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Regional Studies

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  1. 8.1 hrs • 9/14/2015 • Unabridged

    A provocative and eye-opening look at the most explosive and controversial state in America, where everything is bigger, bolder―and shaping our nation’s future in surprising ways To most Americans, Texas has been that love-it-or-hate it slice of the country that has sparked controversy, bred presidents, and fomented turmoil from the American Civil War to George W. Bush. But that Texas is changing―and it will change America itself. Richard Parker takes the reader on a tour across today’s booming Texas, an evolving landscape that is densely urban, overwhelmingly Hispanic, exceedingly powerful in the global economy, and increasingly liberal. This Texas will have to ensure upward mobility, reinvigorate democratic rights, and confront climate change―just to continue its historic economic boom. This is not the Texas of George W. Bush or Rick Perry. Instead, this is a Texas that will remake the American experience in the twenty-first century―as California did in the twentieth―with surprising economic, political, and social consequences. Along the way, Parker analyzes the powerful, interviews the insightful, and tells the story of everyday people because, after all, one in ten Americans in this century will call Texas something else: Home.

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    Lone Star Nation

    8.1 hrs • 9/14/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 2.4 hrs • 5/1/2015 • Unabridged

    The promise of America has long been conceived as the promise of happiness. Being American is all about the opportunity to pursue one’s own bliss. But what is the good life, and are we getting closer to its attainment? In the cacophony of competing conceptions of the good, technological interventions that claim to help us achieve it, and rancorous debate over government’s role in securing it for us, every step toward happiness seems to come with at least one step back. In Lurching toward Happiness in America, acclaimed sociologist Claude Fischer explores the data, the myths, and history to understand how far America has come in delivering on its promise. Are Americans getting lonelier? Is the gender revolution over? Does income shape the way Americans see their life prospects? In the end, Fischer paints a broad picture of what Americans say they want. And, as he considers how close they are to achieving that goal, he also suggests what might finally get them there.

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    Lurching toward Happiness in America

    2.4 hrs • 5/1/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    9.3 hrs • 9/2/2014 • Unabridged

    Rich, absorbing, and exotic, City of Lies travels up and down Vali Asr Street, Tehran’s pulsing thoroughfare, from the lavish shopping malls of Tajrish through the smog that lingers over the alleyways and bazaars of the city’s southern districts. Ramita Navai gives voice to ordinary Iranians forced to live extraordinary lives: the porn star, the aging socialite, the assassin and enemy of the state who ends up working for the Republic, the dutiful housewife who files for divorce, and the old-time thug running a gambling den. In today’s Tehran, intrigues abound and survival depends on an intricate network of falsehoods: mullahs visit prostitutes, local mosques train barely pubescent boys in crowd-control tactics, and cosmetic surgeons promise to restore girls’ virginity. Navai paints an intimate portrait of those discreet recesses in a city where the difference between modesty and profanity, loyalty and betrayal, honor and disgrace is often no more than the believability of a lie.

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    City of Lies

    9.3 hrs • 9/2/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 14.9 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    In Bending Adversity, Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan. Pilling’s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan’s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country’s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan’s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: it was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan’s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle—the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country’s blind, aborted climb to number one. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990—the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan’s “lost decades”—to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities—in particular for the young and for women—have diversified. Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling’s many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.

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    Bending Adversity

    14.9 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 9.3 hrs • 4/2/2013 • Unabridged

    The moving memoir of one brave woman who, along with her daughters, has kept ninety thousand of her fellow citizens safe, healthy, and educated for more than twenty years in Somalia. Dr. Hawa Abdi, “the Mother Teresa of Somalia” and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is the founder of a massive camp for internally displaced people located a few miles from war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. Since 1991, when the Somali government collapsed, famine struck, and aid groups fled, she has dedicated herself to providing help for people whose lives have been shattered by violence and poverty. She turned her 1300 acres of farmland into a camp that has numbered up to ninety thousand displaced people, ignoring the clan lines that have often served to divide the country. She inspired her daughters, Deqo and Amina, to become doctors. Together, they have saved tens of thousands of lives in her hospital and provided an education to hundreds of displaced children. In 2010, Dr. Abdi was kidnapped by radical insurgents who destroyed much of her hospital, simply because she was a woman. She, along with media pressure, convinced the rebels to let her go, and she demanded and received a written apology. Dr. Abdi’s story of incomprehensible bravery and perseverance will inspire listeners everywhere.

