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A (VERY) SHORT HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH

A (VERY) SHORT HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

by Henry Gee | Read by Henry Gee

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
History

Once past the earth's geophysical origins and the eventual rise of single-cell organisms, paleontologist Henry Gee presents a pithy, fascinating account of the stages of biological evolution. He's a deliberate, engaged narrator whose slow pacing will require adaptation. This and creative background music and sound effects (dinosaur sounds?) create a meditative and friendly... Read More

THE ABYSS

THE ABYSS Nuclear Crisis Cuba 1962

Earphones Award Winner

by Max Hastings | Read by John Hopkins, Max Hastings

Harper Audio | Unabridged
History

John Hopkins's rich, dramatic voice suits this account of the 13 days in 1962 when the world was on the verge of a nuclear catastrophe: the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hopkins artfully meets the challenge of describing the mutual brinksmanship that took place between the Soviet Union and the U.S. when Russian missiles were discovered a mere 90 miles from American shores. Hopkins... Read More

ALL THE KNOWLEDGE IN THE WORLD

ALL THE KNOWLEDGE IN THE WORLD The Extraordinary History of the Encyclopedia

by Simon Garfield | Read by Tim Bentinck

Harper Audio | Unabridged
History

British actor Tim Bentinck narrates this remarkably witty and pithy audiobook with a sense of informed fun. He has a fine ability to mimic. Americans, French people, and Germans all are nicely emulated, and his restrained glee suits the encyclopedia maven Garfield's writing. He paces his delivery intelligently. Chock-a-block with factoids, this audiobook traces how knowledge... Read More

THE ELIZABETHAN MIND

THE ELIZABETHAN MIND Searching for the Self in an Age of Uncertainty

by Helen Hackett | Read by Helen Lloyd

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
History

Hackett's history ranges from ancient through Renaissance medicine, psychology, religion, and literature to provide an erudite but comprehensible study of Elizabethan ideas of the mind and how it works. Helen Lloyd's performance is the text's perfect match. Her clarity and vocal precision mirror the clarity of the writing, which is rich and detailed but not obscure. The... Read More

EMPIRES OF THE NORMANS

EMPIRES OF THE NORMANS Makers of Europe, Conquerors of Asia

by Levi Roach | Read by Luke Thompson

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
History

The violent, complex history of the medieval Normans in France, England, Italy, and the Middle East and their outsize, indelible mark on history make for a remarkable story. Yet it's Norman history that the mouse in ALICE IN WONDERLAND reads to soaked characters as "the driest thing I know." Narrator Luke Thompson works hard to avoid drying out the listener by bringing a... Read More

HALF AMERICAN

HALF AMERICAN The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

by Matthew F. Delmont | Read by William DeMeritt

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
History

William DeMeritt's voice is calm--even as he reveals the building tension among the Black WWII soldiers who staged a wildcat strike after an explosion at Port Chicago. Many of them were charged with mutiny in a case defended by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Author Matthew F. Delmont draws heavily on Black newspapers to recount cases of "Hitlerism," violent... Read More

A HAUNTED HISTORY OF INVISIBLE WOMEN

A HAUNTED HISTORY OF INVISIBLE WOMEN True Stories of America's Ghosts

by Leanna Renee Hieber, Andrea Janes | Read by Linda Jones

Tantor Media | Unabridged
History

Linda Jones narrates this study subtitled "True Stories of America's Ghosts." It examines gender issues related to the most famous, notorious, and unusual legends of ghosts in our culture. Jones delivers the work in a cool, gentle voice. Divided into seven parts, this literary treatise on ghost tales, seances, and the paranormal includes only brief clips of such tales. Instead,... Read More

INDIGENOUS CONTINENT

INDIGENOUS CONTINENT The Epic Contest for North America

by Pekka Hamalainen | Read by Kaipo Schwab

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
History

Kaipo Schwab narrates this sweeping history of North America, which is focused primarily on the territory that would become the United States. It is told from the vantage point of Indigenous peoples, who first arrived in around 10,000 BCE. Its emphasis is on the time period beginning with the first Europeans' "discovery" of the continent, and it continues through the latter... Read More

