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  1. 1.8 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    "We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves." —Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the Nobel Prize in LiteratureThe Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism.  Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.

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    On Tyranny

    1.8 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  2. 1.8 hrs • 2/14/2017 • Unabridged

    The 77 Sonnets for Christ the King are the first significant body of traditional lyric verse to appear in over a century. These breathtaking poems intertwine love, death, and time’s passage with sacred subjects drawn from the Church’s liturgical year. British actor Ian Russell’s voice is manly, intimate, and seductive, perfect for MacKenzie’s unforgettable sonnets.

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    Sonnets for Christ the King

    1.8 hrs • 2/14/17 • Unabridged
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  3. 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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  4. 2.0 hrs • 1/10/2017 • Unabridged

    The Civil War is best remembered for the big battles and the legendary generals who fought on both sides, like Robert E. Lee facing off against Ulysses S. Grant in 1864. In kind, the Eastern theater has always drawn more interest and attention than the West. However, while massive armies marched around the country fighting each other, there were other small guerrilla groups that engaged in irregular warfare on the margins. _x000D_ _x000D_ Among these partisan bushwhackers, none are as infamous as William Quantrill and Quantrill’s Raiders. Quantrill’s Raiders operated along the border between Missouri and Kansas, which had been the scene of partisan fighting over a decade earlier during the debate over whether Kansas and Nebraska would enter the Union as free states or slave states. In “Bleeding Kansas”, zealous pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces fought each other, most notably John Brown, and the region became a breeding ground for Unionists and pro-slavery factions who shifted right back into similar fighting once the Civil War started. Rather than target military infrastructure or enemy soldiers, the bushwhackers rode in smaller numbers and targeted civilians on the other side of the conflict, making legends out of men like Bloody Bill Anderson and John Mosby. _x000D_ _x000D_ Though Quantrill’s Raiders were named after their famous leader William Clark Quantrill, the most notorious of the Raiders was none other than Jesse James. Frank and Jesse James have become American legends for their daring robberies and narrow escapes from the law, and many people, especially in the South, see them as folk heroes, unreconstructed rebels fighting for the Lost Cause against rich Northern bankers and capitalists. While that last bit is a matter for debate, the James brothers did indeed consider themselves Southern rebels at heart. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Wild West has made legends out of many men after their deaths, but like Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James was a celebrity during his life. However, while Hickok was (mostly) a lawman, Jesse James was and remains the most famous outlaw of the Wild West, with both his life of crime and his death remaining pop culture fixtures. James and his notorious older brother Frank were Confederate bushwhackers in the lawless region of Missouri during the Civil War. Despite being a teenager, Jesse James was severely wounded twice during the war, including being shot in the chest, but that would hardly slow him down after the war ended. _x000D_ _x000D_ Eventually, Quantrill’s Raiders headed south, and they eventually split off into several groups. Quantrill himself was killed while fighting in June 1865, nearly two months after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, but his name was kept alive by the notorious deeds of his Raiders during the war and the criminal exploits of former Raiders like Jesse and Frank James, as well as the Younger brothers. These men became some of America’s most famous outlaws, and they used guerrilla tactics to rob banks and trains while eluding capture. _x000D_ _x000D_ While their robberies were conducted more to enrich themselves than to strike back against the North, their rebel credentials were impeccable. The brothers came from a secessionist, slaveholding family and both fought for the Confederacy in the bitterest guerrilla war the nation has ever seen. To understand their outlaw careers, and their enduring legacy, one must understand how Frank and Jesse James fought during the Civil War. _x000D_ _x000D_ Frank and Jesse James in the Civil War: The History of the Bushwhackers Who Became Outlaws of the Wild West chronicles the history and events that involved the James brothers during the Civil War, and how the Civil War affected their lives as outlaws.

