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  1. 5.8 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    Discover the stories of twelve women who heard the call to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey. As a slave, Clara watched as her husband and children were sold, only to be reunited with her youngest daughter, as a free woman, six decades later. As a young girl, Charlotte hid her gender to escape a life of poverty and became the greatest stagecoach driver that ever lived. As a Native American, Gertrude fought to give her people a voice and to educate leaders about the ways and importance of her culture. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. Many were crusaders for social justice and women’s rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world. The author ties the stories of these pioneer women to the experiences of women today with the hope that they will be inspired to live boldly and bravely and to fill their own lives with vision, faith, and fortitude. To live with grit.

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    Frontier Grit by Marianne Monson

    Frontier Grit

    5.8 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 15.4 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’ efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting effects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities. Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for the New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The Interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see. Four out of every five houses—eighty percent of the city’s housing stock—had been flooded. Around that same proportion of schools and businesses were wrecked. The weight of all that water on the streets cracked gas and water and sewer pipes all around town, and the deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the city’s water and sewer system. People living in flooded areas of the city could not be expected to pay their property taxes for the foreseeable future. Nor would all those boarded-up businesses—21,000 of the city’s 22,000 businesses were still shuttered six months after the storm—be contributing their share of sales taxes and other fees to the city’s coffers. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforce—precisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. Meanwhile, cynics both in and out of the Beltway were questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to rebuild a city that sat mostly below sea level. How could the city possibly come back? This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes—politicians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and white—as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city that’s the soul of this nation.

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    Katrina by Gary Rivlin

    Katrina

    15.4 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.3 hrs • 3/29/2016 • Unabridged

    The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Revenant--basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio--tells the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history. The worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history began a half hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, when fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Company's Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than two thousand feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour, more than four hundred men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, one hundred and sixty-four of them would be dead.Fire and Brimstone recounts the remarkable stories of both the men below ground and their families above, focusing on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas. While the disaster is compelling in its own right, Fire and Brimstone also tells a far broader story striking in its contemporary relevance. Butte, Montana, on the eve of the North Butte disaster, was a volatile jumble of antiwar protest, an abusive corporate master, seething labor unrest, divisive ethnic tension, and radicalism both left and right. It was a powder keg lacking only a spark, and the mine fire would ignite strikes, murder, ethnic and political witch hunts, occupation by federal troops, and ultimately a battle over presidential power.

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    Fire and Brimstone

    9.3 hrs • 3/29/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 9.4 hrs • 3/29/2016 • Unabridged

    In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, an American buffalo herd once numbering 30 million animals was reduced to twenty-three. It was the era of Manifest Destiny, a gilded age that viewed the West as nothing more than a treasure chest of resources to be dug up or shot down. Supporting hide hunters was the U.S. Army, which considered the eradication of the buffalo essential to victory in its ongoing war on Native Americans.   Into that maelstrom rode young George Bird Grinnell. A scientist and a journalist, a hunter and a conservationist, Grinnell would lead the battle to save the buffalo from extinction. Fighting in the pages of magazines, in Washington’s halls of power, and in the frozen valleys of Yellowstone, Grinnell and his allies sought to preserve an icon. Grinnell shared his adventures with some of the greatest and most infamous characters of the American West—from John James Audubon and Buffalo Bill to George Armstrong Custer and Theodore Roosevelt. Last Stand is a strikingly contemporary story: the saga of Grinnell and the buffalo was the first national battle over the environment. Grinnell’s legacy includes the birth of the conservation movement as a potent political force.

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    Last Stand

    9.4 hrs • 3/29/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 11.3 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    An epic, mesmerizing oral history of Hollywood and Los Angeles from the author of the contemporary classic Edie Jean Stein transformed the art of oral history in her groundbreaking book Edie: American Girl, an indelible portrait of Andy Warhol “superstar” Edie Sedgwick, which was edited with George Plimpton. Now, in West of Eden, she turns to Los Angeles, the city of her childhood. Stein vividly captures a mythic cast of characters: their ambitions and triumphs as well as their desolation and grief. These stories illuminate the bold aspirations of five larger-than-life individuals and their families. West of Eden is a work of history both grand in scale and intimate in detail. At the center of each family is a dreamer who finds fortune and strife in Southern California: Edward Doheny, the Wisconsin-born oil tycoon whose corruption destroyed the reputation of a US president and led to his own son’s violent death; Jack Warner, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who together with his brothers founded one of the world’s most iconic film studios; Jane Garland, the troubled daughter of an aspiring actress who could never escape her mother’s schemes; Jennifer Jones, an actress from Oklahoma who won the Academy Award at twenty-five, but struggled with despair amid her fame and glamour. Finally, Stein chronicles the ascent of her own father, Jules Stein, an eye doctor born in Indiana who transformed Hollywood with the creation of an unrivaled agency and studio. In each chapter, Stein paints a portrait of an outsider who pins his or her hopes on the nascent power and promise of Los Angeles. Each individual’s unyielding intensity pushes loved ones, especially children, toward a perilous threshold. West of Eden depicts the city that has projected its own image of America to the world, in all its idealism and paradox. As she did in Edie, Jean Stein weaves together the personal recollections of an array of individuals to create an astonishing tapestry of a place like no other.

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    West of Eden

    11.3 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    8.8 hrs • 4/7/2015 • Unabridged

    The must-have companion to Bill O’Reilly’s documentary series Legends and Lies: The Real West, a fascinating, eye-opening look at the truth behind the western legends we all think we know How did Davy Crockett save President Jackson’s life only to end up dying at the Alamo? Was the Lone Ranger based on a real lawman—and was he an African American? What amazing detective work led to the capture of Black Bart, the “gentleman bandit” and one of the west’s most famous stagecoach robbers? Did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid really die in a hail of bullets in South America? Generations of Americans have grown up on TV shows, movies and books about these western icons. But what really happened in the Wild West? All the stories you think you know, and others that will astonish you, are here—some heroic, some brutal and bloody, all riveting. Frontier America was a place where instinct mattered more than education, and courage was necessary for survival. It was a place where luck made a difference and legends were made. Told in fast-paced, immersive narrative, Legends and Lies is an irresistible, adventure-packed ride back into one of the most storied era of our nation’s rich history.

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    Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies

    8.8 hrs • 4/7/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    13.6 hrs • 12/30/2015 • Unabridged

    In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough comes the first full-scale narrative history of Hawaii, an epic tale of empire, industry, war, and culture. The most recent state to join the union, Hawaii is the only one to have once been a royal kingdom. After its discovery by Captain Cook in the late eighteenth century, Hawaii was fought over by European powers determined to take advantage of its position as the crossroads of the Pacific. The arrival of the first missionaries marked the beginning of the struggle between a native culture with its ancient gods, sexual libertinism, and rites of human sacrifice and the rigid values of the Calvinists. While Hawaii’s royal rulers adopted Christianity, they also fought to preserve their ancient ways. But the success of the ruthless American sugar barons sealed their fate, and in 1893 the American Marines overthrew Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii. Captive Paradise is the story of King Kamehameha I, the Conqueror, who unified the islands through terror and bloodshed but whose dynasty succumbed to inbreeding; of Gilded Age tycoons like Claus Spreckels, who brilliantly outmaneuvered his competitors; of firebrand Lorrin Thurston, who was determined that Hawaii be ruled by whites; of President McKinley, who presided over the eventual annexation of the islands. Not since James Michener’s classic novel Hawaii has there been such a vibrant and compelling portrait of an extraordinary place and its people.

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    Captive Paradise by James L. Haley

    Captive Paradise

    13.6 hrs • 12/30/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  8. 10.0 hrs • 8/12/2014 • Unabridged

    A riveting portrait of the gold rush, by the award-winning author of Down the Great Unknown and The Forger’s Spell In the spring of 1848, rumors began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared “Gold Fever!” as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves—for the first time ever—to imagine a future of ease and splendor. In The Rush, Edward Dolnick brilliantly recounts their treacherous westward journeys by wagon and on foot and takes us to the frenzied gold fields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing to jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, The Rush is a fascinating—and rollicking—account of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.

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    The Rush by Edward Dolnick

    The Rush

    10.0 hrs • 8/12/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 7.4 hrs • 6/12/2014 • Unabridged

    Denali’s Howl is the white-knuckle account of one of the most deadly climbing disasters of all time. In 1967, twelve young men attempted to climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley—known to the locals as Denali—one of the most popular and deadly mountaineering destinations in the world. Only five survived. Journalist Andy Hall, son of the park superintendent at the time, investigates the tragedy. He spent years tracking down survivors, lost documents, and recordings of radio communications. In Denali’s Howl, Hall reveals the full story of an expedition facing conditions conclusively established here for the first time: at an elevation of nearly twenty thousand feet, these young men endured an “arctic superblizzard,” with howling winds of up to three hundred miles an hour and wind chill that freezes flesh solid in minutes. All this was without the high-tech gear and equipment climbers use today. As well as the story of the men caught inside the storm, Denali’s Howl is the story of those caught outside it trying to save them—Hall’s father among them. The book gives readers a detailed look at the culture of climbing then and now and raises uncomfortable questions about each player in this tragedy. Was enough done to rescue the climbers, or were their fates sealed when they ascended into the path of this unprecedented storm?

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    Denali’s Howl by Andy Hall

    Denali’s Howl

    7.4 hrs • 6/12/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 8.4 hrs • 1/1/2014 • Unabridged

    Between 1961 and 1967 the United States Air Force buried one thousand Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles in pastures across the Great Plains. The Missile Next Door tells the story of how rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that story tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending. By scattering the missiles in out-of-the-way places, the Defense Department kept the chilling calculus of Cold War nuclear strategy out of view. This subterfuge was necessary, Gretchen Heefner argues, in order for Americans to accept a costly nuclear buildup and the resulting threat of Armageddon. As for the ranchers, farmers, and other civilians in the Plains states who were first seduced by the economics of war and then forced to live in the Soviet crosshairs, their sense of citizenship was forever changed. Some were stirred to dissent. Others consented but found their proud Plains individualism giving way to a growing dependence on the military-industrial complex. Even today, some communities express reluctance to let the Minutemen go, though the Air Force no longer wants them buried in the heartland. Complicating a red state / blue state reading of American politics, Heefner’s account helps to explain the deep distrust of government found in many western regions and also an addiction to defense spending which, for many local economies, seems inescapable.

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    The Missile Next Door by Gretchen Heefner

    The Missile Next Door

    8.4 hrs • 1/1/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    10.1 hrs • 8/27/2013 • Unabridged

    The Esperanza Fire started October 26, 2006, in the San Jacinto Mountains near Cabazon, California. It destroyed 41,000 acres and dozens of homes and cost taxpayers $16 million dollars. But by far the highest costs of the conflagration were the lives of the five-man crew of Engine 57, the first engine crew ever killed fighting a wildfire blaze. Fire and super-heated gases had erupted in a freak “area ignition,” sending flames racing across three-quarters of a mile in mere seconds, engulfing the crew and the house they were defending. The deadly blaze was quickly determined to be no accident. Within a week, serial arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler was arrested and charged with almost two dozen counts of arson—and five counts of first degree murder. The Esperanza Fire recounts with drama and precision the gripping details of the fire and of Oyler’s precedent-shattering trial and its stunning conclusion. John Maclean spent more than five years researching the Esperanza Fire and covering the trial of Raymond Oyler. The result is a thrilling, moment-to-moment insider’s chronicle of that devastating and tragic inferno and the pursuit, capture, and prosecution of the man who intentionally set it.

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    The Esperanza Fire

    10.1 hrs • 8/27/13 • Unabridged
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    10.2 hrs • 7/16/2013 • Unabridged

    Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the Alaskan wilderness—and of its chilling secrets. When Papa Pilgrim appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy with his wife and fifteen children in tow, his new neighbors had little idea of the trouble to come. The Pilgrim family presented themselves as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal, with their proud piety and beautiful old-time music, but their true story ran dark and deep. Within weeks, Papa had bulldozed a road through the mountains to the new family home at an abandoned copper mine, sparking a tense confrontation with the National Park Service and forcing his ghost-town neighbors to take sides in an evermore volatile battle in which a citizen’s rights end and the government’s power begins. In Pilgrim’s Wilderness, veteran Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia unfolds the remarkable, at times harrowing, story of a charismatic spinner of American myths who was not what he seemed, the townspeople caught in his thrall, and the family he brought to the brink of ruin. As Kizzia discovered, Papa Pilgrim was in fact the son of a rich Texas family with ties to Hoover’s FBI and strange, oblique connections to the Kennedy assassination and the movie stars of Easy Rider. And as his fight with the government in Alaska grew more intense, the turmoil in his brood made it increasingly difficult to tell whether his children were messianic followers or hostages in desperate need of rescue.  In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, Kizzia uses his unparalleled access to capture an era-defining clash between environmentalists and pioneers ignited by a mesmerizing sociopath who held a town and a family captive.

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    Pilgrim’s Wilderness

    10.2 hrs • 7/16/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 10.2 hrs • 4/30/2013 • Unabridged

    Raymond Sarlot bought the Chateau Marmont in 1975, but what was originally a business purchase became a love affair as he delved into the hotel’s incredible history. From its perch overlooking the Sunset Strip, the glamorous Marmont reigned for decades as the spot for artists, writers, musicians, and actors of every stripe and remains a home-away-from-home for A-listers like Scarlett Johansson and Johnny Depp. Here, Sarlot and co-author Fred E. Basten share a wealth of scandalous and intriguing tales about them all, from the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era like Jean Harlow and Grace Kelly to idols of the sixties and seventies like Jim Morrison and John Belushi (who tragically died there in 1982). Whether your obsession is Hollywood history or celebrity gossip, Life at the Marmont has plenty of gripping, juicy stories to fascinate.

