pulitzer prize Audio Books
13.5 hrs • 4/1/2005Listen
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.
So enters one of the most memorable characters in recent American fiction.
The hero of John Kennedy Toole’s incomparable, Pultizer Prize–winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, an obese, self-absorbed, hapless Don Quixote of the French Quarter, whose half-hearted attempts at employment lead to a series of wacky adventures among the lower denizens of New Orleans. This book has become an American comic masterpiece.>Learn More
54.2 hrs • 7/15/2012ListenHailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the thirty-third President of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.
From Truman's small-town, turn-of-the-century boyhood and his transforming experience in the face of war in 1918, to his political beginnings in the powerful Pendergast machine and his rapid rise to prominence in the U.S. Senate, McCullough shows a man of uncommon vitality and strength of character. Here too is a telling account of Truman's momentous decision to use the atomic bomb and the weighty responsibilities that he was forced to confront on the dawning of a new age.
Distinguished historian and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David McCullough tells one of the greatest American stories in this stirring audio adaptation of Truman -- a compelling, classic portrait of a life that shaped history.
19.0 hrs • 11/1/2008Listen
In this Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of kings and kaisers and czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed—and how horrible it became.
Tuchman masterfully portrays this transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, focusing on the turning point in the year 1914, the month leading up to the war, and the first month of the war. With fine attention to detail, she reveals how and why the war started and why it could have been stopped but wasn’t, managing to make the story utterly suspenseful even when we already know the outcome.
A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten.>Learn More
12.0 hrs • 11/26/2007Listen
Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for literature ever awarded to a woman, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s elegant portrait of desire and betrayal in old New York.
In the highest circle of New York social life during the 1870s, Newland Archer, a young lawyer, prepares to marry the docile May Welland. But before their engagement is announced, he meets the mysterious, nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska, May’s cousin, who has returned to New York after a long absence. Ellen mirrors his own sense of disillusionment with society and the ‘good marriage’ he is about to embark upon and provokes a moral struggle within him as he continues to go through the motions.
A social commentary of surprising compassion and insight, The Age of Innocence toes the line between the comedy of manners and the tragedy of thwarted love.>Learn More
32.0 hrs • 2/1/2012Listen
Drawing on extensive interviews with George Kennan and exclusive access to his archives, an eminent scholar of the Cold War delivers a revelatory biography of its troubled mastermind.
In the late 1940s, George Kennan wrote two documents, the “Long Telegram” and the “X Article,” which set forward the strategy of containment that would define US policy toward the Soviet Union for the next four decades. This achievement alone would qualify him as the most influential American diplomat of the Cold War era. But he was also an architect of the Marshall Plan, a prizewinning historian, and would become one of the most outspoken critics of American diplomacy, politics, and culture during the last half of the twentieth century. Now the full scope of Kennan’s long life and vast influence is revealed by one of today’s most important Cold War scholars.
Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis began this magisterial history almost thirty years ago, interviewing Kennan frequently and gaining complete access to his voluminous diaries and other personal papers. So frank and detailed were these materials that Kennan and Gaddis agreed that the book would not appear until after Kennan’s death. It was well worth the wait: the journals give this book a breathtaking candor and intimacy that match its century-long sweep.
We see Kennan’s insecurity as a Midwesterner among elites at Princeton, his budding dissatisfaction with authority and the status quo, his struggles with depression, his gift for satire, and his sharp insights on the policies and people he encountered. Kennan turned these sharp analytical gifts upon himself, even to the point of regularly recording dreams. The result is a remarkably revealing view of how this greatest of Cold War strategists came to doubt his strategy and always doubted himself.
This is a landmark work of history and biography that reveals the vast influence and rich inner landscape of a life that both mirrored and shaped the century it spanned.>Learn More
33.0 hrs • 5/1/2012Listen
In this addition to the esteemed Oxford history series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. He examines the era’s politics but contends that John Quincy Adams and other advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African Americans were the true prophets of America’s future. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women’s rights, and other reform movements. Howe’s panoramic narrative—weaving social, economic, and cultural history together with political and military events—culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war against Mexico that gained California and Texas for the United States.>Learn More
29.0 hrs • 8/1/2009Listen
In this Pulitzer Prize–winning biography, Barbara Tuchman explores American relations with China through the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed “Vinegar Joe,” Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of the National Review, “one of the historian’s most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story.”
