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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments We're celebrating Audiobook Month and AudioFile Magazine’s 25th anniversary (yes!!) by sharing a list of 25 iconic audiobooks from the past 25 years, one title a day. Please jump on and add to our list of iconic audiobooks with the audiobooks you think are, to quote Merriam-Webster, “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence”.

We’ve already started the list off with the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God. Here's the review in AFM: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... It's narrated by the amazing Ruby Dee.

Check in with us here and share your iconic books – and let us know what we missed!


message 2: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments The obvious title(s) for this list are the Harry Potter books narrated by Jim Dale. I believe his performance and the sales of the audiobook marked a turning point in how audio was viewed. Great narration to match a great story and a huge reading audience followed.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "The obvious title(s) for this list are the Harry Potter books narrated by Jim Dale. I believe his performance and the sales of the audiobook marked a turning point in how audio was viewed. Great na..."

Aurelia here. I absolutely agree, Jeanie. It is iconic (and actually, on our list as well, just later in the month). It became a must-listen for entire families, didn't it, and for adults as well as kids - definitely a turning point for audiobooks.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams The second of our iconic twenty-five, is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Science fiction adventure-British silly-deeply philosophical, it's about everything, including Arthur Dent's adventures as a spaceship stowaway. Folks are rabid about their favorites, so here's the link to reviews and sound clips of several productions: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... Personally, I veer wildly between the radio series with Simon Jones and crew, which I first heard on an actual radio, and Stephen Fry's one-man multi-voice extravaganza.


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Casseroll | 45 comments How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell--read by David Tennant. He is highly entertaining and brought the books to a whole 'nother level! Cressida's characters and writing were great.


message 6: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling with a brilliant narration. And not only do people not skip the poems in this version, they don't want to. Best fantasy of all time with narration it deserves.

Next, The Help. Whenever multi-voice narration is mentioned, this tops everyone's list... for good reason. The four narrators bring an outstanding story to life so marvelously that it's hard to imagine any partnership of story and narrators surpassing it.

Outlander. For fans, Diana Gabaldon's stories of time-travel romance are the gold standard. Davina Porter's narration is a perfect match for the perfectly matched couple of the series.

In Death series by J.D. Robb and narrated by Susan Erikson. A science-fiction police procedural/romance set in the future sounds like an improbable success, but these stories have set a standard few even approach. The narration is so distinctive, with so many beloved character voices, that Susan Erikson's narration is as much of a draw for listeners as the stories themselves.

finally, for now, The Martian narrated by R.C. Bray. This is a personal pick because the audio made me want to stick with the story from the very first moments. It's a truly great version of the "stranded in space" tale, and Bray puts the oxygen in the atmosphere!


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Casseroll wrote: "How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell--read by David Tennant. He is highly entertaining and brought the books to a whole 'nother level! Cressida's characters and writing were great."

What a great suggestion! On the list it goes.


message 8: by AudioFile (last edited Jun 06, 2017 10:43AM) (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling with a brilliant..."


This is fantastic Jeanie! The more iconic audiobooks the better. It'll be great to look back at the end of the month at the collection of everyone's suggestions, mixed in with AFM's starter list of 25. What a wonderful collection we'll all have. And what an apposite celebration of Audiobook Month.

Speaking entirely personally, I love The Help and the Outlander series, and now look forward to hearing the others (I've read Tolkien, but never listened). How to Train Your Dragon just won an Audie Award. And your comment about R.C. Bray putting the oxygen into the atmosphere is a perfect explanation of what a great narrator can do for a book.

BTW, if you haven't seen it, I think you'd enjoy this chat I had with Diana Gabaldon: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/auth.... She and Davina Porter know and like each other.


message 9: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 221 comments AudioFile wrote: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams The second of our iconic twenty-five, is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Science fiction adventure-Brit..."

The Hitchhiker's Guide audio was part of the Audiobooksync program a few weeks ago. Stephen Fry is the narrator.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Kathleen wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams The second of our iconic twenty-five, is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Science fict..."

Thanks Kathleen. It's great to think of Sync's teen users discovering this title isn't it? Makes me gleeful for them. I do love Fry's narration!


