The canon: a whirligig tour of the beautiful basics of science. 2008. Read by Laurence Bouvard, 14 hours 20 minutes. Tb 16111 icon

The canon: a whirligig tour of the beautiful basics of science. 2008. Read by Laurence Bouvard, 14 hours 20 minutes. Tb 16111


Science, Technology and Transport

Talking Books

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Angier, Natalie

^ The canon: A whirligig tour of the beautiful basics of science. 2008. Read by Laurence Bouvard, 14 hours 20 minutes. TB 16111.

A cultured person, Natalie Angier argues, should know about the classic ideas of physics and evolutionary biology as well as the classic works of Beethoven and Picasso. How was the Earth formed? How big is an atom? What

IS a quantum leap? Drawing on conversations with hundreds of the world's leading scientists, Angier takes us on an informative tour of this neglected canon. TB 16111.

Appleyard, Bryan

Understanding the present: science and the soul of modern man. 1992. Read by David Banks, 11 hours 45 minutes. TB 9729.

In this exploration of the human condition, the central role of science in shaping our lives and beliefs is revealed. The health fads, environmentalism, mass communications and the politics of today are analysed and explained as the outcome of science's assault on our view of ourselves and the universe. Can chaos theory, quantum mechanics and other 20th century scientific developments really be regarded as a way out of the dead end of classical science, or are they themselves just another spiritual dead end? Science made us, science broke us; it is now time to make some repairs. TB 9729.

Attenborough, David

The first Eden: the Mediterranean world and man. 1987. Read by Duncan Carse, 5 hours 37 minutes. TB 6956.

A history of the Mediterranean world from the dramatic creation of the sea when the Atlantic flooded across the barrier of land connecting Morocco and Gibraltar and plunged over a cliff 50 times the height of Niagara. The transformation of man in this rich region from hunter-gather to a settled form of existence was the beginning of civilisation and so began the process that was to transform the whole area. TB 6956.

Attenborough, David

Life on Earth: a natural history. 1979. Read by Malcolm Ruthven, 10 hours 25 minutes. TB 4369.

Based on the TV series, this book is a history of life on this planet over the last 3,500 million years - told, as far is as possible, in terms of plants and animals alive today. TB 4369.

Bodanis, David

Electric universe: how electricity switched on the modern world. 2006. Read by William Roberts, 6 hours 43 minutes. TB 15412.

For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited a explosion of knowledge and invention, transforming our world. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough to show us the history of electricity. TB 15412.

Bragg, Melvyn

On giant's shoulders: great scientists and their discoveries from Archimedes to DNA. 1998. Read by David Graham, 9 hours 17 minutes. TB 11838.

The text elucidates the milestones in the history of science, focusing on twelve individuals and their extraordinary breakthroughs, ranging from the foundation of hydrostatics in the 3rd century BC to the discovery of DNA's structure in the 20th century. The text also illuminates the issues with which scientists are wrestling today, poised on their forerunners' shoulders to carry scientific enquiry into the next millennium. TB 11838.

Bronowski, J

The ascent of man. 1973. Read by Alvar Lidell, 11 hours 4 minutes. TB 2670.

The book of the television series which traced our rise, both as a species and as moulders of our own environment and future and covered the history of science and its widest terms. TB 2670.

Bryson, Bill

A short history of nearly everything. 2004. Read by Jeff Harding, 20 hours 17 minutes. TB 14060.

This book is Bryson's quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out? Contains strong language. TB 14060.

Cadbury, Deborah

The dinosaur hunters: a true story of scientific rivalry and the discovery of the prehistoric world. 2000. Read by Louise Fryer, 11 hours 17 minutes. TB 12656.

The text tells the story of the bitter feud between Gideon Mantell, who uncovered giant bones in a Sussex quarry and became obsessed with the ancient past and Richard Owen, patronised by royalty, the Prime Minister and the aristocracy, who scooped the credit for the discovery of the dinosaurs. Their struggle was to create a new science that would change man's perception of his place in the universe. TB 12656.

Chambers, Paul

Bones of contention: the archaeopteryx scandals. 2002. Read by David Banks, 9 hours 43 minutes. TB 13404.

Since its discovery the Archaeopteryx - half bird, half reptile - has caused more trouble than any other scientific icon. It has been used not just to support dozens of different views on evolution but to start feuds, destroy reputations, further personal ambition and promote nationalism. This book investigates the life and times of Archaeopteryx and also at the chaotic scientific world into which it emerged. TB 13404.

Curie, Eve

Madame Curie. 1938. Read by Alvar Lidell, 17 hours 1 minute. TB 1615.

The story of the poor girl from Poland who worked her way to the Paris Sorbonne, and became the brilliant physicist who, with her husband, discovered radium. TB 1615.

Darwin, Charles

The origin of species. 1998. Read by Gordon Dulieu, 19 hours 54 minutes. TB 16432.

Darwin's theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been specially created; all are locked into a pitiless struggle for existence, with extinction looming for those not fit enough for the task. This text reveals the almost unthinkably complex mutual interdependencies between animal and plant life, climate and physical environment, and by implication, the human world. TB 16432.

Darwin, Charles

The essential Darwin. 1987. Read by Duncan Carse, 13 hours 7 minutes. TB 6711.

