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Libro.fm Picks: For the History Buff

Libro.fm Picks: For the History Buff

Looking for an audiobook you'll love, but not sure where to start? Browse these audiobooks for history buffs!

Playlist Tags: topic: history topic: biography

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How the Word Is Passed

A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

By Clint Smith
Narrated by: Clint Smith
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

If you enjoyed Long Time Coming, then you’ll love How the Word Is Passed.

“From plantation to Angola Prison. From Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, VA to the African Burial Ground in New York City. From Île de Gorée to Whitney Plantation. From the Emancipation Proclamation to Juneteenth. Clint Smith takes us on an unforgettable journey through the history of slavery in the United States, revealing many truths we’ve never been told. Using lyrical prose, he creates a mesmerizing history lesson told through his personal lens. The facts are punctuated by his reactions to the spaces he visits and the stories he hears in each space. Hard truths told in beautiful language make this a book both highly informative and extremely accessible. Every American should listen to or read it; most of us have a great deal to learn and unlearn. And Smith’s poetic prose and personal voice keep it from feeling like the invaluable sociology and history lesson it is. Definitely one of the best books of the year.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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Let the Record Show

A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

By Sarah Schulman
Narrated by: Rosalyn Coleman Williams & Sarah Schulman
Length: 27 hours 26 minutes

This program includes an introduction read by the author.

One of O, the Oprah Magazine's 32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021, one of Vogue's 9 LGBTQ+ Books We're Looking Forward to This Spring, one of and Cosmopolitan's LGBTQ+ Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2021, one of The Observer's Spring Books You Don't Want...

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The Dawn of Everything

A New History of Humanity

By David Graeber & David Wengrow
Narrated by: Mark Williams
Length: 24 hours 2 minutes

If you enjoyed Guns, Germs, and Steel, then you’ll love The Dawn of Everything.

“In this brilliant and sometimes funny reexamination of human history, the authors argue that we are less free than our ancestors, and that it was not inevitable "progress" that brought us here. Using evidence from the last few decades of archeology, the authors contend that the centralization of power in the hands of a few was often avoided in prehistory. This analysis is a hopeful one of a world where we could again have three basic freedoms: the freedom to disobey, the freedom to go somewhere else, and the freedom to create new social arrangements.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Michael, A Great Good Place for Books
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The 1619 Project

A New Origin Story

By Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman & Jake Silverstein
Narrated by: Nikole Hannah-Jones & Full Cast
Length: 18 hours 56 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire
 
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of... Read more »

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Better to Have Gone

Love, Death, and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville

By Akash Kapur
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 12 hours 38 minutes

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, New Statesman, Air Mail, and more

A “haunting and elegant” (The Wall Street Journal) story about love, faith, the search for utopia—and the often devastating cost of idealism.

It’s the late 1960s, and two lovers converge on an arid patch of earth in South India. John... Read more »

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Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

By Yuval Noah Harari
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 15 hours 17 minutes

Sapiens

“I don't own many books. I read books and give them away. However, I will NOT be giving away my copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. It's a keeper! Sapiens was an intense read for me. I found myself taking breaks every dozen pages or so. Not because I was bored - just the opposite. I needed time to let the author's perspective on the history of our species (you, me, us!) sink in. Yuval Noah Harari is irreverent at times and makes mind-blowing assertions in his book. You may not agree with all of his theories, but what he claims will make you see yourself as the animal you are in a refreshing new light. It's even possible that after you read Sapiens your view of the human condition will have shifted dramatically. Superbly translated from the original Hebrew into English by the author himself, Sapiens is accessible to readers of all types of non-fiction and fiction alike.”

The Bookloft image Catherine, The Bookloft
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Vanderbilt

The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

By Anderson Cooper & Katherine Howe
Narrated by: Anderson Cooper
Length: 8 hours 50 minutes

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in...

