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Publisher's Summary

His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited. In this volume of memoirs David tells stories of the people and animals he has met and the places that he has visited.

Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world's leading Natural History programme maker with several landmark BBC series, most recently the hugely popular Life and Blue Planet, alongside Life on Earth, The Living Planet, The Trials of Life, The Private Life of Plants, and Life of Birds.

This is an updated autobiography of David Attenborough's life, read by David Attenborough himself.

©2010 David Attenborough Productions Ltd (P)2010 AudioGO Ltd

What listeners say about David Attenborough - Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster

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I am missing it already!

Rhw book has provided a beautiful introduction to audible. It’s my first aidio book and it was a lovely experience. Like a beautiful conversation with a friend who had lived the life! Attenborough s narration, honesty, wit, breadth of experience makes it a beautiful journey. One feels nostalgic the moment it ends. Highly recommend this audio book. Incidentally I also have the hsrd copy for looking at the pictures 😄

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Beautiful and inspiring!

after watching all those beautiful nature series on BBC, I wanted to know more about DA's life. His life has indeed been amazing. the book charts his journey from childhood till he turned 80.
the best part of the book is that DA was frank about certain things. The lioness Elsa story, the importance of salt and tobacco with tribals, animal and human transport in difficult terrain, work place politics and career evolution. He is like a grandad with whom you can spend hours listening to the amazing journeys of his life and the animals he interacted with.
this book requires a lot of visualisation of what DA is describing. sometimes I went to youtube to check the video aspect of the narration and learnt something even more. I loved his narration, that soothing voice transports you to a different world altogether!
Must read for those who loved what he has showcased on TV and understand what he has gone through to achieve it

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Liviu
  • 05-01-11

Made me think about childhood dreams

It's one of the most inspiring books I've read, extremely well narrated by the Sir. Attenborough. It's not one of the boring memoirs where you start with childhood and go on. You'll like it if you like Sir. Attenborough's work, nature, or want to find out how nature films are made. I loved the witty style of writing and the subtle jokes. It made me think of childhood dreams when I wanted to be an explorer and study animals and have my own natural reservation and it made me want to get up and run to the park to look at birds ans squirrels, which I did. Any book that can do this is a great book, in my opinion.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • peter
  • 26-07-11

A Life Worth Living

This is the first time I have ever given a book 5 Stars. Anyone reading this review should bear in mind that I am English and the Attenborough experience delivers nostalgic recall of evenings sitting in front of the family's black and white TV while his programs were the highlight of the week. Yes...I am biassed!

Even so, who ever thought that DA had such a sense of humor and knew instinctively how to write and tell a story; i was in stitches at least 50 times. His English is unfussy, grammatically sound and so easy to understand. His humility is admirable; his subject fascinating; his absorption with his professional career quite enviable. His enjoyment of colleagues has a charm all its own. His love of animals is, of course, a constant rumble though the Chapters. All comes across with the resounding clarity of the trained broadcaster's voice. His respect for others who lived to make a difference in broadcast media simmers constantly. His association with such landmark projects as 'The Ascent of Man', 'Civilization', 'Bicentennial' and others underlines DA's sense of what is important, what should be recorded in the annuls of man. His comments on the pace of change of media technology and its impact on his work remind us how far we've come in 70 decades. Yes...DA has been around, working in broadcsating, for 70 decades.

Thoroughly enjoyable; I shall search his other writings the moment I close the last page.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Quentin
  • 23-02-12

Probably my favourite audiobook

I've listened to many really great audiobooks, but I think this is probably my favourite so far.

As well as covering the flora and fauna for which Attenborough is most famous, this is a fascinating insight into the early life of the BBC, the technical challenges of dragging 16mm cameras through rain forests, and a whole variety of other unexpected treasures.

Very highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 26-05-13

The Life of a BBC stalwart

This was a really entertaining listen. It didn’t really hold too many surprises. David Attenborough is a great speaker and of course he narrates his own story to his usual impeccably high standards. It begins with the early days of television, with big clumsy noisy cameras and an industry finding its way with the new technology, learning by its many mistakes.

Over the next 50 years Attenborough makes more and more programmes with a naturalist focus, including the classic Life on Earth and many subsequent series about different groups of animals and their environments.

By the end, the author felt that he had filmed a full set, and had filmed every major group of living creature on the planet. Although he seems very modest and genteel, and tells his tales with stereotypical British understatement, he was actually an intrepid adventurer who put himself in significant danger on multiple occasions, and this makes for great listening.

