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Biography & Autobiography

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  1. 10.8 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    One decision can end everything … or lead to unlikely redemption. Millions watched the CBS 60 Minutes special on Jack Barsky in 2015. Now, in this fascinating memoir, the Soviet KGB agent tells his story of gut-wrenching choices, appalling betrayals, his turbulent inner world, and the secret life he lived for years without getting caught. On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward customs and immigration. Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist. The identity was a KGB forgery, used to get one of their own―a young, ambitious East German agent―into the United States. The plan succeeded, and the spy’s new identity was born: Jack Barsky. He would work undercover for the next decade, carrying out secret operations during the Cold War years—until a surprising shift in his allegiance challenged everything he thought he believed. Deep Undercover reveals the secret life of this man without a country and tells the story no one ever expected him to tell.

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    Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky

    Deep Undercover

    By Jack Barsky, with Cindy Coloma
    10.8 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  2. 8.9 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    “My father had more than fifty children.” So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult―a radical branch of Mormonism―Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone. She escaped when she was thirteen—but the nightmare was far from over. A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist’s Daughter is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

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    The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron

    The Polygamist’s Daughter

    By Anna LeBaron, with Leslie Wilson
    Read by Anna LeBaron
    8.9 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.1 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light. The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic―not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly backstabbing world of the king’s court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris’ most illustrious churches and cathedrals. As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis’ mistresses be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king. From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie’s compulsive note taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker’s riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe on the page.

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    City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

    City of Light, City of Poison

    9.1 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  4. 14.8 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    Frederick Russell Burnham’s amazing story resembles a newsreel fused with a Saturday matinee thriller. One of the few people who could turn his garrulous friend Theodore Roosevelt into a listener, Burnham was once world-famous as “the American scout.” His expertise in woodcraft, learned from frontiersmen and Indians, helped inspire another friend, Robert Baden-Powell, to found the Boy Scouts. His adventures encompassed Apache wars and range feuds, booms and busts in mining camps around the globe, explorations in remote regions of Africa, and death-defying military feats that brought him renown and high honors. His skills led to his unusual appointment, as an American, to be Chief of Scouts for the British during the Boer War, where his daring exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Order from King Edward VII. After a lifetime pursuing golden prospects from the deserts of Mexico and Africa to the tundra of the Klondike, Burnham found wealth, in his sixties, near his childhood home in southern California. Other men of his era had a few such adventures, but Burnham had them all. His friend H. Rider Haggard, author of many bestselling exotic tales, remarked, “In real life he is more interesting than any of my heroes of romance.” Among other well-known individuals who figure in Burnham’s story are Cecil Rhodes and William Howard Taft, as well as some of the wealthiest men of the day, including John Hays Hammond, E. H. Harriman, Harry Payne Whitney, and the Guggenheim brothers. Failure and tragedy streaked his life as well, but he was endlessly willing to set off into the unknown, where the future felt up for grabs and values worth dying for were at stake. Steve Kemper brings a quintessential American story to vivid life in this gripping biography.

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    A Splendid Savage by Steve Kemper

    A Splendid Savage

    14.8 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  5. 7.2 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    “The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World”—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East. Bassem Youssef’s incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation’s dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock. So potent were Youssef’s skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government’s announcement that it had created the world’s first “AIDS cure” machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative—recruited by Jon Stewart—to bring down the country through sarcasm. There’s much more—and it’s all insanely true. Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef’s humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs.

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    Revolution for Dummies by Bassem Youssef

    Revolution for Dummies

    7.2 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  6. 5.6 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    In 1967, US Air Force fighter pilot James Shively was shot down over North Vietnam. After ejecting from his F-105 Thunderchief aircraft, he landed in a rice paddy and was captured by the North Vietnamese Army. For the next six years, Shively endured brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy in Hanoi prison camps. Back home, his beloved girlfriend Nancy eventually moved on and married another man. Bound in iron stocks at the Hanoi Hilton, unable to get home to his loved ones, Shively contemplated suicide. Yet somehow he found hope—and he became determined to help his fellow POWs survive. In a newspaper interview several years after his release, Shively said, “I had the opportunity to be captured, the opportunity to be interrogated, the opportunity to be tortured and the experience of answering questions under torture. It was an extremely humiliating experience. I felt sorry for myself. But I learned the hard way life isn’t fair. Life is only what you make of it.” Written by Shively’s stepdaughter Amy Hawk—whose mother Nancy ultimately reunited with and married Shively in a triumphant love story—and based on extensive audio recordings and Shively’s own journals, Six Years at the Hanoi Hilton is a haunting, riveting portrayal of life as an American prisoner of war trapped on the other side of the world.

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    Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton by Amy Shively Hawk

    Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton

    Foreword by Senator John McCain
    5.6 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  7. 19.6 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    The first biography of one of the most fascinating, complex, and polarizing legends of cinema’s golden age, Charlton Heston, from the bestselling, prize-winning author of Cary Grant, Walt Disney, and American Rebel. With unforgettable performances such as Moses in The Ten Commandments, the anguished astronaut George Taylor in 1968’s Planet of the Apes, and the eponymous Ben-Hur—for which he won an Academy Award—Charlton Heston cemented his place in the pantheon of twentieth-century Hollywood royalty. But his fame as an actor was matched by his political activism. A democrat in his early years, Heston became a staunch supporter of Richard Nixon and Reagan republicanism. He was also president of the National Rifle Association—an outspoken crusader for gun rights whose incendiary words, “from my cold, dead hands” incensed liberals and became a maxim for Second Amendment supporters. At long last, New York Times bestselling author Marc Eliot tells the story of Heston’s life and six-decade-long career in full detail. Granted exclusive access to Heston’s diaries, letters, and personal estate, Eliot skillfully unfolds the complicated story of this iconic actor, illuminating his greatest achievements as well as his greatest failures and regrets. Eliot examines how a boy from backwoods Michigan became Hollywood’s leading heroic actor—a star who not only battled for the plumiest roles, but to maintain his identity in the dreamscape of Tinseltown. As he lays bare this intriguing figure’s life, Eliot exposes the dirty world of Hollywood mythmaking and Heston’s crucial role in it. Illustrated with never-before-seen photos from the actor’s family, Eliot’s moving, artful, and honest biography pays tribute to this movie legend and reveals not only how Heston’s famous persona came into being, but why. Shedding new light on one of America’s greatest stars, Eliot creates an incisive and compelling portrait for both longtime fans and a generation newly discovering the storied star.

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    Charlton Heston by Marc Eliot

    Charlton Heston

    19.6 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.2 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    A former CIA officer and curator of the CIA Museum unveils the shocking, untold story of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway’s secret life as a spy for both the Americans and the Soviets before and during World War II. While he was the curator of the CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime military intelligence expert, began to discover tantalizing clues that suggested Ernest Hemingway’s involvement in the Second World War was much more complex and dangerous than has been previously understood. Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy brings to light for the first time this riveting secret side of Hemingway’s life—when he worked closely with both the American OSS, a precursor to the CIA, and the Soviet NKVD, the USSR’s forerunner to the KGB to defeat Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Reynolds dig deep into Hemingway’s involvement in World War II, from his recruitment by both the Americans and the Soviets—who valued Hemingway for his journalistic skills and access to sources—through his key role in gaining tactical intelligence for the Allies during the liberation of Paris, to his later doubts about communist ideology and his undercover work in Cuba. As he examines the links between his work as a spy and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway’s wartime experiences shook his faith in literature and contributed to the writer’s block that plagued him for much of the final two decades of his life. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences also informed one of Hemingway’s greatest works—The Old Man and the Sea—the final novel published during his lifetime. A unique portrait as fast-paced and exciting as the best espionage thrillers, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy illuminates a hidden side of a revered artist and is a thrilling addition to the annals of World War II.

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    Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds

    Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy

    9.2 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  9. 7.3 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    When Joselin Linder was in her twenties, her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling for an explanation, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke. Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, she approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives made up a founder population—a group of people experiencing the baffling symptoms of a brand-new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with family and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with a Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.

