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Biography & Autobiography

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    17.6 hrs • 3/1/2008 • Unabridged

    This is a history of the Cuban revolution viewed from its dungeons. Armando Valladares describes his twenty-two years of torment and triumph in Castro’s prison. Arrested at the age of twenty-two for being philosophically opposed to Communism, he gives a dramatic and harrowing account of the regular beatings, the hunger, the humiliation, and the psychological “experimentation” to which the Cuban Revolution subjected its unrepentant enemies. However, Valladares’ hope and courage transcended these horrors, showing us the heroic possibilities of one possessing unshaken faith. More than an indictment of a cruel regime, this book is a testimony to the power of biblical faith to allow a man to survive against all hope.

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    Against All Hope by Armando Valladares

    Against All Hope

    Translated by Andrew Hurley
    17.6 hrs • 3/1/08 • Unabridged
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    9.8 hrs • 1/19/2010 • Unabridged

    There have been numerous biographies of Benjamin Franklin, including his own notorious autobiography. This is the most charming and captivating account of all. Every chapter is a bewitching gem, and Franklin lives and breathes on every page. This is the last book in Catherine Drinker Bowen’s brilliant career. With this, she did not intend to write a full narrative biography. Instead she proposed to write “only what interested me about this most consistently entertaining biographical subject.” Thus the book focuses on specific scenes in Franklin’s colorful life, including his youthful discoveries with electricity, activity in the Albany Congress of 1754, nine years in London and, of course, his part in America’s revolutionary plans.

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    The Most Dangerous Man in America

    9.8 hrs • 1/19/10 • Unabridged
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    41.4 hrs • 12/3/2007 • Unabridged

    Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the twentieth century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time. In political office at the end of WWI, he foresaw the folly of Versailles and feared what a crippled Germany would do to the balance of power. In his years in the political wilderness from 1931 to 1939, he alone of all British public men continually raised his voice against Hitler and his appeasers. For over fifty years, he was constantly involved in, and usually at the center of, the most important events of his age. It was, however, his obduracy on matters of principle, his fortitude in the face of opposition, and his perseverance in standing alone that defined him. As a biographer, William Manchester is the standard by which all others are measured. And when a writer of his caliber is matched with a subject as colorful as Winston Churchill, look for results that are magisterial. This, the first in a three-volume biography, is a momentous piece of work.

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    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 1 by William Manchester

    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 1

    41.4 hrs • 12/3/07 • Unabridged
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    36.4 hrs • 1/1/2008 • Unabridged

    This second volume in William Manchester’s three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill’s finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932–1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles. He was disowned by his own party, dismissed by the BBC and Fleet Street and the social and political establishments as a warmonger, and twice nearly lost his seat in Parliament. Churchill stood almost alone against Nazi aggression and the British and French pusillanimous policy of appeasement. Manchester tracks with new insights this complex, fascinating history without ever losing sight of Churchill the man, a man whose vision was global and whose courage was boundless.

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    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 2 by William Manchester

    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 2

    36.4 hrs • 1/1/08 • Unabridged
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    13.5 hrs • 10/10/2011 • Unabridged

    Right from the Beginning is the personal memoir of Pat Buchanan, the story of how the most controversial conservative in America got where he is today and how he came to believe as he does. It is the intimate first-person account of how the third son in a devout Catholic family of nine children, an expellee from Georgetown University at age twenty-one, without experience in journalism or politics, became, at twenty-three, the youngest editorial writer in America, and, three years later, confidant to Richard M. Nixon, as the twice-defeated ex–vice president began the political comeback of the century. But Right from the Beginning is more than a personal memoir: it is the sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, poignant, and moving story of the Buchanan family, a book that brings alive America in the forties and fifties, when “the faith was unquestioned and patriotism unconstrained.”