Charles Darwin was unusual in that he was a scientist who wrote for the general reader and this selection contains passages from his nine most important books. From the "Origin", his explanation of natural selection and his summary of the case for evolution; from "The Descent of Man", human intelligence and morality, and his theory of sex differences; and from "Coral Reefs", the wholly original and still accepted theory of the origin of coral atolls. TB 6711.

Dawkins, Richard

The selfish gene. 2006. Read by Gordon Dulieu, 17 hours 21 minutes. TB 15690.

Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. TB 15690.

Dawkins, Richard

The blind watchmaker. 2006. Read by Richard Derrington, 17 hours 43 minutes. TB 16155.

Offers an accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A controversial book, which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist? TB 16155.

Dawkins, Richard

A devil's chaplain: selected essays. 2003. Read by Nigel Graham, 12 hours 20 minutes. TB 13306.

The text includes a large output of articles, lectures, individual chapters and reviews from Richard Dawkins, demonstrating the breadth of his interests and the challenging nature of his trenchantly held views. The text is divided into the following sections: science and sensibility; light will be thrown; the infected mind; they told me, Heraclitus; even the ranks of Tuscany; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us; a prayer for my daughter. TB 13306.

Farrand, John

Weather. 1990. Read by Christopher Scott, 3 hours 39 minutes. TB 8880.

Weather is both awe-inspiring and inescapable. Affecting what we wear and how we feel, "Weather" explains air masses, fronts, winds, precipitation

etc., and concludes with a chapter on forecasting. TB 8880.

Feynman, Richard P

"Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman!": adventures of a curious character. 1985. Read by Joe Dunlop, 14 hours 8 minutes. TB 6367.

Richard Feynman is one of the world's greatest physicists. He is also a man who has fallen into adventure. He is perhaps the only person to have been judged both mentally defective by a United States Army psychiatrist and worthy of the Nobel Prize by the Swedish Academy. TB 6367.

Ford, Adam

Weather watch. 1981. Read by Kate Binchy, 1 hour 29 minutes. TB 12934.

The atmosphere, air on the move, temperature, clouds and water, all these and more form the background on how "weather" happens. TB 12934.

Harkness, Deborah E

The jewel house: Elizabethan London and the scientific revolution. 2007. Read by Liza Ross, 14 hours 8 minutes. TB 16007.

The book examines six particularly fascinating episodes of scientific inquiry and dispute in sixteenth-century London, bringing to life the individuals involved and the challenges they faced. These men and women experimented and invented, argued and competed, waged wars in the press, and struggled to understand the complexities of the natural world. Together their stories illuminate the blind alleys and surprising twists and turns taken as medieval philosophy gave way to the empirical, experimental culture that became a hallmark of the Scientific Revolution. TB 16007.

Hawking, S W

A brief history of time: from the big bang to black holes. 1988. Read by Simon Vance, 5 hours 50 minutes. TB 7854.

This book explores the outer reaches of our knowledge of astrophysics and the nature of time and the universe. The result is a revelation: a book that not only serves as an introduction to today's most important theories on the cosmos but affords a unique opportunity to experience one of the most imaginative and influential thinkers of our age. TB 7854.

Hoyle, Fred

The intelligent universe. 1983. Read by Gordon Dulieu, 7 hours 19 minutes. TB 5070.

The author enters the creation and evolution debate with a fundamental challenge, examines the current theories and lassoes a number of sacred cows. He presents a startling new perspective on the past, present and future of the Universe. TB 5070.

Huxley, Julian

Memories. 1970. Read by Eric Gillett, 12 hours 15 minutes. TB 1233.

Born into one of the most gifted families of the age, and having achieved fame half a century ago, the 80-year-old biologist reveals for the first time his innermost thoughts on science and life. TB 1233.

Koestler, Arthur

The case of the midwife toad. 1971. Read by Stephen Jack, 7 hours 15 minutes. TB 1830.

An investigation into the work of Dr. Paul Kammerer. Austrian experimental

biologist, who maintained that acquired characteristics could be inherited. TB 1830.

Mailer, Norman

A fire on the moon. 1970. Read by Marvin Kane, 18 hours 21 minutes. TB 1384.

The author wonders what manner of men dedicate their lives to the journey to the moon, and follows Apollo 11 through its preparations, blast-off, moon landing, and triumphant return to earth. TB 1384.

Major, John

The Oppenheimer hearing. 1971. Read by John Richmond, 14 hours 6 minutes. TB 3389.

Robert Oppenheimer, who directed the building of the atom bomb during the Second World War, found himself in 1953 suspended as a security risk and charged with being in close association with the communists. TB 3389.

May, Brian

Bang! the complete history of the universe. 2007. Read by Raymond Sawyer, 7 hours 43 minutes. TB 16127.

Rock legend and experienced amateur astronomer Brian May joins the legendary expert Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott to tell the story of the Universe from the moment time and space came into existence at the Big Bang, through to the infinite future and the ultimate fate that awaits us. TB 16127.

McNab, David

The planets. 1999. Read by Michael Latimer, 8 hours 30 minutes. TB 12244.

This book chronicles our planetary travels, explains the creation and evolution of each planet and tells how our understanding of the Solar System has developed from the first stargazers in ancient times to Galileo and up to the present. TB 12244.

