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19th Century

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  1. 16.3 hrs • 8/2/2016 • Unabridged

    Without his New York supporters, it’s highly unlikely Abraham Lincoln would have made it to the White House. Yet the majority of New Yorkers never voted for him and were openly hostile to him and his politics. New Yorkers reacted to Lincoln’s wartime policies with the deadliest rioting in American history. Here, a gallery of fascinating New Yorkers comes to life, the likes of Horace Greeley, Walt Whitman, Julia Ward Howe, Boss Tweed, Thomas Nast, Matthew Brady and Herman Melville. City of Sedition follows the fortunes of these figures and chronicles how many New Yorkers seized the opportunities the conflict presented to amass capital, create new industries and expand their markets, laying the foundation for the city’s—and the nation’s—growth.

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    City of Sedition

    16.3 hrs • 8/2/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 9.7 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    The first definitive account of this legendary fighting force and its extraordinary leader, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Lee Gardner’s Rough Riders is narrative nonfiction at its most invigorating and compulsively readable. Its dramatic unfolding of a familiar, yet not-fully-known story will remind readers of James Swanson’s Manhunt. Two months after the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in February 1898, Congress authorized President McKinley to recruit a volunteer army to drive the Spaniards from Cuba. From this army emerged the legendary “Rough Riders,” a mounted regiment drawn from America’s western territories and led by the indomitable Theodore Roosevelt. Its ranks included not only cowboys and other westerners but several Ivy Leaguers and club men, many of them friends of “TR.” Roosevelt and his men quickly came to symbolize American ruggedness, daring, and individualism. He led them to victory in the famed Battle at San Juan Hill, which made TR a national hero and cemented the Rough Riders’ place in history. Now, Mark Lee Gardner synthesizes previously unknown primary accounts as well as period newspaper articles, letters, and diaries from public and private archives in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Boston, and Washington, DC, to produce this authoritative chronicle. He breathes fresh life into the Rough Riders and pays tribute to their daring feats and indomitable leader. Gardner also explores lesser-known aspects of the story, including their relationship with the African-American “Buffalo Soldiers, with whom they fought side by side at San Juan Hill. Rich with action, violence, camaraderie, and courage, Rough Riders sheds new light on the Theodore Roosevelt saga—and on one of the most thrilling chapters in American history.

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    Rough Riders by Mark Lee Gardner

    Rough Riders

    9.7 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 16.6 hrs • 4/19/2016 • Unabridged

    From Richard Zacks, bestselling author of The Pirate Hunter and Island of Vice, a rich and lively account of Mark Twain’s late-life adventures abroad In 1895, at age sixty, Mark Twain was dead broke and miserable—his recent novels had been critical and commercial failures, and he was bankrupted by his inexplicable decision to run a publishing company. His wife made him promise to pay every debt back in full, so Twain embarked on an around-the-world comedy lecture tour that would take him from the dusty small towns of the American West to the faraway lands of India, South Africa, Australia, and beyond. Richard Zacks’ rich and entertaining narrative provides a portrait of Twain as complicated, vibrant individual, and showcases the biting wit and skeptical observation that made him one of the greatest of all American writers. Twain remained abroad for five years, a time of struggle and wild experiences—and ultimately redemption, as he rediscovered his voice as a writer and humorist, and returned, wiser and celebrated. As he said in his famous reply to an article about his demise, “the report of my death is an exaggeration.” Weaving together a trove of sources, including newspaper accounts, correspondence, and unpublished material from Berkeley’s ongoing Twain Project, Zacks chronicles a chapter of Twain’s life as complex as the author himself, full of foolishness and bad choices, but also humor, self-discovery, and triumph.

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    Chasing the Last Laugh

    16.6 hrs • 4/19/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5
    44.5 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    An engrossing volume on European civilization by Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant The Age of Napoleon, the eleventh and final volume of the Story of Civilization, surveys the amazing chain of events that wrenched Europe out of the Enlightenment and into the age of democracy. In this masterful work, listeners will encounter the French Revolution—from the storming of the Bastille to the guillotining of the king; the revolution’s leaders Danton, Desmoulins, Robespierre, Saint-Just—all cut down by the reign of terror they inaugurated; Napoleon’s meteoric rise—from provincial Corsican military student to emperor and commander of the largest army in history; Napoleon’s fall—his army’s destruction in the snows of Russia, his exile to Elba, his escape and reconquest of the throne, and his ultimate defeat at Waterloo by the combined forces of Europe; the birth of Romanticism and the dawning of a new age of active democracy and a rising middle class, laying the foundation for a new era.

