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6 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly magnificent achievement
It would be hard to overstate the importance of David Hendy's brilliant work of cultural history. Widely recognised in academic and BBC circles as the finest work of British radio history, the award winning book is based on detailed use of archive material and is at the same time highly readable. Hendy himself trained as a Mediaeval historian before working at the BBC...
Published on 6 Oct 2009 by Hugh Chignell

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissertation time
Like the reviewer below, I too was disappointed. Radio 4 has provided the backdrop to so many of our lives, including Today, PM, Letter from America, the Archers, Woman's Hour, Home Truths and so on. I was hoping for a book that delighted in the programmes and the characters that made them, but what we were served up with was a heavy undergraduate dissertaion focussing on...
Published on 3 Mar 2009 by Richard Neville


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly magnificent achievement, 6 Oct 2009
By 
Hugh Chignell (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life On Air: A History of Radio Four (Paperback)
It would be hard to overstate the importance of David Hendy's brilliant work of cultural history. Widely recognised in academic and BBC circles as the finest work of British radio history, the award winning book is based on detailed use of archive material and is at the same time highly readable. Hendy himself trained as a Mediaeval historian before working at the BBC as a producer. He manages to combine real historical prowess with a charmingly engaging style. The book is a very significant breakthrough in cultural history, providing the reader with penetrating analysis of this quintessentially English institution. I could not recommend this highly enough! Hugh Chignell, Assistant Prof. of Broadcsting History, Bournemouth University.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pleasure of Life on Air, 28 Jan 2009
This review is from: Life On Air: A History of Radio Four (Paperback)
Skipping to the chapter Pleasures at the end of Life on Air, is quite simply like putting Radio 4 on and finding you are at the beginning of a gripping drama, a heated debate or a review of a film that sounds a "must see". David Hendy uses this last chapter to share with us the emotional responses Radio 4 always brings out in its' listeners, who, despite having favourite "hate" bits stick with it pretty much through thick and thin as a much valued background to their daily lives. I loved the poetic bits used here : Carol Ann Duffy talks about the Shipping Forecast's power late at night, listened to in the dark as Hendy says "the power lay in it being like a sudden utterance carried through the air, unbidden but somehow consoling - darkness outside. Inside the radio's prayer - Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre." And did you know that we don't have Finisterre any more on the shipping forecast and it's been replaced with Fitzroy? or that German Bight used to be Heligoland? Or that when a BBC controller tried to axe it in 1995 as it was no longer useful to sailors who used automatic weather reports there was a considerable public outcry and he relented? Not a shout out loud revelation to be sure, but one that is typical of this brilliantly researched, beautifully written book. Life on Air isn't about trash celebs or DJs but it is filled with riveting detail and fine analysis about why this quirky, idiosyncratic and ultimately very British institution is still as popular as it is. It shows that David Hendy has been a producer at the BBC working on among other things Analysis and the World Tonight - this book is for the thoughtful reader who relishes fine writing. David Hendy won the much coveted Longmans History book of the year for this in 2008 and it is easy to see why.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissertation time, 3 Mar 2009
By 
Richard Neville "gnome of zurich" (Zurich, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life On Air: A History of Radio Four (Paperback)
Like the reviewer below, I too was disappointed. Radio 4 has provided the backdrop to so many of our lives, including Today, PM, Letter from America, the Archers, Woman's Hour, Home Truths and so on. I was hoping for a book that delighted in the programmes and the characters that made them, but what we were served up with was a heavy undergraduate dissertaion focussing on the history, and eventually the reader just gets bogged down that it becomes less Life On Air and more Coming Up For Air. Shame..
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the diehard Four Fan only really, 23 Jan 2009
By 
D. Burgess (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life On Air: A History of Radio Four (Paperback)
As a listener to, and fan of, Radio Four for nigh on 40 yeras I was delighted to find this book as I was hoping for some really in depth analysis, reviews & comment on the history and output of the station. Sadly I have been a little disappointed...

The book is well written but it is so very dry. Sadly it also only seems to concentrate the main movers and shakers of the station, not the actual programme output, and it is this that has caused my disappointment.

If you're a real afficenado of the station then I'm sure this book will prove more than adequate in furthering your knowledge. However for my part, and I'm guessing the vast majority of readers of Radio 4 material, then Simon Elm's "And now on Radio 4" provides a far more comprehensive and approachable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Graet for radio-philes, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Life On Air: A History of Radio Four (Paperback)
All true radio 4-philes need to read this - it's fascinating - and they will come across all their favourites!
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Our Mistake, 24 Jan 2013
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We thought we were orderring the Attenborough book so the one we received was a costly mistake so it was our mistake
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Life On Air: A History of Radio Four
Life On Air: A History of Radio Four by David Hendy (Paperback - 25 Sep 2008)
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