5 people found this helpful

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  • lynn
  • 25-06-12

A Joy To Listen to

Possibly the very best audiobook I have downloaded. Fascinating on so many different levels such as the start of television documentaries, the primitive nature of the equipment and what went on to get the superb images. How "sledgehammer" productions such as Life on Earth came about, the research and time required and the care the whole crew put in to get the images just right. All delivered with clarity of speech and an obvious concern for the people and animals encountered over 50 years of tv production. Simply wonderful.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Quentin SF
  • 23-02-12

Probably my favourite audiobook

I've listened to many really great audiobooks, but I think this is probably my favourite so far.

As well as covering the flora and fauna for which Attenborough is most famous, this is a fascinating insight into the early life of the BBC, the technical challenges of dragging 16mm cameras through rain forests, and a whole variety of other unexpected treasures.

Very highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kelsey
  • 08-06-11

A joy to listen

Attenborough's memoirs are fantastic in helping to understand not only public broadcasting philosophy in Britain, but also how the BBC became the top producer of natural history documentaries that are educational, encourage critical thinking about the natural world, help us understand the myriad relationships in the natural and physical world, and great fun to watch. Attenborough's reading lends considerable personality to this first-hand account that is interesting, sometimes very comedic, and entertaining through its entire length. A must for David Attenborough devotees.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jordan
  • 22-03-19

Amazing

professionally, I'm in my second decade in broadcast television poised rather fortuitously between the sharp ends of both the creative and the technical worlds. I'd like to think that this fact gives me unique insight into what David is telling his readership. However, I found this nothing short of surprising, and very educational. I highly recommend giving this title a shot, whether you know David for his zoology work (as I'm sure most do), or are inspired, or interested, by his broadcasting legacy. I recommend giving it a listen even moreso because the author reads himself with one of the most iconic voices in television history.

What a privilege it has been to share some of David Attenborough's experiences with him in this medium.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 15-03-18

Something for every interest

Good God, what a value, as far as length. Attenborough's voice soothes and his stories are epic. He covers every major program he's been involved with and delves into the animal behaviors as well, so this book acts as biography, a look into the development of the television industry, and the evolution of natural history as a science and an art.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 03-09-12

A good way to spend 19 hours

19 hours is just not enough to cover such a prolific career. I was worried this might be a bit slow, but found in the end that I still had a few questions and could have happily listened for another few hours. Written with humility and a sense of humor. Extra good if you like animals.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 20-11-10

Unforgettable David

This was the second David Attenborough book I have listened to (the first being Life Stories) and I was yet again totally enthralled. Informative, witty, well-paced and read with the wonderful soothing voice of David himself, this audible book is a pleasure to listen to.
To be honest, I wasn't overly sure I would be as interested in his broadcasting memoirs, as I was in his adventures in the natural world, but I was certainly wrong - these are, after all, the memoirs of a marvelous man and not of the BBC. And anyway, there were plenty of natural world tales to keep me satisfied. There were a few small overlaps of recounts from the Life Stories book - but these were enjoyable as the re-telling differed, expanded and added to the previous listening. Also, it felt like I was re-visiting an old friend as I listened to a part-recognised tale.
David's memories of the early days of broadcasting and of the BBC are a wonderful window into long-gone days, of the people, the trial and error learning and of the adventures that were encountered. David manages to recount these with such warmth and feeling that you can almost imagine yourself there, alongside him. Through highs and lows, this book takes you along. I found the background to the making of the various television series very interesting, bringing a new perspective to when I now watch them. The hardest part to listen to was when David recounted the loss of his Wife - I freely admit to moist eyes and a tight throat at his words.
Broken down into 3 downloads, this book was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, I hastened from the end of one part to the start of the next. If you are wondering if it is worth downloading - it is. If you are asking yourself 'Will I find it interesting?'- you will. If you are thinking there are better books to listen to - there are few. Download this book and enjoy.

74 people found this helpful

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  • michael d porteous
  • 25-10-10

David Attenborough - Life on Air

David Attenborough, in my eyes, is one of the last great adveturer's, try to remember when listening to this production that he, and his crew were there, in the face of danger, breaking new ground (in more ways than one!).
He pioneered many TV milestones, and has become the voice of nature.
I highly recommend this book.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Fliss
  • 23-02-11

Utter wonderful. Download; you won't regret it.

Hours upon hours on delightful listening. This gentle, humble, tenacious man takes us on the journey of his life and, if like me you grew up with him on the television, our lives too. Always compelling, sometimes a little sentimental but always delightful I sometimes sat on a bench once getting off the tube before going to where I had to just to here the end of a story. It's an utter delight and I will easily, nay definitely, listen to it more than once.

