Playtone Presents

The American Story As You've Never Heard It

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 provides introductions to a selection of memorable titles.

"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
    • The Things They Carried

    • By: Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
    • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,887
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,377
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 6,354

    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.....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Heavy Load

    • By Mel on 10-28-13
    • By: Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
    • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
    • Release date: 10-15-13
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 6,887 ratings
    • This modern classic and New York Times best seller was a finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and has become a staple of American classrooms. 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.

    Regular price: $19.95

Tom Hanks discusses the books that inspired The Pacific

  • On With the Old Breed
  • Written by E. B. Sledge
"The finest war memoir ever written."
  • On Helmet for My Pillow
  • Written by Robert Leckie
A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II

  • On With the Old Breed
  • "The finest war memoir ever written."
  • On Helmet for My Pillow
  • A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II
    • With the Old Breed

    • At Peleliu and Okinawa
    • By: E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated by: Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks (introduction)
    • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 3,652
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 3,336
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 3,327

    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....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • This is the second audio book of Sledge's work

    • By Richard on 10-21-13
    • At Peleliu and Okinawa
    • By: E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated by: Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks (introduction)
    • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
    • Release date: 10-15-13
    • 5 out of 5 stars 3,652 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $24.95

    • Helmet for My Pillow

    • From Parris Island to the Pacific: A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II
    • By: Robert Leckie
    • Narrated by: James Badge Dale, Tom Hanks (introduction)
    • Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,615
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,385
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,384

    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....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Engaging Account of the War in “The Pacific”

    • By Aaron on 08-13-14
    • From Parris Island to the Pacific: A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II
    • By: Robert Leckie
    • Narrated by: James Badge Dale, Tom Hanks (introduction)
    • Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 10-15-13
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,615 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $22.46

In collaboration with Audible and Playtone, Emmy Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns has recorded personal introductions to a selection of audiobooks covering the past 150 years of American history.

"For me, listening to a great audiobook can be as satisfying an experience as watching a great story unfold on film." - Ken Burns

Ken Burns introduces...

  • On The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Written by Isabel Wilkerson
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
  • On The Civil War
  • Written by Shelby Foote
"One of the most remarkable accounts of history ever written."
  • On The Worst Hard Time
  • Written by Timothy Egan
The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
  • On O Pioneers!
  • Written by Willa Cather
"A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph."
  • On My Antonia
  • Written by Willa Cather
"Infused with a gracious passion for the land."
  • On The Song of the Lark
  • Written by Willa Cather
"A warm and emotionally rich delivery."

  • On The Warmth of Other Suns
  • The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
  • On The Civil War
  • "One of the most remarkable accounts of history ever written."
  • On The Worst Hard Time
  • The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
  • On O Pioneers!
  • "A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph."
  • On My Antonia
  • "Infused with a gracious passion for the land."
  • On The Song of the Lark
  • "A warm and emotionally rich delivery."
    • The Warmth of Other Suns

    • The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
    • By: Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated by: Robin Miles, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 22 hrs and 43 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,053
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 3,598
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,587

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Superior non-fiction

    • By Lila on 05-20-11
    • The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
    • By: Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated by: Robin Miles, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 22 hrs and 43 mins
    • Release date: 03-10-11
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,053 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $17.99

    • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • By: Shelby Foote
    • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
    • Length: 42 hrs and 58 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,198
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,175
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,176

    The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 1 begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Storytelling brilliance

    • By Tad Davis on 07-17-08
    • By: Shelby Foote
    • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
    • Series: The Civil War: A Narrative, Book 1
    • Length: 42 hrs and 58 mins
    • Release date: 09-28-04
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,198 ratings
    • In Ken Burns' words: "One of the most remarkable accounts of history ever 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."

    Regular price: $48.95

    • The Worst Hard Time

    • The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
    • By: Timothy Egan
    • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2,697
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,974
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,986

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • A Fascinating History

    • By Sara on 02-02-14
    • The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
    • By: Timothy Egan
    • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
    • Release date: 04-13-06
    • 4 out of 5 stars 2,697 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $24.49

    • O Pioneers!

    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 197
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 173
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 177

    "The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman," writes Willa Cather in O Pioneers!....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • not the right performance for Cather

    • By Gretchen Gordon on 04-01-16
    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
    • Release date: 09-09-10
    • 4 out of 5 stars 197 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $16.09

    • My Antonia

    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2,220
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,846
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 1,864

    Widely recognized as Willa Cather's finest book and one of the outstanding novels of American literature, My Antonia details of the life of early American pioneers in Nebraska....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • applause for a classic

    • By Western Canada on 04-19-08
    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 05-02-07
    • 4 out of 5 stars 2,220 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $13.97

    • The Song of the Lark

    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Pam Ward, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 16 hrs and 8 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 82
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 73
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 75

    The daughter of a Swedish minister growing up in Colorado, Thea Kronborg's musical talent sets her apart from her contemporaries....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Exquisite Characterization

    • By David Stewart on 06-09-16
    • By: Willa Cather
    • Narrated by: Pam Ward, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Length: 16 hrs and 8 mins
    • Release date: 10-21-10
    • 4 out of 5 stars 82 ratings
    • 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."

    Regular price: $23.08