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    Right from the Beginning

    13.5 hrs • 10/10/11 • Unabridged
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    31.8 hrs • 12/1/1998 • Unabridged

    “[Douglas MacArthur] was a great thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of men and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect. Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at-arms this nation has produced.”—William Manchester Virtually all Americans above a certain age hold strong opinions about Douglas MacArthur. They either worship him or despise him. And they are all wrong, because their premises are rooted in apocrypha. Now, one of our most outstanding writers, after a meticulous three-year examination of the record, presents his startling conclusions in this superb book. The narrative is gripping because the General’s life was fascinating. It is moving because he was a man of vision. It finally ends in tragedy because his character, though majestic, was tragically flawed.

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    American Caesar by William Manchester

    American Caesar

    31.8 hrs • 12/1/98 • Unabridged
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    10.4 hrs • 1/25/2006 • Unabridged

    Robert E. Lee, one of the most famous figures in American history, vanished after his dramatic surrender at Appomattox. In fact, he lived only another five years, during which time he did more than any other American to heal the wounds between North and South during the tempestuous postwar period. This is a moving and intimate account of those years filled with the warmth of family ties and enduring friendships set against the harsh realities of Reconstruction. Though Lee is best remembered for his military campaigns, this was his finest hour, the great forgotten chapter of an extraordinary life.

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    Lee

    10.4 hrs • 1/25/06 • Unabridged
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    10.8 hrs • 11/20/2011 • Unabridged

    Realistic, moving, engrossing, and positively brilliant, this biography recreates Mozart, the man and his music, against the background of the world he lived in. For Marcia Davenport, the research and writing of Mozart was truly a labor of love, during which she retraced every journey he made, saw every dwelling (then extant) in which he had ever lived, every theater where his works were first performed, and every library and museum where his manuscripts were then to be seen. In this eloquent work of historical reconstruction, Davenport lets her characters tell their own stories. She builds from Mozart’s infancy toward the climactic meeting in 1787 of Mozart, Lorenzo Da Ponte, and Casanova in Prague, when Don Giovanni was being written, to Mozart’s tragically early death. The result is a biography of such commanding stature that it has remained unassailable since its publication in 1932.

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    Mozart by Marcia Davenport

    Mozart

    10.8 hrs • 11/20/11 • Unabridged
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    19.0 hrs • 4/25/2012 • Unabridged

    In his probing and revelatory biography of one of the great prose stylists of the twentieth century, acclaimed biographer Michael Shelden breaks new ground in the evocation of George Orwell’s personal life and in our understanding of his art. Based on original interviews, previously undiscovered letters and documents, and astute literary detective work, Orwell is the major biography of one of the great yet elusive literary figures of our time. Shelden reveals the author of 1984 and Animal Farm as a lively, engaging literary personality. Few writers can rival Orwell’s experience of history: being shot through the throat in the Spanish Civil War, holding the position of colonial police superintendent in Burma, and living through the Blitz. Shelden restores a sense of drama and passion to this writer’s life and shows him to be a captivating, even heroic character struggling against great public and private turmoil.

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    Orwell by Michael Shelden

    Orwell

    19.0 hrs • 4/25/12 • Unabridged
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    12.7 hrs • 4/30/2010 • Unabridged

    As a visionary, statesman, historian, and the most eloquent spokesman against Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill was one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century. This is the story of the first thirty years of his life, up to the point where his unique parliamentary career was just beginning. From childhood and his apprentice days at Harrow and Sandhurst we follow him on active service to Cuba, the northwest frontier, Omdurman and the Boer War—including the historic story of his escape from captivity—whilst in the background are his early adventures in politics and literature. “I have tried, in each part of the quarter-century in which this tale lies, to show the point of view appropriate to my years, whether as a child, a schoolboy, a cadet, a subaltern, a war-correspondent or a youthful politician…When I survey this work as a whole I find I have drawn a picture of a vanished age.”—from the author’s preface My Early Life gives listeners insights into the shaping of a great leader.

