By: Tony Levy
Do you have any unusual fears of phobias? Something which really does not make a whole lot of sense, but scares you anyways? Well, you are not alone! Most of us have an odd fear which can make us very apprehensive and produce a high level of uncomfortable anxiety. For me personally, it is when I have to go through airport security. As soon as I see those gates and x-ray machines my pulse starts to quicken and heart begins to race. Sweat beads up on my forehead and my palms grow clammy. Considering I have absolutely nothing to hide, I would classify this as an unreasonable fear. With this in mind, my interest was piqued when I saw a book by author Tony Levy entitled El Dorado? No! Heathrow Airport. For those looking to discover what really happens behind the scenes of one of the world’s busiest airports…this may be the eye opener you have been looking for!
El Dorado? No! Heathrow Airport is a non-fiction book which explores the author’s real-life experiences while working at Heathrow Airport. He essentially splits the book up into three different sections: 1) Passengers 2) Security Officers 3) Management. Each section is filled with real and often hilarious anecdotes from his time working as a security officer at Heathrow Airport. While his stories reveal many ridiculous antics by passengers, they also expose some worrisome practices by staff and management. From the severe pressure which is put upon security officers, to the blatant nepotism and numerous “shortcuts” which could occur depending upon the individual who may be in charge at any particular time. While Tony himself states that the vast majority of staff were excellent and would do anything to ensure passenger safety…it does still fill the reader with trepidation. Be that as it may, the stories are quite entertaining and make it difficult to put the book down as one is always wondering what will happen in the next short tale! My favorite recount was probably the “Lorrie Wheels.” I can actually formulate a picture of this encounter in my mind-and it is pretty funny!
You can get a pretty good sense about the author by reading his book. He seems to be a very diligent and no-nonsense type of individual. When working for the public service those character traits can often run someone afoul with others…particularly management. There is no shortage of these “struggle with management” type of episodes contained within the book. I certainly understand why Mr. Levy included this material. You cannot give a proper “behind the scenes” look into something unless you cover it entirely. Warts and all! Nevertheless, I personally preferred the amusing and often wacky passenger anecdotes as opposed to the more serious side of the book. That I realize is just a personal preference however.
There were two issues that did present themselves as minor problems in the book. First of all, there were some errors which should have been discovered and corrected at the editing stage. There were not many, but mistakes tend to impede the flow of any book which is written. Secondly, the book can be somewhat repetitive in parts. I do believe this is due to the obvious thorough nature of the author. He seems to want to totally ensure that the audience understands his points, and in so doing will repeat himself in places. Nevertheless, neither of these issues significantly impacted the total enjoyment I had while reading this book.
For non-fiction lovers who are eager to get a behind the scenes look at what really happens at a busy airport, El Dorado? No! Heathrow Airport is a must read. I would absolutely recommend this book to adult readers. I believe adults of any age would find it to be quite enjoyable and informative.
4 out of 5 Flying Stars for this one! ****