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Men We Reaped

A Memoir
Narrated by: Cherise Boothe
Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (265 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped." (Harriet Tubman)

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life - to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth - and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity.

©2013 Jesmny Ward (P)2013 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"The audiobook version of Jesmyn Ward's memoir does perfect justice to the beautiful original…. This is beautiful writing, voiced beautifully, by veteran audiobook narrator Cherise Boothe, who also narrated the Recorded Books edition of Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones." ( Salon)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Felt so close to home

This book is very real. It speaks on things many people in the South have tried to cover up. Things that haunt us. This is well written. Thank you for this Jesmyn

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Terrifyingly Moving

This is written by a woman of my son's age. I feel she teaches me that that I am naive to think that we've come a long way since the 60s. We made yards, not miles.
Black lives do matter. The lives of black men matter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worth the time!

Loved it. This was beautifully written with perfect prose and raw truth. It brings the struggles of racism and systemic injustice to light through the humanity of family and individuals who persevere.
I was engaged from beginning to end. Excellent read, audio or written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Total Snooze

OMG... this was physically painful to read... I only finished it for my bookclub. the reader was horrible as well. pausing at the wrong time, mispronouncing words, and her fake N'awlins accent. sounded ridiculous. She aggravated my soul. The book is a bunch of random ass thoughts that never gelled together... waste of money

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best book!!

This book is amazing. I get so emotional most part. its funny and teaches a lot. Its so deep I recommend this book to everyone. This is now my favorite book, also is the narration is awesome

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Rich imagery.

The rich imagery and beautiful language evokes a strong sense of the author's relationship to her Mississippi home and all the people she loves.

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absolutely loved it.

Ms. Ward writes eloquently about her youth, love, and loss in South Mississippi and the struggles of those in the black community. The Narrator was fantastic and made the story come even more alive. The book itself brings home the fact that just minutes away a whole community is still struggling to overcome the stigmas that were placed on them (and not necessarily true at any time) from years ago. All because of the color of their skin. And all this time, I had thought we had made advancements and race did not matter as much. Now I understand the 'Black Lives Matter' movement and why it exists. We are all stuck in a cycle. We need to change and it needs to start in our schools and communities. Thank you, Ms. Ward, for bringing a difficult subject to the forefront in a beautifully written format.

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Great Life Story That Hit Home

I couldn't tell whether or not I like this book at first, and then I realized it was a great book, wonderfully written and pieced together. My problem want that I didn't like her real-life story, it was that it hit a little too close to home for me. I relived some of my most painful memories and re-questioned events in my life. It caused me to look in a mirror I had a cover over for many years. This was really real non-fiction.

Jesmyn Ward was brave to put her life out there for others to see. She drew me in, and I felt like I knew her family, like I was part of it, and I was saddened when I kept losing members.

Thank you for your story, Jesmyn.

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It was ok

I struggled to finish this because I had a hard time grasping where the memoir was going. Parts felt like a story about the author, other parts felt like a disjointed story about other people told in first and second person. There had to be better way to intertwine the two. This was more or about community's story not a memoir because, as much as she tried to delve into her own life and feelings she tried just has hard to gauge what everyone around her felt and it made it difficult to follow for me. It doesnt feel like I enjoyed this one.

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great book revealed a lot about the south I

I never knew what it was like to grow up in the south till now