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    Keeping Hope Alive

    9.3 hrs • 4/2/13 • Unabridged
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  6. 14.2 hrs • 10/1/2012 • Unabridged

    Craig Taylor, an acclaimed journalist, playwright, and writer, spent five years exploring the city and listening to its residents to create this amazingly rich portrait of London. Here are the voices of London—rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men. From the woman whose voice announces the stations on the London Underground to the man who plants the trees along Oxford Street; from a Pakistani currency trader to a Guardsman at Buckingham Palace—together these voices paint a vivid, epic, and wholly fresh portrait of twenty-first-century London.

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    Londoners

    14.2 hrs • 10/1/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.2 hrs • 12/9/2011 • Unabridged

    A riveting account of the state of Arizona, seen through the lens of the Tucson shootings On January 8, 2011, twenty-two-year-old Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a Tucson meet and greet held by US representative Gabrielle Giffords. The incident left six people dead and thirteen injured, including Giffords, whom he shot in the head. Award-winning author and fifth-generation Arizonan Tom Zoellner, a longtime friend of Giffords’ and a field organizer on her congressional campaign, uses the tragedy as a jumping-off point to expose the fault lines in Arizona’s political and socioeconomic landscape that allowed this to happen: the harmful political rhetoric, the inept state government, the lingering effects of the housing market’s boom and bust, the proliferation and accessibility of guns, the lack of established communities, and the hysteria surrounding issues of race and immigration. Zoellner offers a revealing portrait of the southwestern state at a critical moment in history—and as a symbol of the nation’s discontents and uncertainties. Ultimately, it is his rallying cry for a saner, more civil way of life.

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    A Safeway in Arizona by Tom Zoellner

    A Safeway in Arizona

    10.2 hrs • 12/9/11 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    17.7 hrs • 8/26/2011 • Unabridged

    The late Harry M. Caudill saw the land and people of Appalachia with an unflinching eye. His classic, Night Comes to the Cumberlands, follows the long road traveled by the Southern mountaineer. His biography of the Cumberland Plateau begins in the violence of Indian wars and ends in the economic despair of the 1950s and 1960s. Two hundred years ago, the plateau was a land of promise. The deep, twisting valleys contained rich bottomlands; the mountainsides, teeming with game, produced mighty timber. Some of the people who settled this land in the eighteenth century may have come from the slums of England, but they became intrepid explorers like Simon Kenton and Jim Bridger. They lived by scratch farming, hunting, and making moonshine whiskey. The Civil War ravaged their land, leaving in its wake a legacy of hate which erupted in the great Kentucky mountain feuds and continued in the “Moonshine Wars” of the Prohibition era. In the late nineteenth century, the coal men came into the isolated valleys and easily persuaded the mountaineers to sign away their mineral rights for pitifully small sums. The countryside was then systematically plundered in what constitutes one of the ugliest eras of exploitation in American history. At the time it was written, Night Comes to the Cumberlands framed an urgent appeal to the American conscience. Today it details Appalachia’s difficult past, and, at the same time, presents an accurate historical backdrop for a contemporary understanding of the Appalachian region that Harry M. Caudill loved so dearly and served so well.

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    Night Comes to the Cumberlands

    17.7 hrs • 8/26/11 • Unabridged
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  9. 8.7 hrs • 9/30/2010 • Unabridged

    In a climate of culture wars and tremendous economic uncertainty, America is often reduced to a simplistic schism between red states and blue states. In response to that oversimplification, journalist Dante Chinni teamed up with political geographer James Gimpel to launch the Patchwork Nation project, using on-the-ground reporting and statistical analysis to get past generalizations and probe American communities in depth. The result is Our Patchwork Nation, a refreshing, sometimes startling look at how America’s diversities often defy conventional wisdom. Looking at the data, they recognized that the country breaks into twelve distinct types of communities, and old categories like “soccer mom” and “working class” don’t matter as much as we think. These communities includeboom towns,evangelical epicenters,military bastions,service worker centers,campus and careers,immigration nation,minority central,tractor community,Mormon outposts,emptying nests,industrial metropolises, andmonied burbs. By examining these populations, the authors demonstrate that the subtle distinctions in how Americans vote, invest, shop, and otherwise behave reflect what they experience on their local streets and in their daily lives. Our Patchwork Nation is a brilliant new way to debate and examine the issues that matter most to our communities—and to our nation.

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    Our Patchwork Nation

    8.7 hrs • 9/30/10 • Unabridged
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