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    The Age of Napoleon by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Napoleon

    44.5 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 30.4 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    In a literary high-wire act reminiscent of both Hunter S. Thompson and Errol Morris, Bruce Robinson offers a radical reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper, contending that he was not the madman of common legend, but the vile manifestation of the Victorian Age’s moral bankruptcy. In exploring the case of Jack the Ripper, Robinson goes beyond the who that has obsessed countless others and focuses on the why. He asserts that any “gentlemen” that walked above the fetid gutters of London, the nineteenth century’s most depraved city, often harbored proclivities both violent and taboo—yearnings that went entirely unpunished, especially if he also bore royal connections. The story of Jack the Ripper hinges on accounts that were printed and distributed throughout history by the same murderous miscreants who frequented the East End of her Majesty’s London, wiping the fetid muck from their boots when they once again reached the marble floors of society’s finest homes. Supported by primary sources, this breathtaking work of cultural history dismisses the theories of previous “Ripperologists.” As Robinson persuasively makes clear with his unique brilliance, the Ripper was far from a poor resident of Whitechapel … he was a way of life.

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    They All Love Jack

    Author's note read by Bruce Robinson
    Read by Phil Fox
    30.4 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.9 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

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

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    Waterloo

    8.9 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.0 hrs • 4/21/2015 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, and The Imperial Cruise, a spellbinding history of turbulent US-China relations from the nineteenth century to World War II and Mao’s ascent. In each of his books, James Bradley has exposed the hidden truths behind America’s engagement in Asia. Now comes his most engrossing work yet. Beginning in the 1850s, Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans who made their fortunes in the China opium trade. As they—good Christians all—profitably addicted millions, American missionaries arrived, promising salvation for those who adopted Western ways. And that was just the beginning. From drug dealer Warren Delano to his grandson Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from the port of Hong Kong to the towers of Princeton University, from the era of Appomattox to the age of the A-Bomb, The China Mirage explores a difficult century that defines US-Chinese relations to this day.

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    The China Mirage

    12.0 hrs • 4/21/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    5.4 hrs • 3/24/2015 • Unabridged

    From the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses comes the fascinating story about the invention of the telegraph and how it’s impact a century ago is similar to the Internet’s today. The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph’s creation and remarkable impact and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways.

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    The Victorian Internet

    Foreword by Vinton Cerf
    5.4 hrs • 3/24/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    15.6 hrs • 1/29/2015 • Unabridged

    A true, never-before-told story—discovered in a secret Vatican archive—of sex, poison, and lesbian initiation rites in a nineteenth-century convent In 1858 a German princess who had been recently inducted into the convent of Sant’Ambrogio in Rome wrote a frantic letter to her cousin, a confidant of the Pope, claiming that she was being abused and that she feared for her life. What the subsequent investigation by the Church’s Inquisition uncovered were the extraordinary secrets of Sant’Ambrogio and the illicit behavior of the convent’s beautiful young mistress, Maria Luisa. Having convinced those under her charge that she was having regular visions and heavenly visitations, Maria Luisa began to lead and coerce her novices into lesbian initiation rites and heresies. She entered into a highly eroticized relationship with a young theologian known as Padre Peters—urging him to dispense upon her, in the privacy and sanctity of the confessional box, what the two of them referred to as the “special blessing.” What emerges through the fog of centuries is a sex scandal of ecclesiastical significance, skillfully brought to light and vividly reconstructed in scholarly detail. Offering a broad historical background on female mystics and the cult of the Virgin Mary, and drawing on written testimony and original documents, Hubert Wolf tells the incredible story of how one woman was able to perpetrate deception, heresy, seduction, and murder in the heart of the Church itself.

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    The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio

    Translated by Ruth Martin
    15.6 hrs • 1/29/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.9 hrs • 4/3/2014 • Unabridged

