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Playtone is the celebrated film and television production company founded by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and producer of the award-winning series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific. Now, Playtone has teamed up with Audible to present an exciting new collection of audiobooks - classic works of American history and fiction, featuring the storytelling talents of some of the most distinguished voices in literature, history, and entertainment. As a bonus, acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns curates a list of his favorite audiobooks.

"By working with some of the finest actors we have known, we will give voice to the best fiction and nonfiction ever written about America. We are happy to continue the telling of our American saga through Audible and the spoken word." - Tom Hanks

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  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (910)
    Performance
    (839)
    Story
    (836)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Michelle says: "Stark and poignant!"
  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (166)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    Richard says: "This is the second audio book of Sledge's work"

    Tom Hanks on With the Old Breed

    In Tom Hanks' words: "It is, in the minds of many (including me), the finest war memoir ever written. It is written with such clarity, candor, and empathy that those of us untested by combat can begin to understand, while those who have been under fire can’t help but recognize. Composed some thirty years after the war from notes he kept surreptitiously while in combat, Sledge initially wrote the book to explain to his family as clearly as he could what war was like. He succeeded so well that his wife Jean urged him to publish it. The result is read here by Joe Mazzello, the actor that played Eugene with such heartbreaking honesty for us in The Pacific."
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific: A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Robert Leckie
    • Narrated By James Badge Dale, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (91)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    bettersafethansorry says: "Great story, but a bit too poetic"

    Tom Hanks on Helmet for My Pillow

    In Tom Hanks' words: "Playtone was fortunate in the casting of James Badge Dale to play Robert Leckie. While making The Pacific, we got to know Robert Leckie’s family. They told us to an uncanny degree, James Badge Dale’s performance embodied much of what they remembered most about their husband and father. Playtone and Audible are honored that Badge reprises and expands on that role in his reading of Helmet for My Pillow."
In partnership with Audible and Playtone, Emmy Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns has handpicked a selection of audiobooks covering the past 150 years of American history that have inspired his own work, personally recording introductions to each.

"For me, listening to a great audiobook can be as satisfying an experience as watching a great story unfold on film." - Ken Burns
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated By Robin Miles, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (868)
    Performance
    (689)
    Story
    (690)

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to previously untapped data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

    Lila says: "Superior non-fiction"

    Ken Burns on The Warmth of Other Suns

    In Ken Burns' words: "I love this book. It’s one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read or ever owned...proudly owned. Anyone interested in the how and why of American history should pick up this wonderful book. From its very beginning, the United States has had as a principle subtheme: that of race. And in this masterful work, Isabelle Wilkerson weaves together the intimate stories of three different people and makes them universal. Through oral history, thoughtful analysis, and her own experience, Wilkerson tells one of the great untold stories of American history."
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1600)
    Performance
    (709)
    Story
    (715)

    Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days, Second Manassas to Antietam, and Perryville in the fall of 1862, but so are the smaller and often equally important engagements on both land and sea: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, Monitor versus Merimac, and Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, to mention only a few.

    Jeanne says: "The best"

    Ken Burns on The Civil War: Volume I

    In Ken Burns' words: "One of the most remarkable accounts of history every written. This literary accomplishment may be the finest nonfiction written about the Civil War, the most important event in American history. Shelby Foote saw things with a southern perspective but not a southern bias, and, like the novelist he also was, he inhabited the war. No detail, no character, no moment was too small to benefit from his attention and fierce intelligence."
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume II, Fredericksburg to Meridian

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (943)
    Performance
    (432)
    Story
    (438)

    This volume is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of great armies. For the fourth time, the Army of the Potomac (now under the control of Burnside) attempts to take Richmond, resulting in the bloodbath at Fredericksburg. Then Joe Hooker tries again, only to be repulsed at Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson turns his flank, a bitter victory for the South, paid for by the death of Lee's foremost lieutenant.

    Christopher Morton says: "The Best of the Three Volumes"

    Ken Burns on The Civil War: Volume II

    In Ken Burns' words: "This volume is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of two great armies. All volumes of Foote’s trilogy are prose masterpieces with lively characterizations and gripping action. Listening to all three books takes time, but they are well worth the investment. Narrator Grover Gardner delivers an exceptional performance. His formal yet warm manner make this work especially powerful."
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume III, Red River to Appomattox

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Shelby Foote
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (830)
    Performance
    (377)
    Story
    (378)

    In the third and last volume of this vivid history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife which altered American life forever. Here, told in rich narrative and as seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, which finally decided the fate of this nation.

    Tad Davis says: "Incredible"

    Ken Burns on The Civil War: Volume III

    In Ken Burns' words: "In this last vivid volume, author Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife that altered American life forever. Told in a rich narrative style, seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, that finally decided the fate of this nation. Foote carries the story to the riveting description of Lincoln’s assassination, a careful exploration of the consequences of that act, and a long, elegiac, unbearably sad narration of the winding down of the war and the outcome, especially for the freed slaves."
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (1277)
    Performance
    (701)
    Story
    (712)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"

    Ken Burns on The Worst Hard Time

    In Ken Burns' words: "During the Great Depression, many people fled the drought-stricken region that stretched from Nebraska to the Texas panhandle. Drawing on the voices of those who lived through the ordeal, Egan tells remarkable stories of endurance and heroism. Narrator Patrick Lawlor captures the very voice of the time: its grit, pathos, and abiding heroism, solidifying The Worst Hard Time as a lasting and important work of American history."
  • O Pioneers!

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Willa Cather
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    The country is America; the woman is Alexandra Bergson, a fiercely independent young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm in Nebraska. A model of emotional strength, courage, and resolve, Alexandra fights long and hard to transform her father's patch of raw, wind-blasted prairie into a highly profitable business. A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph, O Pioneers! vividly portrays the hardships of prairie life.

    James says: "Cather writes like Wyeth paints."

    Ken Burns on O Pioneers!

    In Ken Burns' words: "A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph that vividly portrays the hardships of prairie life. O Pioneers! champions the belief that hard work is the surest path to personal fulfillment and celebrates the men and women who struggled to build a nation. Named AudioFile Magazine’s voice of the century, narrator Kate Reading is especially well-cast to bring the words to life and convey the immigrant experience with a mastery not often found in audiobook narration."
  • My Antonia

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Willa Cather
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (206)

    Through Jim Burden's endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland, with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature's most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia's desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Lena Lingard. Holding the pastoral society's heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia.

    Tammy says: "Enthralling!!"

    Ken Burns on My Antonia

    In Ken Burns' words: "To add a personal note, I am so fond of Willa Cather’s work that one my daughters is named after her. Infused with a gracious passion for the land, My Antonia is a deeply moving portrait of an entire community and its way of life. Antonia lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather’s novel effortlessly untangles: she represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land, the restraints on women at the time, and the more general desires for love and companionship."
  • The Song of the Lark

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Willa Cather
    • Narrated By Pam Ward, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    The daughter of a Swedish minister growing up in Colorado, Thea Kronborg's musical talent sets her apart from her contemporaries. Driven by her determination to satisfy her artistic impulse, she moves to Chicago, where she falls in love with a wealthy married man. Her ability to resolve the tensions between her personal and professional lives and to communicate through her art makes her an unusual and thoroughly modern heroine.

    Ken Burns on The Song of the Lark

    In Ken Burns' words: "The second book in Willa Cather’s Prairie trilogy is possibly her most autobiographical: it charts the journey of a young artist that eventually leads her from a remote Colorado town to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Your narrator is Pam Ward: her interpretation brings landscapes, events, and more than fifty characters to life with a warm and emotionally rich delivery."