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History

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  1. 7.3 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from ancient Rome through the centuries to the present day. We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn’t, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe down to the present day. Defining the term is an acutely political act: whether a war is “civil” often depends on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, participant or foreigner. Likewise, calling any particular conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether other nations choose to get involved or stand aside. So it has been in our own nation’s history: from the American Revolution (commonly referred to as a civil war while it was waged) to the US “Civil War” to the Second Gulf War—in each, pivotal decisions on the part of outside powers turned on precisely such shifts of perspective. In Civil Wars, the eminent historian David Armitage offers an invaluable illumination of this vexing subject. By touching on certain signal instances in Western thought—the poetry of Lucan, the political theory of Thomas Hobbes, the so-called Lieber Code produced during our own civil war, to name a few—he creates a “genealogy” of our sometimes contradictory notions about civil war. The result has much to tell us about how this intellectual inheritance has shaped the political fortunes of our uneasy world and how we might think about this form of violence in the future. From the Balkans to Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and most recently Syria, civil conflict has exploded of late. Across the West, politics itself looks ever more like civil war by other means. At such a charged time, this book’s unique perspective on the origins and dynamics of a phenomenon still shaping our world is sure to prove indispensable in the ongoing effort to grapple with what has come to seem an eternal problem.

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    Civil Wars by David Armitage

    Civil Wars

    7.3 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  2. 6.3 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    The day was hot and sticky. The man in the rowboat was an impetuous hothead. His row across the choppy Hudson that morning led to a confrontation that has burned bright in the American mind for more than two hundred years. When the most notorious duel in American history took place, Alexander Hamilton was 49, a former Treasury Secretary whose meteoric political rise had flamed out in the wake of a humiliating sex scandal. Vice President Aaron Burr, was just a year younger than Hamilton, at the top of a meteoric rise of his own in the nation’s fledgling government. Rivals unto Death explores the largely unknown three-decade dance that led to the infamous duel. It traces the rivalry back to the earliest days of the American Revolution, when both men—brilliant, restless, and barely twenty years old—elbowed their way onto the staff of General George Washington; follows them as they launch their competitive legal practices in New York City and through the insanity of the election of 1800, when Hamilton threw his support behind Thomas Jefferson in an effort to knock Burr out of the running for president; and takes them finally to the dueling grounds from which only one would emerge.

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    Rivals unto Death

    6.3 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  3. 13.7 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    "A most valuable book." —Christian Science MonitorFor readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners. While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves—Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe’s libraries and bookshops, large and small, the books they stole were not burned. Instead, the Nazis began to compile a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicians, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day. Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin’s public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.

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    The Book Thieves

    Translated by Henning Koch
    13.7 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  4. 17.6 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    From an award-winning historian, an engrossing look at how Abraham Lincoln grappled with the challenges of leadership in an unruly democracy An awkward first meeting with U.S. Army officers, on the eve of the Civil War. A conversation on the White House portico with a young cavalry sergeant who was a fiercely dedicated abolitionist. A tense exchange on a navy ship with a Confederate editor and businessman. In this eye-opening book, Elizabeth Brown Pryor examines six intriguing, mostly unknown encounters that Abraham Lincoln had with his constituents. Taken together, they reveal his character and opinions in unexpected ways, illustrating his difficulties in managing a republic and creating a presidency. Pryor probes both the political demons that Lincoln battled in his ambitious exercise of power and the demons that arose from the very nature of democracy itself: the clamorous diversity of the populace, with its outspoken demands. She explores the trouble Lincoln sometimes had in communicating and in juggling the multiple concerns that make up being a political leader; how conflicted he was over the problem of emancipation; and the misperceptions Lincoln and the South held about each other. Pryor also provides a fascinating discussion of Lincoln’s fondness for storytelling and how he used his skills as a raconteur to enhance both his personal and political power. Based on scrupulous research that draws on hundreds of eyewitness letters, diaries, and newspaper excerpts, Six Encounters with Lincoln offers a fresh portrait of Lincoln as the beleaguered politician who was not especially popular with the people he needed to govern with, and who had to deal with the many critics, naysayers, and dilemmas he faced without always knowing the right answer. What it shows most clearly is that greatness was not simply laid on Lincoln’s shoulders like a mantle, but was won in fits and starts.With a Foreword read by the Author's sister, Beverly Brown

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    Six Encounters with Lincoln

    17.6 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  5. 3.4 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    The prizewinning memoir of one of the world’s great writers, about coming of age and finding her voice amid the hardships of Stalinist Russia   Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel—the setting of the New York Times bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. In The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, her prizewinning memoir, she recounts her childhood of extreme deprivation—of wandering the streets like a young Edith Piaf, singing for alms, and living by her wits like Oliver Twist, a diminutive figure far removed from the heights she would attain as an internationally celebrated writer. As she unravels the threads of her itinerant upbringing—of feigned orphandom, of sleeping in freight cars and beneath the dining tables of communal apartments, of the fugitive pleasures of scraps of food—we see, both in her remarkable lack of self-pity and in the two dozen photographs throughout the text, her feral instinct and the crucible in which her gift for giving voice to a nation of survivors was forged.“From heartrending facts Petrushevskaya concocts a humorous and lyrical account of the toughest childhood and youth imaginable. . . . It [belongs] alongside the classic stories of humanity’s beloved plucky child heroes: Edith Piaf, Charlie Chaplin, the Artful Dodger, Gavroche, David Copperfield. . . . The child is irresistible and so is the adult narrator who creates a poignant portrait from the rags and riches of her memory.” —Anna Summers, from the IntroductionFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

