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France

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  1. 26.0 hrs • 8/20/2015 • Unabridged

    The Bubonic Plague of the 14th century killed one third of all human beings in Europe and Western Asia; many who survived the plague killed each other in the Hundred Years War that followed. What was it like to live in this calamitous century, when knighthood (and much more) died a violent death?

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    Distant Mirror

    26.0 hrs • 8/20/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    7.2 hrs • 8/4/2015 • Unabridged

    The bestselling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during the Second World War. The leafy Avenue de Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris’ hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son, Phillip, at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the “mad sadist” Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany. From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director’s close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal roundup of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11—but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return. Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles listeners with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II’s Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler.

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    Avenue of Spies

    7.2 hrs • 8/4/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 13.9 hrs • 8/4/2015 • Unabridged

    The gripping story of a dramatic eighteenth-century voyage of discovery In her wildly inventive debut novel, Naomi Williams reimagines the historical La Pérouse expedition, a voyage of exploration that left Brest in 1785 with two frigates, two hundred men, and overblown Enlightenment ideals and expectations, in a brave attempt to circumnavigate the globe for science and the glory of France. Deeply grounded in historical fact but refracted through a powerful imagination, Landfalls follows the exploits and heartbreaks not only of the men on the ships but also of the people affected by the voyage—natives and other Europeans the explorers encountered, loved ones left waiting at home, and those who survived and remembered the expedition later. Each chapter is told from a different point of view and is set in a different part of the world—ranging from London to Alaska, from remote South Pacific islands to Siberia, and eventually back to France. The result is a beautifully written and absorbing tale of the high seas, scientific exploration, human tragedy, and the world on the cusp of the modern era. By turns elegiac, profound, and comic, Landfalls reinvents the maritime adventure novel for the twenty-first century.

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    Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams

    Landfalls

    13.9 hrs • 8/4/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 16.0 hrs • 6/23/2015 • Unabridged

    The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de’ Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century. Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de’ Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous “Queen Margot,” was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family. Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone’s narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, international espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.

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    The Rival Queens

    16.0 hrs • 6/23/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 8.9 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    From the New York Times bestselling author and master of martial fiction comes the definitive history of one of the greatest battles ever fought—a riveting nonfiction chronicle published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s last stand. On June 18, 1815, the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history. In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, he brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles—as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the actual outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end. Published to coincide with the battle’s bicentennial in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy—and of the final battle that determined the fate of nineteenth-century Europe.

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    Waterloo

    8.9 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 4.3 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    In this revisionist account of France’s crushing defeat in 1940, a world authority on French history argues that the nation’s downfall has long been misunderstood. Philip Nord assesses France’s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield. He also tracks attitudes among French leaders once defeat seemed a likelihood, identifying who among them took advantage of the nation’s misfortunes to sabotage democratic institutions and plot an authoritarian way forward. Nord finds that the longstanding view that France’s collapse was due to military unpreparedeness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact. Instead, he reveals that the Third Republic was no worse prepared and its military failings no less dramatic than those of the United States and other Allies in the early years of the war. What was unique in France was the betrayal by military and political elites who abandoned the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover. Why then have historians and politicians ever since interpreted the defeat as a judgment on the nation as a whole? Why has the focus been on the failings of the Third Republic and not on elite betrayal? The author examines these questions in a fascinating conclusion.

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    France 1940

    4.3 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.3 hrs • 12/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Award-winning author Jonathan Beckman tells of political machinations and enormous extravagance. In 1785 a sensational trial began in Paris that would divide the country and captivate Europe. A leading Catholic cardinal and scion of one of the most distinguished families in France stood accused of forging the queen’s signature to obtain the most expensive piece of jewelry in Europe: a 2,800-carat diamond necklace. Where were the diamonds? Was the cardinal innocent? Was, for that matter, the queen? The revelations from the trial would bedevil the French monarchy as the country descended into a bloody revolution.

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    How to Ruin a Queen

    12.3 hrs • 12/9/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    32.9 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by the New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of War Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all time. Andrew Roberts’s Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century. An award-winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the long trip by boat to St. Helena. He is as acute in his understanding of politics as he is of military history. Here at last is a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, beautifully written, by one of our foremost historians.

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    Napoleon

    32.9 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 14.4 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    Kate Williams’ Ambition and Desire is a compelling biography that explores the unbelievable life of an incredible woman and lays bare one of the world’s most violent love affairs. Josephine de Beauharnais began as a kept woman of Paris and became the most powerful woman in France. She was no beauty, her teeth were rotten, and she was six years older than her husband, but one twitch of her skirt could bring running the man who terrorized Europe. The tale of Napoleon and Josephine is one of the most famous love stories in the world. With Josephine, Napoleon became the greatest man in Europe—the Supreme Emperor. And yet, envisioning Josephine as the calm consort on the sofa obscures many of the most fascinating aspects of her story. How did she rise to such an astonishing position? How did she perfect the art of the beautiful, sweet chameleon—and thus fool so many? France in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was a country in such extreme flux that everything was accessible—and possible—but it took an incredible woman to seize the opportunities. Ambition and Desire shows how the little girl from Martinique became the queen of France.