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    Frank and Jesse James in the Civil War

    2.0 hrs • 1/10/17 • Unabridged
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  5. 1.3 hrs • 1/10/2017 • Unabridged

    What was the bloodiest war in American history? Most people with at least a little knowledge of history would quickly say that it was the Civil War (1861-65), and they would certainly be correct overall. In recently-updated numbers, it is thought that over 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War from battle wounds, diseases and other causes. In a single day at the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, almost 27,000 soldiers were killed, wounded and missing. _x000D_ _x000D_ However, when historians go farther back in time and include colonial wars and look at casualties per capita, the correct answer would be the much-lesser known conflict known as “King Philip's War” (1675-76). While a significant 2.5% of the U.S. population perished in the Civil War, 5% of New England's white settler population died during King Philip’s War, during which 13 towns were destroyed and 600 dwellings were burned by the natives. A larger, indeterminate number of the native population also died in the war. A hundred thousand pounds, an enormous sum of money in those days, was expended by the colonies in defeating the Indians. _x000D_ _x000D_ Edward Randolph, who was sent to the colonies a few years after the war, bemoaned just how ruinous and unnecessary the fighting had been: “The losse to the English in the severall colonies, in their habitations and stock, is reckoned to amount to £150,000 there having been about 1200 houses burned, 8000 head of cattle, great and small, killed, and many thousand bushels of wheat, peas and other grain burned (of which the Massachusets colony hath not been damnifyed one third part, the great losse falling upon New Plymouth and Connecticot colonies) and upward of 3000 Indians men women and children destroyed, who if well managed would have been very serviceable to the English, which makes all manner of labour dear. The war at present is near an end. In Plymouth colony the Indians surrender themselves to Gov. Winslow, upon mercy, and bring in all their armes, are wholly at his disposall, except life and transportation; but for all such as have been notoriously cruell to women and children, so soon as discovered they are to be executed in the sight of their fellow Indians.” _x000D_ _x000D_ King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of the 17th Century Conflict Between Puritan New England and the Native Americans examines one of the most important wars fought in the colonial era.

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    King Philip's War

    1.3 hrs • 1/10/17 • Unabridged
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  6. 1.6 hrs • 1/3/2017 • Unabridged

    In the wake of World War II, the European continent was devastated, and the conflict left the Soviet Union and the United States as uncontested superpowers. This ushered in over 45 years of the Cold War, and a political alignment of Western democracies against the Communist Soviet bloc that produced conflicts pitting allies on each sides fighting, even as the American and Soviet militaries never engaged each other. Though it never got “hot” between the two superpowers, the Cold War was a tense era until the dissolution of the USSR, and nothing symbolized the split more than the division of Berlin. Berlin had been a flashpoint even before World War II ended, and the city was occupied by the different Allies even as the close of the war turned them into adversaries. _x000D_ _x000D_ If anyone wondered whether the Cold War would dominate geopolitics, any hopes that it wouldn’t were dashed by the Soviets’ blockade of West Berlin in April 1948, ostensibly to protest the currency being used in West Berlin but unquestionably aiming to extend their control over Germany’s capital. By cutting off all access via roads, rail, and water, the Soviets hoped to force the Allies out, and at the same time, Stalin’s action would force a tense showdown that would test their mettle. _x000D_ _x000D_ In response to the blockade, the British, Americans, Canadians, and other Allies had no choice but to either acquiesce or break the blockade by air, hoping (correctly) that the Soviets wouldn’t dare shoot down planes being used strictly for civilian purposes. Over the course of the next year, over 200,000 flights were made to bring millions of tons of crucial supplies to West Berlin, with the Allies maintaining a pace of landing a plane in West Berlin every 30 seconds at the height of the Airlift. _x000D_ _x000D_ As the success of the Berlin Airlift became clear, the Soviets realized the blockade was ineffective, and both sides were able to save face by negotiating an end to the blockade in April 1949, with the Soviets ending it officially on May 12. The Airlift would technically continue until September, but for all intents and purposes, the first crisis of the Cold War had come to an end, and most importantly, the confrontation remained “cold.” _x000D_ _x000D_ For the next decade, West Berlin remained a haven for highly-educated East Germans who wanted freedom and a better life in the West, and this “brain drain” was threatening the survival of the East German economy. In order to stop this, access to the West through West Berlin had to be cut off, so in August 1961, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev authorized East German leader Walter Ulbricht to begin construction of what would become known as the Berlin Wall. The wall, begun on Sunday August 13, would eventually surround the city, in spite of global condemnation, and the Berlin Wall itself would become the symbol for Communist repression in the Eastern Bloc. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Berlin Airlift: The History and Legacy of the First Major Crisis of the Cold War chronicles the history that led to the Soviet blockade and the famous relief efforts undertaken to beat it.