    The riveting history of tuberculosis, the world’s most lethal disease, the two men whose lives it tragically intertwined, and the birth of medical science. In 1875, tuberculosis was the deadliest disease in the world, accountable for a third of all deaths. A diagnosis of TB—often called consumption—was a death sentence. Then, in a triumph of medical science, a German doctor named Robert Koch deployed an unprecedented scientific rigor to discover the bacteria that caused TB. Koch soon embarked on a remedy—a remedy that would be his undoing. When Koch announced his cure for consumption, Arthur Conan Doyle, then a small-town doctor in England and sometime writer, went to Berlin to cover the event. Touring the ward of reportedly cured patients, he was horrified. Koch’s “remedy” was either sloppy science or outright fraud. But to a world desperate for relief, Koch’s remedy wasn’t so easily dismissed. As Europe’s consumptives descended upon Berlin, Koch urgently tried to prove his case. Conan Doyle, meanwhile, returned to England determined to abandon medicine in favor of writing. In particular, he turned to a character inspired by the very scientific methods that Koch had formulated: Sherlock Holmes. Capturing the moment when mystery and magic began to yield to science, The Remedy chronicles the stunning story of how the germ theory of disease became a true fact, how two men of ambition were emboldened to reach for something more, and how scientific discoveries evolve into social truths.

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    The Remedy

    9.9 hrs • 4/3/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.7 hrs • 5/9/2013 • Unabridged

    Perilous Question features an eventful, violent often overlooked period of British history. On June 7, 1832, William IV reluctantly assented to pass the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of sixty new peers in the house of lords and of revolution throughout the country. This led to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a riotous two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings dramatically to life. Perilous Question is an exceptional work of narrative history—one that truly casts a distant mirror on events today.

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    Perilous Question

    11.7 hrs • 5/9/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 10.6 hrs • 3/12/2013 • Unabridged

    The unbelievably riveting adventure of an unlikely young explorer who emerged from the jungles of Africa with evidence of a mysterious, still mythical beast—the gorilla—only to stumble straight into the center of the biggest debate of the day: Darwin’s theory of evolution In 1856 Paul du Chaillu marched into the equatorial wilderness of West Africa determined to bag an animal that, according to legend, was nothing short of a monster. When he emerged three years later, the summation of his efforts only hinted at what he’d experienced in one of the most dangerous regions on earth. Armed with an astonishing collection of zoological specimens, du Chaillu leapt from the physical challenges of the jungle straight into the center of the biggest issues of the time—the evolution debate, racial discourse, the growth of Christian fundamentalism—and helped push each to unprecedented intensities. He experienced instant celebrity, but with that fame came whispers—about his past, his credibility, and his very identity—which would haunt the young man.  Grand in scope, immediate in detail, and propulsively readable, Between Man and Beast brilliantly combines du Chaillu’s personal journey with the epic tale of a world hovering on the sharp edge of transformation.

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    Between Man and Beast

    10.6 hrs • 3/12/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 9.7 hrs • 2/21/2013 • Unabridged

    The late nineteenth century was a period of explosive technological creativity, but arguably the most important invention of all was Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb. Unveiled in his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory in 1879, the light bulb overwhelmed the American public with the sense of the birth of a new age. More than any other invention, the electric light marked the arrival of modernity. The light bulb became a catalyst for the nation’s transformation from a rural-dominated culture to an urban-dominated one. City streetlights defined zones between rich and poor, and the electrical grid sharpened the line between town and country. “Bright lights” meant “big city.” Like moths to a flame, millions of Americans migrated to urban centers in these decades, leaving behind the shadow of candle and kerosene lamp in favor of the exciting brilliance of the urban streetscape. The Age of Edison places the story of Edison’s invention in the context of a technological revolution that transformed America and Europe. Edison and his fellow inventors emerged from a culture shaped by broad public education, a lively popular press that took an interest in science and technology, and an American patent system that encouraged innovation and democratized the benefits of invention. And in the end, as Freeberg shows, Edison’s greatest invention was not any single technology but rather his reinvention of the process itself. At Menlo Park he gathered the combination of capital, scientific training, and engineering skill that would evolve into the modern research and development laboratory. His revolutionary electrical grid not only broke the stronghold of gas companies but ushered in an era when strong, clear light could become accessible to everyone. In The Age of Edison, Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility, in which the greater forces of progress and change are made visible by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects.

