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Biography & Autobiography

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  1. 6 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (6)
    24.8 hrs • 10/26/2010 • Unabridged

    “I’ve struck it!” Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. “And I will give it away—to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography.” Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his “Final (and Right) Plan” for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion—to “talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment”—meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for one hundred years meant that when they came out, he would be “dead, and unaware, and indifferent,” and that he was therefore free to speak his “whole frank mind.” The year 2010 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Twain’s death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain’s uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain’s authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave, as he intended.

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    Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1

    Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and the editors of the Mark Twain Project
    24.8 hrs • 10/26/10 • Unabridged
    6 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (6)
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  2. 3 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (3)
    13.9 hrs • 11/16/2010 • Unabridged

    In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. Made into an award-winning Oscar-nominated film in 2014 by director Angelina Jolie, Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by author Laura Hillenbrand.

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    Unbroken

    13.9 hrs • 11/16/10 • Unabridged
    3 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (3)
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  3. 2 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (2)
    9.7 hrs • 9/4/2012 • Unabridged

    He fought for Washington, served with Lincoln, witnessed Bunker Hill, and sounded the clarion against slavery on the eve of the Civil War. He negotiated an end to the War of 1812, engineered the annexation of Florida, and won the Supreme Court decision that freed the African captives of La Amistad. He served his nation as minister to six countries, secretary of state, senator, congressman, and president. John Quincy Adams was all of these things and more. In this masterful biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals Adams as a towering figure in the nation’s formative years and one of the most courageous figures in American history—which is why he ranked first in John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Profiles in Courage. For this magisterial biography, Unger makes use of a little-known national treasure: John Quincy Adams’ diary, started at age ten, giving us an eye-witness account of sixty-five years of critical American history. 

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    John Quincy Adams by Harlow Giles Unger

    John Quincy Adams

    9.7 hrs • 9/4/12 • Unabridged
    2 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (2)
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  4. 10 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5 (10)
    5.5 hrs • 4/5/2011 • Unabridged

    Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” and before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on television. She has seen both of these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live to her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty. From her life as a mother eating things off the floor to a one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we have all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

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    Bossypants

    Read by Tina Fey
    5.5 hrs • 4/5/11 • Unabridged
    10 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5 (10)
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  5. 7 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (7)
    7.8 hrs • 3/15/2013 • Unabridged

    In this riveting landmark autobiography that reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York, Louisiana, and Washington, DC, to experience the kidnapping and twelve-year bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War. It validated Harriett Beecher Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which had become the best-selling American book in history a few years earlier, and significantly changed public opinion in favor of abolition. A major motion picture based on the book and starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, and Michael Fassbender released in 2013. Hard working Solomon Northup, an educated free man of color in 1841, enjoys family life with his wife and three children in Saratoga, New York. He delights his community with his fiddle playing and antic spirit and has positive expectations of everyone he meets. When he is deceived by “circus promoters” who ask him to accompany them to a musical gig in Washington, DC, his joyful life takes an unimaginable turn. He awakes in shackles to find he has been drugged, kidnapped, and bound for the slave block in the nation’s capital. After Solomon is shipped a thousand miles to New Orleans, he is assigned his slave name and quickly learns that the mere utterance of his true origin or rights as a freeman are certain to bring severe punishment, maybe even death. While he endures the brutal life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated Bayou Boeuf plantation country, he must learn how to play the system and plot his escape home. For twelve years, his fine mind captures the reality of slavery in stunning detail, and listeners learn about the characters that populated plantation society and the intrigues of the bayou—from the collapse of a slave rebellion resulting in mass hangings due to traitorous slave Lew Cheney to the tragic abuse of his friend Patsey, brought about by Mrs. Epps’ jealousy of her husband’s sexual exploitation of the pretty young slave. When Solomon finally finds a sympathizing friend who risks his life to secret a letter to the North, a courageous rescue attempt ensues that could either compound Solomon’s suffering or get him back to the arms of his family. “[Screenwriter John] Ridley said he decided simply to stick with the facts in adapting Northup’s book for the film…[and] he was helped by voluminous footnotes and documentation that were included with Dr. Eakin’s edition of the book.”—New York Times (September 22, 2013) on the making of the film 12 Years a Slave

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    Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

    Twelve Years a Slave

    7.8 hrs • 3/15/13 • Unabridged
    7 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (7)
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  6. 2 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (2)
    10.3 hrs • 1/3/2012 • Unabridged

    NOW A BLOCKBUSTER MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD—NOMINATED FOR SIX ACADEMY AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

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    American Sniper

    10.3 hrs • 1/3/12 • Unabridged
    2 reviews 0 5 4.9 4 out of 5 stars 4.9/5 (2)
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  7. 2 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (2)
    3.6 hrs • 7/14/2015 • Unabridged

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers WeeklyHailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer) “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.Praise for Between the World and Me“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.”—Toni Morrison “Powerful and passionate . . . profoundly moving . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “Really powerful and emotional.”—John Legend, The Wall Street Journal “Extraordinary.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker “Brilliant . . . a mature writer entirely consumed by a momentous subject and working at the extreme of his considerable powers.”—The Washington Post “An eloquent blend of history, reportage, and memoir.”—The Boston Globe “[Coates] speaks resolutely and vividly to all of black America.”—Los Angeles Times “A work that’s both titanic and timely . . . the latest essential reading in America’s social canon.”—Entertainment Weekly

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    Between the World and Me

    3.6 hrs • 7/14/15 • Unabridged
    2 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (2)
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  8. 1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
    10.3 hrs • 11/1/2007 • Unabridged

    This is a new reading of the thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded. In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. Lansing describes how the men survived a 1,000-mile voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean in the world and an overland trek through forbidding glaciers and mountains. The book recounts a harrowing adventure, but ultimately it is the nobility of these men and their indefatigable will that shines through.

