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Publisher's Summary

In this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.

"JB & FD" reimagines conversations between John Brown, the antislavery crusader who famously raided Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and orator, conversations that belie the myth of race and produce a fantastical, ethically rich correspondence that spans years and ideologies. "Maps and Ledgers" eavesdrops on a brother and sister today as they ponder their father's killing of another man. "Williamsburg Bridge" sits inside a man sitting on a bridge who contemplates his life before he decides to jump. "My Dead" is a story about how the already-departed demand more time, more space in the lives of those who survive them.

Navigating an extraordinary range of subject and tone, Wideman challenges the boundaries of traditional forms, and delivers unforgettable, immersive narratives that touch the very core of what it means to be alive. An extended meditation on family, history, and loss, American Histories weaves together historical fact, philosophical wisdom, and deeply personal vignettes. More than the sum of its parts, this is Wideman at his best - emotionally precise and intellectually stimulating - an extraordinary collection by a master.

©2018 John Edgar Wideman (P)2018 Novel Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wideman...boldly subverts what a short story can be in this wonderful collection.... Each story feels new, challenging, and exhilarating, beguilingly combining American history with personal history." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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Will re-listen again and again.

I would listen to Dion Graham read literally anything. That being said, was very happy to listen to him reading this in particular.
A lot of challenging and interesting perspectives in the stories throughout. "Williamsburg Bridge" will stick with me for a long time and "Maps and Ledgers" was another favorite. The author is really good at bringing in what I can only describe as very real-feeling viewpoints; at times they felt like non-fiction because they were just so personal.
The timing of this release is not lost on me and I'm guessing that it will be very well received. I especially liked the "note" to the president at the beginning of the book, and sincerely hope that Mr. Trump does read this collection of stories.
Wideman is one of my favorite authors and having him paired with one of my favorite narrators was perfection!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I wish I hadn’t bought this

I bought this book seeking historical fiction. I like learning history while tracking a personalized story line.

This book is not that! I was disappointed that I bought this book. It bounces around and has a difficult story line to follow

In future will spend more time on reviews

0 of 2 people found this review helpful