Joseph Stilwell was the military attaché to China in 1935 to 1939, commander of United States forces, and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942–44. His story unfolds against the background of China’s history, from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China’s Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents.>Learn More
22.0 hrs • 11/24/2009Listen
Wallace Stegner’s uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian, who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, husbands and wives. Like other great quests in literature, Lyman Ward’s investigation leads him deep into the dark shadows of his own life. The result is a deeply moving novel that, through the prism of one family, illuminates the American present against the fascinating background of its past.
Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical—that endures as Wallace Stegner’s masterwork, an illumination of yesterday’s reality that speaks to today’s.>Learn More
10.5 hrs • 11/15/2011Listen
Decades after its original publication, James Agee’s last novel seems, more than ever, an American classic. For in his lyrical, sorrowful account of a man’s death and its impact on his family, Agee painstakingly created a small world of domestic happiness and then showed how quickly and casually it could be destroyed.
On a sultry summer night in 1915, Jay Follet leaves his house in Knoxville, Tennessee, to tend to his father, whom he believes is dying. The summons turns out to be a false alarm, but on his way back to his family, Jay has a car accident and is killed instantly. Dancing back and forth in time and braiding the viewpoints of Jay’s wife, brother, and young son, Rufus, Agee creates an overwhelmingly powerful novel of innocence, tenderness, and loss that should be read aloud for the sheer music of its prose.>Learn More
2.3 hrs • 7/15/2012ListenRead by Rosemary Harris , James Farentino , and a full cast
A full-cast recording of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire on audio for the first time!
Blanche DuBois arrives at her sister Stella’s New Orleans apartment seeking refuge from a troubled past—but her ethereal spirit irks Stella’s husband, the loutish Stanley Kowalski. Crudely, relentlessly, he unmasks the lies and delusions that sustain Blanche, until her frail hold on reality is shockingly severed.
This atmospheric recording of Tennessee Williams’ powerful classic stars Rosemary Harris and James Farentino as Blanche and Stanley—roles they performed to acclaim in a smash revival at New York’s Lincoln Center.>Learn More
18.0 hrs • 11/19/2007Listen
For years, they were the best of friends: Humboldt, a grand, erratic figure, and Charlie, a young man of frenzied and noble longings. But by the 1970s, Humboldt has died a failure, and Charlie’s success-ridden life has taken various turns for the worse. Then Humboldt acts from the grave to change Charlie’s life by leaving him something in his will.
Now Charlie is middle-aged and his days are cluttered with comic absurdities. A thinker, he longs to come from left field and knock them all dead. But his ex-wife has him enmeshed in lawsuits; he is held in thrall by a sexually-beguiling but unsuitable young woman; he has fallen into the hands of a neurotic mafioso; and his career seems to have ground to a halt. How the gentle but resilient Charlie comes to know how to triumph over his ever more ridiculous tribulations is the great discovery of Humboldt’s Gift.>Learn More
26.0 hrs • 7/7/2008Listen
Admiral of the Ocean Sea is Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison’s classic biography of the greatest sailor of them all, Christopher Columbus. It is written with the insight, energy, and authority that only someone who had himself sailed in Columbus’ path to the New World could muster. Morison undertook this expedition in a 147-foot schooner and a 47-foot ketch, the dimensions of these craft roughly matching those of Columbus’ Santa Maria and Niña. The result is this vivid and definitive biography that accurately details the voyages that, for better or worse, changed the world.>Learn More
10.5 hrs • 8/1/2007Listen>Learn More
This Pulitzer Prize–winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers, but they will soon meet their own downfall.
Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.
32.0 hrs • 6/25/2009Listen
He was one of the most extraordinary figures in American political history—a great natural politician who looked, and often seemed to behave, like a caricature of the redneck Southern politico, and yet had become at the time of his assassination a serious rival to Franklin D. Roosevelt for the presidency. In this “masterpiece of American biography” (New York Times Book Review), Huey Long stands wholly revealed, analyzed, and understood.>Learn More
31.5 hrs • 1/1/2005Listen
Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This Pulitzer Prize–winning history tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.
The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America’s unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom-and-bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike.
Freedom from Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.
Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.>Learn More
14.9 hrs • 7/15/2012Listen
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story.
Perhaps it is a story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
Imbued with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion -- and movingly read in his own voice -- Angela's Ashes is a glorious audiobook that bears all the marks of a classic.>Learn More