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    The Berlin Airlift

    1.6 hrs • 1/3/17 • Unabridged
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  7. 1.4 hrs • 1/3/2017 • Unabridged

    The vast expanses of southern Russia and the Ukraine provided the Eastern Front arena where the armies of Third Reich dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin wrestled lethally for supremacy in 1943. Endless rolling plains – ideal “tank country” – vast forests, sprawling cities, and enormous tracts of agricultural land formed the environment over which millions of men and thousands of the era's most formidable military vehicles fought for their respective overlords and ideologies. _x000D_ _x000D_ The winner could expect to reap very high stakes indeed. If Hitler's Wehrmacht smashed the Red Army, he could no longer hope for a lightning conquest, but the Fuhrer could expect the Soviet strongman to sue for peace on terms advantageous to Germany. If, conversely, the Red Army triumphed, Stalin could continue rallying the Soviet Union and move closer to expelling the loathed “Nemets” invaders from Russian soil – and perhaps carve out a Soviet empire in Central Europe. _x000D_ _x000D_ Asserting that changes in the military leadership style of the two contending dictators explains the outcome of Kursk oversimplifies the actual situation. Logistics, the emergence of a body of experienced junior officers in the Red Army, American Lend-Lease shipments, German production problems, and other issues all contributed to the observed result. _x000D_ _x000D_ However, the overarching factor tying everything together remained the changing approach of each leader to their army. At the start of the war, Hitler gave his commanders considerable initiative while Stalin fatally micromanaged his, and the Germans ripped vast hordes of Soviets to shreds with comparative ease. In late 1942 and moving into 1943, Hitler commenced micromanaging the Wehrmacht, and Stalin adopted a more “hands-off” approach permitting his commanders considerable initiative: “At the heart of the Red Army's lopsided tank losses was an amateurish and self-destructive style of decision imposed by Stalin […] In November 1942 there was a subtle shift in the Red Army, as months of military disasters finally caused Stalin to reduce some of his interference […] and allow quiet professionals such as Vasilevsky, Vatutin and Rokossovsky to prepare proper offensives.” (Forczyk, 2013, 257). _x000D_ _x000D_ Though the Wehrmacht remained too formidable and professional to collapse as readily as the appallingly low-quality Red Army had in 1941 and early 1942, the Red Army slowly got the upper hand and achieved strategic offensive momentum. That the shift occurred at the moment when Hitler hamstrung his generals with his melodramatic obstructionism while Stalin gave his some operational breathing room probably represents no accident. _x000D_ Kursk represented the transitional battle during which the Red Army first demonstrated its new capabilities. The Soviets possessed better commanders than at the start of the war, a numerous soldiery, good-quality equipment (in particular, the T-34 tank), and the beginnings of a professional officer corps. Nevertheless, it required personal, ham-handed intervention by Adolf Hitler to transform Kursk from a probable hard-won Wehrmacht victory into a marginal but highly significant defeat.

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    The Battle of Kursk

    1.4 hrs • 1/3/17 • Unabridged
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  8. 2.1 hrs • 12/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Africa may have given rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it’s no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists. _x000D_ _x000D_ The 5th century BCE Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Egypt was “the gift of the Nile” because the river made its soil so fertile and thus helped create one of the first great civilizations. Indeed, the land of Egypt so impressed the Greeks that when Alexander the Great conquered the Nile Valley in the 4th century BCE, he decided that he would build a new city on its soil and name it Alexandria. After Alexander, the city of Alexandria grew and became the most important city in the world for centuries as it watched and played a role in the rise and fall of numerous dynasties. The city also became home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Lighthouse of Alexandria – and a center of culture and learning, which was exemplified by the Library of Alexandria. Truly, Alexandria was as unique as it was great; it was a Greek city built on Egyptian soil that was later ruled by the Romans and then became an important center of early Christian culture. _x000D_ _x000D_ Today, Alexandria is a teeming metropolis that, although much larger than it was in ancient times, is a shadow of its former self culturally speaking. So what made Alexandria stand apart from other ancient cities such as Rome and Babylon and how did it become the gift of the Mediterranean? The answer is complicated, but an examination of Alexandria’s history reveals that from the time the city was founded until the Arab conquest, the different dynasties who ruled there took the time and effort to foster and patronize arts, culture, and learning that made Alexandria famous. Alexandria was also an important center of trade in the ancient Mediterranean world as tons of grain, gold, and papyri sailed down the Nile River on barges to the harbors in Alexandria and then to the rest of the world, while exotic spices, silks, and other commodities were imported into Egypt via the same harbors in the ancient city. Some of the features of Alexandria changed throughout the centuries, but its most vital components remained consistent. Alexandria meant different things to different people, but for over 500 years all people saw the city as a center of culture. _x000D_ _x000D_ Ancient Alexandria: The History and Legacy of Egypt’s Most Famous City examines the history of one of the ancient world’s most important cities.