Moore, Patrick

Eighty not out. 2003. Read by Raymond Sawyer, 10 hours 33 minutes. TB 13972.

Throughout his distinguished career, Patrick Moore has done more to raise the profile of astronomy among the British public than any other figure in the scientific world. As the presenter of 'The Sky at Night' on BBC television for over 45 years he was honoured with an OBE in 1968 and a CBD in 1988. In 2001 he was knighted 'for services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting'. Educated at Cambridge University, Patrick's early research was concentrated on mapping the moon. In 1959 the Russians used his charts to correlate the first Lunik 3 pictures of the far side of the satellite and he was also involved in the lunar mapping carried out prior to the NASA Apollo missions. This is his autobiography. Contains strong language. TB 13972.

Morris, Desmond

The naked ape: a zoologist's study of the human animal. 1967. Read by John Richmond, 9 hours 15 minutes. TB 438.

A zoologist's study of man, and the whole range of human activities, gesture and emotions. Unsuitable for family reading. TB 438.

Ridley, Matt

Nature via nurture: genes, experience and what makes us human. 2004. Read by Barry Graves, 14 hours 52 minutes. TB 15210.

This science writer looks at one of the most contentious debates in science: are people's qualities determined by their genes (nature) or by their environment (nurture)? He recounts the hundred year debate over nature versus nurture, suggesting that it might best be replaced by a new image of nature and nurture working in tandem. He argues that genes are designed to take their cues from nurture and that nurture is also dependent on genetic makeup. TB 15210.

Rifkin, Jeremy

Declaration of a heretic. 1985. Read by Crawford Logan, 3 hours 58 minutes. TB 6118.

The two great scientific discoveries of this century - atomic power and double helix - have increase our understanding of the basic truths of life and there has been much discussion as to how these new powers should be used. Yet it is considered heresy to suggest that they should not be used at all. The author challenges this and suggests that it is only one of several views of progress and one whose built in flaws and limitations are becoming increasingly apparent. TB 6118.

Shubin, Neil

Your inner fish: a journey into the 3.5 billion year history of the human body. 2008. Read by Kenneth Jay, 7 hours 37 minutes. TB 15927.

"Your Inner Fish" tells the extraordinary history of the human body. Why do we look the way we do? When did we first evolve the features that we have? Why are we still able to do all the different things we do? And, finally, why do we fall ill in the way that we do? Neil Shubin draws on the latest genetic research and his huge experience as an expeditionary palaeontologist to show the incredible impact the 3.5 billion year history of life has had on our bodies. It turns out that many of our most distinctive features evolved when we were still swimming in the oceans. Shubin takes readers on a fascinating, unexpected journey and allows us to discover the deep connection to nature in our own bodies. TB 15927.

Sobel, Dava

Galileo's daughter. 1999. Read by Rula Lenska, 10 hours 41 minutes. TB 15434.

Galileo is seen as one of the greatest scientists ever, but little is known of his illegitimate daughter, Virginia. As a nun, she wrote 120 letters to her father from 1623 to her death from exposure and malnutrition ten years later. This text investigates the father-daughter relationship. TB 15434.

Sparrow, Giles

Traveller's guide to the solar system. 2006. Read by David Thorpe, 6 hours 57 minutes. TB 15694.

You want to go to Mars? This book tells you exactly how long it will take you to get there, what essentials you should pack, and the tourist highlights you should explore when you get there. The Solar System is packed with exotic tourist destinations: you can visit the historic Apollo 11 landing site and have your photo taken with Neil Armstrong's footprint; discover giant volcanoes, breathtaking mountains, frozen lava rivers, and the decayed remains of early Soviet space probes. TB 15694.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre

Man's place in nature. 1956. Read by Gabriel Woolf, 3 hours 54 minutes. TB 3328.

The author's concept of man within the structure of the cosmos, the part he has played historically and in what direction he must continue to evolve. TB 3328.

Winchester, Simon

The map that changed the world. 2005. Read by Simon Winchester, 9 hours 23 minutes. TB 15077.

In the summer of 1815 an extraordinary hand-painted map was published in London. It presented England and Wales in a beguiling and unfamiliar mixture of lines and patches - the product of one man's obsession with rocks, a passion that sustained him while the rest of his life slid into ruin. This first geological map of anywhere in the world was made by William Smith. It was not until 1829 that his genius was realised. This is an extraordinary tale of the father of modern geology. TB 15077.


Alvarez, Alfred

Offshore: a North Sea journey. 1986. Read by Christopher Saul, 6 hours 56 minutes. TB 7102.

Always fascinated by a hostile environment, the author sets out to explore the new frontiers of Britain: the incredible industrial province in the middle of the North Sea, factories, airports and hotels rising out of the stormy 61st parallel, more than 100 miles northeast of the Shetlands. He speaks with oil engineers and crane drivers, pilots, divers and geologists in his quest and finds a different way of thinking as well as a different world. TB 7102.

Bathurst, Bella

The Lighthouse Stevensons: the extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson. 1999. Read by Joan Walker, 9 hours 1 minute. TB 12118.

Robert Louis was the most famous Stevenson, but not the most productive.

Four generations of "Lighthouse" Stevensons built every Scottish lighthouse, were inventors in both construction and optics, and achieved feats of engineering in conditions that would be forbidding even today. TB 12118.

