Essential Listening (audible books)

I’ve been an customer for around a decade and judging by the size of my library, have consumed over 270 books in that time. That sounds about right, since my plan has 2 books a month. My commute is not that long, probably around 20 minutes. But that’s 40 mins a day. And there is also workout time, honey-do time, time watching the kids, chore time, standing in line time, and lunch time. I also listen to a few podcasts, alternating between a good book and a podcast about every other week. And because not everything worth reading has been recorded, I consume books the old school way too, albeit at a much slower rate. Usually when I hit the rack, it’s to sleep.

Not all audible books are created equally. The narrator can make or break a book or aspiring author. For instance, my favorite new sci-fi writer is Craig Alanson. While he does self publish via Amazon, his novels really went viral when noted narrator RC Bray was signed to read the Expeditionary Force series.

Then take a series or book too time consuming to absorb, like a James Michener novel, or the entire Aubrey and Maturin series. The audible version is much more palatable during a boring commute, while loading the dishwasher, or standing in line at the department of motor vehicles.

Perhaps I am in the minority. In that case, this thread will undoubtedly come to an ignominious end. But on the chance that there are others out there searching for an exceptional listen, I propose the Essential Listening thread,

Where to begin? How about one that many of you have either seen the film and/or read the book decades ago. I had done both, but so long ago that only glimpses of the film remain in memory. Admittedly, experiencing the DCS Hornet and Tomcat and all of the associated media surrounding both have heightened my awareness of carrier ops. But listening it today was as if for the first time. And it’s awesome. Hit the Sample button for a taste.


I’ve listened to every single book written by Peter f Hamilton on audible. My favourite author. When I was driving trucks I could really get into them going up and down the motorway.
I’ve done a LOT of science fiction books and could reccomend a huge amount but actually when I think about it I really enjoyed the non fiction books about the Falklands and world wars.

‘Masters of the air’ and ‘Lancaster’ were a couple of stand out favourites


So true. I got hooked on the Safehold series by David Weber. Initially I read the books but a some point I switched to Audible. For some reason they switch the narrators at least 3 times with mixed to poor results.


I recommend the Great Courses series. Each is a collegiate course taught/narrated by a professor. I like the history courses but all have been at least very good. The one caution…if you are like me and tended to fall asleep in class, probably not the best thing to listen to while driving…just say’n. :yawning_face::open_mouth:


Way back in the day when I had a cassette radio in my tractor I used to go to the local library and rent taped stories. The choice was limited but it beat the radio when I was spending 14 hours a day ploughing or working land.
Fast forward 20 years and I got the harry Potter books read by Steven fry who is a suberb reader for the kids on my ipod.


Agreed. He is fantastic, especially when narrated by John Lee. I’ve enjoyed both the Void trilogy and the Commonwealth series.


John Lee is phenomenal in the commonwealth series. You may not get the reference but I whenever I swear inside my head my inner monologue tends to use John Lee’s version of nigel sheldon voice 'jeeeeezus chrrrrist"

Have you read or listened to the great north road or the new salvation series. I am waiting for the 2nd book in salvation series as the first one blew my socks off. I think mr Hamilton struggles to write women characters very well but by God I love his style of writing so much. It’s kind of spoiled high science fiction for me to be honest. I’ve never found anything that comes close to the commonwealth series.

But I have HIGH Hope’s for salvation


If you’re into audiobooks you might also like Dan Carlins Hardcore History series. It‘s a free podcast and your smartphone can already play it offline. The length and intensity of them is more „book“ than „podcast“.

what a great idea, thx :slight_smile:

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Having finished FOTI, which I must say is one hell of a book, we now move on to WW2 armor. I’m about half way through this and enjoying it immensely. The author is new to me, but well suits the genre. The NYT describes it as “Band of Brothers in tanks”. I’m inclined to agree. The author’s bio

Currently listening to Max Hastings audiobook: Vietnam - An Epic Tragedy and it is fascinating (and well narrated). Currently at the part about Dien Bien Phu, but the lead up to that event was really interesting to hear. Though Hastings goes into good detail about the siege and results…I’ll search out another book specific to that event since it is a huge story within a story. And I had no idea Dulles was such an obnoxious man…lol…


Look no further…

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Awesome…can’t wait to dig into it. Although at nearly 34 hours…the Hastings book might take me a few weeks to get through…

Cool though, I just looked it up on Scribd (I subscribe to it…love it) and it will be available in a few weeks!

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Right up my alley and just purchased. Thank you very much for that recommendation. Will start that right after I finish the latest brewery book. I took over leadership of our humble brewery 3 weeks ago and have much to learn. Drinking from the firehose of brewery management knowledge now.


Good luck man. Hope you get your feet under you and have good success moving forward!

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Max Hastings is a fantastic author. His “battle for the Falklands” is a great read as well. I really enjoyed it. Plus he focused a lot less on the black buck missions and much more on the naval and ground war side of things which was stuff I wasn’t that familiar with. Very interesting book


I read a paperback copy of “Hell in a Very Small Place” when I was in 9th grade. I think it should be required reading for any youngster who sees military service in their future. Definitely disabused me of silly ideas about the glamor and glory of a military career. Sure, I did it anyway, but at least I had a better idea of the realities of such a choice. Just say’n.

Seem to recall the hard copy version had a lot of maps…does the audible version have a pdf or something?


Not IME. One of the limitations of the platform I’m afraid. On the other hand, it allows you to consume many more books than would be possible via another format, since you can simultaneously listen while accomplishing simple tasks or commuting. I used to read at bedtime, but my days are so full lately, that rack time is limited to sleeping. I have ~ 40 minutes daily commuting, which would otherwise be wasted.

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Even the very short (I mean…like 30 minutes of audible book) recap of Dien Bien Phu in the Hastings book painted a really grim picture of what it must have been like there. It was interesting how the United States weighed the pros and cons of assisting the French…and I would love to read a book about the CIA airline (Civil Air Transport) that (according to Hastings) went above and beyond in their attempts to resupply the besieged base.


In Fairchild C-119s with US Air Force markings hurriedly painted over with French Air Force roundels, 37 CAT pilots volunteered to fly supplies from the French airbase at Haiphong to the battlefield near the border with Laos.

Between 13 March and 6 May 1954, the pilots and crews made 682 airdrops to the beleaguered French forces, flying through murderous antiaircraft fire from guns that ringed the valley at Dien Bien Phu. On 6 May, the day before the Viet Minh overran the French fortifications antiaircraft fire hit the C-119 flown by legendary CAT pilot James McGovern (nicknamed “Earthquake McGoon”) and co-pilot Wallace Buford. The pilots struggled to keep the plane airborne despite flak damage to the control surfaces and the port engine. The plane limped over the border into Laos and crashed, killing McGovern and Buford and two French paratroopers. The CAT pilots were thus among the first Americans to die in the Indochina conflict, which would eventually fully engage US military forces and end only in 1975.

The crash site was located in 2002, and in 2006 DNA testing confirmed that the remains recovered were McGovern’s. He was buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery on 24 May 2007. Pieces of his C-119 are now in the CIA Museum collection.


Some background reading courtesy of the company.

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Always wondered if we had given the air support that was requested by the French if our ground forces would have ever set foot in French Indochina.