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, read by John Lee, is AudioFile's suggestion for today's iconic audiobook. When I listened, Lee and Mistry together took me to a teeming 1970s Indian city in the company of four impoverished strangers who create such kindness in their lives that I was grateful for their company and mesmerized by their country.


message 12: by Patrick (last edited Jun 07, 2017 08:49AM) (new)

Patrick  (volmann) | 20 comments To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War
An epic novel relative to all things WWI including Lieutenant George S. Patton in his rise to fame/infamy.
Jeff's father Michael is credited with "The Killer Angels" which was translated into film by the mouth of the South, in Ted Turner's "Gettysburg". Another epic as well, regardless of which side one is on.


message 13: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1542 comments Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling with a brilliant..."


I pretty much concur with all of Jeanie's picks for iconic - those books tend to be top of the recommendation pile when I talk about audios


message 14: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett narrated by John Lee... since today's AFM iconic book is also narrated by him.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens narrated by Martin Jarvis. There are other narrators to choose from, but Jarvis absolutely brings the whole tale to life.

Kim by Rudyard Kipling narrated by Sam Dastor. Kim and his holy man came to life through Dastor's narration and unexpectedly took up residence in my heart.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Iconic classic story with a classy narration.


message 15: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Patrick wrote: "To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War
An epic novel relative to all things WWI including Lieutenant George S. Patton in his rise to fame/infamy.
Jeff's father Michael is cre..."


Terrific Patrick. Onto the list!


message 16: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Dee wrote: "Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling w..."


What a great way to think about it, Dee - what would you recommend if someone asks you for an audiobook? And that's a second for Jeanie's suggestions. Our list is improving by the minute.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett narrated by John Lee... since today's AFM iconic book is also narrated by him.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens narrated by Martin Jarvis. There are other n..."


Oh yes, these are all marvelous! There is so much wealth to recommend in the audiobook world, isn't there? Our iconic list expands.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Today's AFM addition to our list of iconic audiobooks is The Thirteenth Tale, a hooked-from-the-first-moment gothic mystery by Diane Setterfield, beautifully read by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner. Here's the review and a sound clip: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... As Jeanie mentioned earlier about The Help, it's always fun to highlight a multi-voice narration, as they're hard to carry off really well.


message 19: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1542 comments AudioFile wrote: "Dee wrote: "Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic st..."


I try to get an idea of what they like to read and try to make suggestions based on that


message 20: by CatBookMom (last edited Jun 08, 2017 05:57PM) (new)

CatBookMom | 1082 comments Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling with a brilliant..."


Seconding your vote for the J. D. Robb *Eve Dallas* series. One of my favorites, and worth re-listening.

For a new nomination, may I suggest Watership Down read by the much-missed Ralph Cosham. I love this book, and I was nearly blown away by Cosham's narration. There were so many nuances that he brought out; e.g., when he was reading the lines of Rowsby Wuff, the farmer's dog, Cosham adjusted his cadence to sound almost like a dog panting.

And a second, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is another multi-voice book, read by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills. Excellent book, terrific recording, a 4.5 star book with over 5,000 ratings.


message 21: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments CatBookMom wrote: "Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling w..."


I definitely have to move Watership Down nearer the top of my TBR list. And I heartily agree with your rec for The Guernsey Literary etc. book... surprisingly enjoyable story and a moving account of the privations of the inhabitants of the island during WWII. So well read.


message 22: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments CatBookMom wrote: "Jeanie wrote: "OK, at the risk of mentioning books already on the list...
The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien and narrated by Rob Ingliss is a match up of iconic storytelling w..."


What great ideas! I haven't heard Watership Down, and with Ralph Cosham - well, that does sound iconic.


message 23: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman We have a kind of two-for-one delight as today's submission from AudioFile for iconic audiobooks. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (the man who writes for every age group) is available as a multi-voice production and in a version read by Gaiman. Both won Earphone Awards and you might just have to listen to one right after the other. Take a listen and look - Gaiman narrating: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi... multi-voice narration: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi....


message 24: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments This is Aurelia adding personally to our iconic audiobook list (rather than giving you today's suggestion from AFM). The timeless The Wind in the Willows by the great Kenneth Grahame. CatBookMom's suggestion for a Ralph Cosham narration reminded me of his narration of the classic, which won an Earphones Award: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... (Yup, I'm the reviewer.) And I found another Earphones Award performance - this one by the always wonderful Martin Jarvis: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... How to decide?!


message 25: by Bill (Just a) (new)

Bill (Just a) | 698 comments AudioFile wrote: "And I found another Earphones Award performance - this one by the always wonderful Martin Jarvis"

I looked long and hard for a version of Lord of the Flies not read by the author. I found one read by Martin Jarvis. Iconic Book? Certainly good performance but it is hard to get the Jarvis version in the US.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Bill (Just a) wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "And I found another Earphones Award performance - this one by the always wonderful Martin Jarvis"

I looked long and hard for a version of Lord of the Flies not read by the author..."