Bowman, Gerald

The man who bought a navy: the story of the world's greatest salvage achievement at Scapa Flow. 1964. Read by Michael de Morgan, 9 hours 30 minutes. TB 237.

How a talented engineer bought the scuttled German fleet at Scapa Flow, and then gambled his entire fortune on the colossal and dangerous task of raising the ships. TB 237.

Combs, Harry

Kill Devil Hill: the epic of the Wright Brothers, 1899-909. 1980. Read by John Westbrook, 14 hours 34 minutes. TB 3788.

The epic story of the Wright Brothers, pioneers of aviation, covering the years 1899-1909, with a foreword by Neil Armstrong. TB 3788.

Doran, Jamie

Starman: the truth behind the legend of Yuri Gagarin. 1999. Read by Steve Hodson, 10 hours. TB 13363.

This biography examines the life of Yuri Gagarin who became the first human in history to leave the Earth's atmosphere and venture into space. The book is based on material from sensitive KGB files and restricted documents from the Russian space authorities. It includes a number of interviews. TB 13363.

Fergusson, James

Balloon Tytler. 1972. Read by Stanley Pritchard, 5 hours 53 minutes. TB 2258.

The story of a man who did everything once, and nothing well, from the first manned ascent in a balloon in 1784, to the single-handed editing of the second edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. TB 2258.

Hyams, Edward

Working for man: the domestication of animals. 1975. Read by Gabriel Woolf, 1 hour 59 minutes, TB 13170.

The story of man's selection and breeding of domestic animals, like the cat and the dog, the horse, pig and sheep, to suit his own needs. TB 13170.

Morpurgo, Jack Eric

Barnes Wallis: a biography. 1972. Read by Arthur Bush, 17 hours 30 minutes, TB 2096.

The life and extraordinary mind of the aircraft designer and inventor. TB 2096.

Munson, Richard.

Cousteau. 1991. Read by Robert Gladwell, 15 hours 1 minute. TB 9534.

Jacques Cousteau is a living legend as an undersea adventurer. He helped to invent the Aqualung, launched the science of undersea archaeology, discovered oil beneath the Persian Gulf and built undersea stations and small submarines for research. Here is a balanced portrait of this talented, charismatic and little-understood man. TB 9534.

Price, Michael

Internet for seniors in easy steps: for the over 50s. 2008. Read by Robbie MacNab, 5 hours 55 minutes. TB 15930.

The Internet is not just for the young, it is here for everyone. The 50+ group is the fastest growing segment of Internet users. This book will help you take your place in this evolution, so that you can discover the opportunities and the benefits of the Internet. This book helps make sure that all your Internet experiences will be safe, enjoyable and useful. TB 15930.

Price, Sue

Computing for seniors in easy steps: for the over 50s. 2008. Read by Robbie McNab, 6 hours 55 minutes. TB 15931.

Just because you're not a member of the Digital Generation doesn't mean that you can't make computers an important and pleasurable part of your life. This book enables baby boomers and seniors to enjoy all the benefits of using a personal computer. It presents compact, easy-to-understand tutorials on dozens of computer topics. TB 15931.

Reid, T R

Microchip: the story of a revolution and the men who made it. 1985. Read by Rosalind Shanks, 9 hours 30 minutes. TB 6354.

Subtitled "The story of a revolution and the men who made it", this book tells how two ingenious young men invented the "monolithic integrated circuit" - or "microchip" as it came to be known. TB 6354.

Scott, David

Two sides of the moon: our story of the Cold War space race. 2005. Read by Cameron Rhodes, 17 hours 10 minutes. TB 15239.

The authors grew up on either side of the Iron Curtain but shared the same dream to fly. They became elite fighter pilots and were chosen by their countries' space programmes to take part in the space race to land a man on the moon. In this dual autobiography they recount their exceptional lives and careers. They tell of missions fraught with perilous risks, adventure, heroism and tragedy. TB 15239.

Shute, Nevil

Slide rule: the autobiography of an engineer. 1954. Read by Peter Reynolds, 11 hours. TB 1429.

The autobiography of an engineer who was to become a famous writer: his engineering work on and flight in the airship R100, the disaster to the R101, and his experiences as director of an aircraft company. TB 1429.


A book of railway journeys; compiled by Ludovic Kennedy. 1980. Read by David Geary, 11 hours 16 minutes. TB 3823.

The author has brought together his favourite train-journey literature, taking us on a round-the-world tour through 155 years of train travelling. TB 3823.

Bagrit, Leon

The age of automation: the BBC Reith lectures, 1964. 1965. Read by John Richmond. 2 hours 45 minutes. TB 42.

Bathurst, Bella

The wreckers: a story of killing seas, false lights and plundered ships. 2005. Read by Jacqueline King, 11 hours 38 minutes. TB 14432.

Spanning three hundred years and from all around Britain, the author has uncovered the secret history of ships and shipwreck victims. From shoreline orgies so dionysian that few participants survived until morning to crofts fitted with silver candelabra, from the coastlines rigged like stage sets to the strange tale of Britain's Royal Fish. TB 14432.

Bawden, Nina

Dear Austen. 2005. Read by Di Langford, 2 hours 41 minutes. TB 14268.