INVASION

INVASION The Inside Story of Russia's Bloody War and Ukraine's Fight for Survival

by Luke Harding | Read by Nicholas Guy Smith

Random House Audio | Unabridged
History

Nicholas Guy Smith's British-accented narration is always lively, never sounding dry or clinical. Author Luke Harding, a GUARDIAN journalist, tells the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine with details that emphasize the human toll of the war. Smith recounts events with just enough emotion to put listeners on the scene. He captures the weariness of people trapped in... Read More

THE LION AND THE FOX

THE LION AND THE FOX Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

by Alexander Rose | Read by Mark Bramhall

Harper Audio | Unabridged
History

Mark Bramhall has the resonance of a nineteenth-century orator, and his fine articulation has flavored many period histories and biographies. Here he transports listeners to the 1860s and the docks of Liverpool, where Confederate and Union agents match wits over outfitting ships and munitions bound for Southern ports in the U.S. England was an uneasily neutral nation during the... Read More

MAGNIFICENT REBELS

MAGNIFICENT REBELS The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self

Earphones Award Winner

by Andrea Wulf | Read by Julie Teal

Random House Audio | Unabridged
History

This superb audiobook will surely rank among this year's finest histories and literary studies. British actress Julie Teal brings elegance and grace to popular historian Andrea Wulf's lively account of the unconventional group of authors, poets, and intellectuals who congregated in Jena, Germany, in the 1790s and early 1800s, and together inaugurated the modern romantic idea of... Read More

THE MONSTER'S BONES

THE MONSTER'S BONES The Discovery of T. Rex and How It Shook Our World

by David K. Randall | Read by Roman Howell

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
History

Roman Howell's narration makes the true story of Barnum Brown, the fossil-hunting scientist from Kansas who found the first Tyrannosaurus rex, seem like an adventure novel. Howell sounds excited and fascinated by Brown's ability to uncover fossils in what was becoming a crowded field. As dinosaurs became popular, the paleontologist from New York's American Museum was always... Read More

THE NAZI CONSPIRACY

THE NAZI CONSPIRACY The Secret Plot to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill

by Brad Meltzer, Josh Mensch | Read by Scott Brick

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
History

Scott Brick, with his rich baritone and impeccable pacing, delivers a commanding performance of a riveting, unconfirmed WWII incident. In 1943, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met in Iran to strategize their attempt to end the war. Authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch lay out the Nazi conspiracy to kill the "Big Three," with action that moves from... Read More

NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT

NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT Leopold & Loeb and the Truth Behind the Murder That Rocked 1920s America

by Greg King, Penny Wilson | Read by Armando Riesco

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
History

With the enthusiastic delivery of an entertainment news anchor, narrator Armando Riesco emphasizes the shocking and obsessive elements of one of the most sensational crimes of all time. In 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two promising and privileged 19-year-old scions of Chicago wealth, intricately planned the kidnapping, torture, and murder of a 14-year-old boy. Riesco... Read More

OUR MAN IN TOKYO

OUR MAN IN TOKYO An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor

Earphones Award Winner

by Steve Kemper | Read by Dan Woren

Harper Audio | Unabridged
History

The listener, of course, knows the catastrophe that's ahead. But this dramatic audio history of Japan's rising militarism in the 1930s, based on American Ambassador Joseph Grew's extensive diaries, confirms the Hitchcockian theory that suspense is generated not by surprise, but by expectation. Narrator Dan Woren is, as always, matchless. Given a narrative so powerfully built... Read More

PAPYRUS

PAPYRUS The Invention of Books in the Ancient World

by Irene Vallejo, Charlotte Whittle [Trans.] | Read by Sophie Robert

Random House Audio | Unabridged
History

This audiobook's subtitle--"The Invention of Books in the Ancient World"-- describes this work better than its title. This history of books moves from the oral tradition to scrolls to codices and recounts how those lay the foundation for Western culture. The author's anecdotal style and short chapters translate well to audio. Sophie Robert offers an able and pleasing narration.... Read More

PERSONALITY AND POWER

PERSONALITY AND POWER Builders and Destroyers of Modern Europe

by Ian Kershaw | Read by Matt Bates

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
History

With studied detachment, narrator Matt Bates takes listeners through a roster of this past century's world shakers: Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Churchill, a dozen in all, eleven men and one woman, Margaret Thatcher. Bates, who is familiar to listeners of Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom novels, is sonorously, elegantly British, and a master of articulation. He smoothly... Read More