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    Ancient Alexandria

    2.1 hrs • 12/20/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 1.2 hrs • 12/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The ancient world often evokes wonder, respect and even confusion, and few places accomplish any of that more than the incredible ruined stone temple of Puma Punku. Part of the larger ruined city of Tiwanaku in the altiplano plains of modern Bolivia, Puma Punku is a marvel of engineering, stonemasonry and design. These facts are obvious to even the lay observer, as Puma Punku’s stonework is remarkable even for the Andes where visitors have long wondered at ancient stone joints where even a knife bade could not fit between the stones. This level of craftsmanship has caused some, mostly those who have never been to the Andes, to speculate of a fanciful origin for the site, maintaining that such a wonderful and mysterious place must be the work of extraterrestrial or super-human forces. _x000D_ _x000D_ However, Puma Punku’s stonemasonry is often considered its most notable feature only because until recently so little was known about the site or the Tiwanaku culture that built it. This would be like visiting the ruins of the Vatican or Westminster Abbey centuries from now and being wowed by the quality of construction. While the construction is impressive, that aspect is not the most interesting story that the sites can tell. _x000D_ _x000D_ Today, through the diligent work of scholars from many countries, the disciplines of archaeology, art history, comparative ethnography and other modern historical sciences have begun to peel back the story of Puma Punku, and historians can once again begin to tell the stories behind the stones. That work has highlighted the enigmatic ruins from many points of view, and have helped explain how it was a place of ritual, showmanship, mythology and, of course, the finest workmanship. _x000D_ _x000D_ Puma Punku: The History of Tiwanaku’s Spectacular Temple of the Sun examines one of the most important pre-Columbian sites in South America.

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    Puma Punku

    1.2 hrs • 12/20/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 1.4 hrs • 12/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Today, cases are often referred to as the trial of the century, but few could lay claim in the 19th century like Lizzie Borden’s in the wake of her parents’ murders. After all, the story included the grisly axe murders of wealthy socialites and a young daughter as the prime suspect. As Trey Wyatt, author of The Life, Legend, and Mystery of Lizzie Borden, put it, “Women were held to strict standards and genteel women were pampered, while at the same time they were expected to behave within a strict code of conduct. In 1892, Fall River, Massachusetts wealthy society ladies were not guilty of murder, and if they did kill someone, it would not be with an axe.” _x000D_ _x000D_ When questioned, Lizzie gave contradictory accounts to the police, which ultimately helped lead to her arrest and trial, but supporters claimed it may have been the effects of morphine that she had a prescription to take. Much like subsequent famous murder cases, such as the O.J. Simpson case or Leopold & Loeb, Lizzie Borden’s trial garnered national attention unlike just about anything that had come before. The case sparked Americans’ interest in legal proceedings, and as with Simpson, even an acquittal didn’t take the spotlight off the Borden case, which has been depicted in all forms of media ever since. Lizzie became a pariah among contemporaries who believed she’d escaped justice, and she remains the prime suspect, but the unsolved nature of the case has allowed other writers to advance other theories and point at other suspects. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Life and Trial of Lizzie Borden: The History of 19th Century America’s Most Famous Murder Case looks at the personal background of the Borden family and the shocking true crime that captivated America at the end of the 19th century.