In this powerful and poignant letter to her husband, the author tries to make sense of the Potters Bar train crash in which seven people including her husband were killed. The author explains how she, now in her late seventies, found herself the spokesperson for the survivors of the crash, interviewed in Britain and abroad, and even one of the characters portrayed in 'The Permanent Way', David Hare's play about the state of the railways. TB 14268.

Bramson, A E

Pure luck: the authorised biography of Sir Thomas Sopwith, 1888-1989. 1990. Read by Tom Crowe, 10 hours 21 minutes. TB 9426.

"Pure luck" traces the history of the Sopwith family, narrates the moments of triumph and tragedy during Thomas Sopwith's early life and describes the events leading to his 80-year involvement in aeronautics: ballooning, early days at Brooklands and the founding of Sopwith aviation. TB 9426.

Brock, Derek

Small coal and smoke rings: a fireman on the Great Western. 1997. Read by Gareth Armstrong, 5 hours. TB 12704.

The author started work for the Great Western Railway as an engine cleaner at Barry, near Cardiff, during the Second World War. This personal account of the Heroic Age of steam locomotion recalls one man's part in the transportation of a monumental tonnage of coal from the Welsh Valleys to Barry Docks. TB 12704.

Brown, Dee Alexander

Hear that lonesome whistle blow. 1977. Read by Marvin Kane, 10 hours 34 minutes, TB 3591.

The story of the great American railroads. TB 3591.

Chichester, Francis

The lonely sea and the sky. 1964. Read by Peter Reynolds, 18 hours. TB 1991.

A lone-hander's many adventures include a solo flight from London to Sydney in a Gypsy-Moth and a single-handed crossing of the Atlantic by yacht. TB 1991.

Coleman, Terry

The railway navvies: a history of the men who made the railways. 1968. Read by Arthur Bush, 8 hours 30 minutes. TB 618.

A lively account of the men who built the railways in Victorian England, their achievements and the conditions under which they worked. TB 618.

Connelly, Charlie

Attention all shipping: a journey around the shipping forecast. 2004. Read by Daniel Philpott, 13 hours 53 minutes. TB 14885.

This solemn, rhythmic intonation of the shipping forecast on BBC radio is as familiar as the sound of Big Ben chiming the hour. Since its first broadcast in the 1920s it has inspired poems, songs and novels in addition to its intended objective of warning generations of seafarers of impending storms and gales. Yet familiar though the sea areas are by name, few people give much thought to where they are or what they contain. In Attention all shipping, Charlie Connelly wittily explores the places behind the voice, those mysterious regions whose names seem often to bear no relation to conventional geography. Contains strong language. TB14885.

Cookridge, E H

Orient Express: the life and times of the world's most famous train. 1979. Read by Garard Green, 11 hours 28 minutes. TB 3586.

Frater, Alexander

Beyond the blue horizon: on the track of Imperial Airways. 1986. Read by David Rider, 18 hours 38 minutes. TB 6582.

The legendary Imperial Airways east-bound empire service from England to Australia began operating in 1935. It was the world's longest and most adventurous scheduled air route, a 13,000 mile safari taking 14.5 days to complete and calling at 35 aerodromes in 17 countries. Using local services 50 years later, the author follows the old route. Unsuitable for family reading. TB 6582.

Gardiner, Robin

The riddle of the Titanic. 1995. Read by Ronald Markham, 12 hours 4 minutes. TB 10767.

The authors present a reassessment of one of the greatest legends of the twentieth century. They show that the discovery of the wreck has raised more problems than it solved. They also bring out other intriguing questions: why was the man at the helm when she hit the iceberg packed off to South Africa? Why did her Chief Officer feel uneasy about sailing on her? Why did one of the stewards "wish the bally ship at the bottom of the sea"? It was not only the sea that covered up the Titanic ...TB 10767.

Goldstein, Richard

Desperate hours: the epic rescue of the Andrea Doria. 2001. Read by Hayward Morse, 10 hours 5 minutes. TB 13285.

A dramatic moment-by-moment account of the crash that caused the sinking of the "Andrea Doria" and the remarkable rescue of all but 46 of the ship's 1662 passengers and crew, widely known as the greatest sea rescue of all time.

Unsuitable for family reading. TB 13285.

Goold-Adams, Richard

The return of the 'Great Britain'. 1976. Read by David Strong, 10 hours 30 minutes, TB 3080.

The salvage of the SS Great Britain, designed by Brunel and launched in 1843, from a cove in the Falkland Islands where she lay on the point of disintegration. TB 3080.

Gracie, Archibald

Titanic. 1985. Read by Jonathan Oliver, 8 hours 8 minutes, TB 11389.

A first-hand account of the Titanic disaster, this book records not only the author's own experiences on that fateful night, but those of many other survivors. The author also attended numerous court hearings to obtain the official record. TB 11389.

Green, Michael

The art of coarse sailing. 1962. Read by Garard Green, 4 hours, TB 13161.

A coarse sailor is defined by the author as "one who in a crisis forgets nautical language and shouts 'For God's sake turn left.'" TB 13161.

Hanna, Tim

One good run: the legend of Burt Munro. 2005. Read by Roy Ward, 9 hours 34 minutes. TB 15310.