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    The Family Gene by Joselin Linder

    The Family Gene

    7.3 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.3 hrs • 3/7/2017 • Unabridged

    In the American Civil War, or the War between the States, three dashing cavalry leaders—Stuart, Forrest, and Mosby—so captured the public imagination that their exploits took on a glamour, which we associate—as did the writers of the time—with the deeds of the Waverley characters and the heroes of chivalry. Of the three leaders, Colonel John S. Mosby (1833–1916), was, perhaps, the most romantic figure. In the South his dashing exploits made him one of the great heroes of the “Lost Cause.” In the North he was painted as the blackest of redoubtable scoundrels. This is his story in his own words.

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    The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby by Colonel John S. Mosby

    The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby

    Edited by Charles Wells Russell
    9.3 hrs • 3/7/17 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.5 hrs • 3/7/2017 • Unabridged

    A first-hand account of the Ebola epidemic by an American doctor who has been featured on the front page of the New York Times. Dr. Steven Hatch first came to Liberia in November 2013, to work at a hospital in Monrovia. Six months later, several of the physicians Dr. Hatch had mentored and served with were dead or barely clinging to life, and Ebola had become a world health emergency. Hundreds of victims perished each week; whole families were destroyed in a matter of days; so many died so quickly that the culturally taboo practice of cremation had to be instituted to dispose of the bodies. With little help from the international community and a population ravaged by disease and fear, the war-torn African nation was simply unprepared to deal with the catastrophe. A physician’s memoir about the ravages of a terrible disease and the small hospital that fought to contain it, Inferno is also an explanation of the science and biology of Ebola: how it is transmitted and spreads with such ferocity. And as Dr. Hatch notes, while Ebola is temporarily under control, it will inevitably reemerge—as will other plagues, notably the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency. Inferno is a glimpse into the white-hot center of a crisis that will come again.

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    Inferno by Steven Hatch, MD

    Inferno

    11.5 hrs • 3/7/17 • Unabridged
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  12. 6.8 hrs • 3/7/2017 • Unabridged

    Expert motivator, a fitness virtuoso and a self-empowerment guru Stacey Griffith, SoulCycle Senior Master Instructor, shows you how to take your health and fitness to new levels while using that same energy to boost your emotional and spiritual wellbeing in all aspects of your life. In Two Turns From Zero, Stacey Griffith, one of the iconic faces of the wildly popular SoulCycle, has helped thousands reshape their bodies, while also becoming their best selves—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Stacey firmly believes that every one of us can be an athlete. Focusing on four key concepts—Eat, Love, Train, and Repeat—this is her life handbook that provides a blueprint for feeling healthy, happy, and empowered. Stacey offers conditioning advice, nutrition counseling, visualizations for achieving your goals, and moving meditations for staying centered. Most important, she shows you how to locate your greatest sense of purpose that will take you to the highest levels of performance—and sustain you to weather life’s inevitable challenges. Two Turns from Zero is also Stacey’s personal story—a chronicle of endurance that is as motivating as her workout routine. At one time, Stacey was directionless and, by her own account, an overall unsuccessful human being. But she finally realized she wanted more from life—she needed to find meaning. Giving up alcohol, drugs, and partying, she dedicated her life to fitness—a journey of discovery she uses in her book to motivate others to make the most of their own lives. This gifted instructor is beloved for her ability to inspire and push her students to achieve their ultimate center. In Two Turns from Zero, she shows how we can all achieve our personal peak.

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    Two Turns from Zero by Stacey Griffith

    Two Turns from Zero

    6.8 hrs • 3/7/17 • Unabridged
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  13. 4.4 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    Winston Churchill possessed an iron will and a subtle conscience. His staunch patriotism, tenacity, appetite for a fight, and, above all, his towering rhetoric inspired the British people to mount a gallant defense of their island nation. Having set a new bar for national heroism, he earned a place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest leaders. Churchill, a fearless soldier, was a veteran of countless battles and a rider in one of Britain’s last cavalry charges. He was also a gifted writer, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, whose war reporting made his name and whose books outlived him. A bon vivant who loved his brandy and cigars, he was also a devoted husband whose marriage was a lifelong love affair. By any measure, Churchill was a giant. But the man was far from perfect. He was a hero, yes, but a human one. He could be petty, irascible, and self-centered; it was bred in his bone that white Englishmen were born to lead the world and all others to be led. His mistakes cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives, but he had courage and a born politician’s sense of the public stage. In the end, Churchill became a regal figure whose life came to symbolize defiance of tyranny in the face of impossible odds. Here is his story.