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    The Life and Trial of Lizzie Borden

    1.4 hrs • 12/20/16 • Unabridged
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  11. 1.4 hrs • 12/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Cloak and dagger espionage, assassination, dangerous adventure, and strange deceptions such as the Operation Mincemeat plan wherein the corpse of a Welsh pauper fitted with a uniform and false papers deceived the Nazi hierarchy about the location of the Western Allies' first landing in Europe, all constitute as real a part of World War II's kaleidoscopically varied history as battles and clear-cut policies. With such a complex and dramatic struggle, human nature dictates a crop of conspiracy theories also arise. _x000D_ _x000D_ The ODESSA, or Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen (Organization for Former SS Members), appears quite plausible compared to some World War II legends. Next to tales of Hitler attempting to draw power from the Spear of Longinus or the Holy Grail, or the Japanese burying gold in foreign countries which thousands of treasure seekers cannot locate in the years since, the idea of an organization enabling the escape of SS and other Nazi individuals stands as modest and believable. _x000D_ _x000D_ The escape of hundreds of Nazis to South America and the Middle East represents a factual matter of history, not legend. Some of the Nazi hierarchy's vilest members, such as Dr. Josef Mengele and the mass murderer Adolf Eichmann, slipped out of Europe and spent years or decades safe from retribution. There, some evidence strongly suggests, they worked to bring the overthrow of Western democracy, frequently with the wholehearted support of Islamic extremists and the aid of money in Swiss bank accounts. _x000D_ _x000D_ Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter, asserted the ODESSA existed. Some historians propose that Wiesenthal may in fact be the original source positing the network's reality. The reality of the ODESSA, and its successor organizations such as “Die Spinne” (“The Spider”) remains a subject of historical debate and contention. Some notable and extremely qualified historians maintain firmly that the ODESSA represents a phantasm, while other authors speak just as confidently of its existence. _x000D_ _x000D_ Regardless of whether the ODESSA existed in the formal sense Wiesenthal and the American CIA posited, an organized program of Nazi rescue certainly developed in the immediate postwar period. While the Catholic Church and even U.S. intelligence had some hand in enabling some escapes to Argentina, the preponderance of fleeing Nazis sought refuge in the Middle East. Using Italy or Franco's right-wing Spain as stopping off points, financed by two former Third Reich bankers, and masterminded by a man who likely qualified as Hitler's direct successor, the extremist Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husaini, the real ODESSA – whether an officially constructed organization or a simple shorthand for an informal but powerful network animated by a common purpose – represented a new alliance between the defeated Nazis and a number of Islamic extremist groups and governments. _x000D_ _x000D_ Among Simon Wiesenthal's other insights, the tireless and perceptive Nazi hunter shared one with his friend and colleague Alan Levy: “Then we talked of ‘leftist fascism’ and how the Russians and their Stalinist puppets in Eastern Europe issued decrees with the same wording used by the Nazi occupiers. As Simon put it: ‘The world is round. If you go right, right, right, you come out on the left.’” (Levy, 2002, 14). In other words, the real ODESSA transformed the Nazis from a primarily European racist phenomenon into a Middle Eastern and quasi-Islamic racist phenomenon. In the process, they came to view all European culture with the same lethal hostility as they held towards Jews, and they even contemplated assisting a Soviet conquest of Europe, proving Wiesenthal's axiom functionally true in more than one sense.

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    ODESSA

    1.4 hrs • 12/20/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 1.9 hrs • 12/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Even before Congress declared war on Japan the day after Pearl Harbor, the implications for people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States had begun. On December 7th, several hundred Issei, or first-generation Japanese immigrants, were arrested in Hawaii and on the mainland, having been earlier identified by the FBI as potentially disloyal to the United States. In the months that followed, the scope of suspicion would expand to include all of the 125,000 Japanese living on the mainland, and, though a smaller percentage, many in Hawaii as well. _x000D_ _x000D_ By the time the war ended, the period of internment of Japanese immigrants and citizens, lasting from 1941-1945, was considered one of the most unfortunate episodes of American history. Many government officials in the immediate aftermath of the war era continued to defend internment, citing the possibility of attack and the need to protect Americans at all costs. There were many Americans, however, whose rights as citizens went unprotected, and political arguments aside, no American can fail to acknowledge the costs of internment to Nikkei families, physically, financially, socially and psychologically. It was not until the first week of September in 1945, just a few weeks after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the surrender of the Japanese that followed, that Japanese internees knew for sure they would be allowed to leave the camps. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II: The History of the Controversial Decision to Relocate Citizens Across the West Coast examines one of the darkest chapters in American history.