This is the story of a Kiwi motorcycling legend, backyard engineering genius, and land speed record holder. He was the archetypal eccentric inventor who modified an original Indian motorbike in his shed, making it capable of extreme speeds. From small town New Zealand in the 1920s to heroic accomplishments in the USA, Munro was still inventing up until his death in 1978. TB 15310.

Hartley, Sarah

Mrs P's journey: the remarkable story of the woman who created the A-Z map. 2001. Read by Joan Walker, 9 hours 50 minutes. TB 13139.

The entrepreneurial daughter of a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, looking for ways of supporting herself, Phyllis Pearsall decided to remedy the unmapped muddle that was London in the mid-1930s. This biography tells of the woman who single-handedly created the publishing phenomenon of the London A-Z. TB 13139.

Heyerdahl, Thor

The Kon-Tiki expedition: by raft across the South Seas. 1950. Read by Alvar Lidell, 9 hours 30 minutes. TB 1472.

To prove that the Polynesians came from South America, the author and his friends crossed the Pacific on a raft copied from an Inca design. TB 1472.

Hindley, Geoffrey

Tourists, travellers and pilgrims. 1983. Read by Christopher Scott, 8 hours 44 minutes. TB 4849.

From the first package tour organised in 1458 by a Venetian galley master, this tour covers five centuries of bad hotels, thieving servants, transport delays and bad food as experienced by the writers, ambassadors and eccentrics who recorded their impression of the delights and hazards of travel. TB 4849.

Hoey, Brian

The Royal Yacht Britannia: inside the Queen's floating palace. 1998. Read by Graham Padden, 6 hours 12 minutes. TB 11425.

Here is the full story of Britannia, from the Admiralty's announcement of a new Royal Yacht in 1951 right through to her decommissioning in December 1997. This tribute, written with the full co-operation of her officers and crew, chronicles what life was really like on board. Also included is the Royal Yacht's final voyage, for the hand-over of Hong Kong, and the Paying-Off Ceremony that ended her 43 years of service. TB 11425.

Hoffer, William

Freefall. 1989. Read by Errol MacKinnon, 7 hours 36 minutes. TB 9569.

On July 23 1983, Captain Bob Pearson entered the cockpit of one of the most sophisticated airliners in the world. After a routine takeoff and stopover, Flight 143 proceeded normally. Suddenly, without warning, at 40,000 feet, one of the engines failed. Seconds later, the crew realised that the other had also cut out, and all electrical power terminated. TB 9569.

Homewood, Stephen

Zeebrugge: a hero's story. 1989. Read by William Abney, 5 hours 41 minutes. TB 7878.

The Zeebrugge ferry disaster was the accident no one dreamt would happen. On 6 March 1987 the "Herald of Free Enterprise" sailed with its bow doors open; within seconds seawater flooded the car deck causing the ship to capsize. Assistant Purser Stephen Homewood miraculously survived to help numerous passengers to safety. But in spite of the public recognition of his bravery Stephen Homewood has found the aftermath of the tragedy almost as difficult to bear. TB 7878.

Honeycombe, Gordon

Red Watch: a true account of four days in the life of A21 (Paddington) and of the fatal fire in which seven people were killed, one of them a fireman. 1976. Read by Gordon Honeycombe, 3 hours 34 minutes. TB 5818.

In the early hours of Friday 13 December 1974 fire swept through the Worsley Hotel in Maida Vale, killing seven people. This is the story of the firemen who fought that blaze, the men of Paddington "Red Watch". TB 5818.

Innes, Hammond

Sea and islands. 1967. Read by Andrew Gemmill, 11 hours 38 minutes. TB 306.

The author's impression of sailing as a way of travel, and his account of the places to which the boat took him. TB 306.

Lord, Walter

A night to remember. 1956. Read by Maurice Turner, 5 hours 33 minutes. TB 1982.

How the Titanic, the world's largest liner, struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage to America and sank with the loss of 1,500 lives. TB 1982.

Macmillan, Norman

Great flights and air adventures: from balloons to spacecraft. 1964. Read by David Broomfield, 9 hours 18 minutes. TB 403.

Pioneer flights from balloons to spacecraft, include early crossings of the Alps, the Andes, Britain to Australia, and the exploits of Russian and American cosmonauts. TB 403.

Montagu of Beaulieu, Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu Rolls of Rolls-Royce: a biography of the Hon. C S Rolls. 1966. Read by Michael de Morgan, 11 hours. TB 9.

Since his death in 1910 at the age of 32, Charles Rolls has achieved immortality through the cars that bear his name. TB 9.

Moore, Robert

A time to die: the Kursk disaster. 2002. Read by Jonathan Oliver, 10 hours 15 minutes. TB 14104.

At 10.30am on Saturday August 12, 2000, two massive explosions in rapid succession shook the icy Arctic waters of the Barents Sea. The Kursk, one of the largest and most technologically advanced nuclear submarines in the world carrying a crew of 118 Russian sailors, had suffered a major, unexplained accident, and rapidly crashed to the ocean floor. This is a story of how the Kursk crew were doomed, how their surviving families fought to learn the truth about their fate and about the British civilian North Sea divers who tried to assist in the rescue mission. Unsuitable for family reading. TB 14104.

