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Fireball

Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

Non-member price: $30.35

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Publisher's Summary

This fresh look at Hollywood's "Queen of Screwball", Carole Lombard, presents a first-ever examination of the events that led to the shocking flight mishap that took her life on the side of a Nevada mountain in 1942. It also provides a day-by-day account of the struggles of Lombard's husband, Clark Gable, and other family, friends, and fans to cope with the tragedy. In effect, having just completed the first sale of war bonds and stamps in the nation following its entry into World War II, Lombard became the first Hollywood star to sacrifice her life in the war.

The War Department offered Gable a funeral service with full military honors, but he refused it, knowing his wife would not approve of such spectacle. Based on extensive research rather than gossip, this investigation further explores the lives of the 21 others on the plane, including 15 members of the US Army Air Corps, and addresses one of the most enduring mysteries of World War II. On a clear night full of stars, with TWA's most experienced pilot at the controls of a 10-month-old aircraft under the power of two fully functioning engines, why did the flight crash into that Nevada mountainside?

This gripping page-turner presents the story of the people on the plane, the friends and families left behind, and the heroic first responders who struggled up a mountain hoping to perform a miracle rescue. It is a story of accomplishment, bravery, sacrifice, and loss.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Robert Matzen (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Devoured Fireball in a single day while recuperating from the Toronto International Film Festival. Fantastic job of research, served up as a real page-turner. It would make a great movie." (Lou Lumenick, chief film critic, New York Post)

What members say

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Profile Image for Sudi
  • Sudi
  • 18-06-2014

Carole, Reanimated

If you could sum up Fireball in three words, what would they be?

Researched; Personal; Gripping

What does Tavia Gilbert bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Ms.Gilbert does read with enthusiasm.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I appreciated that Mr. Matzen fleshed out some peripheral players in the lives of Lombard and also Gable.

Any additional comments?

I've always felt I knew Carole; now I feel I know her better.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • lauren
  • 08-06-2015

Haunting

Hard to believe so long has passed and how touching this story. I really would have loved to get to know the"fireball" Carol Lombard. She really packed a lot of living into a short time!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • marekolbe
  • 27-08-2019

Enjoyable

I enjoyed learning the details of Carol Lombard’s life and tragic death. However, the narrator should have done a better job with pronunciation of names and other words. A simple Google search would have given her Franchot Tone’s correct pronunciation, Fran shō not Fran chot (as in shot with the ch as in church).

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  • EJJ
  • 28-07-2019

A Fascinating but Tragic Story

An absolutely fascinating book, with chapters on the rise and career of Lombard alternating with chapters on the tragic, mysterious plane crash on Mount Potosi, Nevada, that killed her, along with her mother, Hollywood handler Otto Winkler, and nineteen others, including several Army Air Corps personnel. To his credit, Matzen is careful not to overlook those "others," telling the stories of as many as possible before their deaths in the crash of TWA Flight 3 in January 1942. Matzen has done excellent research.

The only criticism I have of this audiobook is the narration. Tavia Gilbert periodically begins to sound melodramatic, though the same words appearing on a page would not necessarily have given that impression. Gilbert's talents are probably better suited to light fiction.

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  • Dena DiRocco
  • 01-12-2018

Great Story, Terrible Narration

This a fantastic book! I have always wondered about the crash of TWA Flight 3 and this book answers those questions. While the focus is on Carole Lombard the other crash victims are not forgotten. My only complaint is the narration. Oh my. It is read in an over the top, melodramatic manner to the point of being annoying. If the story had not held my interest so deeply I would have returned it because of the narration and bought the hard copy. Overall, well written and a tribute to the lives of those affected by this tragedy.

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  • Kris McCarthy
  • 16-01-2018

Great book awful narration

This is such a great and important book. However it is read by a woman with an awful breathy voice that is very distracting.

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  • CarmenJones
  • 13-03-2017

Heartbreaking story with obnoxious narrator

This was probably the most beautifully written tragic story I've ever read. I think it would have fared even better with a better Narrator. Tavia what's her face is no Grace Conlin and her over the top dramatic recitation bordered on obnoxious "oooh no! Dear! sweet! Carole is... G-g-g-ONE!!" (Rolls eyes) the story was tragic enough and did not need Tavia's over the top Mary Pickford style of acting.

Anyway I wish I had read the book on my own because I don't think I will be able to revisit this title. It was just too heartbreaking, those people did not deserve to die in such a tragic way. Oh well I pray they are all at peace.

Off to find something cheery to read to...

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  • Robyn
  • 25-09-2016

Good story, sparkling narration

My preferred genre is non-fiction and when I heard a lot of reconstructed dialogue and the thoughts of people who died in the crash, I was prepared not to enjoy this book much. But the book quickly captured my interest and held it all the way through. I would also have preferred the events to be recounted chronologically, but running separate strands was not too distracting. The best thing about this book, for me, is Tavia Gilbert's narration - with her very agreeable voice and her ability to capture and convey all the different emotions she is perfect. I look forward to hearing her again.