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Executive Branch

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  1. 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    After being sworn in as president, Richard Nixon told the assembled crowd that “government will listen … Those who have been left out, we will try to bring in.” But that same day, he obliterated those pledges of greater citizen control of government by signing National Security Decision Memorandum 2, a document that made sweeping changes to the national security power structure. Nixon’s signature erased the influence that the Departments of State and Defense, as well as the CIA, had over Vietnam and the course of the Cold War. The new structure put Nixon at the center, surrounded by loyal aides and a new national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, who coordinated policy through the National Security Council under Nixon’s command. Using years of research and revelations from newly released documents, USA Today reporter Ray Locker upends much of the conventional wisdom about the Nixon administration and its impact and shows how the creation of this secret, unprecedented, extraconstitutional government undermined US policy and values. In doing so, Nixon sowed the seeds of his own destruction by creating a climate of secrecy, paranoia, and reprisal that still affects Washington today.

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    Nixon’s Gamble

    9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.3 hrs • 9/13/2016 • Unabridged

    Millions of books about Obama were sold after his election and at the time of inauguration. His departure as president will be as emotion-filled as his taking office, and LEGACY will document his transformative accomplishments. As his final year in office approaches, the evidence indicates he has been tremendously successful and effective by objective measures. On economic indicators alone, he is credited with the longest streak of job growth in U.S. history, a two-thirds reduction in the federal budget deficit, and the rebounding of the stock market to record highs following the record lows of the recession under his predecessor. His victories have come against a backdrop of criticism and sometimes open defiance from conservatives, lack of cooperation in Congress and racially tinged commentary in traditional and social media. Through it all, the president who campaigned on a slogan of “Yes, We Can!” has persevered in his determination to make a difference and left an indelible mark on American politics and the world, emerging with dignity and poise.LEGACY will feature short entries listing President Obama’s accomplishments followed by capsule analysis, quotes from the President’s speeches, and color photos throughout.

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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. 1 reviews 0 5 3.7 3 out of 5 stars 3.7/5 (1)
    9.2 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged

    Former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne exposes the truth behind Hillary, Bill, and their public façade. Posted directly outside President Clinton’s Oval Office, former Secret Service uniformed officer Gary Byrne reveals what he observed of Hillary Clinton’s character and the culture inside the White House while protecting the First Family. Now that a second Clinton administration threatens—their scheme from the very beginning—Byrne exposes what he saw of the real Hillary Clinton. While serving as a Secret Service Officer, Gary Byrne protected President Bill Clinton and the First Family in the White House and outside the Oval Office. There, he saw the political and personal machinations of Bill and Hillary Clinton and those who were fiercely loyal to them. In Crisis of Character Byrne provides a firsthand account of the scandals—known and unknown—and daily trials ranging from the minor to national in scale. Having witnessed the personal and political dysfunction of the Clinton White House—so consumed by scandal and destroying their enemies, real and imagined—Byrne came to understand that, to the Clintons, governing was an afterthought. He now tells this story—before voters go to the polls—in the hopes that Clinton supporters will understand the real Hillary Clinton.

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    Crisis of Character

    9.2 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 3.7 3 out of 5 stars 3.7/5 (1)
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  5. 15.8 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    From a former White House presidential events production director comes an illuminating journey through the most catastrophic scenes of political stagecraft since the “Age of Optics” in 1988. The responsibility of being a public figure is no walk in the park—the world highlights politicians’ every mistake. “Image collapse” can befall anyone whose carefully cultivated persona is analyzed by, and filtered through, intermediaries in the broadcast booths of cable news networks or behind the photo desks of newspapers, magazines, and today’s host of digital platforms. As someone who orchestrates television- and photo-ready moments involving important political figures, Josh King has unique experience working with the reputations of public figures. In Off Script, King leads listeners through an entertaining behind-the-scenes journey through the most catastrophic scenes of political stagecraft since the dawn of the “Age of Optics” in 1988. Listeners might recall these moments as simple cases of bad luck, but King argues that they were actually symptomatic of something deeper in how we view our leaders. We tour nearly thirty years of history to set the stage for the Age of Optics and then turn to the Obama administration and what King calls the “Vanilla Presidency.” King shows how Barack Obama began his term in office as more guarded and more protective of the presidential persona than anyone in history, and as we arrive at the election of 2016 and beyond, we have to wonder: Will our future president follow Obama’s example? If so, how will that influence the relationship between our nation’s citizens and their leader?

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    Off Script by Josh King

    Off Script

    Read by Josh King
    15.8 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 3.5 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    Electrifying investigation of White House lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden In 2011, an elite group of US Navy SEALS stormed an enclosure in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, the man the United States had begun chasing before the devastating attacks of 9/11. The news did much to boost President Obama’s first term and played a major part in his reelection victory of the following year. But much of the story of that night, as presented to the world, was incomplete, or a lie. The evidence of what actually went on remains hidden. At the same time, the full story of the United States’ involvement in the Syrian civil war has been kept behind a diplomatic curtain, concealed by doublespeak. It is a policy of obfuscation that has compelled the White House to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s involvement in supporting ISIS and its predecessors in Syria. This investigation, which began as a series of essays in the London Review of Books, has ignited a firestorm of controversy in the world media. In his introduction, Hersh asks what will be the legacy of Obama’s time in office. Was it an era of “change we can believe in” or a season of lies and compromises that continued George W. Bush’s misconceived War on Terror? How did he lose the confidence of the general in charge of America’s forces who acted in direct contradiction to the White House? What else do we not know?

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    The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

    3.5 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 7.1 hrs • 2/29/2016

    Since Victoria Woodhull launched her symbolic bid for the presidency in 1872, dozens of women have sought the presidency over the past 150 years. Their quest began long before women won the vote and it unfolded over decades when a woman’s pursuit of any higher political office was met with prejudice, mockery, and hostility. Even after women started voting in 1920, they remained shut out of rooms where presidential candidacies were often born. Whether a woman will break through the glass ceiling during the current election cycle is uncertain, Fitzpatrick acknowledges— but it will happen sooner or later.

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  8. 29.5 hrs • 2/1/2016

    A day that will live in infamy … Nothing to fear but fear itself … Ask not what your country can do for you … Ich bin ein Berliner … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this collection features original speeches by the presidents of the United States. *These are actual historic recordings, the sound quality represents the available audio technology of the era, and varies by recording.

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    Great Speeches by the Presidents of the United States, 1933–2015 by SpeechWorks
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  9. 14.8 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    After being sworn in as president, Richard Nixon told the assembled crowd that government will listen. Those who have been left out, we will try to bring in. But that same day, he obliterated those pledges of greater citizen control of government by signing National Security Decision Memorandum 2, a document that made sweeping changes to the national security power structure. Nixon’s signature erased the influence that the departments of State and Defense, as well as the CIA, had over Vietnam and the course of the Cold War. The new structure put Nixon at the center, surrounded by loyal aides and a new national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, who coordinated policy through the National Security Council under Nixon’s command. Using years of research and revelations from newly released documents, USA Today reporter Ray Locker upends much of the conventional wisdom about the Nixon administration and its impact and shows how the creation of this secret, unprecedented, extraconstitutional government undermined US policy and values. In doing so, Nixon sowed the seeds of his own destruction by creating a climate of secrecy, paranoia, and reprisal that still affects Washington today.

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    Nixon’s Gamble

    14.8 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.7 hrs • 1/12/2016

    A day that will live in infamy … Nothing to fear but fear itself … Ask not what your country can do for you … Ich bin ein Berliner … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. George H. W. Bush: Inauguration Speech (1989), Panama (1989), Kuwait (1990), State of the Union (1991), End of Gulf War (1991), Gulf War (1991) William Jefferson Clinton: First Inauguration (1993), Health Care (1993), Normandy (1994), Oklahoma Bombing (1995), Bosnia (1995), State of the Union (1996), Balanced Budget (1997), Farewell to the Nation (2001) George W. Bush: Inauguration Address (2001), 9/11 (2001), Ground Zero (2001), Joint Session (2001), Iraqi Freedom Operation (2003), Second Inauguration Address (2005) Barack Obama: Inauguration (2009), Health Care (2009), Obamacare (2010), Bin Laden (2011), Reelection Victory Speech (2012), State of the Union Address (2014), Iran (2015) *These are actual historic recordings, the sound quality represents the available audio technology of the era, and varies by recording.

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    Great Speeches by the Presidents of the United States, Vol. 3 by SpeechWorks
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  11. 9.6 hrs • 12/8/2015

    A day that will live in infamy … Nothing to fear but fear itself … Ask not what your country can do for you … Ich bin ein Berliner … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this collection features original speeches by the presidents of the United States. *These are actual historic recordings, the sound quality represents the available audio technology of the era, and varies by recording.

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    Great Speeches by the Presidents of the United States, Vol. 2 by SpeechWorks
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  12. 15.2 hrs • 11/24/2015 • Unabridged

    From New York Times bestselling author and political mastermind Karl Rove comes a fresh look at President William McKinley who found a message that healed his nation, pried his party away from its bosses, and extended its reach to forge a governing majority that lasted thirty years. Many of the changes that the country experienced in 1896 match those of today: a rising immigrant population made traditional white Protestants a shrinking share of the electorate, an economic upheaval led to rising inequality, and there was little common ground between the two parties. McKinley’s campaign found answers to many of these challenges, which is why it is so relevant to what ails our politics now. A talented politician and reserved Ohioan, McKinley (called “the Major”) changed the arc of American history by running the first truly modern presidential campaign. Knowing he didn’t stand a chance with the GOP’s traditional base of supporters, he did the unthinkable and reached out to diverse ethnic groups, including openly seeking the endorsement of Catholic Church leaders. Running on the slogan “the Man against the Bosses,” McKinley also took on the moneymen who controlled the party by doling out favors. He even deployed what we would consider modern tactics, including micro-targeting voters with the use of the latest technology. Above all, he offered bold and controversial answers to the nation’s most pressing challenge: how to make a new, more global economy work for everyone. And although he alienated factions within his party and longtime allies, he won the White House. The 1896 election is a compelling drama in its own right, but McKinley’s brilliant strategies offer important and powerful lessons for both political parties today.