Moorehead, Alan

Darwin and the 'Beagle'. 1969. Read by Alvar Lidell, 5 hours 10 minutes. TB 1084.

A vivid description of the voyage made by the young naturalist on board H.M.S. Beagle during the course of which he first developed his concept of evolution.

TB 1084.

Newby, Eric

The last grain race. 1990. Read by Nigel Graham, 11 hours. TB 14090.

At the age of eighteen, Eric Newby signed on as an apprentice on the four-masted sailing ship Moshulu of the Erikson line for the round trip from Europe to Australia and back, outwards by way of the Cape of Good Hope in ballast and homewards round Cape Horn with a cargo of grain. Moshulu was the largest of the dozen or so sailing ships still engaged in the grain trade which strove annually to make the shortest passage home. Newby signed on in the autumn of 1928. This was to be an historic voyage, a dramatic personal adventure.

Contains strong language. TB 14090.

Philbrick, Nathaniel

In the heart of the sea. 2000. Read by Jonathan Oliver, 9 hours 40 minutes. TB 12444.

The epic true-life story of one of the most notorious maritime disasters of the

Nineteenth century which was the inspiration for Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby Dick". The author uses a hitherto unknown diary of one of the survivors discovered in an attic in Connecticut in 1998 to tell the tale. TB 12444.

Platt, Edward

Leadville: a biography of the A40. 2001. Read by Daniel Philpott, 8 hours 54 minutes. TB 12779.

This is the story of Western Avenue - the A40 - from the optimism of its construction in the 1920s to its partial demolition seventy years later. It is a tale of the city and the traffic, of suburbia and the dreams of its inhabitants, and of our all-consuming love affair with the motor car. Contains strong language. TB 12779.

Quill, Jeffrey

Spitfire: a test pilot's story. 1983. Read by Garard Green, 12 hours 9 minutes. TB 5417.

Jeffrey Quill joined the airforce in the 1930s, amid the gathering clouds of war. He took charge of some important military aircraft of the immediate pre-war era, including the immortal Spitfire, from its experimental prototype stage in 1936, when he worked with its chief designer R.J. Mitchell, to the end of its production life in 1948. TB 5417.

Raban, Jonathan

Coasting. 1987. Read by Richard Owens, 11 hours. TB 7298.

In 1982 the author set out in an old, made-over ketch, to the only wilderness left: the sea. Unlike his predecessors, he was not weighted down by "testaments, theories and dogmas;" he wanted to find out what made his own "peculiar country tick" and, in so doing, he charted the coastline of his past, took soundings for the future and unfurled a map of Britain that is comedy and tragedy in one. TB 7298.

Richards, Jeffrey

The railway station: a social history. 1986. Read by David Rider, 21 hours 1 minute. TB 6458.

The advent of the railways in the 19th century symbolised a new age of progress, power and civilisation for the Victorians and although the civilising aspect of industrialisation has not always been obvious, the importance of the railways has never been in doubt. Every aspect of the railway station is examined, from the sombre grandeur of St Pancras to the smallest country halt. TB 6458.

Rolt, L T C

The inland waterways of England. 1950. Read by Roy Williamson, 8 hours 40 minutes. TB 1160.

A detailed introduction to canals, rivers and narrow boats. TB 1160.

Ross, Christopher

Tunnel visions: journeys of an underground philosopher. 2001. Read by Richard Burnip, 5 hours 15 minutes. TB 12662.

The text is a mixture of lived experience in the surreal world of London's Underground and the more elevated ideas, thoughts and imaginings that experience provokes. Oxford Circus Station, complete with its weeping wall, its streakers, buskers, onanists and cupboard containing one employee whose ideal working day was to sleep soundly 100 feet below ground, is a Plato's Cave of reflection and human comedy. TB 12662.

St Aubin de Teran, Lisa

Off the rails: memoirs of a train addict. 1989. Read by Di Langford, 7 hours 56 minutes. TB 7986.

There is no known cure for an obsession with trains. It may strike early in life as was evident in Lisa St Aubin de Teran, infant prodigy of the District Line. The only course of action open to such as Lisa is just to keep taking the trains. TB 7986.

Saint-Exupery, Antoine de

Wind, sand and stars. 1939. Read by Roy Williamson, 6 hours 45 minutes. TB 74.

The author was a pioneer airline pilot in the 1930's, and in this classic book he describes some of his experiences. TB 74.

Tootell, Betty

'All four engines have failed': the true and triumphant story of flight BA 009 and the 'Jakarta incident'. 1985. Read by Gretel Davis, 8 hours 9 minutes. TB 6068.

In June 1982 British Airways Flight BA 009 took off on the Kuala Lumpur-Perth sector of its London to Auckland flight. Over Java the night was suddenly illuminated by intense displays of St Elmo's Fire, smoke filled the cabins and the aircraft was tossed by violent storms. One by one the engines surged and failed. Betty Tootell was one of the passengers on that flight and she gives a dramatic account of how the passengers and crew reacted to a traveller's nightmare. TB 6068.

Townend, John

Broad oceans and narrow seas. 2000. Read by Robert Gladwell, 13 hours 48 minutes. TB 12716.

