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Bevan Lewis

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  • 16
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Fantastic Smiley story, the best yet.

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

Reviewed: 02-11-2017

As always Michael Jayston's performance is flawless. This complex story features a really broad cast of interesting characters, wonderful settings and a suitable ending.

Excellent interpretive overview

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

Reviewed: 12-09-2017

Robert Weiner provides a thought provoking overview of this fascinating period. I've listened to it twice now and will again. Each lecture is packed with ideas. He adopts more of an interpretive approach rather than just reciting events although he does provide the context necessary. I also appreciated the excellent notes and recommendations for further reading. There is a noticeable emphasise on diplomatic history but other aspects are covered. My only minor criticism is that his vocal volume tends to go up and down a wee bit too much, although I was still able to hear everything. Excellent and I hope the Great Courses release a version of his course on the twentieth century.

An old friend

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

Reviewed: 03-07-2017

Those of a certain age will remember the popularity of these books and the spinoff TV series. In retrospect it seemed strange that the gruelling life of a vet in an isolated part of Yorkshire in the 1930s could be an international bestseller. I recently happened across mention of James Herriot and thought I would engage in some nostalgia.
This book is a model of memoir. I now appreciate more than in my youth why these books were so popular. Although the tales are entertaining Herriot's writing is absolutely exquisite. His wonderful language and masterful timing wrimg every ounce of pathos, tragedy (and more than a few belly laughs) out of the reader.
Christopher Timothy, the narrator has a natural bent for the main character due to his years playing him in the TV series, however shows himself to be an outstanding reader, performing all the actors with aplomb.
A wonderful experience to listen to and a superb book to revisit.

Masterful novel with beautiful language

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

Reviewed: 15-03-2017

Ruth Rendell introduces Detective Inspector Wexford in this book. Set unashamedly in the early 1960s (I. e. contemporary ), the writing is lucid and beautiful. Everything a police procedural should be. The audible book is superbly read, one of the best performances I've heard.

1 person found this helpful

Still developing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-04-2016

This was John Le Carre's breakthrough novel. He has transitioned from detective drama with a hint of espionage to full on spy thriller. Good book but still developing.

2 people found this helpful

excellent thriller

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

Reviewed: 14-01-2016

The first so-called psychological thriller I've read, this is a gripping story. Although I got a sense of what was coming the denouement was still somewhat surprising and satisfying
The Audible audio book is well narrated by British actor Robert Glenister

2 people found this helpful

Excellent overview of Nazi Germany

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-12-2015

Thomas Childers is an excellent scholar. His early research was on German electoral patterns and the rise of support for the Nazi Party. This short course provides an excellent history of the Nazi movement from its origins in World War 1 through its extraordinary rise to power. Childers places the rise of Hitler's Empire within the context of German politics and society. He covers the party's tactics, Hitler's beliefs, the evolution of racial and foreign policy expertly. There is brief coverage of World War 2 but Professor Childers has another course specifically on this subject.

Enjoyable first book in the series

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

Reviewed: 22-10-2015

John Le Carre's deftly drawn characters and well informed books on the world of espionage should need no introduction. Yet despite watching the two BBC miniseries based on the George Smiley character I hadn't read any until I listened to this, the first book in the eight featuring George. Smiley is a fascinating character, quite opaque, quiet and undemonstrative. He is the polar opposite of James Bond yet is a superb protagonist. Le Carre's first book is well plotted and paced, gently ambling towards a conclusion. I did anticipate a couple of plot points but it was still a pleasure to seem them play out.
The audio book is excellently narrated with the characters easily distinguished and full of drama.

5 people found this helpful

Classic Narrative History

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

Reviewed: 21-10-2015

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is one of those classics that I've wanted to read since getting interested in World War 1 with the centenary. It lives up to its reputation as a gripping, well written narrative history.The reading is excellent with good 'accents' and easy to follow.

What other book might you compare The Guns of August to, and why?
There is a litany of other books and authors who reference themselves instead of The Guns of August. Sean McMeekin, author of "July 1914" is respectful but a bit derogatory. In fact when I read/listened I was surprised that the 'origins' of the war are not a dominant part of the book at all, and the military events of August, as the title suggests, are the central content.
Max Hasting's "Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914" is probably the most comparable recent book.

Which scene did you most enjoy?
The beautifully described encounters between Joffre and his subordinates (and the British) through the book are sometimes frustrating, sometimes amusing but always vivid.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Failure of the Best Laid Plans