The Age of Daredevils

Author(s): Michael Clarkson
Genre: History
CD - unabridged
Audio (8 discs)
Product Number: BN10468
Released: Oct 01, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781531837501
Narrator/s: Malcolm Hillgartner
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
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At the dawn of the twentieth century, a small but determined band of barrel jumpers risked their lives in one of the world's most wondrous waterfalls. Only a few survived. By turns a family drama and an action-adventure story, The Age of Daredevils chronicles the lives of the men and women who devoted themselves to the extraordinary sport of jumping over Niagara Falls in a barrel-a death-defying gamble that proved a powerful temptation to a hardy few. Internationally known in the 1920s and '30s for their barrel-jumping exploits, the Hills were a father-son team of daredevils who also rescued dozens of misguided thrill seekers and accident victims who followed them into the river. The publicity surrounding the Hills' spectacular feats ushered in tourism, making Niagara Falls the nation's foremost honeymoon destination, but ultimately set Red Hill Jr. on a perilous path to surpass his father's extraordinary leaps into the void. Like the works of Jon Krakauer and David McCullough, The Age of Daredevils explores the primal force of fear and the thirst for adventure that drive humans to the brink of death to see if they can somehow escape.

Professional reviews

"Over the first half of the twentieth century, the daredevils who tried to ride the falls at Niagara to glory were abundant. The Hill family was on hand, sometimes grimly fishing bodies from the water, throughout that era. Michael Clarkson begins this story in 1951, describing the scene as William "Red" Hill, Jr., prepares for a barrel run. Clarkson then shifts back to 1901 as Annie Edson Taylor prepares for what would be the first successful attempt to go over the falls in a barrel. Malcolm Hillgartner's narration builds tension well, making listeners feel as if they're a part of each daring stunt, maintaining excitement throughout. Even most of the successes have unhappy tinges, but this is a fascinating slice of American history. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"

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