Every year, the National Book Critics Circle presents awards for the finest books published in English.
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  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (929)
    Performance
    (535)
    Story
    (544)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Biography, 2005
  • Gilead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Tim Jerome
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (180)

    In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

    Jim says: "The wonder of retrospect"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2004
  • The Known World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Edward P. Jones
    • Narrated By Kevin Free
    Overall
    (485)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (97)

    Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

    Rachel says: "wonderful and highly recommended"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2003
  • Atonement

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1077)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (358)

    In Atonement, three children lose their innocence, as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935, and their lives are changed forever. Cecilia Tallis is of England's priviledged class; Robbie Turner is the housekeeper's son. In their moment of intimate surrender, they are interrupted by Cecilia's hyperimaginative and scheming 13-year-old sister, Briony. And as chaos consumes the family, Briony commits a crime, the guilt of which she shall carry throughout her life.

    William R. Creech says: "Well written; well read."
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2002
  • Being Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jim Crace
    • Narrated By Virginia Leishman
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (25)

    Jim Crace has been called "one of the brightest lights in contemporary British fiction" by The New York Times Book Review. His novels have won a Whitbread Prize, an E.M. Forster Award, the Guardian Fiction Award, the GAP International Prize for Literature, and have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Far-ranging in its imagery, Being Dead is a provocative examination of mortality.

    J. Cline says: "Contemplating Death"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2000
  • Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ted Conover
    • Narrated By uncredited
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (67)

    As he struggles to be a good officer, Ted Conover angers inmates, dodges blows, works to balance decency with toughness, and participates in prison rituals - strip frisks, cell searches, cell "extractions" - that exact a toll on inmates and officers alike. The tale begins with the corrections academy and ends with the flames and smoke of New Year's Eve on Conover's floor of the notorious B-Block. Along the way, Conover also recounts the history of Sing Sing.

    Steve says: "THE BEST BOOK ON PRISON LIFE I HAVE EVER READ!!!"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction 2000
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Philip Gourevitch
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (36)

    In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. This haunting work by Philip Gourevitch, staff writer for the New Yorker, is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide's background, and an unforgettable account of what it means to survive in its aftermath.

    Josh says: "Worth your time"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction 1998
  • A Beautiful Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Sylvia Nasar
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (123)

    John Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of 30, dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed "impossible" by other mathematicians. But at the height of his fame, Nash suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown and began a harrowing descent into insanity, resigning his post at MIT, slipping into a series of bizarre delusions, and eventually becoming a dreamy, ghostlike figure at Princeton, scrawling numerological messages on blackboards.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Informative not entertaining"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 1998
  • Angela's Ashes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Frank McCourt
    • Narrated By Frank McCourt
    Overall
    (2647)
    Performance
    (1422)
    Story
    (1425)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: There’s no gentle way to put this – Frank McCourt’s performance of Angela’s Ashes is just better than the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Frank McCourt shares his sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking story of growing up poor, Irish, and Catholic in the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes.

    Karen says: "A classic book *and* a classic audiobook"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 1996
  • Shot in the Heart

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Mikal Gilmore
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    In an eloquent, mesmerizing voice, Mikal Gilmore weaves us through generations of his family's history to uncover the sources that led Gary Gilmore to murder, and the crippling aftermath of Gary's deed on his family. A vital and deeply American story, Shot in the Heart raises many compelling issues of concern in a country that grows ever more violent.

    Lisa says: "too bad it's abridged"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 1994
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