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    Life at the Marmont

    10.2 hrs • 4/30/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 12.0 hrs • 10/30/2012 • Unabridged

    The first biography of the little-known real-life Tom Sawyer (a friend of Mark Twain during his brief tenure as a California newspaper reporter), told through a harrowing account of Sawyer’s involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth-century San Francisco When twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco Daily Morning Call reporter Mark Twain met Tom Sawyer at a local bathhouse in 1863, he was seeking a subject for his first novel. As Twain steamed, played cards, and drank beer with Sawyer (a volunteer firefighter, customs inspector, and local hero responsible for having saved ninety lives at sea), he had second thoughts about Shirley Tempest, his proposed book about a local girl firefighter, and began to envision a novel of wider scope. Twain learned that a dozen years earlier, the then-eighteen-year-old New York–born Sawyer had been a “Torch Boy,” one of the youths who raced ahead of the volunteer firemen’s hand-drawn engines at night carrying torches to light the way, always aware that a single spark could reduce the all-wood city of San Francisco to ashes in an instant. At that time a mysterious serial arsonist known by some as “The Lightkeeper” was in the process of burning San Francisco to the ground six times in eighteen months—the most disastrous and costly series of fires ever experienced by any American metropolis. Black Fire is the most thorough and accurate account of Sawyer’s relationship with Mark Twain and of the six devastating incendiary fires that baptized one of the modern world’s favorite cities. Set amid a scorched landscape of burning roads, melting iron warehouses, exploding buildings, and deadly gangs who extorted and ruled by fear, it includes the never-before-told stories of Sawyer’s heroism during the sinking of the steamship Independence and the crucial role Sawyer and the Torch Boys played in solving the mystery of the Lightkeeper. Drawing on archival sources such as actual San Francisco newspaper interviews with Sawyer and the handwritten police depositions of the arrest of the Lightkeeper, bestselling author Robert Graysmith vividly portrays the gritty, corrupt, and violent world of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, overrun with gunfighters, hooligans, hordes of gold prospectors, crooked politicians, and vigilantes. By chronicling how Sawyer took it upon himself to investigate, expose, and stop the arsonist, Black Fire details—for the first time—Sawyer’s remarkable life and illustrates why Twain would later feel compelled to name his iconic character after his San Francisco buddy when he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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    Black Fire

    12.0 hrs • 10/30/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 15.3 hrs • 9/17/2012 • Unabridged

    Roman Catholic sisters first traveled to the American West as providers of social services, education, and medical assistance. In Across God’s Frontiers, Anne M. Butler traces the ways in which sisters challenged and reconfigured contemporary ideas about women, work, religion, and the West; moreover, she demonstrates how religious life became a vehicle for increasing women’s agency and power. Moving to the West introduced significant changes for these women, including public employment and unconventional monastic lives. As nuns and sisters adjusted to new circumstances and immersed themselves in rugged environments, the West shaped them; and through their labors and charities, they in turn shaped the West. These female religious pioneers built institutions, brokered relationships between indigenous peoples and encroaching settlers, and undertook varied occupations, often without organized funding or direct support from the church hierarchy. A comprehensive history of Roman Catholic nuns and sisters in the American West, Across God’s Frontiers reveals these women as dynamic and creative architects of civic and religious institutions in western communities.

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    Across God’s Frontiers by Anne M. Butler

    Across God’s Frontiers

    15.3 hrs • 9/17/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 13.9 hrs • 8/7/2012

    A harrowing, edge-of-your-seat narrative of murder and secrets, revenge, and heroism in the City of Angels—the real events behind the blockbuster Warner Brothers film starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone. Gangster Squad chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and other hoodlums from Los Angeles after WWII. In 1946, the LAPD launched the Gangster Squad with eight men who met covertly on street corners and slept with Tommy guns under their beds. But for two cops, all that mattered was nailing the strutting gangster Mickey Cohen. Sgt. Jack O’Mara was a square-jawed church usher, Sgt. Jerry Wooters a cynical maverick. About all they had in common was their obsession. So O’Mara set a trap to prove Mickey was a killer. And Wooters formed an alliance with Mickey’s budding rival, Jack “The Enforcer” Whalen. Two cops—two hoodlums.  Their fates collided in the closing days of the 1950s, when late one night “The Enforcer” confronted Mickey and his crew. The aftermath would shake both LA’s mob and police department and signal the end of a defining era in the city’s history. In 2008, award-winning journalist Paul Lieberman’s seven-part Los Angeles Times series “Tales from the Gangster Squad” was optioned by Warner Bros. He spent over a decade tracking down surviving members of the real police unit as well as families and associates of the mobsters they pursued.  Gangster Squad is a tour-de-force narrative reminiscent of LA Confidential.

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    Gangster Squad

    13.9 hrs • 8/7/12
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