Hard to get, but not impossible, so I say thanks. We'll add Martin Jarvis reading Lord of the Flies to the iconic audiobooks list! It's available on audible.co.uk.

By the way, I should have mentioned that we want to keep our list of iconic audiobooks to versions that are still available. It's more fair that way, although it's painful what we have to leave off as a result. But this one is, so that works out very well. Thanks Bill (Just a).


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Bel Canto by Ann Patchett Today's suggestion from AFM of an iconic audiobook is Ann Patchett's unusual and exquisite novel/character study, Bel Canto, read by the forever wonderful Anna Fields, also known as Kate Fleming, who died in her recording studio in 2006. Here's a review of the audiobook: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... And here's the AFM narrator's page on Anna Fields: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/narr....


message 28: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments For CatBookMom... a big thanks for the prod to read Watership Down. Truly truly a wonderful listen! Ralph Coshem's narration was perfect for this wonderful tale. As I began listening I wasn't sure it was going to be my kind of story. Now I'm only sorry I didn't listen to it long before now. Iconic story, iconic narration = iconic audiobook.


message 29: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) | -7 comments So many good books here. The Graveyard Book was my introduction to Neil Gaiman. Although I must admit it took me several tries to start it because I kept listening at bedtime and found his voice really relaxed me.


message 30: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "For CatBookMom... a big thanks for the prod to read Watership Down. Truly truly a wonderful listen! Ralph Coshem's narration was perfect for this wonderful tale. As I began listening I wasn't sure ..."

I love it - a second vote for Watership Down with Ralph Cosham narrating!


message 31: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Joy wrote: "So many good books here. The Graveyard Book was my introduction to Neil Gaiman. Although I must admit it took me several tries to start it because I kept listening at bedtime and found his voice re..."

That is too funny. Glad you persevered. And I agree, the blend of books we're accruing for our iconic audiobooks list is terrific.


message 32: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín Aurelia here with today's AudioFile suggestion for an iconic audiobook - mentioned today because the day is Sunday. Colm Toibin's novel, The Testament of Mary, given an astounding performance by Meryl Streep, is just what the title indicates. The story of Jesus from his mother's point of view - or, as she says "what happened on the hill, and the days before, and the days that followed." Here's the review and sound clip: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... I've heard this book myself and actually listened several times, astonished by the performance and by Toibin's fierce imagination.


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AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - much admired and often banned. That's AudioFile's suggestion today for an iconic audiobook. What do you think? We particularly recommend the Earphones Award-winning production featuring Jeremy Irons. Sound clip and review: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... So much perfection here, including exquisite enunciation and that hint in his upper-crust voice of - what? - the salacious?


message 34: by CatBookMom (last edited Jun 12, 2017 08:29PM) (new)

CatBookMom | 1082 comments Bill (Just a) wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "And I found another Earphones Award performance - this one by the always wonderful Martin Jarvis"

I looked long and hard for a version of Lord of the Flies not read by the author..."


For those who are also fans of Martin Jarvis, I was so jazzed one evening some years back to hear his voice coming out of my TV set (I often recognize voices before faces). He played a minor character in the Julia McKenzie version of Agatha Christie's "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side". IMDb link (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt148858/?r...). I don't know if you AudioFile people have had a chance to meet him IRL, but I expect it would be a treat.


message 35: by CatBookMom (new)

CatBookMom | 1082 comments AudioFile wrote: "The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Today's AFM addition to our list of iconic audiobooks is The Thirteenth Tale, a hooked-from-the-first-moment gothic mystery by Diane Setterfield..."

I will have to look for this. I listened to the abridged recording, just to have the delight of listening to Lynn Redgrave.


message 36: by Bill (Just a) (new)

Bill (Just a) | 698 comments AudioFile wrote: "Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - much admired and often banned. That's AudioFile's suggestion today for an iconic audiobook. What do you think? We particularly re..."

Agree with Lolita. One of my favorite listens from the last few years.


message 37: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 126 comments AudioFile wrote: "Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - much admired and often banned. That's AudioFile's suggestion today for an iconic audiobook. What do you think? We particularly re..."

This is an amazing book, and an amazing audio version.

