The Hearts of Men:

A Novel

  • Read by: Adam Verner
  • Runtime: 11.9 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 3.7.2017
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Genre: Fiction/Literary
  • 11.93 hrs3/7/2017Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9780062659880

Finalist for the 2016 Prix Médicis Étranger

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2017

A March 2017 LibraryReads Pick

A BookPage Top Pick for March 2017

An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp—from the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs

Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.

Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths—and the limits—of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.

The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality—and redemption.

Editorial Reviews

“Part coming-of-age narrative, part meditation on masculinity, part war story, this novel had me spellbound all the way to its riveting conclusion.”

Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author

“[A] big-hearted epic full of sturdy characters that wear their hearts—and pride—on their sleeves…Butler demonstrates enormous command over the material and sympathy for his flawed characters.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Explores the ways boys become men and how even flawed men may stand as models for the young…delving into the roots of the male character and how it may be shaped by a code of behavior or an exemplar and warped or strengthened by trauma.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“What does it really mean to be a good man?…[This] earnest exploration of the best and worst of male behavior, set against the backdrop of that quintessential laboratory for shaping it: the Boy Scouts.”


“Delves into the meaning of loyalty and friendship, how some rise to life’s challenges while others fail…Readers become emotionally invested in the strong, well-drawn characters and will be touched by the affecting and memorable conclusion.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Butler achieves a rare triple play here of brilliant characterizations, a riveting story line, and superlatively measured prose, putting him in the front ranks of contemporary American writers of literary fiction.”


Author Biography

Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review Online, the Progressive, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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Reader Biography

Adam Verner is a stage, film, television and voice actor and an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. He holds a BS in theater arts from Bradley University and an MFA from Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

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