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    The Age of Edison

    9.7 hrs • 2/21/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 12.1 hrs • 12/18/2012 • Unabridged

    “Hold On with a Bulldog Grip and Chew and Choke as Much as Possible” The Grand Offensive (May–August 1864): The Spring Offensive is launched. A bogus presidential proclamation calling for volunteers and prayers causes panic throughout the North. Grant and Lee battle for six weeks until severe losses force them to a halt. Congressional Radicals pass a bill that will allow Southern States re-admittance to the Union as long as they give an oath that they never supported the Confederacy. Southern leaders spread bogus peace overtures. Lincoln reaffirms his commitment to the Emancipation. “The Wisest Radical of All” Reelection (September–November 1864): McClellan is nominated by Democrats to run against Lincoln. Democrats launch a personal attack against Abraham and Mary Lincoln. The president defines the significance of the Union’s cause. Maryland celebrates the Emancipation. The national election is held despite the war. Lincoln wins a second term.  “Let the Thing Be Pressed” Victory at Last (November 1864–April 1865): Chase is appointed Chief of Justice. The Bixby letter is written. Lincoln drafts his annual message to Congress. The president is hounded by office seekers, only finding solace in music dramas. Plans are made to secure the 13th amendment. The Hampton Roads Conference fails to negotiate an end to the war. Lincoln gives his second inaugural address and visits the army front. Richmond is captured and the rebels are finally defeated.  “I Feel a Presentiment That I Shall Not Outlast the Rebellion. When It Is Over, My Work Will Be Done”  The Final Days (April 9–15, 1865): Lincoln predicts that he will not live long after the war. He begins to deal with the issues of Reconstruction. The president carries out what is to be his last public speech and final cabinet meeting. White supremacist John Wilkes Booth is enraged at the proposal of blacks becoming citizen-voters. His belief in white superiority and hatred of Republicans drives him to conspire against the government. On April 14, 1865, Booth assassinates Lincoln in Ford’s Theater. The nation goes into mourning.  

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  15. 10.8 hrs • 12/18/2012 • Unabridged

    “Go Forward, and Give Us Victories” From the Mud March to Gettysburg (January–July 1863): Dissatisfaction with the Emancipation Proclamation and lack of military victory heightens the discontent with the administration. Trouble comes with the destructive rivalry within the army and the threat of the French intervening on behalf of the Confederacy. The president’s decision concerning the Minnesota Sioux Uprising infuriates the West. Lincoln must decide what to do with a demoralized army of the Potomac. His compassion with the troops increases his popularity within the military. General Lee begins his second invasion of the North. “The Signs Look Better” Victory at the Polls and in the Field (July–November 1863): Lincoln’s popularity changes for the better after the victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Port Hudson. In the armed forces, blacks protest against discrimination and whites protest against the draft. Missouri falls into a state of political and military turmoil as generals and local authorities refuse to cooperate with one another. The Union Army is defeated in Chickamauga. Lincoln gives the Gettysburg address. “I Hope to Stand Firm Enough to Not Go Backward, and Yet Not Go Forward Fast Enough to Wreck the Country’s Cause” Reconstruction and Renomination (November 1863–June 1864): Military governors are appointed for Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas in an effort to promote Reconstruction. A Tennessee congressman plans a parliamentary coup. Lincoln offers a plan for the reinstatement of the Southern states. The treasury secretary schemes to win the Republican presidential nomination. Lincoln hopes for a renomination.  

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    Abraham Lincoln: A Life

    10.8 hrs • 12/18/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 18.9 hrs • 12/10/2012 • Unabridged

    A powerful history of emancipation that reshapes our understanding of Lincoln, the Civil War, and the end of American slavery Freedom National is a groundbreaking history of emancipation that joins the political initiatives of Lincoln and the Republicans in Congress with the courageous actions of Union soldiers and runaway slaves in the South. It shatters the widespread conviction that the Civil War was first and foremost a war to restore the Union and only gradually, when it became a military necessity, a war to end slavery. These two aims—“Liberty and Union, one and inseparable”—were intertwined in Republican policy from the very start of the war. By summer 1861 the federal government invoked military authority to begin freeing slaves, immediately and without slaveholder compensation, as they fled to Union lines in the disloyal South. In the loyal Border States the Republicans tried coaxing officials into gradual abolition with promises of compensation and the colonization abroad of freed blacks. James Oakes shows that Lincoln’s landmark 1863 proclamation marked neither the beginning nor the end of emancipation: it triggered a more aggressive phase of military emancipation, sending Union soldiers onto plantations to entice slaves away and enlist the men in the army. But slavery proved deeply entrenched, with slaveholders determined to re-enslave freedmen left behind the shifting Union lines. Lincoln feared that the war could end in Union victory with slavery still intact. The Thirteenth Amendment that so succinctly abolished slavery was no formality: it was the final act in a saga of immense war, social upheaval, and determined political leadership. Fresh and compelling, this magisterial history offers a new understanding of the death of slavery and the rebirth of a nation.

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    Freedom National

    18.9 hrs • 12/10/12 • Unabridged
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