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    The Triumph of William McKinley

    Read by Karl Rove
    15.2 hrs • 11/24/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 10.2 hrs • 11/17/2015

    A day that will live in infamy … Nothing to fear but fear itself … Ask not what your country can do for you … Ich bin ein Berliner … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this collection features original speeches by the presidents of the United States. *These are actual historic recordings, the sound quality represents the available audio technology of the era, and varies by recording.

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    Great Speeches by the Presidents of the United States, Vol. 1 by SpeechWorks
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  14. 27.7 hrs • 11/3/2015 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charlie Savage’s penetrating investigation of the Obama presidency and the national security stateBarack Obama campaigned on a promise of change from George W. Bush’s “global war on terror.” Yet from indefinite detention and drone strikes to surveillance and military tribunals, Obama ended up continuing—and in some cases expanding—many policies he inherited. What happened? In Power Wars, Charlie Savage looks inside the Obama administration’s national security legal and policy team in a way that no one has before. Based on exclusive interviews with more than 150 current and former officials and access to previously unreported documents, he lays bare their internal deliberations, including emotional debates over the fates of detainees held on torture-tainted evidence and acts of war that lacked congressional authorization. He tells the inside stories of how Obama came to order the killing of an American citizen, preside over an unprecedented crackdown on leaks, and keep a then-secret National Security Agency program that collected records of every American’s phone calls.Savage also pieces together the first comprehensive history of how American surveillance secretly developed over the past thirty-five years, synthesizing recent revelations and filling in gaps with new reporting. And he provides lucid explanations of legal dilemmas in a way that non-lawyers can understand. Highlighted by new information about the pivotal aftermath to the failed Christmas underwear bombing and the planning for the Osama bin Laden raid, Savage’s own eyewitness reporting at Guantanamo, and detailed accounts of closed-door meetings at the highest levels of government, Power Wars equips readers to understand the legacy of Obama’s presidency.

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    Power Wars

    27.7 hrs • 11/3/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.9 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    Former vice president Dick Cheney, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and his daughter Liz Cheney, former deputy assistant secretary of state, explain the unique and indispensable nature of American power, reveal the damage done by President Obama’s abandonment of this principle, and show how America can and must lead again. Since World War II, American power and leadership have been an unmatched force for the defense of freedom around the globe. For seventy years, presidents both Republican and Democratic have shared a dedication to maintaining American power and leadership. President Obama has abandoned this bipartisan tradition, choosing instead to “lead from behind” as he abandons America’s allies, appeases our enemies, and apologizes for this great nation. When the former vice president spoke out on the topic last year, the Wall Street Journal declared, “Dick Cheney is still right,” and the Washington Post lauded his comments, adding that “unless we have a president who understands that proactive, early action and a robust military force are essential to national security, we will forever be racing to catch up to our enemies.” Now the former vice president and his daughter, former deputy assistant secretary of state Liz Cheney, team up to explain how President Obama has drastically broken with the bipartisan foreign policy consensus that enabled America to prevail in World War II, to win the Cold War, and to triumph in the first decade of the War on Terror. The Cheneys reveal the damage done by President Obama’s policies and demonstrate how his unwillingness to defend and protect American power has weakened the nation and diminished the ability of future presidents to defend us. Finally, the Cheneys do what no one before them has done: chart a path forward to restoring American power and strength, explaining what must be done to reverse course, to fight and win the war on terror, to rebuild our military and reassure our allies that they can once again rely on American leadership. A critical, frank, and much-needed touchstone, Exceptional should stand as a guiding principle for the potential presidential candidates in 2016—and for policymakers today and beyond.

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    Exceptional

    7.9 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 11.6 hrs • 7/28/2015 • Unabridged

    Unmanned is an in-depth examination of why seemingly successful wars never seem to end. The problem centers on drones, now accumulated in the thousands, the front end of a spying and killing machine that is disconnected from either security or safety.Drones, however, are only part of the problem. William M. Arkin shows that security is actually undermined by an impulse to gather as much data as possible, the appetite and the theory both skewed toward the notion that no amount is too much. And yet the very endeavor of putting fewer humans in potential danger places everyone in greater danger. Wars officially end, but the Data Machine lives on forever.Throughout his career, Arkin has exposed powerful secrets of so-called national security and intelligence. Now he continues that tradition. The most alarming book about warfare in years, Unmanned is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of mankind.

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    Unmanned

    11.6 hrs • 7/28/15 • Unabridged
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