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    My Early Life by Sir Winston Churchill

    My Early Life

    12.7 hrs • 4/30/10 • Unabridged
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    13.6 hrs • 1/1/2007 • Unabridged

    Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the most original painters America has ever produced. Her vivid visual vocabulary—sensuous flowers, bleached bones against red sky and earth—has had a profound and lasting influence on American art in this century. Renowned for her fierce independence, iron determination, and unique artistic vision, O’Keeffe had a personal mystique as intriguing and enduring as her bold, brilliant canvasses. Here is a full account of her exceptional life—from her girlhood and early days as a controversial art teacher, to her discovery by the pioneering photographer of the New York avant-garde Alfred Stieglitz, to her seclusion in the New Mexico desert, where she lived until her death. Here also is the story of a great romance—between the extraordinary painter and her much older mentor, lover, and husband, Stieglitz.

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    Portrait of an Artist by Laurie Lisle

    Portrait of an Artist

    13.6 hrs • 1/1/07 • Unabridged
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    12.4 hrs • 3/28/2011 • Unabridged

    Born in England to socially ambitious parents, Elizabeth Taylor was catapulted into child stardom and molded by MGM into the great violet-eyed beauty of postwar America. Along the way, without training or counsel, she became an award-winning actress, dazzling audiences everywhere with spectacular performances. Spoto explores the gripping story of her brutalizing six-month marriage to compulsive gambler and hotel heir Nicky Hilton, her romances with top Hollywood directors, and her marriage to the ailing Michael Wilding. Four years later, she would be swept off her feet by showman Mike Todd into an alternately violent and loving marriage that would end with Todd’s death in a plane crash, leaving Taylor a twice-divorced widow with three children at the age of twenty-six. And here are Taylor’s years with Eddie Fisher, Republican Senator John Warner, and Richard Burton, with whom she would share a hedonistic, brash lifestyle that would virtually define the 1960s’ jet set.

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    A Passion for Life by Donald Spoto

    A Passion for Life

    12.4 hrs • 3/28/11 • Unabridged
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    9.8 hrs • 11/12/2008 • Unabridged

    Having entered the British Navy at the age of twelve, Horatio Lord Nelson achieved the rank of captain at the age of twenty. As captain, he was quickly recognized as a magnetic and controversial figure. He triumphed at Cape St. Vincent and the Nile but failed at Tenefife and Boulogne. With the glories of Copenhagen and Trafalgar yet ahead of him, his ardent passion for Emma Hamilton, the wife of a British Ambassador, cast a heavy shadow over his career. Audacious in battle (he once ignored a superior’s order to cease action at Copenhagen by putting his telescope to his blind eye and saying he could not see the signal) and winner of some of Britain’s greatest victories, Nelson possessed an extraordinary amount of dash and courage, thus rendering him one of history’s great romantic figures. This extensive biography of one of England’s most famous navy heroes—a great commander able to inspire and bring out the best in his men—is a great reference work for anyone interested in British naval history.

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    The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson

    9.8 hrs • 11/12/08 • Unabridged
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    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
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    16.5 hrs • 11/20/2010 • Unabridged

    Richard Henry Dana referred to this book as “a voice from the sea.” Influencing such authors as Conrad and Melville, it has become a maritime classic that has inflicted legions of men with a passion for the sea. Dana, a law student turned sailor for health reasons, sailed in 1834 on the brig Pilgrim for a voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California. Dana Point was named as a result of this journey. Drawing from his journals, Two Years before the Mast gives a vivid and detailed account, shrewdly observed and beautifully described, of a common sailor’s wretched treatment at sea, and of a way of life virtually unknown at that time. This is a breathtaking true story of adventure on the high seas.

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    Two Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.

    Two Years before the Mast

    16.5 hrs • 11/20/10 • Unabridged
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    6.8 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    G. K. Chesterton was a journalist, playwright, poet, biographer, novelist, essayist, literary commentator, editor, orator, artist, and theologian. Orthodoxy is his great apologia for the Christian faith, which was prompted by a serious attack in 1903 against Christianity by well-known newspaper editor Robert Blatchford. Published just five years later, Chesterson’s famous reply took the form of an autobiographical account of his own indoctrination into the faith. Rather than attempt to explain how Christianity can be believed, he emphasizes what fulfillment in this life can come from believing. His argument is that people in western society need a life of “practical romance, the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome.”

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    Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

    Orthodoxy

    A Christians Listening Recording
    6.8 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
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