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Publisher's Summary

In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God's will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.

In her moving, insightful portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely - but with great empathy - confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society.

A Book of American Martyrs is a stunning, timely depiction of an issue hotly debated on a national stage but that makes itself felt most lastingly in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.

©2017 The Ontario Review, Inc. (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tolerance

What a great story of learning tolerance, and a good representation of issues we still face today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Martyrs of All Ages

Masterful story examining the complexities of abortion through its impact on two very different families.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

NO! Just NO! INSULTING!

What disappointed you about A Book of American Martyrs?

There are only 2 martyrs in this book.The physician and the clinic escort murdered by a radical religious zealot!(Author tries to portray the murderer as one as well, NO!) The women are written in a sexist/misogynistic manner. Both wives fall apart because their husbands are not there to hold their hands.NO! The wives/mothers abandon their children because they are what..ill equipped to handle life without a man?? NO! The Radical Christian zealot is NOT mentally ill, he is a premeditated-MURDERER! I could go on and on but this book was a complete failure. If I wanted to read about boxing, I would have bought a novel on the sport, not this poor attempt at covering a very important topic in todays society! Only one section in Chapter 66 describes the current situation facing Abortion Providers, women's healthcare rights and dangerous christian radicals in 2017 America." ...the protesters were angrier and more confrontational and there were more of them." almost overnight "He would say somebody was going to be hurt, stronger security was needed from the police" "Right away 2 nasty things appeared on anti-abortion web sites." "Broome county was singled out, Dr. Voorhees was singled out" . "Army of God is strong in Ohio, especially rural Ohio" "Operation Rescue is still strong" "We did not think any of them would murder any one of us" . Reality is that,This is playing out every week across this country and these Zealots will hurt or murder again as they did Dr. Tiller in Colorado. If you do not support ISIS or other Religious Radical groups then make no mistake, that is EXACTLY what the Radical Christian Right of today is! Instead of this poorly researched book, try reading 'Life's Work" by Dr.WIllie Parker.

Would you ever listen to anything by Joyce Carol Oates again?

No

How could the performance have been better?

Performance were fine, just the material was insulting..

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, as it portrays women so poorly and feeds the misogyny of todays society, Shame on Joyce Carol Oates, she could have risen to the challenge of this topic but chose to troll the bottom of the scum pond. Shame!

Any additional comments?

No

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Providence, RI, USA
  • 03-11-18

I cried at the end. No kidding.

It takes something to do that to me. I'm not a crier. It was slow going at first and I didn't care for the first performer. But the tension builds gradually. By the time I was in the third download section I was listening whenever I could. JCO is still killing it!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

interesting but very long, with tiring narration

Well written, but way too long with irritating narrators. probably better in paperback than audio.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • MAUREEN
  • MILWAUKEE, WI, United States
  • 03-23-17

A weak & disappointing conclusion

After the first hour I considered not reading further--the canned kitschy tone was disappointing & the mispronunciations so distracting. Then suddenly, the middle of this long protracted story showed promise. Many subplots were distracting and lacked development-- teasing the reader into thinking a meaningful turn in this saga was just around the next turn. Sadly I spent some 24 hours listening to a book that ended so weakly. Remembering that Dawn couldn't read--as told to readers multiple times--an ending that relied on a lengthy written message from Naomi was such a bomb.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful