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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    6.8 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged

    From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD
    Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

    Hillbilly Elegy

    6.8 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    Also: CD, MP3 CD
  2. 15.2 hrs • 1/5/2016 • Unabridged

    A landmark work of American photojournalism “renowned for its fusion of social conscience and artistic radicality” (New York Times) In the summer of 1936, James Agee and Walker Evans set out on assignment for Fortune magazine to explore the daily lives of sharecroppers in the South. Their journey would prove an extraordinary collaboration and a watershed literary event when Let Us Now Praise Famous Men was first published in 1941 to enormous critical acclaim. This unsparing record of place, of the people who shaped the land, and the rhythm of their lives is intensely moving and unrelentingly honest, and today—recognized by the New York Public Library as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century—it stands as a poetic tract of its time. With a sixty-four-page photographic prologue featuring archival reproductions of Evans’ classic images, this book offers readers a window into a remarkable slice of American history.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD
    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee

    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

    Photographs by Walker Evans
    Read by Lloyd James
    15.2 hrs • 1/5/16 • Unabridged
    Also: CD, MP3 CD
  3. 8.5 hrs • 9/1/2014 • Unabridged

    A sweeping new look at the unheralded transformation that is eroding the foundations of American exceptionalism. Americans today find themselves mired in an era of uncertainty and frustration. The nation’s safety net is pulling apart under its own weight; political compromise is viewed as a form of defeat; and our faith in the enduring concept of American exceptionalism appears increasingly outdated. But the American Age may not be ending. In The Vanishing Neighbor, Marc J. Dunkelman identifies an epochal shift in the structure of American life—a shift unnoticed by many. Routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with grocers and plumbers—interactions that encouraged debate and cultivated compromise—have changed dramatically since the postwar era. Both technology and the new routines of everyday life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but they have sapped the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries have built local communities and fostered healthy debate. The disappearance of these once-central relationships—between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate—lies at the root of America’s economic woes and political gridlock. The institutions that were erected to support what Tocqueville called the “township”—that unique locus of the power of citizens—are failing because they haven’t yet been molded to the realities of the new American community. It’s time we moved beyond the debate over whether the changes being made to American life are good or bad and focus instead on understanding the trade-offs. Our cities are less racially segregated than in decades past, but we’ve become less cognizant of what’s happening in the lives of people from different economic backgrounds, education levels, or age groups. Familiar divisions have been replaced by cross-cutting networks—with profound effects for the way we resolve conflicts, spur innovation, and care for those in need. The good news is that the very transformation at the heart of our current anxiety holds the promise of more hope and prosperity than would have been possible under the old order. The Vanishing Neighbor argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the twenty-first-century American community.

    Available Formats: Download

    The Vanishing Neighbor

    8.5 hrs • 9/1/14 • Unabridged
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