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."
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 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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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