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Social History

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  1. 10.0 hrs • 9/27/2016 • Unabridged

    From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick’s story begins at the turn of the twentieth century with the young H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the fantastic tale that became his first book, an international sensation, The Time Machine. A host of forces were converging to transmute the human understanding of time, some philosophical and some technological—the electric telegraph, the steam railroad, the discovery of buried civilizations, and the perfection of clocks. James Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea in the culture—from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Woody Allen to Jorge Luis Borges. He explores the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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    Time Travel

    10.0 hrs • 9/27/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 2.4 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    New York Times bestselling author and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar examines some of the leading political and cultural figures of the Harlem Renaissance—including Marcus Garvey,W.E.B. Du Bois, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Langston Hughes, and many more.

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    On the Shoulders of Giants, Vol. 2

    2.4 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 19.5 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    An important book of epic scope on America’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for change The Civil War brought to a climax the country’s bitter division. But the beginnings of slavery’s denouement can be traced to a courageous band of ordinary Americans, black and white, slave and free, who joined forces to create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a movement that occupies as romantic a place in the nation’s imagination as the Lewis and Clark expedition. The true story of the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country’s westward expansion arose a fierce clash of values that was nothing less than a war for the country’s soul. Not since the American Revolution had the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only challenged prevailing mores but also subverted federal law. Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.

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    Bound for Canaan

    19.5 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 8.5 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    In this lively contrarian romp through the American cultural landscape, Andrea Tantaros argues that the swapping of gender roles has had a drastic effect on relationships, families, the boardroom, the bedroom, and beyond. Women today have more choices and options than ever. So why are they so stressed out? In a covetous quest to attain what men have, women have been told we should work like men, behave like men, and have sex like men. There’s just one problem: women aren’t men. Instead of feeling at peace with their newfound freedoms, females are finding themselves tied up in knots—trying to strike a balance between their natural desires and what society dictates. Conservative political analyst and cohost of Fox News’ Outnumbered and The Five exposes the pitfalls that are entangling women everywhere thanks to the rise of female power, revealing the mass confusion it has caused among both sexes, and arguing that decades of progress for women hasn’t brought the happiness they were promised. With scathing wit and insight born of personal experience, Tantaros calls out those sending the wrong messages to American woman, including Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Mika Brzezinski, Kim Kardashian, and Kris Jenner, and praises those who get it right like Beyonce and Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger. She explores how women have taken men off the hook in dating, much to their own detriment, and exposes how we’ve become a sex and selfie obsessed nation that has damagingly traded intimacy for relentless self-exposure. Tied Up in Knots is the gut-check women need to assess the state of their personal unions, and to help them find out what they really want while staying true to their authentic selves.

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    Tied Up in Knots

    8.5 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 12.4 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    From the author of the groundbreaking backstairs look at the White House, The Residence, comes an intimate, newsmaking look at the true modern power brokers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. One of the most underestimated—and challenging—positions in the world, the First Lady of the United States must be many things: an inspiring leader with a forward-thinking agenda of her own; a savvy politician, skilled at navigating the treacherous rapids of Washington; a wife and mother operating under constant scrutiny; and an able CEO responsible for the smooth operation of countless services and special events at the White House. Now, as she did in her smash #1 bestseller The Residence, former White House correspondent Kate Brower draws on a wide array of untapped, candid sources—from residence staff and social secretaries to friends and political advisers—to tell the stories of the ten remarkable women who have defined that role since 1960. Brower offers new insights into this privileged group of remarkable women, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Patricia Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. The stories she shares range from the heartwarming to the shocking and tragic, exploring everything from the first ladies’ political crusades to their rivalries with Washington figures; from their friendships with other first ladies to their public and private relationships with their husbands. She also offers a detailed and insightful new portrait of one of the most-watched first ladies of all time, Hillary Clinton, asking what her tumultuous years in the White House may tell us about her own historic presidential run … and what life could be like with the nation’s first First Husband. Candid and illuminating, this first group biography of the modern first ladies provides a revealing look at life upstairs and downstairs at the world’s most powerful address.

