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An Improbable Life: The Autobiography

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  33 reviews

Sir Trevor McDonald is an extraordinary man - and he has led an improbable life. Now in his 80th year, he is known and loved by people the world over for his humility, charm and natural ease. As a natural storyteller and communicator, he has few equals.

In An Improbable Life, Sir Trevor recounts his personal experience of world events and interviews with globally famous -

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 17th 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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Andrew Bentley
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has lived in the UK, Trevor McDonald is a name and face that they know well.
He is a skilled news reader and interviewer who like the best of them is able to draw in both his interviewees as well as his audience.
I approached the book rather jadedly as I see him as representative of the mainstream media, with which I am fairly disgusted at present. However, all his views and opinions always seem to be tempered with a gentle awareness of alternative views.
In fact it is heartening
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* Sir Trevor McDonald brings together many of his experiences of major world events from the heart, focusing mainly on political history.
I would have liked to have found out a little bit more about his life and the man himself, his family etc as this would make this book more like an autobiography rather than an historical recount.
Rosie Amber
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
An Improbable Life is the autobiography of journalist and broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald. Born in Trinidad in 1939, Trevor talks candidly about his humble beginnings and his love for reporting. He opens his story with thoughts about what drives a journalist, and how seeking the truth, however difficult or shocking it may be, has been a fundamental part of his broadcasting life. 

This was a fascinating book that offered a great insight into multiple themes from cricket to politics. I enjoyed read
Stephanie Carr
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love Trevor McDonald and this is a fascinating look at his life and career. I loved the detail with which he described certain assignments and trips he was sent on, the build up to huge political events and the work I involved in getting a story.

It was also good to see how he addresses the issue of racism and racial inequality in the media and in general - his discussions of empire and the reverence felt by West Indians for the 'mother country' really brought to light how England has treated
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sir Trevor Mcdonald sharing his experiences as a journalist, aspiring for this career in his childhood in Trinidad, and having amazing opportunities to meet and report on events, occasions and people all over the world. Highlights include Obama, Saddam Hussein, religious war in North Ireland, Windrush politics and issues and much more. He reflects on his own practice, how lucky he has been, and how he could have approached some interviews better. Overall an interesting read and sheds some light ...more
Lali Smith
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
A disappointing read. Despite his interesting early years, the rest of the book was more about events and who he has interviewed. Would have liked to know more about him, his family and thoughts.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating read from his early life in Trinidad to how he came to England and how he ended up as one of Britain’s most loved newsreaders.
Really enjoyed the descriptions of him interviewing famous people and how they came about. Also how life has changed in the years
A must read for people
Rebecca Fell
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rhionna Mackay
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is not a typical autobiography; most of the book focuses on Trevor’s work life and the major news events he covered. If you want a story about what he likes to eat for dinner, what life was like in high school or how he found himself then you’ll be sorely disappointed. If you want to hear his perspective on some of the biggest work events of his lifetime then you’ll love this book.

I enjoyed listening to the boom, it gave me points to look up and events to find out more about. His accounts o
Megan Staunton
I’m always fascinated to learn about the lives of news presenters; people who we unconsciously let into our homes, who we spend hours listening intently to and whose opinions we’ve come to hold as sacred. People who, because of the consistency they hold in our lives and the familiarity and intimacy of seeing their face everyday we think we know. Listening to Trevor McDonald talk about his life, from career assignments to bold interviews, his opinions on how England treated those of the Windrush ...more
Cherryls Books
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This autobiography, gives a collection of journalistic memoirs and many of Trevor’s own thoughts and opinions on them.

Accounts from Trevor's career eats up about 90% of the book, as well as snapshots into his childhood, growing up in Trinidad.

An Improbable Life is filled with journalistic tales from various locations and high profile world events, meeting all sorts of high profile world leaders - and it's interesting to hear him reflect on these in his own words, sharing his own opinions.
Claire Warriner
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found Sir Trevor absolutely fascinating . The amount of people he interviewed and how where he came from just shows his work ethic paid off. There is so much of the conflicts that he writes about that I was unaware of and it has inspired me to become more educated about them. A different book to what I would normally choose and I am grateful that this was part of one of my book club reads. Not sure I would of chosen this otherwise and I am so glad I did.
Megan Kinsey
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a brilliant, brilliant man! I’ve always admired Trevor McDonald but it was fascinating to hear about so much of his career, especially the events that I wasn’t alive for but have heard through history lessons and general awareness from my parents. I found this book so absorbing, though I did need to concentrate a lot as he writes so intellectually. Perhaps not a bed time read. But highly recommend.
Christine Parkinson
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I give this book 3 and a half stars. Each chapter recounted a story from Trevor’s work as a journalist. I found it hard to follow at times as there is an expectation that you know a bit about the background of the people or topics that he is describing but that is more down to my lack of knowledge rather than a slight on the book. I especially enjoyed the chapter about death row. This book does not contain much detail about his personal life, it is a book about his career.
Patricia Samms
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was not disappointed by this autobiography at all as I was keen to read how Sir Trevor became a news reader and an author.

I enjoyed reading his reflections on the interviews he was able to have with famous leaders and the action behind the news.

I found his reading of this enlightening and very informative. He really has lived a very full life.
Amy Fitzsimmons
this book was very interesting and very very well written. It details many intriguing stories and deals with them each uniquely. my criticisms would be that it was not a gripping book and that after dissecting his childhood there was little mention of McDonald as an adult, outside of each specific tale.
Julian Onions
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Not my normal read, but as a present and signed too I thought I should give it a go. I didn't know much about him. It is an interesting read as he has met a lot of interesting people. Nelson Mandela, Gaddafi, Safam Hussein... So fun insights.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook that is narrated by Sir Trevor himself. This added immensely to my enjoyment of the book as his voice has such familiarity and warmth. Good read with great insight into some of the big events of 20th century, including Northern Ireland.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read

An interesting and well written read highlighting the key moments of his career. Reflecting on how times have changed throughout for him.
Sep 16, 2020 rated it liked it
3 1/2. No real insight into the man. Mentions his wife 3 or 4 times at most.
Kimberley Williamson
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book to read. Varied topics and an inset to the author! I would highly recommend this book. 👍🏻
Phil Aldis
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an interesting life from humble beginnings in Trinidad to interviewing Prime Ministers, US Presidents, Salam Hussein, Nelson Mandela and many more. Remarkable!!
Christian Thomas
Fantastic insight to a brilliant mind, life and man.
Ian Rees
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Very easy read with lots of interesting insights into the significant figures the author met.
Emily Proctor
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Three stars could be harsh but I kept it there as I found the structure of the book a little disjointed in the first half so I wasn’t that excited to read on each night.
That said, the man is clearly a living legend and has had the most amazing experiences, meeting a host of highly influential people.
The section where he discusses his interview with Saddam Hussein is unbelievably fascinating and I was totally hooked during this part. Definitely worth a read but you need an interest in him alrea
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most enjoyable and humble look at the professional life of the icon that is Sir Trevor.
Mr Benjamin
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting hearing his perspective on world events.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful trip down some of history's most significant moments through the eyes of a journalist on the front-lines.
Keith Mills
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trevor Mcdonald has certainly led a full life. As for the book, how successful it is (from my perspective) differs from section to section, depending on the subject matter of his life and the news in different parts of the world, his feeling towards events, and towards the people he meets.
Jason Wilson
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a very long journalistic career Sir Trevor did everything from witness the release of Mandela to interview Hussein and Gadaffi. His stories and reflections are fascinating and one wishes there were space for the bits he whistles through.
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