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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Airhead, written and read by Emily Maitlis.  

As anchor for the BBC's key political news programme, Newsnight, Emily Maitlis has interviewed some of the most powerful and controversial figures on the political scene. She plans each interview meticulously, knowing what she wants to ask and where she wants it to go, but as one of the most experienced journalists in her field she knows that no interview will ever go to plan. Anything can throw it - from the atmosphere in the room to her own feelings at the time to the mood of the subject. Often she leaves the interview with an entirely different perception of the interviewee, while sometimes it is all too sadly reconfirmed. 

Airhead explores just these moments. All we normally see are the interviews, but what were the conversations that preceded them or the shouting matches that ended them? From her interviews with US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and the last five British Prime Ministers, to Hollywood film directors and powerful internet and entertainment moguls like Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Cowell, Emily Maitlis explores how these powerful personalities came across. In the process she throws an illuminating torch on them, not just for what they represent but as individuals in their own right - with all their flaws and charms.    

©2019 Emily Maitlis (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about Airhead

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A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news

A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news. Some parts made me laugh out loud at the image and absurdity of it all. Lots of subjects covered. Makes me want to watch Newsnight more than I do. Will change that. Trump is depressingly mentioned a lot; what a dickhead that man is.

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Fascinating

An interesting view behind the scenes of a TV news reporter - but much more than that, a poignant assessment of TV news in the time of Trump, social media and ever increasing avenues of reporting. Above all, a fascinating insight into the “front woman” on our screens, her doubts and fears, triumphs and disappointments and the personal cost of being “above the parapet”

6 people found this helpful

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One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to.

So funny, insightful and heartwarming. An incredibly interesting book, and Maitlis’ writing and performance really bring this behind the scenes look at broadcast journalism to life. I’ll be listening to my favourite chapters again, no doubt.

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Fascinating - springboard to other reading

I loved listening to this - insight into many important interviews with tiny glimmers of her real life behind her job. I listened to many chapters more than once. I have rubbish political knowledge but went on to read James Comie's book (compulsive reading) and also the Wolff book on Trump. Read Ronan Farrow's book on Weinstein - also good reading - after the Weinstein chapters. She comes across as warm, doesn't take herself too seriously and incredibly intelligent. Have recommended to many friends.

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Authentic and funny

So many laugh out loud moments and full credit to Emily Maitlis for calling herself out at regular intervals. Even when the truth put her in a bad light. She comes across as trustworthy and narrates superbly.

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Not sure why but expected more?

As a great fan of Emily Maitlis on air I guess I expected more but very little of her reminiscences produced any real surprises, given the subjects she was describing. Plus, and maybe I am being unsympathetic here, her honesty over and over again about her fears and insecurities in the course of her work doesn’t sit well with her position in both the BBC pay grade and as someone in the first rank of UK journalism. In a world where gender differences in the work place are felt so acutely, I think she does her sex no favours by worrying about make up, clothes, a clumsy question being made. Worth listening to but only just. Also her voice lively on air, is a flat monotone here with muffled audio on some chapters.

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Dodgy accents, brilliant stories

I love Emily Maitlis after listening!
Really interesting if you’re into the ins and outs of journalism/news reporting/television and how it all works.

She does some pretty questionable accents when reading quotes from Trump etc but I forgive her.

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Witty

Brilliant insight into what she does. She's a legend, clearly. Funnier than a comedian. Extremely dry witty narration. I loved listening to this book during some frankly extremely boring moments of my life, cleaning and so on. Recommend.

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Brilliant!

A very powerful book about Emily’s experiences interviewing some of the most influential people in the world.

The account she gives is honest and raw giving you the best possible insight into how the levers of power and culture work.

She’s also got a knack for impressions which is a lovely surprise that gives the audiobook more of a real feel.

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Fab

I was unsure about wether to download this title or not. I have always liked Emily M and had had this title in my Audible wish list for a while. The decision to download and listen to it was rather spontaneous (as I was unsure about what type of book I felt like). Well I will keep it simple and say that I am so glad I opted for Ms Maitlis's book. I loved it. The book is very easy to listen to. Each chapter covered a different topic (or person). I just wish there had been more chapters as this book finished far too quickly!

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  • Sean
  • 01-02-21

Fabulous

The stories, people, insights, writing and how wonderful Emily is. Excellent book that's fun to read.

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  • Thandi Lamprecht
  • 09-04-20

Excellent audiobook

I found this book incredibly interesting and informative. It is well written and the performance is just as good.

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  • William Burke
  • 18-09-19

Amazing book

Brilliantly written, brilliantly narrated by an amazing journalist & broadcaster with an amazing voice. It can only be Emily Maitlis. Captivating from start to finish.