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    First Women by Kate Andersen Brower

    First Women

    12.4 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 9.8 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women—known as “human computers”—who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

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    Rise of the Rocket Girls

    9.8 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.5 hrs • 3/16/2016 • Unabridged

    From two veteran historians comes an intelligent and spirited history of Charles II’s dissolute life and surprising legacy. To refer to the private life of Charles II is to abuse the adjective. His personal life was anything but private. His amorous liaisons were largely conducted in royal palaces surrounded by friends, courtiers, and literally hundreds of servants and soldiers. Gossip radiated throughout the kingdom. Charles spent most of his wealth and his intellect on gaining and keeping the company of women, from the lowest of society such as the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocratic Louise de Kérouaille. Some of Charles’ women played their part in the affairs of state, coloring the way the nation was run. The authors take us inside Charles’ palace, where we will meet court favorites, amusing confidants, advisors jockeying for political power, mistresses past and present, as well as key figures in Charles’ inner circle, including his “pimpmasters” and his personal pox doctor. The astonishing personal life of Charles II reveals much about the man he was and why he lived and ruled as he did. The King’s Bed tells the compelling story of a king ruled by his passion.

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    The King’s Bed by Don Jordan, Michael Walsh

    The King’s Bed

    12.5 hrs • 3/16/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 13.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England’s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, traveling in groups of families and bringing with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy, and a military tradition, and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working class America, and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself. Born Fighting is the first book to chronicle the full journey of this remarkable cultural group, and the profound, but unrecognized, role it has played in the shaping of America. Written with the storytelling verve that has earned his works such acclaim as “captivating . . . unforgettable” (the Wall Street Journal on Lost Soliders), Scots-Irishman James Webb, Vietnam combat veteran and former Naval secretary, traces the history of his people, beginning nearly two thousand years ago at Hadrian’s Wall, when the nation of Scotland was formed north of the Wall through armed conflict in contrast to England’s formation to the south through commerce and trade. Webb recounts the Scots’ odyssey—their clashes with the English in Scotland and then in Ulster, their retreat from one war-ravaged land to another. Through engrossing chronicles of the challenges the Scots-Irish faced, Webb vividly portrays how they developed the qualities that helped settle the American frontier and define the American character. Born Fighting shows that the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; they were the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only five percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army). It illustrates how the Scots-Irish redefined American politics, creating the populist movement and giving the country a dozen presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. And it explores how the Scots-Irish culture of isolation, hard luck, stubbornness, and mistrust of the nation’s elite formed and still dominates blue-collar America, the military services, the Bible Belt, and country music. Both a distinguished work of cultural history and a human drama that speaks straight to the heart of contemporary America, Born Fighting reintroduces America to its most powerful, patriotic, and individualistic cultural group—one too often ignored or taken for granted.

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    Born Fighting

    13.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 10.7 hrs • 1/5/2016 • Unabridged

    In this timely social history of the United States, the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and God Is Not One places today’s heated culture wars within the context of a centuries-long struggle between right and left. Though they may seem to be dividing the country irreparably, today’s heated cultural and political battles between right and left, Progressives and Tea Party, religious and secular are far from unprecedented. In this engaging and important work, Stephen Prothero reframes the current debate, viewing it as the latest in a number of flashpoints that have shaped our national identity. Prothero takes us on a lively tour through time, bringing into focus the election of 1800, which pitted Calvinists and Federalists against Jeffersonians and “infidels;” the Protestants’ campaign against Catholics in the mid-nineteenth century; the anti-Mormon crusade of the Victorian era; the fundamentalist-modernist debates of the 1920s; the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s; and the current crusade against Islam. As Prothero makes clear, our culture wars have always been religious wars, progressing through the same stages of conservative reaction to liberal victory that eventually benefit all Americans. Drawing on his impressive depth of knowledge and detailed research, he explains how competing religious beliefs have continually molded our political, economic, and sociological discourse and reveals how the conflicts which separate us today, like those that came before, are actually the byproduct of our struggle to come to terms with inclusiveness and ideals of “Americanness.” To explore these battles is to look into the soul of America—and perhaps find essential answers to the questions that beset us.

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  10. 5.5 hrs • 11/24/2015 • Unabridged

    These never-before-published interviews with Jerry Garcia reveal his thoughts on religion, politics, his past and personal life, and his creative process. Jerry on Jerry provides new insight into the beloved front man of the Grateful Dead in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the band. Released by his estate and made available to the public for the first time, these are some of the most candid and intimate interviews with Jerry Garcia ever published. Beginning in 1973, Dennis McNally, the Dead’s publicist and biographer, recorded seven hours of unedited tape on which Jerry speaks, opening up about everything from his euphoric encounter with early R&B to hating himself for voting for Johnson in the ’64 election. Jerry on Jerry distills the most poignant, unguarded, astute moments of these conversations, showing a side of Jerry that even his biggest fans have not known.

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    Jerry on Jerry

    5.5 hrs • 11/24/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.4 hrs • 10/27/2015 • Unabridged

    Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road—by which I mean letting the road take you—changed who I thought I was. The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts. Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution. My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world. In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and “on the road” state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.

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    My Life on the Road

    9.4 hrs • 10/27/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 9.0 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    In Drinking in America, bestselling author Susan Cheever chronicles our national love affair with liquor, taking a long, thoughtful look at the way alcohol has changed our nation’s history. This is the often-overlooked story of how alcohol has shaped American events and the American character from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Seen through the lens of alcoholism, American history takes on a vibrancy and a tragedy missing from many earlier accounts. From the drunkenness of the Pilgrims to Prohibition hijinks, drinking has always been a cherished American custom: a way to celebrate and a way to grieve and a way to take the edge off. At many pivotal points in our history—the illegal Mayflower landing at Cape Cod, the enslavement of African Americans, the McCarthy witch hunts, and the Kennedy assassination, to name only a few—alcohol has acted as a catalyst. Some nations drink more than we do, some drink less, but no other nation has been the drunkest in the world as America was in the 1830s only to outlaw drinking entirely a hundred years later. Both a lively history and an unflinching cultural investigation, Drinking in America unveils the volatile ambivalence within one nation’s tumultuous affair with alcohol.

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    Drinking in America

    9.0 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 12.3 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women’s Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II. Away from the front lines of World War II, in towns and villages across Great Britain, ordinary women were playing a vital role in their country’s war effort. As members of the Women’s Institute, an organization with a presence in a third of Britain’s villages, they ran canteens and knitted garments for troops, collected tons of rosehips and other herbs to replace medicines that couldn’t be imported, and advised the government on issues ranging from evacuee housing to children’s health to postwar reconstruction. But they are best known for making jam: from produce they grew on every available scrap of land, they produced twelve million pounds of jam and preserves to feed a hungry nation. Home Fires, Julie Summers’s fascinating social history of the Women’s Institute during the war—when its members included the future Queen Elizabeth II along with her mother and grandmother—provides the remarkable and inspiring true story behind the PBS Masterpiece series that will be sure to delight fans of Call the Midwife and Foyle’s War. Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women’s Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II.

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    Home Fires

    12.3 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 26.0 hrs • 8/20/2015 • Unabridged

    The Bubonic Plague of the 14th century killed one third of all human beings in Europe and Western Asia; many who survived the plague killed each other in the Hundred Years War that followed. What was it like to live in this calamitous century, when knighthood (and much more) died a violent death?

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    Distant Mirror

    26.0 hrs • 8/20/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.6 hrs • 5/12/2015 • Unabridged

    The instant number-one international bestseller. Some people’s lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks’ isn’t. He’s the first son of a shepherd who was the first son of a shepherd himself; his family have lived and worked in the Lake District of Northern England for generations, further back than recorded history. It’s a part of the world known mainly for its romantic descriptions by Wordsworth and the much-loved illustrated children’s books of Beatrix Potter. But James’ world is quite different. His way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand. It hasn’t changed for hundreds of years: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the grueling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the lightheadedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the hills and valleys. The Shepherd’s Life is the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, modern dispatches from an ancient landscape that describe a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped the landscape over time. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd’s year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the culture—of the Lake District and of farming—changes around them. Many memoirs are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay.

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    The Shepherd’s Life

    7.6 hrs • 5/12/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 15.5 hrs • 4/28/2015 • Unabridged

    The Grateful Dead’s long, strange trip has been the subject of countless books—but none like So Many Roads. Drawing on new interviews with surviving members and people in their inner circle, along with previously unknown details gleaned from the group’s extensive archives, David Browne, acclaimed music journalist and contributing editor at Rolling Stone, lends the Dead’s epic story the vivid feel of a novel. He sheds new light on the band’s beginnings, music, dynamics, and struggles since Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. No longer dismissed as relics of the hippie era, a new generation has lionized the Dead for creating a culture that paved the way for social networking, free music swapping, and the uncompromising anticorporate attitude of indie rock. Now, fifty years after the band first began changing rock ’n’ roll—both sonically and psychically—So Many Roads paints the most vivid portrait yet of the Grateful Dead, one of the most enduring institutions in American music and culture.

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    So Many Roads

    15.5 hrs • 4/28/15 • Unabridged
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