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19th Century

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  1. 15.1 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    S.C. Gwynne’s New York Times bestselling historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West is now available from Encore for the first time and at a great low price.Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. Although listeners may be more familiar with the names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun. The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.

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    Empire of the Summer Moon

    15.1 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 5.8 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    Discover the stories of twelve women who heard the call to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey. As a slave, Clara watched as her husband and children were sold, only to be reunited with her youngest daughter, as a free woman, six decades later. As a young girl, Charlotte hid her gender to escape a life of poverty and became the greatest stagecoach driver that ever lived. As a Native American, Gertrude fought to give her people a voice and to educate leaders about the ways and importance of her culture. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. Many were crusaders for social justice and women’s rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world. The author ties the stories of these pioneer women to the experiences of women today with the hope that they will be inspired to live boldly and bravely and to fill their own lives with vision, faith, and fortitude. To live with grit.

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    Frontier Grit by Marianne Monson

    Frontier Grit

    5.8 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.9 hrs • 9/1/2016 • Unabridged

    Americans have come to expect that the nation’s presidential campaigns will be characterized by a carnival atmosphere emphasizing style over substance. But this fascinating account of the pivotal 1840 election reveals how the now-unavoidable traditions of big money, big rallies, shameless self-promotion, and carefully manufactured candidate images first took root in presidential politics. Pulitzer Prize–nominated former Wall Street Journal reporter Ronald G. Shafer tells the colorful story of the election battle between sitting president Martin Van Buren, a professional Democratic politician from New York, and Whig Party upstart William Henry Harrison, a military hero who was nicknamed “Old Tippecanoe” after a battlefield where he fought and won in 1811. Shafer shows how the pivotal campaign of “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” marked a series of firsts that changed presidential politicking forever: the first presidential campaign as mass entertainment, directed at middle-income and lower-income voters; the first “image campaign,” in which strategists painted Harrison as an everyman living in a log cabin sipping hard cider (in fact, he was born into wealth, lived in a twenty-two-room mansion, and drank only sweet cider); the first campaign in which a candidate, Harrison, traveled and delivered speeches directly to voters; the first one influenced by major campaign donations; the first in which women openly participated; and the first involving massive grassroots rallies, attended by tens of thousands and marked by elaborate fanfare, including bands, floats, a log cabin on wheels, and the world’s tallest man. Some of history’s most fascinating figures—including Susan B. Anthony, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, Thaddeus Stevens, and Walt Whitman—pass through this colorful story, which is essential reading for anyone interested in learning when image first came to trump ideas in presidential politics.

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    The Carnival Campaign by Ronald G. Shafer

    The Carnival Campaign

    7.9 hrs • 9/1/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 12.0 hrs • 8/16/2016 • Unabridged

    A fascinating and original portrait of the escaped-slave refugee camps and how they shaped the course of emancipation and black citizenship. By the end of the Civil War, nearly half a million slaves had taken refuge behind Union lines in what became known as “contraband camps.” These were crowded, dangerous places, yet some 12–15 percent of the Confederacy’s slave population took almost unimaginable risks to reach them, and they became the first places Northerners came to know former slaves en masse. Ranging from stories of individuals to those of armies on the move to the debates in Congress, Troubled Refuge probes what the camps were really like and how former slaves and Union soldiers warily united there. This alliance, which would outlast the war, helped to destroy slavery and ward off the surprisingly tenacious danger of reenslavement. But it also raised unsettling questions about the relationship between American civil and military authority and reshaped the meaning of American citizenship to the benefit as well as the lasting cost of African Americans.

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    Troubled Refuge by Chandra Manning

    Troubled Refuge

    12.0 hrs • 8/16/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 11.2 hrs • 8/15/2016 • Unabridged

    Told from multiple points of view—including James and Dolley Madison and a British admiral—this is the true story of the burning of the White House in 1814. It’s unimaginable today, even for a generation that saw the Twin Towers fall and the Pentagon attacked. It’s unimaginable because in 1814, enemies didn’t fly overhead; they marched through the streets, and for twenty-six hours in August, the British enemy marched through Washington, DC, and set fire to government buildings, including the US Capitol and the White House. Relying on firsthand accounts, historian Jane Hampton Cook weaves together several different narratives to create a vivid, multidimensional account of the burning of Washington, including the escalation that led to it and the immediate aftermath. From James and Dolley Madison to the British admiral who ordered the White House set aflame, historical figures are brought to life through their experience of this unprecedented attack. The Burning of the White House is the story of a city invaded, a presidential family displaced, a nation humbled, and an American spirit that somehow remained unbroken.

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    The Burning of the White House by Jane Hampton Cook

    The Burning of the White House

    11.2 hrs • 8/15/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.1 hrs • 8/10/2016 • Unabridged

    John Wesley Powell was a pioneer American explorer, ethnologist, and geologist in the 19th Century. He set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah. The expedition’s route traveled through the Utah canyons of the Colorado River, which Powell described in his published diary as having …wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon. One man (Goodman) quit after the first month and another three (Dunn and the Howland brothers) left at Separation Rapid in the third, only two days before the group reached the mouth of the Virgin River after traversing almost 1,500 km. Powell retraced the route with another expedition, producing photographs, an accurate map, and various papers, including ethnographic reports of the area’s Native Americans and a monograph on their languages.

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    Canyons of the Colorado

    8.1 hrs • 8/10/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.8 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    Raw, vivid, and emotional—the nineteenth century first-person account of one woman’s struggles and triumphs taming the Mississippi Delta.Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866–c.1936) was encouraged to record her experience as a female pioneer. The result is the only known first-hand account of a woman thrust into the center of taming the American South—surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; all while caring for her children, several of whom didn’t survive despite her efforts. The extreme hard work and tragedy she faced are eclipsed only by her strength and faith in her husband, a mysterious Englishman, and by her sense of adventure. Written in frank and expressive prose, and withheld for almost a lifetime, Trials of the Earth speaks to the heart of our ability to endure and will resonate with listeners of history and fiction alike.

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    Trials of the Earth

    10.8 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.9 hrs • 7/5/2016 • Unabridged

    “The Erie Canal rubbed Aladdin’s lamp. America awoke, catching for the first time the wondrous vision of its own dimensions and power.”—Francis Kimball, American architect The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn’t just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history. Zealots invented new religions and new modes of living. The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face-to-face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity. Heaven’s Ditch illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this “psychic highway,” from its opening in 1825 through 1844. “Wage slave” Sam Patch became America’s first celebrity daredevil. William Miller envisioned the apocalypse. Farm boy Joseph Smith gave birth to Mormonism, a new and distinctly American religion. Along the way, one encounters America’s very first “crime of the century,” a treasure hunt, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers. A page-turning narrative, Heaven’s Ditch offers an excitingly fresh look at a heady, foundational moment in American history.

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    Heaven’s Ditch by Jack Kelly

    Heaven’s Ditch

    10.9 hrs • 7/5/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 10.8 hrs • 7/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A masterful history of a long underappreciated institution, How the Post Office Created America examines the surprising role of the postal service in our nation’s political, social, economic, and physical development. The founders established the post office before they had even signed the Declaration of Independence, and for a very long time, it was the US government’s largest and most important endeavor—indeed, it was the government for most citizens. This was no conventional mail network but the central nervous system of the new body politic, designed to bind thirteen quarrelsome colonies into the United States by delivering news about public affairs to every citizen—a radical idea that appalled Europe’s great powers. America’s uniquely democratic post powerfully shaped its lively, argumentative culture of uncensored ideas and opinions and made it the world’s information and communications superpower with astonishing speed. Winifred Gallagher presents the history of the post office as America’s own story, told from a fresh perspective over more than two centuries. The mandate to deliver the mail—then “the media”—imposed the federal footprint on vast, often contested parts of the continent and transformed a wilderness into a social landscape of post roads and villages centered on post offices. The post was the catalyst of the nation’s transportation grid, from the stagecoach lines to the airlines, and the lifeline of the great migration from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It enabled America to shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy and to develop the publishing industry, the consumer culture, and the political party system. Still one of the country’s two major civilian employers, the post was the first to hire women, African Americans, and other minorities for positions in public life. Starved by two world wars and the Great Depression, confronted with the country’s increasingly anti-institutional mind-set, and struggling with its doubled mail volume, the post stumbled badly in the turbulent 1960s. Distracted by the ensuing modernization of its traditional services, however, it failed to transition from paper mail to email, which prescient observers saw as its logical next step. Now the post office is at a crossroads. Before deciding its future, Americans should understand what this grand yet overlooked institution has accomplished since 1775 and consider what it should and could contribute in the twenty-first century. Gallagher argues that now, more than ever before, the imperiled post office deserves this effort, because just as the founders anticipated, it created forward-looking, communication-oriented, idea-driven America.

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    How the Post Office Created America

    10.8 hrs • 7/1/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 8.3 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    One of North America’s most destructive fires, and the amazing true story of how its survivors escaped to change a nation. On September 1, 1894 two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded. Whereas Oregon’s famous “Biscuit” fire in 2002 burned 350,000 acres in one week, the Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances, “fire whirls,” or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire to knock down buildings and carry flaming debris into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit—the melting point of steel. As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Two trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. The heroic young African American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back his locomotive out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than four hundred people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today. Author Daniel Brown has woven together numerous survivors’ stories, historical sources, and interviews with forest fire experts in a gripping narrative that tells the fascinating story of one of North America’s most devastating fires and how it changed the nation.

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    Under a Flaming Sky

    8.3 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  11. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    16.5 hrs • 4/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Americans have always loved guns. This special bond was forged during the American Revolution and sanctified by the Second Amendment. It is because of this exceptional relationship that American civilians are more heavily armed than the citizens of any other nation. Or so we’re told. In The Gunning of America, historian Pamela Haag overturns this conventional wisdom. American gun culture, she argues, developed not because the gun was exceptional but precisely because it was not: guns proliferated in America because throughout most of the nation’s history they were perceived as an unexceptional commodity, no different than buttons or typewriters. Focusing on the history of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, one of the most iconic arms manufacturers in America, Haag challenges many basic assumptions of how and when America became a gun culture. Under the leadership of Oliver Winchester and his heirs, the company used aggressive, sometimes ingenious, sales and marketing techniques to create new markets for their product. Guns have never “sold themselves”; rather, through advertising and innovative distribution campaigns, the gun industry did. Through the meticulous examination of gun-industry archives, Haag challenges the myth of a primal bond between Americans and their firearms. Over the course of its 150-year history, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company sold over eight million guns. But Oliver Winchester—a shirtmaker in his previous career—had no apparent qualms about a life spent arming America. His daughter-in-law Sarah Winchester was a different story. Legend holds that Sarah was haunted by what she considered a vast blood fortune, and became convinced that the ghosts of rifle victims were haunting her. In this provocative and deeply researched work of narrative history, Haag fundamentally revises the history of arms in America and, in so doing, explodes the clichés that have created and sustained our lethal gun culture.

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    The Gunning of America by Pamela Haag

    The Gunning of America

    16.5 hrs • 4/19/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 9.9 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    The surprising story of our “naturalist president” Theodore Roosevelt and how his lifelong passion for the natural world set the stage for America’s wildlife conservation movement No United States president is more popularly associated with nature and wildlife than Theodore Roosevelt—prodigious hunter, tireless adventurer, and ardent conservationist. We think of him as a larger-than-life original, yet in The Naturalist, Darrin Lunde has located Roosevelt in the proud tradition of museum naturalism. From his earliest days, Roosevelt actively modeled himself on the men who pioneered a key branch of biology through the collection of animal specimens and by developing a taxonomy of the natural world. The influence they would have on Roosevelt shaped not only his audacious personality but his career, informing his work as a statesman and ultimately affecting generations of Americans’ relationship to this country’s wilderness. Drawing on Roosevelt’s diaries and expedition journals and pulling from his own experience as a leading figure in today’s museum naturalism, Lunde constructs a thoughtfully researched, singularly insightful history that tracks Roosevelt’s maturation from exuberant boyhood hunter to vital champion of serious scientific inquiry

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    The Naturalist

    9.9 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  13. 15.7 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams, whose life had been dedicated to public service from the earliest age. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. Their often tempestuous but deeply close marriage lasted half a century. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England, at royal courts, on farms, in cities, and in the White House. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The other members of the Adams family could take their identity for granted—they were Adamses; they were Americans—but she had to invent her own. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still. In this deeply felt biography, the talented journalist and historian Louisa Thomas finally gives Louisa Catherine Adams’s full extraordinary life its due. An intimate portrait of a remarkable woman, a complicated marriage, and a pivotal historical moment, Louisa Thomas’s biography is a masterful work from an elegant storyteller.

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    Louisa

    15.7 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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    9.1 hrs • 4/5/2016

    A sweeping narrative history of a terrifying serial killer--America's first--who stalked Austin, Texas in 1885_x000D_ _x000D_ In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch._x000D_ _x000D_ Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city._x000D_ _x000D_ With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Texas Monthly journalist Skip Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life._x000D_ _x000D_ The introduction and epilogue are read by the author.

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    The Midnight Assassin

    9.1 hrs • 4/5/16
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    14.1 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    From the National Book Award–winning and bestselling author Timothy Egan comes the epic story of one of the most fascinating and colorful Irishman in nineteenth-century America. The Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York—the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America. Meagher’s rebirth in America included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade from New York in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War—Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg. Twice shot from his horse while leading charges, left for dead in the Virginia mud, Meagher’s dream was that Irish-American troops, seasoned by war, would return to Ireland and liberate their homeland from British rule. The hero’s last chapter, as territorial governor of Montana, was a romantic quest for a true home in the far frontier. His death has long been a mystery to which Egan brings haunting, colorful new evidence.

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    The Immortal Irishman

    14.1 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  16. 53.8 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    In the first multivolume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America’s greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers, along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work will both alter and reinforce current understanding of America’s sixteenth president. In volume two, Burlingame examines Lincoln’s presidency and the trials of the Civil War. He supplies fascinating details on the crisis over Fort Sumter and the relentless office seekers who plagued Lincoln. He introduces listeners to the president’s battles with hostile newspaper editors and his quarrels with incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also interprets Lincoln’s private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd, the untimely death of his son Willie to disease in 1862, and his recurrent anguish over the enormous human costs of the war.

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    Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 2

    53.8 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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