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    The Girl from the Metropol Hotel

    Read by Kate Mulgrew
    Translated by Anna Summers
    3.4 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  6. 7.3 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of television’s number-one daytime show, The Young and the Restless, into their living rooms. While they’ve come to know and love the suave Victor Newman, few truly know the man behind the character, the supremely talented Eric Braeden. I’ll Be Damned is his story—a startling and uplifting true tale of war, deprivation, determination, fame, and social commitment that spans from Nazi Germany to modern Hollywood. Braeden’s journey from a hospital basement in Kiel to the soundstages of Los Angeles has taught him more about joy, heartbreak, fear, dignity, loss, love, loneliness, exhilaration, courage, persecution, and profound responsibility to the global community than he could have hoped to learn in several lifetimes. Growing up in the years after Germany’s defeat, Braeden knew very little about the atrocities of his parents’ generation, until he arrived in America as a teenager—a discovery that horrified and transformed him. Trying to redress the wrongs of his homeland, he has dedicated his life to humanitarian work—even forming the German American Culture Society—working for decades to show the world that what we share as humans is far more important than what separates us from one another. Told with openness, candor, humor, heart, and occasional raw vulnerability, I’ll Be Damned reveals a man committed to making the world a better, more loving place. Filled with sixteen pages of photos from his decorated life and career, I’ll Be Damned will be a treasured keepsake for Y&R fans, and is an inspiring testament to the goodness within us all.

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    I’ll Be Damned by Eric Braeden

    I’ll Be Damned

    7.3 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  7. 6.8 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked it all to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary, and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about which little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire. Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself one cold spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property. Impeccably researched, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.

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    Never Caught

    6.8 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  8. 12.7 hrs • 2/7/2017

    Six gentlemen, one goal: the destruction of Hitler’s war machine In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organization was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was every bit as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler’s favorite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world’s leading expert in silent killing, hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines. Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men—along with three others—formed a secret inner circle that, aided by a group of formidable ladies, single-handedly changed the course Second World War: a cohort hand-picked by Winston Churchill, whom he called his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do that is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.

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  9. 10.6 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    From the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters, Caught in the Revolution isHelen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. This program includes a bonus interview with the author and her editor. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse."

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    Caught in the Revolution

    10.6 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  10. 1.4 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    A century ago, if one were to come across a manual laborer from the early 20th century or the Roaring Twenties and relayed to them the possibility of one day sticking it to The Man, one would probably be laughed out of the century. However, this was exactly what one man with solid-gold aspirations and audacity set out to achieve. Jimmy Hoffa, once described by Bobby Kennedy as the second most powerful man in America, was a union boss who evoked both respect and fear, and he continues to be a legendary figure who often crops up in conversation and media over 40 years after his disappearance. While it was an open secret that Hoffa had shady connections, the success of his leadership allowed supporters to overlook them. As Sloane put it, “More apparent to Teamster members than any moral lapses were the tangible gains that had been steadily realized under Hoffa since his advent to power.” Charles Brandt once wrote, “From 1955 until 1965 Jimmy Hoffa was as famous as Elvis Presley. From 1965 until 1975 Jimmy Hoffa was as famous as the Beatles.” But as famous as he was in life, it was Jimmy Hoffa’s demise that continues to fascinate the country. On July 30, 1975, Hoffa drove to an important meeting at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant, but he was never seen or heard from again. To this day, authorities are still searching for him (or presumably his remains), having been overloaded with false and dead-end leads throughout the decades. By championing the hearts and loyalty of America’s trucking industry and arousing fear in the public for his rumored mob connections, earning a couple of enemies along the way was inevitable for Hoffa, but the mystery remains. Naturally, people have put forward ridiculous theories to explain his disappearance, but either way, it’s fair to say that the legendary life and times of the controversial and still-missing Teamster leader have produced one of the world’s most baffling ongoing mysteries for good reason. Jimmy Hoffa: The Controversial Life and Disappearance of the Godfather of the Teamsters chronicles the tumultuous life of Jimmy Hoffa, one oozing with action and glory but also full of sinister entanglements with the criminal underworld. The book also looks at the enigma of his life and disappearance, exploring the most credible, fascinating, and downright nutty theories surrounding his persistently debated fate.