PRISONERS OF THE CASTLE

PRISONERS OF THE CASTLE An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz, the Nazis' Fortress Prison

by Ben Macintyre | Read by Ben Macintyre

Random House Audio | Unabridged
History

Narrated with the skill of an experienced audiobook narrator, Ben Macintyre's chronicle of life for prisoners of war at Colditz Castle is a fascinating story of survival during WWII. The German army used the castle, known for its exceptional architecture, for four years to house what it considered to be the prisoners most likely to rebel and escape. The stories are captivating,... Read More

ROCK & ROLL IN KENNEDY'S AMERICA

ROCK & ROLL IN KENNEDY'S AMERICA A Cultural History of the Early 1960s

by Richard Aquila | Read by Chris Abernathy

Tantor Media | Unabridged
History

With his appealing pitch and tempo patterns, narrator Chris Abernathy provides this engaging audiobook with the perfect balance of documentary clarity and vocal pizzazz. His calm tone and relaxed pacing let the author's diligent research and writing shine. Kennedy was elected the same year the first Baby Boomers became adolescents and took in the dramatic changes in the way... Read More

RUSSIA

RUSSIA Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921

by Antony Beevor | Read by Rob Heaps

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
History

Rob Heaps's precise enunciation and steady pacing result in a splendid narration of these detailed accounts of the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and the ensuing civil war that resulted in the establishment of Soviet power. Drawing on numerous firsthand accounts and other sources, Beevor's history is one that will be enjoyed by history buffs, especially those intrigued by Russia.... Read More

THE SASSOONS

THE SASSOONS The Great Global Merchants and the Making of an Empire

by Joseph Sassoon | Read by James Lurie

Random House Audio | Unabridged
History

Narrator James Lurie's voice is amiable and a bit sandpapery; it's especially effective in holding listener interest through specialized and sometimes marginal histories and biographies. Here he brings focus and definition to a family chronicle that's thin on drama and memorable characters but strong on social history. Over two centuries the Sassoon dynasty of Baghdadi Jews... Read More

THE SEWING GIRL'S TALE

THE SEWING GIRL'S TALE A Story of Crime and Consequences in Revolutionary America

by John Wood Sweet | Read by Gabra Zackman

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
History

Gabra Zackman narrates this meticulous account of the first rape trial in post-Revolutionary War (1793) New York City. Seventeen-year-old seamstress Lanah Sawyer is graced with manners, some education, and a dose of naïveté. Upon being raped, Lanah, with her stepfather's support, brings suit against Harry Bedlow, a notorious rake and cheat, and member of the moneyed class.... Read More

THE UKRAINIANS

THE UKRAINIANS The Story of How a People Became a Nation, Fifth Edition

by Andrew Wilson | Read by Stefan Rudnicki

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
History

Listeners will notice the skepticism in Stefan Rudnicki's voice as he narrates some beliefs about Ukrainian history, like the theory that Attila the Hun was Ukrainian. The story illustrates the wide range of conflicting views that exist about the nation's past. Mostly, his deep voice clearly navigates about a thousand years of history, with author Andrew Wilson paying special... Read More

UNCOMMON WRATH

UNCOMMON WRATH How Caesar and Cato's Deadly Rivalry Destroyed the Roman Republic

by Josiah Osgood | Read by Ana Clements

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
History

Josiah Osgood's story of the rivalry between Julius Caesar and Cato the Younger, and the civil wars that resulted, is a cautionary tale: Money in politics and toxic partisanship led to the end of the Roman Republic. Ana Clements's narration brings out the qualities of the text--she crafts it into a long, complex yet fairly compelling docudrama. Her voice, though not the... Read More

WHITE KNIGHTS IN THE BLACK ORCHESTRA

WHITE KNIGHTS IN THE BLACK ORCHESTRA The Extraordinary Story of the Germans Who Resisted Hitler

Earphones Award Winner

by Tom Dunkel | Read by Jamie Renell

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
History

Expertly narrated, richly detailed, and charged with drama, this history of the courageous Germans who stood up against the Nazis will linger in the mind well after one has finished listening. Expect no German accents here, no overtones of menace or impending tragedy. Jamie Renell's restrained, finely nuanced narration vividly conveys the dilemma of Germans who opposed the... Read More

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