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Wandering in Strange Lands

A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots

By Morgan Jerkins
Narrated by: Morgan Jerkins
Length: 8 hours 3 minutes

Wandering in Strange Lands

“In Wandering in Strange Lands, Morgan Jerkins brings us along on her journey to learn about her ancestors and herself. This fascinating ethnography leads Jerkins down paths she anticipated and, perhaps most interestingly, down unexpected ones. As she learns more about where and whom she came from, she confronts her image of herself and grapples with some of the truths she finds. Jerkens’s journey takes us first to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, home of the Gullah Geechee people, and then to Louisiana and its Creole people. In both places, she learns much about her mother’s and father’s families. From there, we travel to Oklahoma where Jerkins explores connections between Native Americans and African Americans, searching for information about the claims in her family of Native American ancestry. And finally, we land in Los Angeles, where Jerkins’s research culminates in a thoughtful and insightful examination of what it means to be Black in the United States. The history, the people, the insight, and the implications of the information in this book make it not only incredibly interesting, but also a significant contribution to our understanding of cultures and connections in the United States.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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A Little Devil in America

Notes in Praise of Black Performance

By Hanif Abdurraqib
Narrated by: JD Jackson
Length: 9 hours 38 minutes

A Little Devil in America

“Hanif Abdurraqib's exploration of Black performance in America is a cultural keystone that is chillingly relevant. Whether discussing the fact that a knowing look or advice on a route from a cashier is a form of a living Green Book that still exists because there are places Black people are not safe, to the origin of the card game spades or the difference between showing out or showing off, at the heart A Little Devil in America circles back to the fact that Black Americans have been forced to survive in places there were not welcome. The section on Black funerals pierced my heart. This book needs to be read, taught, underlined and discussed.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel , Avid Bookshop
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Empire of Pain

The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe
Narrated by: Patrick Radden Keefe
Length: 18 hours 6 minutes

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE NOMINEE A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. From the prize-winning and bestselling author of... Read more »

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Four Hundred Souls

A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

By Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain
Narrated by: Various
Length: 14 hours 1 minutes

Four Hundred Souls

“An absolutely stunning history of African America for people who do not normally read history. Compiled of short stories, essays, and poems, it is perfect for someone who is intimidated by lists of names and dates. Each individual voice stands on its own but together they truly make a 'choir' that flows together beautifully. This is a one-of-a-kind history that is essential reading for everyone.”

Quail Ridge Books image Tia, Quail Ridge Books
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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 22 hours 40 minutes

The Warmth of Other Suns

“I'm sorry I hadn't gotten to this sooner. Wilkerson pulls together so much of what I already knew about the US but not necessarily why... a great audiobook, too.”

Flyleaf Books image Jamie, Flyleaf Books
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The Queens of Animation

The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History

By Nathalia Holt
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 11 hours 37 minutes

From the bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls, the untold, "richly detailed" story of the women of Walt Disney Studios, who shaped the iconic films that have enthralled generations (Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Figures).

From Snow White to Moana, from Pinocchio to Frozen, the animated films of Walt... Read more »

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Say Nothing

A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

By Patrick Radden Keefe
Narrated by: Matthew Blaney
Length: 14 hours 40 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From the author of Empire of Pain—a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book—as finely paced as a... Read more »

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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Length: 10 hours 18 minutes

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the U.S. settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history.

Roxanne... Read more »

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The Only Plane in the Sky

An Oral History of September 11, 2001

By Garrett M. Graff
Narrated by: A Full 45-Person Cast
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes

The Only Plane in the Sky

“Today I had a day off and listened to Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff on Libro.fm. I was in tears after the first 30 minutes. Has it really been 18 years since 9-11-01? It seems like it happened yesterday since it's still all so raw. I listened to the whole book nonstop until I was finished today. The style of the book reminds me of one of my favorite authors Studs Terkel. Let the people tell their own stories and the overall heart of the story will be told clearly and honestly. This will be a great gift suggestion for book buyers looking for the perfect gift for fathers, history bluffs, anyone that lived through those very tough days surrounding 9-11-01. Never forget!”

Tattered Cover image Suzie, Tattered Cover
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Hero of Two Worlds

The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution

By Mike Duncan
Narrated by: Mike Duncan
Length: 17 hours 19 minutes

From the bestselling author of The Storm Before the Storm and host of the Revolutions podcast comes the thrilling story of the Marquis de Lafayette’s lifelong quest to defend the principles of liberty and equality
 
Few in history can match the revolutionary career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age... Read more »

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Cuba (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

An American History

By Ada Ferrer
Narrated by: Alma Cuervo
Length: 23 hours 13 minutes

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE IN HISTORY
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE IN HISTORY

“Full of…lively insights and lucid prose” (The Wall Street Journal) an epic, sweeping history of Cuba and its complex ties to the United States—from before the arrival of Columbus to the present day—written by one of the world’s leading historians of... Read more »

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