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Ron Butler

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  1. 13.8 hrs • Mar/07/2017 • Unabridged

    During the nineteenth century, the United States entered the ranks of the world’s most advanced and dynamic economies. At the same time, the nation sustained an expansive and brutal system of human bondage. This was no mere coincidence. Slavery’s Capitalism argues for slavery’s centrality to the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. According to editors Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, the issue is not whether slavery itself was or was not capitalist but, rather, the impossibility of understanding the nation’s spectacular pattern of economic development without situating slavery front and center. American capitalism—renowned for its celebration of market competition, private property, and the self-made man—has its origins in an American slavery predicated on the abhorrent notion that human beings could be legally owned and compelled to work under force of violence.Drawing on the expertise of sixteen scholars who are at the forefront of rewriting the history of American economic development, Slavery’s Capitalism identifies slavery as the primary force driving key innovations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy that are too often attributed to the so-called free market. Approaching the study of slavery as the originating catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism casts new light on American credit markets, practices of offshore investment, and understandings of human capital. Rather than seeing slavery as outside the institutional structures of capitalism, the essayists recover slavery’s importance to the American economic past and prompt enduring questions about the relationship of market freedom to human freedom.Contributors: Edward E. Baptist, Sven Beckert, Daina Ramey Berry, Kathryn Boodry, Alfred L. Brophy, Stephen Chambers, Eric Kimball, John Majewski, Bonnie Martin, Seth Rockman, Daniel B. Rood, Caitlin Rosenthal, Joshua D. Rothman, Calvin Schermerhorn, Andrew Shankman, Craig Steven Wilder.

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  2. 9.4 hrs • Feb/20/2017 • Unabridged

    James Beard award–winning author Adrian Miller vividly tells the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Miller brings together the names and words of more than 150 black men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events in the nation’s history. Daisy McAfee Bonner, for example, FDR’s cook at his Warm Springs retreat, described the president’s final day on earth in 1945, when he was struck down just as his lunchtime cheese soufflé emerged from the oven. Sorrowfully, but with a cook’s pride, she recalled, “He never ate that soufflé, but it never fell until the minute he died.”A treasury of information about cooking techniques and equipment, the book includes twenty recipes for which black chefs were celebrated. From Samuel Fraunces’s “onions done in the Brazilian way” for George Washington to Zephyr Wright’s popovers, beloved by LBJ’s family, Miller highlights African Americans’ contributions to our shared American foodways. Surveying the labor of enslaved people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of employment after Emancipation, Miller highlights how food-related work slowly became professionalized and the important part African Americans played in that process. His chronicle of the daily table in the White House proclaims a fascinating new American story.

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    The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

    Read by Ron Butler
    9.4 hrs • Feb/20/2017 • Unabridged
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  3. 5.5 hrs • Dec/06/2016

    Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell. When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy…named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first. Set amid the swamps, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.

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    Hoodoo

    Read by Ron Butler
    5.5 hrs • Dec/06/2016
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  4. 8.2 hrs • Nov/15/2016 • Unabridged

    The first book to go behind the barricades of #blacklivesmatter to tell the story of the young men and women who are calling for a new America.In a closely reported book that draws on his own experience as a young biracial journalist, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery tells the story of the year that shook America. From the killings of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, with a stop in Selma, Alabama along the way, Lowery takes readers to the front lines of history as it unfolds. The repercussions of police violence have sent citizens into the streets proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and politicians scrambling for a new way of understanding the basic social contract between the governed and those who govern.With bracing intensity and incredible access, Lowery examines the economic, political, and personal histories that inform this movement, and place what it has accomplished—and what remains to be done—in the context of the last fifty years of American history. By also telling the story of his own life growing up biracial in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a black journalist, he will explain the roles that hope and optimism play in shaping one’s own identity.They Can’t Kill Us All is a galvanizing book that offers more than just behind-the-scenes coverage of the story of citizen resistance to police brutality. It will also explain where the movement came from, where it is headed and where it still has to go.

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    They Can't Kill Us All

    Read by Ron Butler
    8.2 hrs • Nov/15/2016 • Unabridged
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  5. 22.0 hrs • Oct/25/2016 • Unabridged

    Eighteen-time all-star; scorer of 81 points in a game; MVP and a shooting guard second only to Jordan in league history: Kobe Bryant is one of basketball’s absolute greatest players, a fascinating and complicated character who knew when he was a mere boy that he would be better than Jordan on the court.The debate about whether he achieved that is a furious one—but Kobe has surpassed Jordan on the all-time scoring list and has only one less championship than Jordan (5 to Jordan’s 6). He is set to retire after the 2015/16 season, just in time for Roland Lazenby’s definitive biography of the player and the man.The Lakers are the flashiest team in all of sports, and the context in which Bryant played is salacious and exciting. Provocative stories mixed with good old fashioned basketball reporting make for a riveting and essential read for any hoops fan.