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  13. 1.8 hrs • 12/13/2016 • Unabridged

    Emerging from France's catastrophic 1940 defeat like a bedraggled and rather sinister phoenix, the French State – better known to history as “Vichy France” or the “Vichy Regime” after its spa-town capital – stands in history as a unique and bizarre creation of German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's European conquests. A patchwork of paradoxes and contradictions, the Vichy Regime maintained a quasi-independent French nation for some time after the Third Reich invasion until the Germans decided to include it in their occupation zone. _x000D_ _x000D_ Headed by a French war hero of World War I, Marshal Philippe Petain, and his later Prime Minister Pierre Laval, Vichy France displayed strong right-wing, conservative, and authoritarian tendencies. Nevertheless, it never lapsed fully into fascism until the Germans arrived to reduce its role to little more than a mask over their own dominion. _x000D_ Petain carried out several major initiatives in an effort to counteract the alleged “decadence” of modern life and to restore the strength and “virtues” of the French “race.” Accordingly, he received willing support from more conservative elements of society, even some factions within the Catholic Church. Following Case Anton – the takeover of the unoccupied area by the Germans – native French fascist elements also emerged. _x000D_ _x000D_ While the French later disowned the Vichy government with considerable vehemence, evidence such as fairly broad-based popular support prior to Case Anton suggests a somewhat different story. The Petain government expressed one facet of French culture and thought. Its conservative, imperialistic nature did not represent the widespread love of “liberty, fraternity, and equality” also deeply ingrained in French thinking, but neither did it constitute a complete divergence from a national history that produced such famous authoritarians as Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte. _x000D_ _x000D_ Vichy France: The History of Nazi Germany’s Occupation of France during World War II looks at France after its downfall and the occupation that lasted until late 1944.

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    Vichy France

    1.8 hrs • 12/13/16 • Unabridged
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  14. 1.7 hrs • 12/13/2016 • Unabridged

    The Acropolis, which literally means “a city on the heights,” is a citadel whose currently surviving structures were mostly built during the 5th century BCE. in honor of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. It functioned as a sacred precinct that contained the city’s most important religious and municipal structures, many of which have remained relatively intact for over 2,000 years. The Propylaea (the gateway to the Acropolis), the Parthenon (the principal shrine to the goddess), the Erechtheion (a shrine that supposedly houses the burial grounds of mythical Athenian kings), and the Temple of Athena Nike all survive to this day, and for these reasons, the Acropolis is perhaps the definitive and most eloquent expression of classical architecture, if not of the classical form itself. _x000D_ _x000D_ Naturally, like many other works of its type and influence, the structures on the Acropolis embody certain traditions, but they also depart from some traditions and also transformed others. Indeed, just as the Acropolis is Athens’ most striking feature, it is also a perfect representative of the city’s golden age, both in terms of classical style and civilization as a whole. It’s no wonder that people continue to view the Acropolis as both a portal to antiquity but also a spot with living structures whose importance continues to reverberate to this day. _x000D_ _x000D_ The architectural complex on the Athenian Acropolis is universally acclaimed as one of the most outstanding achievements of Western Civilization, but within that group of iconic buildings there is no doubt that the Parthenon is the most famous and impressive. The Doric and Ionic forms that are the basis of classical architecture, and as applied to the Parthenon, still resonate in the modern world today, as it has done throughout the centuries since its completion. It was built to the highest possible standards at the time, and no expense was spared on either the constituent parts or its decoration. _x000D_ _x000D_ Of course, given the care and the costs, people have inevitably wondered why the Athenians put so much treasure and effort into the construction of this masterpiece, and why the temple still has such an impact on those who see it today. To fully understand this most beautiful and subtle of buildings it is necessary to contextualize its construction and its use within the Athenian religious tradition. The Parthenon has to be seen from numerous perspectives, including its historical context, its mathematical sophistication, and the myths and legends told in its sculptures and friezes. Ultimately, however, the Parthenon has to be recognised for what it was at the time, not only as a place of worship but a celebration of a momentous victory over a mighty foreign power, linked to a conscious glorification of Athens as a “cosmopolis”. There is no ambiguity; the temple was the deliberate articulation of Pericles’ vision of Athens at the height of all its glory. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Parthenon: The History of Ancient Athens’ Most Famous Temple looks at the history of the famous building, from its construction to its use.