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    Endurance by Alfred Lansing

    Endurance

    10.3 hrs • 11/1/07 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 4.3 4 out of 5 stars 4.3/5
    6.2 hrs • 10/23/2012 • Unabridged

    A Harvard-trained neurosurgeon’s minute-by-minute account of his own near-death experience—and what he discovered in the heavenly realm beyond life A scientist’s case for the afterlife… Near-death experiences (NDEs) are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people. A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, Alexander knew that what people of faith call the “soul” is really a product of brain chemistry. NDEs, he would have been the first to explain, might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress. Then came the day when Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days Alexander lay in a hospital bed in a deep coma. Then, as his doctors weighed the possibility of stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back. Alexander’s recovery is by all accounts a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself. This story sounds like the wild and wonderful imaginings of a skilled fantasy writer. But it is not fantasy. Before Alexander underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. That difficulty with belief created an empty space that no professional triumph could erase. Today he is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition. This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

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    Proof of Heaven

    6.2 hrs • 10/23/12 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4.3 4 out of 5 stars 4.3/5
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  10. 1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
    7.5 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you’re invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. Also included? A one-night-only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs”—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.

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    Yes Please

    7.5 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
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  11. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    14.0 hrs • 8/15/2011 • Unabridged

    Kevin Mitnick, the world’s most wanted computer hacker, managed to hack into some of the country’s most powerful—and seemingly impenetrable—agencies and companies. By conning employees into giving him private information and maneuvering through layers of security, he gained access to data that no one else could. The suspenseful heart of the book unfolds as Mitnick disappears on a three-year run from the FBI. He creates fake identities, finds jobs at a law firm and hospital, and keeps tabs on his myriad pursuers—all while continuing to hack into computer systems and phone company switches that were considered flawless. A modern, technology-driven adventure story, Ghost in the Wires is a dramatic account of the joy of outsmarting security programs, the satisfaction of code cracking, and the thrill of unbelievable escape.

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    Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick

    Ghost in the Wires

    By Kevin Mitnick, with William L. Simon
    Foreword by Steve Wozniak
    Read by Ray Porter
    14.0 hrs • 8/15/11 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  12. 3 reviews 0 5 4.2 4 out of 5 stars 4.2/5 (3)
    25.3 hrs • 10/24/2011 • Unabridged

    Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs.Isaacson, the bestselling author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and Einstein: His Life and Universe, began work on the book in 2009 and has conducted extensive interviews with Mr. Jobs and family members, key colleagues from Apple, as well as competitors.

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    Steve Jobs

    25.3 hrs • 10/24/11 • Unabridged
    3 reviews 0 5 4.2 4 out of 5 stars 4.2/5 (3)
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5 (1)
    30.1 hrs • 9/12/2013 • Unabridged

    It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley’s own family tree. When Alex was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called “the African” who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of “the African”—Kunta Kinte—as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767. Roots is based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people—slaves and freemen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, a teacher—and one acclaimed author—who descended from Kunta Kinte.

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    Roots by Alex Haley

    Roots

    Introduction by Michael Eric Dyson
    Read by Avery Brooks
    30.1 hrs • 9/12/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5 (1)
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  14. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.7 hrs • 3/1/2008 • Unabridged

    Man’s Search for Meaning is the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during the unspeakable horrors of his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Through every waking moment of his ordeal, Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist lent him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. As a result of these experiences, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. Frankl’s assertion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. Frankl’s riveting memoir was named one of the Ten Most Influential Books in America after a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and Book of the Month Club. This revised and updated version includes a new postscript: “The Case for a Tragic Optimism.”

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    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

    Man’s Search for Meaning

    4.7 hrs • 3/1/08 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
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  15. 2 reviews 0 5 4.1 4 out of 5 stars 4.1/5 (2)
    6.4 hrs • 4/23/2013 • Unabridged

    A new collection of essays from the #1 New York Times bestselling author who has been called “the preeminent humorist of his generation” (Entertainment Weekly). From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler’s experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

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    Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

    6.4 hrs • 4/23/13 • Unabridged
    2 reviews 0 5 4.1 4 out of 5 stars 4.1/5 (2)
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  16. 3 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (3)
    53.4 hrs • 11/6/2012 • Unabridged

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister—when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. This volume brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation’s military response and defense, compelled President Roosevelt to support America’s beleaguered cousins, and personified the “never surrender” ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States. More than twenty years in the making, The Last Lion presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring.

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    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3 by William Manchester, Paul Reid

    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3

    Introductory material read by Paul Reid
    Read by Clive Chafer
    53.4 hrs • 11/6/12 • Unabridged
    3 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (3)
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