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    Showboat

    Read by Ron Butler
    22.0 hrs • Oct/25/2016 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.6 hrs • Oct/24/2016 • Unabridged

    During the Civil War, Americans confronted profound moral problems about how to fight in the conflict. In this innovative book, D. H. Dilbeck reveals how the Union sought to wage a just war against the Confederacy. He shows that Northerners fought according to a distinct “moral vision of war,” an array of ideas about the nature of a truly just and humane military effort. Dilbeck tells how Union commanders crafted rules of conduct to ensure their soldiers defeated the Confederacy as swiftly as possible while also limiting the total destruction unleashed by the fighting. Dilbeck explores how Union soldiers abided by official just-war policies as they battled guerrillas, occupied cities, retaliated against enemy soldiers, and came into contact with Confederate civilians.In contrast to recent scholarship focused solely on the Civil War’s carnage, Dilbeck details how the Union sought both to deal sternly with Confederates and to adhere to certain constraints. The Union’s earnest effort to wage a just war ultimately helped give the Civil War its distinct character, a blend of immense destruction and remarkable restraint.

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    A More Civil War

    Read by Ron Butler
    8.6 hrs • Oct/24/2016 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.4 hrs • Oct/11/2016

    In the wake of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers faced a daunting task: overcome their competing visions to build a new nation, the likes of which the world had never seen. Washington and Hamilton chronicles the unlikely collaboration between two conflicting characters working together to protect their hard-won freedoms. Yet while Washington and Hamilton’s different personalities often led to fruitful collaboration, their conflicting ideals also tested the boundaries of their relationship-and threatened the future of the new republic. From the rumblings of the American Revolution through the fractious Constitutional Convention and America’s turbulent first years, this captivating history reveals the stunning impact of this unlikely duo that set the United States on the path to becoming a superpower.

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  8. 7.3 hrs • Sep/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 documents his transformative accomplishments. 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 features short entries listing President Obama’s accomplishments followed by capsule analysis, and quotes from the President’s speeches throughout.

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    Obama's Legacy

    Read by Ron Butler
    7.3 hrs • Sep/13/2016 • Unabridged
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  9. Sep/13/2016 • Unabridged

    As President Obama’s time in the White House draws to a close, this celebratory book documents his transformative accomplishments.Evidence indicates President Barack Obama has been tremendously successful and effective by objective measures. On economic indicators alone, he is credited with the longest streak of job growth in US 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.Obama’s Legacy is a commemoration of his eight years in the White House.

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    Obama’s Legacy

    Read by Ron Butler
    Sep/13/2016 • Unabridged
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  10. 1.0 hrs • Jul/05/2016 • Unabridged

    Growing up the youngest of seven children in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente had a talent for baseball. His incredible skill soon got him drafted into the big leagues where he spent 18 seasons playing right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Who Was Roberto Clemente? tells the story of this remarkable athlete: a twelve-time All-Star, World Series MVP, and the first Latin American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Who Was Roberto Clemente?

    Read by Ron Butler
    1.0 hrs • Jul/05/2016 • Unabridged
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  11. 9.5 hrs • Jun/07/2016 • Unabridged

    From legendary comedian D. L. Hughley comes a bitingly funny send-up of the Obama years, as “told” by the key political players on both sides of the aisle.What do the Clintons, Republicans, fellow Democrats, and Obama’s own family really think of President Barack Obama? Finally, the truth is revealed in this raucously funny “oral history” parody.There is no more astute—and hilarious—critic of politics, entertainment, and race in America than D. L. Hughley, famed comedian, radio star, and original member of the “Kings of Comedy.” In the vein of Jon Stewart’s America: The Book, Black Man, White House is an acerbic and witty take on Obama’s two terms, looking at the president’s accomplishments and foibles through the imagined eyes of those who saw history unfold.Hughley draws upon satirical interviews with the most notorious public figures of our day: Mitt Romney (“What’s ‘poverty’? Is that some sort of rap jargon?”); Nancy Pelosi (“I play F**k/Marry/Kill, and there’s a lot more kills than fu**ks in Congress, believe me.”); Rod Blagojevich (“You can’t sell political offices on eBay; I discovered that personally.”); Joe Biden (“I like wrestling.”); and other politicians, media pundits, and buffoons. It is sure to be the most irreverent—and perhaps the most honest—look at American politics today.