I recently was going to re-read it via the Annotated print edition and it just wasn't the same without Jeremy Irons. So I re-listened to it first, and now am reading the annotated edition with Irons' voice fresh in my memory.


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikedecshop) | 66 comments Agree the narration by Jeremy Irons for Lolita was fantastic.


message 39: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments CatBookMom wrote: "Bill (Just a) wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "And I found another Earphones Award performance - this one by the always wonderful Martin Jarvis"

I looked long and hard for a version of Lord of the Flies ..."


I saw that episode, CatBookMom! Now I know that I was watching it 'with' someone else. What fun. I have not had luck to meet Jarvis, but our founder and editor, Robin Whitten, knows him quite well, and says that he is as wonderful a person as he is talented. This is his page on AudioFile, by the way: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/narr....


message 40: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments CatBookMom wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Today's AFM addition to our list of iconic audiobooks is The Thirteenth Tale, a hooked-from-the-first-moment gothic mystery by..."

Oh good. And I do agree with you - Lynn Redgrave narrating would definitely convince me to try out an abridgment.


message 41: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Bill (Just a) wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - much admired and often banned. That's AudioFile's suggestion today for an iconic audiobook. What do you think? ..."

Yes!


message 42: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Melanti wrote: "AudioFile wrote: "Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - much admired and often banned. That's AudioFile's suggestion today for an iconic audiobook. What do you think? ..."

What a clever thing to do, Melanti. Sometimes I happen to have the narrator's voice in my head when I read the print version of a book, but it's always been by happenstance. Being more of a planner sounds the way to go whenever possible.

Speaking of having a narrator's voice in your head, the author Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz was a big fan of her long-time narrator Barbara Rosenblat; so much so that she and Barbara discussed how to write certain sentences to make them flow more easily, and later on, Peters always heard Barbara's voice in her head as she wrote.


message 43: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Michael wrote: "Agree the narration by Jeremy Irons for Lolita was fantastic."

Another vote for Jeremy Irons and Lolita! Excellent.


message 44: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman This is Aurelia with (for me at least) a deeply nostalgic audiobook as today's AudioFile suggestion for our list of iconic audiobooks. Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, about 12-year-old Lyra's quest for the truth about daemons, armored bears, and witches. We've got two Earphones Award-winning versions to recommend. This is the full-cast production: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... And though we don't emphasize abridgments, here's a lovely one read by Natasha Richardson: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi....


message 45: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments Mentions of kids books and Lynn Redgrave reminds me of a whole set of iconic books with iconic narrators--The Chronicles of Narnia. Lynn Redgrave's narration of Prince Caspian is one of my favorites primarily because of her voice for a saucy sword-wielding mouse. :) Of course, Michael York kicks off the series with a fantastic narration of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Iconic all the way round.


message 46: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "Mentions of kids books and Lynn Redgrave reminds me of a whole set of iconic books with iconic narrators--The Chronicles of Narnia. Lynn Redgrave's narration of Prince Caspian is one of my favorite..."

What a fantastic suggestion, Jeanie. Our own reviewer agreed wholeheartedly with you about Michael York, giving his performance an Earphones Award (http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi...). Somehow we missed reviewing Redgrave's performance of The Chronicles of Narnia - go figure. So, I'm extra glad that you've added it to our list.


message 47: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson We're offering a historical true crime as today's suggestion for iconic audiobook. Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, performed by the ever-wonderful Scott Brick: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... Are there other titles in this genre that reach the level of iconic audiobook for you?


message 48: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie | 3613 comments The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the OED written and narrated by Simon Winchester made a splash in both print and audio. There's little more iconic in the English language than the OED, and this book makes a potentially dry subject into a real page turner.


message 49: by AudioFile (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments Jeanie wrote: "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the OED written and narrated by Simon Winchester made a splash in both print and audio. There's little more iconic in the..."

Of course! What good suggestions. Speaking entirely personally, I loved those audiobooks.


message 50: by AudioFile (last edited Jun 15, 2017 07:27AM) (new)

AudioFile Mag | 1841 comments The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) by James Lee Burke We're going for mystery/suspense with today's iconic audiobook suggestion. James Lee Burke's The Tin Roof Blowdown with an Earphones Award-winning performance by Will Patton. Set in New Orleans after the Katrina, it chases the hard issues with humanity: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/revi.... Thoughts?

Burke and Patton have partnered for a long time, which is rare in the audiobook world, and something to celebrate. Here's a lovely (and short) YouTube video of Burke talking about Patton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmxcB....


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