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Life on Air Paperback – 20 May 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849900019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849900010
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"It's almost impossible to believe that all these things happened to one man... but David Attenborough wears his achievements lightly and there are as many laughs here as there are animals." (Michael Palin)

"What shines through most of all is his enthusiasm - as undimmed now as when he started out." (Sunday Telegraph)

"An enthralling autobiography from one of the linchpins of television. His life has been fascinating. Attenborough is a master story-teller, and his book is crammed with anecdotes." (Good Book Guide)

"Life on Air, David Attenborough's professional autobiography, tells the entertaining story of how he turned us all into armchair experts in natural history." (Douglas Palmer New Scientist)

"[An] engaging and often amusing text." (Choice)

Book Description

The broadcasting memoirs of Sir David Attenborough, the world's leading Natural History programme-maker – revised and updated in mass market paperback

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What can you say about the great man? I have been listening to "Life on Air" in the car throughout the Christmas period on a variety of long journeys and having Sir David Attenborough as your travelling companion is frankly as good as it gets since the world is a better place with this man around. Some reviewers have pointed out that with 16 CDs this is somewhat of a labour of love and could be viewed as a bit of a slog, that said I have found myself rationing this wonderful set of audio memoirs and trying to savour its narrative by treating it as a guilty pleasure.

On reflection the the part of the audio book I enjoyed the most was Attenborough's account of the early days of the BBC, how he stumbled into a job in the "Talks dept of Auntie". Its difficult now to visualise those early days of TV and quite how haphazard and prone to breakdown it was. The early deals at Alexander Palace would see programmes massively over run, a diet of home economics programmes shown in the afternoon "for women" and cameras so primitive that the heat from them would give you a suntan. Attenborough arrived at the right time in this embryo organisation despite his early failure as an interviewer when it was concluded by the feisty BBC executive Mary Adams that "his teeth were to big for television" but he was soon producing the programmes and I loved his hilarious reminiscences about the Sir Mortimer Wheeler and one of the first BBC quizes "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral"?. Indeed what this book reveals fully is that Attenborough is not only the BBCs greatest asset and a national treasure but someone who in addition is a brilliant raconteur and also has a very masterful line in dry and jocular humour.
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Format: Paperback
Attenborough writes, unsurprisingly, just as enthusiastically as he presents. Wonderful anecdotes, not only, of his extensive travels but also behind the scenes - literally - at the BBC. A real insight into why and how his epic series were made and the enormous team efforts required to get those magnificent programmes to the armchair viewer. Comic moments pop up with a dry humour which illustrate the modesty of a giant of natural history. Leaves you wanting more!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Sir David so chose to purchase his book to learn a bit more about his life before he became the well-known naturalist I am familiar with.
What a wonderful book! he has such a great way of telling a story, so descriptive, full of anecdotes and very funny! You can hear his voice in your head as you are reading, it pulls you in and keeps you reading for hours!
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have never listened to an audio book before so I found it more than a little daunting when 16 CD's arrived covering 20 hours of narration. I decided to play these whilst driving and was amazed at the quality of the sound. I found the first few chapters a little slow; they were an introduction to his early career. Given the unique quality of David's voice it's ironic he was turned down for radio, and started his career in television.

He became a pioneer of this media and given the constraints of early television it is amazing that he and his team managed to produce the documentaries that they did, the patience, tenacity and sometimes daring is described in wonderful and engaging detail.

Despite this slow start I soon found myself dragged into his world as he took me on his adventures, the people he met, the places he visited and the animals he discovered, there are times when he encountered real danger, but also some very funny moments.

David makes no attempt to preach, which is admirable given some of his experiences, he just tells it as it is. I felt that he was truly enjoying telling me his story and sharing his experiences.

His distinctive voice, humour and gentlemanly charm, made for compulsive listening.

I think I would, after listening to this masterpeice,consider myself a bit of an audio book convert, reading made easy. It is a veritable recreation of the televisual career of a true british icon who demonstrates his gift not just as a presenter but now as a narrator,his lush warm tones giving an even more vivid evocation of his subject matter than any tv programme ever could.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I doubt I would have read the book of this title but the chance to have it read by the author himself was too good an offer to miss. It certainly didn't disappoint, and the fact that it was unabridged was a huge bonus.

Attenborough eloquently recounts his broadcasting career from his first entry into the BBC as a junior trainee, through high level jobs as a director on the BBC and back, full circle, to writing and narrating on the wonderful series, Planet Earth and The Private Life of Plants. Attenborough has had a fascinating life and if I couldn't join him on his travels then listening to him retelling his adventures was the next best thing.

I particularly enjoyed the details of early filming, all done live and without high tech equipment; in the days of black-and-white.
There are also telling comments about the generally held opinion of the time that animals were available in plentiful supply and specimen collecting trips just took what they wanted without heed for population numbers.
So, not only an intersting listen for lovers of natural history but also an informative window into a place and time that sadly, is no more.
I haven't seen the printed book, but I would imagine that it contains photographs and, for me, it was the lack of photographic detail that marred this audiobook.

I have already Wish Listed his other books on Audible and will be listening to them over the coming months.
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