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  12. 8.9 hrs • Jan/04/2016 • Unabridged

    In February 1971 racial tension surrounding school desegregation in Wilmington, North Carolina, culminated in four days of violence and skirmishes between white vigilantes and black residents. The turmoil resulted in two deaths, six injuries, more than $500,000 in damage, and the firebombing of a white-owned store, before the National Guard restored uneasy peace. Despite glaring irregularities in the subsequent trial, ten young persons were convicted of arson and conspiracy and then sentenced to a total of 282 years in prison. They became known internationally as the Wilmington Ten. A powerful movement arose within North Carolina and beyond to demand their freedom, and after several witnesses admitted to perjury, a federal appeals court, also citing prosecutorial misconduct, overturned the convictions in 1980.Kenneth Janken narrates the dramatic story of the Ten, connecting their story to a larger arc of Black Power and the transformation of post–civil rights–era political organizing. Grounded in extensive interviews, newly declassified government documents, and archival research, this book thoroughly examines the events of 1971 and the subsequent movement for justice that strongly influenced the wider African American freedom struggle.

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    The Wilmington Ten

    Read by Ron Butler
    8.9 hrs • Jan/04/2016 • Unabridged
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  13. 9.6 hrs • Oct/27/2015 • Unabridged

    The injustices of 1940s Jim Crow America are brought to life in this extraordinary blend of military and social history, an account that pays tribute to the valor of an all-black battalion whose crucial contributions at D-day have gone unrecognized to this day.In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a unit of African American soldiers, landed on the beaches of France. Their orders were to man a curtain of armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft. One member of the 320th would be nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award he would never receive because the nation’s highest decoration was not given to black soldiers in World War II.Drawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th and their families, Linda Hervieux tells the story of these heroic men charged with an extraordinary mission, whose contributions to one of the most celebrated events in modern history have been overlooked.Thousands of African Americans were sent abroad to fight for liberties denied them at home, including these members of the 320th: Wilson Monk, a jack-of-all-trades from Atlantic City; Henry Parham, the son of sharecroppers from rural Virginia; William Dabney, an eager seventeen-year-old from Roanoke, Virginia; and Samuel Mattison, a charming romantic from Columbus, Ohio. In Europe, these soldiers discovered freedom they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens—experiences they carried back to America, fueling the budding civil-rights movement.In telling the story of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, Hervieux offers a vivid account of the tension between racial politics and national service in wartime America and a moving narrative of human bravery and perseverance in the face of injustice.

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    Forgotten

    Read by Ron Butler
    9.6 hrs • Oct/27/2015 • Unabridged
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  14. 8.3 hrs • Jun/23/2015 • Unabridged

    Long before Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time in a flying DeLorean, director Robert Zemeckis, and his friend and writing partner Bob Gale, worked tirelessly to break into the industry with a hit. For the first time ever, the story of how these two young filmmakers struck lightning is being told by those who witnessed it. We Don't Need Roads includes original interviews with Zemeckis, Gale, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Huey Lewis, and over fifty others who contributed to one of the most popular and profitable film trilogies of all time. With a focus not only on the movies, but also the lasting impact of the franchise and its fandom, We Don't Need Roads is the ultimate book for anyone who has ever wanted to ride a Hoverboard, hang from the top of a clock tower, travel through the space-time continuum, or find out what really happened to Eric Stoltz after the first six weeks of filming.

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    We Don't Need Roads

    Read by Ron Butler
    8.3 hrs • Jun/23/2015 • Unabridged
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  15. 13.1 hrs • Mar/17/2015 • Unabridged

    Lauren Francis-Sharma's 'Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman, the risks and rewards in Marcia's life amplify forever. On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia's secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them. 'Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman's love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For readers who cherish the previously untold stories of women's lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.

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    ’Til the Well Runs Dry

    13.1 hrs • Mar/17/2015 • Unabridged
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  16. 5.0 hrs • Feb/03/2015 • Unabridged

    At last, a new audio edition of the book many have called James Baldwin’s most influential work!Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.” Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have proven almost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of white progressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed and unabashed. He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressed the issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical and political violence against black citizens and measured understanding of their oppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under their noses. Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventional empathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise. Notes is the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remains one of his most admired works. The essays collected here create a cohesive sketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own search for identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.

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    Notes of a Native Son

    Read by Ron Butler
    5.0 hrs • Feb/03/2015 • Unabridged
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