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    Ambition and Desire

    14.4 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 13.8 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the fascinating story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II. High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lie tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During World War II, the inhabitants of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, and, above all, Jews, many of them orphans whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. There were no informers, no denunciations, and nobody broke ranks. During raids, the children would hide in the woods, their packs on their backs, waiting to hear the farmers’ song that told them it was safe to return. After the war, Le Chambon became one of only two places in the world to be honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among Nations. Just why and how Le Chambon and its outlying villages came to save so many people has never fully been told. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, along with interviews documenting the testimony of surviving villagers, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination; the accomplishments of a small group of people who banded together to oppose tyranny. A major contribution to the history of the World War II, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.

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  11. 13.7 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    The profoundly inspiring and fully documented saga of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl whose “voices” moved her to rally the French nation and a reluctant king against British invaders in 1428, has fascinated artistic figures as diverse as William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Carl Dreyer, and Robert Bresson. Was she a divinely inspired saint? A schizophrenic? A demonically possessed heretic, as her persecutors and captors tried to prove? Every era must retell and reimagine the Maid of Orleans’ extraordinary story in its own way, and in Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, the superb novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan for our time—a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and self-confidence during a brutally rigged ecclesiastical inquisition and in the face of her death by burning. Deftly weaving historical fact, myth, folklore, artistic representations, and centuries of scholarly and critical interpretation into a compelling narrative, she restores Joan of Arc to her rightful position as one of the greatest heroines in all of human history.

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    Joan of Arc

    13.7 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 13.8 hrs • 10/14/2014 • Unabridged

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II—told in full for the first time. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ardèche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, Freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking and the fallibility of memory. A major contribution to WWII history, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.

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    Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead
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  13. 9.1 hrs • 9/30/2014 • Unabridged

    The incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, sisters who risked everything to fight for freedom during the Second World War When elderly recluse Eileen Nearne died, few suspected that the quiet little old lady was a decorated WWII war hero. Volunteering to serve for British intelligence at age twenty-one, Eileen was posted to Nazi-occupied France to send encoded messages of crucial importance for the Allies, until her capture by the Gestapo. Eileen was not the only agent in her family—her sister Jacqueline was a courier for the French resistance. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided arrest, Eileen was tortured by the Nazis, then sent to the infamous Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp. Astonishingly, this resourceful young woman eventually escaped her captors and found her way to the advancing American army. In this amazing true story of triumph and tragedy, Susan Ottaway unveils the secret lives of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend their country.

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    A Cool and Lonely Courage

    9.1 hrs • 9/30/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 6.2 hrs • 9/16/2014 • Unabridged

    A singular man in the history of modern art, betrayed by Vichy, is the subject of this riveting family memoir. On September 20, 1940, one of the most famous European art dealers disembarked to New York— one of hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing Vichy, France. Leaving behind his beloved Paris gallery, Paul Rosenberg had managed to save his family. But his paintings—modern masterpieces by Cézanne, Monet, Sisley, and others—were not so fortunate. As he fled, dozens of works were seized by Nazi forces, and the art dealer’s own legacy was eradicated. More than half a century later, Anne Sinclair uncovered a box filled with letters. Drawing on her grandfather’s intimate correspondence with Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and others, Sinclair takes us on a personal journey through the life of a legendary member of the Parisian art scene in My Grandfather’s Gallery. Rosenberg’s story is emblematic of millions of Jews, rich and poor, whose lives were indelibly altered by World War II. Sinclair’s journey to reclaim her family history paints a picture of modern art on both sides of the Atlantic between the 1920s and 1950s that reframes twentieth-century art history.

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    My Grandfather’s Gallery

    Translated by Shaun Whiteside
    Read by Kate Reading
    6.2 hrs • 9/16/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 14.0 hrs • 8/5/2014 • Unabridged

    The spellbinding and revealing chronicle of Nazi-occupied Paris On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation—even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amid this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes—Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus, and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners—rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle. When Paris Went Dark evokes with stunning precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation and the brave people who fought against the darkness. Relying on a range of resources—memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film, and historical studies—Rosbottom has forged a groundbreaking book that will forever influence how we understand those dark years in the City of Light.

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    When Paris Went Dark

    14.0 hrs • 8/5/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.8 hrs • 2/25/2014 • Unabridged

    A riveting true story of murder and detection in fifteenth-century Paris, by one of the most brilliant medievalists of his generation On a chilly November night in 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. As panic seized Paris, an investigation began. In charge was the provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city’s chief law enforcement officer—and one of history’s first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. A rich portrait of a distant world, Blood Royal is a gripping account of conspiracy, crime, and an increasingly desperate hunt for the truth. And in Guillaume de Tignonville, we have an unforgettable detective for the ages, a classic gumshoe for a medieval era.

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    Blood Royal

    8.8 hrs • 2/25/14 • Unabridged
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