15 people found this helpful

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  • S. Foster
  • 16-07-11

I didnt want it to end

I loved every minute of listening to the Author reading his memoirs, he has such an amazing voice and is a brilliant story teller. I raced through it but towards the end started rationing my listening because I simply didnt want it to end. Thank you David for a wonderful listen.

11 people found this helpful

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  • IAmKat
  • 24-05-11

Brilliant! A must if you like Attenborough

I'm still only on the first section but this is brilliant. I'm very fussy about my audiobooks and if the voise of the narrator isn't pleasing to my ears then it's a major turn-off. Of course David Attenborough has a brilliant voice, so that coupled with his interesting lifestory makes this the perfact book for me. I'm listening to it while working in the office and it's a great background sound track. Well worth getting if you have enjoyed any of his TV or Radio shows

18 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 27-06-11

Magical

19 hours of a pleasure able journey with a very charming chap, than you for sharing this with us Sir David

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mr R.
  • 04-08-11

What a fantastic life he is leading.

I did not know half of what David has done in his past and having grown up watching him on TV, I had no idea of the talent that this gentleman has.

This is by far the best audio book that I have listened to and would recommend to all.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 26-07-11

A captivating account of an adventurous life

David Attenborough is a giant of natural history and this book charting his many TV series brought home to me just what a contribution he's made to our understanding of the natural world. I hadn't really realized what hardships and privations he's had to go through to capture the footage of unusual life forms in inaccessible places. It's fascinating to hear how the advances in technology have aided his work and enabled him and his team of dedicated camera and sound men bring the natural world into our living rooms. This is a wonderful book and I enjoyed every minute of it. Attenborough is an excellent raconteur with a lively sense of humour. Unreservedly recommended as a great listen.

20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 05-05-11

Outstanding!

This has been a brilliant book to listen to - such value for money! David Atenborough writes eloquently and with a breadth of vocabulary, and reads with such clarity - the voice of an experienced broadcaster! The book goes through his life in chronological order giving a fascinating insight into both David's life and the development of the BBC, television programming, filming and scheduling over recent decades. I was amazed by how much David had done beyond the wildlife programs for which he is so well known. He comes across as a humble, highly intelligent and ever curious individual. A long and interesting life!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-05-11

Outstanding

The most engaging and awe inspiring biography I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Genuinely moving scenes interspersed with humorous tales of events of his travels around the globe. He reads, as anyone would expect, superbly and the hours pass by remarkably quickly. My only disappointment was there was not more to listen to as it was that perfect a listen. My thanks, David Attenborough for sharing this with us.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Steven J Short
  • 20-01-17

Living treasure

Just like listening to granddad telling you his adventures. Brilliant stories, brilliantly read by the great man himself.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstie
  • 05-09-18

Stunning

This was even more mesmerising than I could’ve imagined and I love every second of it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-06-18

Amazing!

incredible and eye opening. this book give you an in-depth review of how television has changed over the last few decades, and chronicles the life of one of the most loved television presenters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DIANNA FORNASIER
  • 18-02-21

great listening all the way through and great lear

great listening and learning all the way through with important awareness, David is a legend in our time and the future generations

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  • David
  • 15-11-20

a well spent day out of my life!

loved Sir Davids autobiography and narration. he has a great sense of humour, remains humble and best of all hes optimistic for our future. if only our leaders could listen and heed his advice!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-10-20

Amazing

Such a great listen! A great account of David's journey on television and the inclusion of an educational element. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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  • Taryn
  • 22-09-20

6 stars

Two treasures...the book and the narrator. Loved it. Love him. Will listen to this again.

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  • Nigel Cooper
  • 27-08-20

Loved every minute

What an incredible story. I laughed so many times and was fascinated by all the amazing places he got to visit. Beautiful narration too with such a soothing voice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-06-20

I love this man so much!

What is there not to like about this? It’s the story of Sir David on his journey with the BBC and it’s narrated by him! I go to sleep every night with this playing in my headphones!
One of the greatest humans to ever walk the planet, with a voice like no other that instantly brings nostalgia and warm feelings to my heart!
Great listen. If you love his docos and want to know more about his story, you will love this as much as I did!!!

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  • Cameron Graf
  • 03-06-20

Amazing - a must listen!

Such a wonderful book detailing the unseen side of David Attenborough’s career - from learning about early internationa travel, network politics and personal growth was incredible. David’s voice and descriptiveness is so effective at taking you to the heart of his jungle, and I’m almost inclined to listen to the entire thing again!