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    Jimmy Hoffa

    1.4 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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  11. 9.0 hrs • 1/31/2017 • Unabridged

    Their story was almost forgotten by history. Now known as the Wereth Eleven, these brave African-American soldiers left their homes to join the Allied effort on the front lines of WWII. As members of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, they provided crucial fire support at the Siege of Bastogne. Among the few who managed to escape the Nazis’ devastating Ardennes Offensive, they found refuge in the small village of Wereth, Belgium. A farmer and supporter of the Allies took the exhausted and half-starved men into his home. When Nazi authorities learned of their whereabouts, they did not take the soldiers prisoner, but subjected them to torture and execution in a nearby field. Despite their bravery and sacrifice, these eleven soldiers were omitted from the final Congressional War Crimes report of 1949. For seventy years, their files—marked secret—gathered dust in the National Archive. But in 1994, at the site of their execution, a memorial was dedicated to the Wereth Eleven and all African-American soldiers who fought in Europe. Drawing on firsthand interviews with family members and fellow soldiers, The Lost Eleven tells the complete story of these nearly forgotten soldiers, their valor in battle, and their tragic end.

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    The Lost Eleven by Denise George, Robert Child

    The Lost Eleven

    9.0 hrs • 1/31/17 • Unabridged
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  12. 14.3 hrs • 1/31/2017 • Unabridged

    The millennium between the breakup of the western Roman Empire and the Reformation was a long and hugely transformative period—one not easily chronicled within the scope of a few hundred pages. Yet distinguished historian Chris Wickham has taken up the challenge in this landmark book, and he succeeds in producing the most riveting account of medieval Europe in a generation. Tracking the entire sweep of the Middle Ages across Europe, Wickham focuses on important changes century by century, including such pivotal crises and moments as the fall of the western Roman Empire, Charlemagne’s reforms, the feudal revolution, the challenge of heresy, the destruction of the Byzantine Empire, the rebuilding of late medieval states, and the appalling devastation of the Black Death. He provides illuminating vignettes that underscore how shifting social, economic, and political circumstances affected individual lives and international events. Wickham offers both a new conception of Europe’s medieval period and a provocative revision of exactly how and why the Middle Ages matter.

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    Medieval Europe by Chris Wickham

    Medieval Europe

    14.3 hrs • 1/31/17 • Unabridged
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  13. 0.2 hrs • 1/31/2017

    This is the true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington's army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn't qualified him for the release he'd been hoping for. For James, the fight wasn't over; he'd already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

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    A Spy Called James

    0.2 hrs • 1/31/17
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  14. 7.8 hrs • 1/31/2017

    Every four years on January 20, the president of the United States is sworn into office. Most often following a hard-fought campaign season, the voters determine the number of electoral votes each candidate is awarded and the winner takes the oath of office given by the chief justice of the United States. The Inaugurations is a compilation of every inauguration speech given by the newly sworn-in president, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt through Donald J. Trump.

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    Historic Moments in Speech: The Inaugurations by the Speech Resource Company

    Historic Moments in Speech: The Inaugurations

    with introductions by Robert Wikstrom
    7.8 hrs • 1/31/17
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  15. 5.7 hrs • 1/24/2017 • Unabridged

    Bill Clinton: a president of contradictions. He was a Rhodes Scholar and a Yale Law School graduate, but he was also a fatherless child from rural Arkansas. He was one of the most talented politicians of his age, but he inspired enmity of such intensity that his opponents would stop at nothing to destroy him. He was the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to win two successive presidential elections, but he was also the first president since Andrew Johnson to be impeached. In this incisive biography of America’s forty-second president, Michael Tomasky examines Clinton’s eight years in office, a time often described as one of peace and prosperity, but in reality a time of social and political upheaval, as the culture wars grew ever more intense amid the rise of the Internet (and with it, online journalism and blogging); military actions in Somalia, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo; standoffs at Waco and Ruby Ridge; domestic terrorism in Oklahoma City; and the rise of al-Qaeda. It was a time when Republicans took control of Congress and a land deal gone bad turned into a constitutional crisis, as lurid details of a sitting president’s sexual activities became the focus of public debate. Tomasky’s clear-eyed assessment of Clinton’s presidency offers a new perspective on what happened, what it all meant, and what aspects continue to define American politics to this day. In many ways, we are still living in the age of Clinton.

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    Bill Clinton by Michael Tomasky

    Bill Clinton

    Edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Sean Wilentz
    Read by Paul Heitsch
    5.7 hrs • 1/24/17 • Unabridged
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  16. 9.7 hrs • 1/24/2017 • Unabridged

    A compelling portrait of a unique moment in American history when the ideas of Charles Darwin reshaped American notions about nature, religion, science and raceThroughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs. Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin’s just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn. Each of these figures seized on the book’s assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery, one that helped provide scientific credibility to the cause of abolition. Darwin’s depiction of constant struggle and endless competition described America on the brink of civil war. But some had difficulty aligning the new theory to their religious convictions and their faith in a higher power. Thoreau, perhaps the most profoundly affected all, absorbed Darwin’s views into his mysterious final work on species migration and the interconnectedness of all living things. Creating a rich tableau of nineteenth-century American intellectual culture, as well as providing a fascinating biography of perhaps the single most important idea of that time, The Book That Changed America is also an account of issues and concerns still with us today, including racism and the enduring conflict between science and religion.

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    The Book That Changed America

    9.7 hrs • 1/24/17 • Unabridged
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