This autobiography covers the author's career at sea that took him to South Africa, the Persian Gulf, India, Norway and into the dangerous waters of the Channel between England and occupied France. During the war he served chiefly in MTBs, sometimes engaged in secret and hazardous operations. After the war his career continued as a sein-fisherman, first in Irish waters and later from Fleetwood in Lancashire. TB 12716.

Turner, Graham

The car makers. 1963. Read by Alvar Lidell, 11 hours. TB 2.

An examination of the British car industry in which problems of design, production, sales and labour are considered. TB 2.

Vaughan, Adrian

Signalman's morning. 1981. Read by David Rider, 5 hours 50 minutes. TB 6265.

Adrian Vaughan was the signalman in charge of Uffington Box on the Great Western Railway during the last days of steam on Brunel's line. He reminisces about those long evenings, when news was passed up and down the line and many stories were told of days gone by. TB 6265.

Williams, Alfred

Life in a railway factory. 1915. Read by David Rider, 1 hour 15 minutes. TB 7129.

A man who for 23 years worked in the railway factory at Swindon writes about life as a hotter and stamper. An idealist with his feet on the ground, the author had some reputation as a poet while still at work and was unable to publish this account until illness drove him to leave the factory because the truth would cost him his job. He is appreciative of man's generosity and sense of fair play, his skill and strength, but scornful of his inhumanity and ruthlessness. TB 7129.

Williams, Richard

Enzo Ferrari: a life. 2002. Read by John Callen, 13 hours 43 minutes. TB 15223.

Ferrari, the name itself evokes the world of speed, of fast cars, heroic deeds and glamour. This is the story of the man behind the name. This book goes back to Enzo Ferrari's origins and traces his remarkable rise to prominence. TB 15223.

Technology (Medical)

Bourne, Geoffrey Howard

We met at Bart's: the autobiography of a physician. 1963. Read by David Broomfield, 9 hours 15 minutes. TB 205.

Dr. Bourne tells of his progress from Medical Student in 1912 to Heart Specialist, and the traditions and great teachers he encountered at London's oldest hospital. TB 205.

Gordon, Richard

Great medical disasters. 1983. Read by David Rider, 4 hours 52 minutes. TB 4963.

The author believes that doctors have made more lethal mistakes than generals. This is an outrageous, funny and sometimes shocking catalogue of fifty of them.

Unsuitable for family reading. TB 4963.

Manton, Jo

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. 1965. Read by Alvar Lidell, 14 hours 3 minutes. TB 47.

Clever and determined, she pioneered medical education for women, and at 37 became a member of the B.M.A. and dean of a medical school. TB 47.

Maurois, Andre

The life of Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin. 1963. Read by David Broomfield, 11 hours 30 minutes. TB 617.

The life of the quiet, taciturn Scot who discovered penicillin, the first of the antibiotic drugs. TB 617.

Pemberton, John

Will Pickles of Wensleydale: the life of a country doctor. 1970. Read by Stephen Jack, 7 hours 22 minutes, TB 1537.

The life of a country doctor who became the first president of the Royal College of General Practitioners but who always returned to his country practice, where he claimed to know almost every man, woman and child, most of the dogs and even some of the cats. TB 1537.

Pound, Reginald

Harley Street. 1967. Read by John Richmond, 8 hours 11 minutes. TB 345.

A survey of the growth of consultant practice in and around Harley Street during the 19th and early 20th century. TB 345.

Reid, Michaela

Ask Sir James: the life of Sir James Reid, personal physician to Queen Victoria. 1996. Read by Sally Armstrong, 12 hours 21 minutes. TB 12007.

The text provides an account of the memoirs of Sir James Reid, personal physician to Queen Victoria. Although Sir James was never allowed to see her undressed, or approach her with a stethoscope, he was habitually summoned four of five times a day, and quickly became her trusted confidant, privy to all the most intimate aspects of her court and family life. TB 12007.

Sacks, Oliver

The man who mistook his wife for a hat. 1985. Read by William Abney, 9 hours 43 minutes. TB 6182.

Doctor Sacks discusses a wide range of neurological cases, touching on some of the deepest and strangest extremes of the human condition. There are patients with perceptual and intellectual aberrations and those who display abnormal mental powers. The curious details of the cases are lit up by Doctor Sacks' profound sympathy which enables us to enter the world of his patients. TB 6182.

Sacks, Oliver

An anthropologist on Mars: seven paradoxical tales. 1995. Read by Stephen Thorne, 10 hours 59 minutes. TB 10554.

Portraits of seven neurological patients, including a surgeon affected by Tourette's syndrome, an artist who loses all sense of colour and an autistic professor who cannot decipher social exchanges between humans but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behaviour. The exploration of these individual's lives is made in their own environments and the author shows us a new perspective on the way our brains construct our individual worlds. TB 10554.

Wooler, Geoffrey

Pig in a suitcase: the autobiography of a heart surgeon. 1999. Read by Peter Barker, 7 hours 51 minutes. TB 13646.

Geoffrey Wooler's career in medicine began before the outbreak of war in 1939. He was in the Territorial Army, and was soon on active service in Africa and Italy. The book provides insights into the drama of the operating theatre, and the humanity of the surgeons who wield the scalpels. TB 13646.

If you have read a book you particularly enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) and want to share your thoughts with other readers, visit the new RNIB Readers Forum at and post your review on the Forum".

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