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Winkle cover art

Winkle

By: Paul Beaver
Narrated by: Steve John Shepherd,Paul Beaver
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The daring life story and astonishing adventures of Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown - Britain's greatest-ever pilot.

Small in stature but immense in reputation and talent, there was more to Eric 'Winkle' Brown than met the eye.

The pilot who set the standard for Britain's golden age of aviation, Winkle cemented his worldwide fame with incredible skill, extraordinary daring - and nerves of steel when things went wrong. From shooting down Luftwaffe bombers from the deck of a carrier in the Battle of the Atlantic and narrowly escaping death when his ship was torpedoed, to accumulating a never-to-be repeated litany of world records and firsts as a test pilot, his unparalleled flying career saw him take the controls of over four hundred different kinds of aircraft - more than any other pilot in history.

A rival to Chuck Yeager and hero to Neil Armstrong, by the time of his appearance on Desert Island Disc's 1000th episode Winkle had become a legend in his own lifetime, and by his death, a national treasure.

But despite his enormous fame, there have always been mysteries at the heart of Winkle's story. To truly understand this fascinating but secretive man is to grapple with questions that have intrigued and confounded biographers throughout his extraordinary life.

Drawing on previously unseen documents and unfettered access to Winkle's own personal archive Paul Beaver records a life with more twists and turns than a Battle of Britain dogfight - which was, of course, something Winkle had taken part in himself - uncovering the complex and enigmatic man behind the legend - the real story of Britain's greatest pilot.

A story Winkle insisted could only be told after his death . . .

©2023 Paul Beaver (P)2023 Penguin Audio

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An interesting take

As others have said I do not wish to spoil the listening of the book for others. There are a few basic errors and mispronunciations. Generally the book gives a good overall picture of the man, no doubtably a great pilot but a square peg in a round hole in the navy, never really fitting in with limited views on what makes a good officer. Pride and ego in his own ability, under confidence in himself show throughout.

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Not quite the book that it could have been

I shall try to write the review without spoilers to those wishing to listen or read it themselves.

I think that first and foremost in a book setting out to tell the true story about Eric 'Winkle' Brown the author has very clearly wrestled with his own hero-worship and friendship which made me the listener non the wiser about certain events or feeling that some things were a bit too easily glossed over.

Examples:
1. An supposedly life shaping event in Eric's life we are told there is no evidence for it taking place with Visa's etc but are then regaled with the full tale of the trip, so as the listener I am left to wonder well did it happen or not?
2. An incident in which a civilian aircraft is shot down with civilians on board in broad daylight is remarked on "that's war" no attempt to look at any evidence either way and why Winkle's usual attention to detail while flying went out of the window here and the author was almost satisfied with hiding behind Eric's glossing over of the event.

There are also some errors to be found with myths around some aircraft types perpetuated that we know today just are not true but I have stopped listening with over 6 hours remaining after hearing about the large battleships of the Imperial Japanese 'Army' something basic really.

Hopefully one day someone more impartial to Eric 'Winkle' Brown will revisit the source material and retell the story telling us what didn't happen without then going into detail and not afraid to venture that even some of the most brilliant people otherwise, can also be flawed.

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Excellent

No matter how much you think you know about the Second World War, there’s always something new to learn. Eric’s story is both fascinating and highly informative.

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Real life adventure story

Excellent listen. At times reads like a boys own action story. Great book about great man.

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fabulous listen

an extraordinary man with an extraordinary career, a must listen for anyone into ww2 too modern aviation

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Excellent story

Excellent true story and very nicely narrated, seems to be a very balanced view of an amazing man and pilot,

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Interesting Story Delivery Could Have Been Better

Don’t wish to include any spoilers. A good story providing new insight into Winkle; however marred by some factual inaccuracies and poor delivery at times as narrator mispronounced words and abbreviations.

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Amazing story of an incredible man

Great balance of technical and historical detail with the human side of Eric in a unique insight into one of our greatest pilots.

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A fantastic and thoughtful book

If no film yet, one should be made asap and show the world that uk is tops!

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Great listen

Great and honest book of a remarkable man. Interesting new insights and great research. Well told by a decent narrator

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