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The Last Thing You Surrender

Narrated by: Bill Andrew Quinn
Length: 20 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Could you find the courage to do what's right in a world on fire?  

Pulitzer-winning journalist and best-selling author (Freeman) Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s new historical novel is a great American tale of race and war, following three characters from the Jim Crow South as they face the enormous changes World War II triggers in the United States.  

An affluent white marine survives Pearl Harbor at the cost of a black messman's life only to be sent, wracked with guilt, to the Pacific and taken prisoner by the Japanese. A young black woman, widowed by the same events at Pearl Harbor, finds unexpected opportunity and a dangerous friendship in a segregated Alabama shipyard feeding the war. A black man, who as a child saw his parents brutally lynched, is conscripted to fight Nazis for a country he despises and discovers a new kind of patriotism in the all-black 761st Tank Battalion.  

Set against a backdrop of violent racial conflict on both the front lines and the home front, The Last Thing You Surrender explores the powerful moral struggles of individuals from a divided nation. What does it take to change someone's mind about race? What does it take for a country and a people to move forward, transformed?

©2019 Leonard Pitts, Jr. (P)2019 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Frustratingly one dimensional

Stopped listening after 10 hours when I realized all the characters would be one dimensional and the story would just keep descending into the grotesque. The author seems to have been more interested in presenting a steady string of awfulness than telling a real human story with goodness and evil in tension. The worst of human history has been mashed up in a long, predictably terrible saga, and I stopped when I realized there would be no redemption, no rewarded courage, no interest in including any of the flawed but noble men and women who also existed in this era and battled against all the circumstances depicted. To read this is to step into a fictional United States that didn’t possess a single white person of moral decency or courage in the mid-20th century, when all black citizens were also merely helpless victims.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good story, sub-par narration

A compelling examination of race in American in the context of WWII, both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, the narration was so stiff and mechanical that it was often distracting from the story. The dialog was especially challenging, with most of the characters being portrayed using the same weak, unassertive, bland voice. Nearly everything the women said was posed as a half question and I kept finding myself distracted from the story by frustration with the narration. I'd recommend going to the text over an audio book for this one.

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Excellent historical novel.

Well written story of struggle, war, racism, love, brotherhood/sisterhood, courage, faith, and the triumph of the human spirit.

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Excellent story but...the narrator

Like his other novels, Leonard Pitts Jr, tells a poignant often heart breaking story of struggle and triumph centering African-American experiences in America through historical fiction. This one also highlights non POC in a thought provoking and interesting way. Overall, I enjoyed the story but, the narrator was sub par in my opinion. His voice had a commercial quality that took away from the story. There were also a few editing issues.
Still worth the read(listen)!

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Thought Provoking

This book deals with a difficult social issue in a thought provoking way. I read over a hundred books a year and this is the best by far.