats ushered in tourism, making Niagara Falls the nation's foremost honeymoon destination, but ultimately set Red Hill Jr. on a perilous path to surpass his father's extraordinary leaps into the void.

Like the works of Jon Krakauer and David McCullough, The Age of Daredevils explores the primal force of fear and the thirst for adventure that drive humans to the brink of death to see if they can somehow escape.

©2016 Michael Clarkson. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nana x 3
  • 10-10-16

Interesting

The facts given within are interesting...but this is not a spellbinding book. I could take it or leave it. It is a good choice if you have work to do that would get ignored if you were stuck in a book!

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandy
  • 05-01-18

Interesting !

Loved this book. it was hard to put it down. Loved every chapter. verg interesting. everyone in this book was real.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • radchick
  • 11-10-16

A by gone era

You feel as if you know the River Boys who risk their lives and the consequences that play on their families lives saving people who come into contact with Niagara Falls. William Red Hill will always be remembered as a great Man and the patriarch of the Daredevil's.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Penny W.
  • 07-06-18

the hills are Heros

Great book because it was based on a great family. I've been back and forth to Niagara Falls so times in my life living in Erie PA. I've never once heard about the hill family until I listed this audio books. What a shame what an amazing family why isn't there a memorial to them there should be..but they were not rich. they didn't donate Millions to build a bridge. They just sacrificed their time and much of their lives to helping others. And there's no recognition anywhere in Niagara falls for them . I'm sure there is in heaven blessed be God to Hill families...great story.. I enjoyed it because not specific little vingetts. It was more biography about a family and their stunts their ups and downs. theirloves and their losse. I bought on a whimp but it ended up being a great listen.. only suggestion to know more about what happened w other members of The Hill Family edith? other younger sisters. harry?. it did say wesley the last surviving member. However the author didn't provide any detail he must have been one of the younger children. I want to know more about this family that is what interest me It's more of a personal interest Daredevil story very good. interested in hill Generations up until today.

18 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 01-09-18

Does it matter?

Mildly interesting at first but it dragged slowly to a non-ending. The stories of a bunch of dumb people risking their lives to go over the falls just doesn’t have any redeeming value.

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  • Karen Vanderjagt
  • 20-08-18

A Story seldom heard

I love little bits of history that rarely make the history books. Everyone knows the people went over the falls in a barrel but to know these people makes history come alive. The Hill family story needs to be told. It kept me involved & sometimes at the edge of my seat. I felt the heart sickness of the wives who were helpless to convince their husbands & father to their children to choose them over the falls. But there was a call, an obsession, or even a vision of fame & money that had to be fulfilled regardless of the insurmountable odds against success.

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  • Andrew
  • 18-08-18

Too long

Interesting story at times but drags on with excessive mundane detail. If the story were half the length nothing would be lost.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joan Kiefer
  • 13-08-18

More than awesome, and captivating!!

This is my first book review, but I have to let others know how fabulous this audio book was. I bought the book not realizing that this was about a real family of daredevils. The way their lives unwound, yet came together. Much more than just reading about the stunts. Narration was spot on, and the narrator was able to show the personalities with subtle nuances. Afterwards, I went on YouTube and researched more of the William "Red" Hill family. So interesting. I have been to Niagra Falls in Canada, years ago, and now learned I've actually touched some of the barrels the family used. Gave me goosebumps!! Read it, research it, love it.

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  • Rich H.
  • 06-08-18

great info

really good book for some history about the falls and the river men who lived off of the devastation.

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  • shireen c. mason
  • 05-08-18

interesting

loved the the history of the falls and what. conveyance that people used in their attempts to go over the falls in one piece and alive.