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  • Spitfire

  • A Very British Love Story
  • By: John Nichol
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Categories: History
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Sunday Times nonfiction best seller. 

Achtung, Spitfire!

The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today?

In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany’s domination of Europe looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn’t planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire.

Best-selling author John Nichol’s passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates and the people who flew and loved them carries the listener beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire’s deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit.

Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping firsthand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers; and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the listener on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.

©2018 John Nichol (P)2018 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic Reviews

"The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane." (Patrick Bishop, best-selling author of Fighter Boys)

"A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focusing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them - and us - a valuable service." (Rowland White, best-selling author of Vulcan 607

"As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes." (Jon Dennis, Mail on Sunday magazine)

What listeners say about Spitfire

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Pretty vague with weird narration

Not really about Spitfires as such, no real technical details etc or even discussions of the many different types but anecdotes about the pilots, their backstories, partners etc. sometimes interesting, sometimes not. Action sequences are generally good, but other sections can be long and overly wordy not making for great or particularly interesting listening. There are stretches of up to an hour at a time which dont even talk about Spitfires, but pilot relationships, B17 rides or phases of the war etc. Additionally, the tone and pacing of the narrator is really odd. Almost every sentence is delivered with long pauses for emphasis like it is the most important thing in the world, even when it is something utterly inconsequential and unimportant, it gets pretty tiresome. Not a bad book, but not as good or as insightful as I'd hoped.

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  • yoav
  • 01-09-2020

very enjoyable

its all about the people not the technical details of the plane, very heart warming stories

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  • Voracious reader
  • 02-10-2019

Not the story but the teller

Narration is not easy. In this case its not very easy to listen to. The narrator has an expressive voice and it should all work but, he pauses in the oddest places. The narative style meant I jumped out of the story constantly. At one stage the narrator does an Australia accent which was ill advised. The story itself is 'alright' - lots of descriptions of dog fights which are reminiscent of a biggles book. A few years ago there was an excellent exhibition at the science museum on spitfires, which showed there is a fascinating story behind them. Unfortunately this book is not it.

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  • PAUL
  • 27-11-2018

Great story but...

I've listened to quite a few books on here now. Circa 50+ and I find that it always makes a difference who is narrating the book. Sadly in this case although I like the story and the way it is written the narration is somewhat annoying after a while. It's a shame because it spoilt what should have been a book I would usually enjoy as the subject interests me a great deal. Narration could improve drastically in my opinion.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ben Cookson
  • 17-07-2020

.

Emotional. Beautifully described, written and read with the utmost respect for the men and woman that served and all that were affected by the war.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-2020

Brilliant listening

Excellent book, a story of an aircraft which we of my generation (post war baby boom) know all about but this book really does tell its full wartime story from before the battle of Britain through all spheres of operations until the end. Helped by the seductive empathetic narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 18-06-2020

Outstanding book

As the title says... John Nichols has produced a fantastic piece of work, I cried, I laughed, I was shocked but most of all I loved! This book was/is brilliant from start to finish... the personal stories are truly engrossing, the plane is just a legend, the story behind it, its development through the war... just read/listen to it, its fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Maines
  • 07-05-2020

Fascinating

As the author warns at the beginning of the book this is not a blow by blow account of WW2 but series of anecdotes from the people whose lives were involved with the Spitfire aircraft. All these stories make for a fascinating listen and I look forward to buying the authors book on the Lancaster when it’s released. Narration was well done.

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  • S. Roche
  • 12-06-2019

Excellent book, poor narration

would have been 5 stars save for the poor narration. It was grating at times...

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jaws
  • 19-10-2020

Thoroughly enjoyable read.

A great insight into how this iconic aircraft came into being and it's development and service. Covers the various areas of operations and importantly the men and women who flew the Spitfire. Fascinating and at times moving. Well narrated.

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  • Ben Ansell
  • 17-10-2020

Loved every second

An awesome book on an iconic aircraft. Stories of very brave men and women at war.

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  • sibcald@aol.com
  • 09-10-2020

got to love a spitfire.

lovely book that captured the imagination. some heart racing and some tender moments. Read prior to my flight in a spitfire... was not disappointed. book gave me a welcome prelude to the flight. can confirm that the spitfire is a lovely lady to fly.

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  • 1X
  • 04-10-2020

A great collection of stories well read

There are so many reviews here, so I will keep this short. The stories are so well written and presented that they really suck you in, and I'll be honest the last few chapters had me in tears. This is really about the people who flew these magnificent machines with just the right level of technical detail added in. I really did learn a lot about the pilots (both the men and women) and a shocking realisation on how much of the WW2 i really didn't know about. John Nichol really does a great job and makes this an enjoyable read.

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