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    The Parthenon

    1.7 hrs • 12/13/16 • Unabridged
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  15. 1.7 hrs • 12/13/2016 • Unabridged

    The title of “Iron Brigade” has been given to a number of different U.S. Army brigades over the last century and a half, but it has become almost entirely synonymous with the Civil War soldiers who fought in the brigade for the Army of the Potomac. Also known as the “Iron Brigade of the West,” “Rufus King’s Brigade” and the “Black Hat Brigade,” the Iron Brigade was comprised of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiments, the 19th Indiana, Battery B of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery, and later, the 24th Michigan. _x000D_ _x000D_ Wisconsin governor Alexander William Randall had hoped to organize an all-Wisconsin brigade to contribute to the Union’s Civil War effort, but the U.S. Army dispersed Wisconsin regiments to different areas as needs arose. Nevertheless, Wisconsin regiments comprised a majority of the brigade, and it would distinguish itself as the only all-Western brigade in the Army of the Potomac. It would come to be recognized for its unique uniforms, strong discipline, and “iron” disposition, earning the name during the Maryland Campaign both for its tenacity and for the costs paid by fighting so hard. _x000D_ _x000D_ Naturally, historians have focused on the battles where the Iron Brigade earned its name and demonstrated its reputation. Renowned Civil War historian Alan T. Nolan wrote and published the most complete military history of the Iron Brigade in 1961, tracing the brigade’s activity in the Civil War from the first mustering of Wisconsin regiments to the battle of Gettysburg. Nolan’s The Iron Brigade: A Military History served as the authority on Iron Brigade history for decades and called Gettysburg the Iron Brigade’s “last stand,” arguing that the battle was where the brigade lost its Western character. Since the publication of Nolan’s book in 1961, however, new sources—including letters and journals of men in the brigade—have been discovered, providing new depth to the history of the Iron Brigade. Thus, scholars in more recent years have contributed to the history of the Iron Brigade by focusing on the character and contributions of different regiments within the Iron Brigade, or by picking up where Nolan left off at the Battle of Gettysburg. Historians like Lance J. Herdegen argue that there is much more to be learned about the Iron Brigade by examining its struggle in the years after Gettysburg. In The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory: The Black Hats from Bull Run to Appomattox and Thereafter (2012), Herdegen provides a deeper account not only of the remnants of the Iron Brigade in the last two years of the Civil War, but also of its individual soldiers during and after the war. Exploring the experiences of members of the Iron Brigade before, during and after the Civil War contributes to a better understanding of their rise to fame and glory, and the cost of their sacrifice. _x000D_ _x000D_ The Iron Brigade: The History of the Famous Union Army Brigade During the Civil War traces the development of the Iron Brigade in the early years of the Civil War, examining the battles that fostered its reputation as one of the best combat infantry brigades in the Union army. In addition, this book looks at what the later years of the war and thereafter meant to Black Hat veterans, and what made men from the western frontier want to fight in a war far from home.

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    The Iron Brigade

    1.7 hrs • 12/13/16 • Unabridged
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  16. 1.4 hrs • 12/6/2016

    The Art of War dates back to the 5th century BC, and is an ancient Chinese military handbook. Attributed to the intelligent military strategist Sun Tzu, the title of the work is “Master Sun’s Rules of Warfare” when literally translated from Chinese. The novel contains thirteen chapters, each of which are dedicated to a single aspect of warfare strategy. Emperor Shenzong of Song deemed it the most important of China’s Seven Military Classics in 1080 and it is still one of the most influential strategy texts in East Asia. Leaders such as Mao Zedong, General Douglas MacArthur, and General Vo Nguyen Giap are said to have drawn inspiration from Sun Tzu’s famous work.

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    The Art of War

    Read by Mel Foster
    1.4 hrs • 12/6/16
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