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    Churchill by Jacob Bannister

    Churchill

    4.4 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  14. 10.6 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    Interweaving an insider’s account of the true crime saga driving Netflix sensation Making a Murderer with other controversial cases from his career, this powerful memoir from Steven Avery’s defense attorney reveals the flaws in America’s criminal justice system and puts forth a provocative, persuasive call for reform. Not since The Thin Blue Line has there been a true crime saga as engrossing as Making A Murderer. Captivating audiences across demographic lines, it made Steven Avery a household name and thrust defense attorney Jerome F. Buting—and his fight against America’s dysfunctional criminal justice system—into the spotlight. In Illusion of Justice, Buting uses the Avery case as a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of our law enforcement and legal systems, which he has witnessed firsthand for nearly four decades. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions, his story provides a compelling insider’s view into the high-stakes world of criminal defense, and suggests that while in principle the law presumes innocence, in practice it more often than not presumes guilt. Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional motivations, the high-profile cases that defined his career, and the path to much-needed criminal justice reform. Taking its place beside acclaimed bestsellers such as Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow, Illusion of Justice is a tour-de-force from a relentless and eloquent advocate for justice who is determined to fulfill his professional responsibility—and, in the face of overwhelming odds, make the judicial system work as it is designed to do.

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    Illusion of Justice by Jerome F. Buting

    Illusion of Justice

    10.6 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  15. 4.1 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    This famous memoir by John McCorkle is the best published account by a scout who “rode with Quantrill.” John McCorkle was a young Missouri farmer of Southern sympathies. After serving briefly in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, he became a prominent member of William Clarke Quantrill’s infamous guerrillas, who took advantage of the turmoil in the Missouri-Kansas borderland to prey on pro-Union people. McCorkle displayed an unflinchingly violent nature while he participated in raids and engagements including the massacres at Lawrence and Baxter Springs, Kansas, and Centralia, Missouri. In 1865 he followed Quantrill into Kentucky, where the notorious leader was killed and his followers, McCorkle among them, surrendered and were paroled by Union authorities. Early in this century, having returned to farming, McCorkle told his remarkable Civil War experiences to O. S. Barton, a lawyer, who wrote this book, first published in 1914.

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    Three Years with Quantrill by John McCorkle, O. S. Barton

    Three Years with Quantrill

    4.1 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  16. 7.3 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    Drawing on her work at a shelter, her experiences living with two rescue dogs of her own, and years of research, bestselling author and Boston Globe columnist Amy Sutherland takes us on an unforgettable journey into the special world of rescue and shelter dogs—and the growing number of dedicated people who are deeply invested in saving these precious lives. Terrified Penny Jane; brassy but filthy Dixie Lou; tough-guy Dingo; and the crazed, nippy jester, Walter Joe. These are not your average cute-and-cared-for, well-trained pups—these are shelter dogs. Scared, aggressive, so painfully shy that they can’t look you in the eye, they have languished so long without attention that they are slipping into a dark place, and soon will no longer be able to bond with people. A member of the elite corps of volunteers at Boston’s Animal Rescue League, Amy Sutherland began walking shelter dogs in 2001 and has patiently helped train canines with serious behavior problems. Rescuing Penny Jane is the story of her adventures with these remarkable dogs, from working at a shelter, helping dozens of animals discover that the right person can give them love, hope, and a whole new life, to adopting two rescue dogs of her own and fostering half a dozen more. In addition to her touching, funny, and insightful anecdotes, Sutherland travels the country talking to leading shelter experts, animal behaviorists, and activists. An affecting, entertaining portrait of the relationships between shelter dogs and those who care for them, Rescuing Penny Janeis a book that dog lovers and all who care about animals will treasure.

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    Rescuing Penny Jane by Amy Sutherland

    Rescuing Penny Jane

    7.3 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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