History Audiobooks

The art of well-told history is bringing past eras to life in a way that informs, thrills, and brings it to life. History audiobooks do that in even more intimate and affecting ways by drawing us in with narration, details, and first-hand accounts. If you’re looking for the best history audiobooks, look no further than right here.

The art of well-told history is bringing past eras to life in a way that informs, thrills, and brings it to life. History audiobooks do that in even more intimate and affecting ways by drawing us in with narration, details, and first-hand accounts. If you’re looking for the best history audiobooks, look no further than right here.

Bestselling in History

New & Noteworthy: History

  • Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America
    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America
    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America

    Audiobook

    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America

    byAl Sharpton

    “This is the time. We won’t stop until we change the whole system of justice.” —Reverend Al Sharpton In the summer of 2020, Reverend Al Sharpton stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, preparing to give the keynote address of theGet Your Knee Off Our NecksCommitment March. He noticed an older man in the crowd wearing a button from Dr. King’s 1963 march. The man told Sharpton that he had, in fact, been to the original March on Washington. “And,” he said, “I’ll keep coming back until we see justice.” While the mainstream media may know the major names of the movement, there are countless lesser-known heroes like this man who “keep coming back,” fighting the good fight to advance equal justice for all. Whether working in civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, or in environmental justice, they heed the call when no one else is listening, often risking their lives and livelihoods in the process. Righteous Troublemakers shines a light on everyday people called to do extraordinary things—like Pauli Murray, whose early work inspired Thurgood Marshall, Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus months before Rosa Parks did the same, and Gwen Carr, whose private pain in losing her son Eric Garner stoked her public activism against police brutality. Sharpton also gives his personal take on more widely known individuals, revealing overlooked details, historical connections, and a perspective informed by years of working in the social justice movement. At the same time, this book details the tumultuous year following George Floyd’s murder, with Sharpton delivering an up close and personal look at the behind-the-scenes work that forced today’s national reckoning on race. Here, he reveals his relationship with the Floyd family, the emotional moments that impacted him most, and why his work—and ours—isn’t finished, all while offering timeless lessons about the enduring strength and moral courage of the American people. For anyone who wants to be a changemaker or believes that truth and justice are worthwhile pursuits, Righteous Troublemakers is as inspirational as it is essential. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook. Also, don't miss Reverend Sharpton's previous book, Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads. Michael Eric Dyson calls it "a gift from Al Sharpton to us.”

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll
    Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll
    Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll

    Audiobook

    Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll

    byLenny Kaye

    “We have performed side-by-side on the global stage through half a century…. In Lightning Striking, Lenny Kaye has illuminated ten facets of the jewel called rock and roll from a uniquely personal and knowledgeable perspective.”  –Patti Smith An insider’s take on the evolution and enduring legacy of the music that rocked the twentieth century Memphis, 1954. New Orleans 1957. Philadelphia 1959. Liverpool, 1962. San Francisco 1967. Detroit 1969. New York, 1975. London 1977. Los Angeles 1984 / Norway 1993. Seattle 1991. Rock and roll was birthed in basements and garages, radio stations and dance halls, in cities where unexpected gatherings of artists and audience changed and charged the way music is heard and celebrated, capturing lightning in a bottle. Musician and writer Lenny Kaye explores ten crossroads of time and place that define rock and roll, its unforgettable flashpoints, characters and visionaries, how each generation came to be, how it was discovered by the world. Whether describing Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the Beatles’ Liverpool, Patti Smith’s New York or Kurt Cobain’s Seattle, Lightning Striking reveals the communal energy that creates a scene, a guided tour inside style and performance, to see who’s on stage, along with the movers and shakers, the hustlers and hangers-on, and why everybody is listening.  Grandly sweeping and minutely detailed, informed by Kaye’s acclaimed knowledge and experience as a working musician, Lightning Striking is an ear-opening insight into our shared musical and cultural history, a carpet ride of rock and roll’s most influential movements and moments. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe
    The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe
    The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe

    Audiobook

    The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe

    byMatthew Gabriele

    "Traveling easily through a thousand years of history, The Bright Ages reminds us society never collapsed when the Roman Empire fell, nor did the modern world did wake civilization from a thousand year hibernation. Thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful and accessible; a fresh look on an age full of light, color, and illumination." —Mike Duncan, author of Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution A lively and magisterial popular history that refutes common misperceptions of the European Middle Ages, showing the beauty and communion that flourished alongside the dark brutality—a brilliant reflection of humanity itself. The word “medieval” conjures images of the “Dark Ages”—centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors.  The Bright Ages takes us through ten centuries and crisscrosses Europe and the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, revisiting familiar people and events with new light cast upon them. We look with fresh eyes on the Fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the Vikings, the Crusades, and the Black Death, but also to the multi-religious experience of Iberia, the rise of Byzantium, and the genius of Hildegard and the power of queens. We begin under a blanket of golden stars constructed by an empress with Germanic, Roman, Spanish, Byzantine, and Christian bloodlines and end nearly 1,000 years later with the poet Dante—inspired by that same twinkling celestial canopy—writing an epic saga of heaven and hell that endures as a masterpiece of literature today.   The Bright Ages reminds us just how permeable our manmade borders have always been and of what possible worlds the past has always made available to us. The Middle Ages may have been a world “lit only by fire” but it was one whose torches illuminated the magnificent rose windows of cathedrals, even as they stoked the pyres of accused heretics.   Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail
    Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail
    Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail

    Audiobook

    Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail

    byRay Dalio

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “A provocative read...There are few tomes that coherently map such broad economic histories as well as Mr. Dalio’s. Perhaps more unusually, Mr. Dalio has managed to identify metrics from that history that can be applied to understand today.” —Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times From legendary investor Ray Dalio, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Principles, who has spent half a century studying global economies and markets, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order examines history’s most turbulent economic and political periods to reveal why the times ahead will likely be radically different from those we’ve experienced in our lifetimes—and to offer practical advice on how to navigate them well. A few years ago, Ray Dalio noticed a confluence of political and economic conditions he hadn’t encountered before. They included huge debts and zero or near-zero interest rates that led to massive printing of money in the world’s three major reserve currencies; big political and social conflicts within countries, especially the US, due to the largest wealth, political, and values disparities in more than 100 years; and the rising of a world power (China) to challenge the existing world power (US) and the existing world order. The last time that this confluence occurred was between 1930 and 1945. This realization sent Dalio on a search for the repeating patterns and cause/effect relationships underlying all major changes in wealth and power over the last 500 years. In this remarkable and timely addition to his Principles series, Dalio brings readers along for his study of the major empires—including the Dutch, the British, and the American—putting into perspective the “Big Cycle” that has driven the successes and failures of all the world’s major countries throughout history. He reveals the timeless and universal forces behind these shifts and uses them to look into the future, offering practical principles for positioning oneself for what’s ahead.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology
    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology
    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology

    Audiobook

    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology

    byMalcolm Gladwell

    From Pushkin Industries, The Myths of Meritocracy is a compendium of audio essays focusing on one of Malcolm Gladwell's obsessions --- education. From the LSAT to student council elections, Gladwell explores why we often reward the wrong people and upends traditional thinking around how education should work.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases
    Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases
    Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases

    Audiobook

    Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases

    byLydia Kang

    A very timely history of disease outbreaks, from the authors of Quackery: stories of outbreaks (and their patient zeros), plus chapters on the science, culture, and cures for different types of epidemics and pandemics. Popular reading on a timely topic.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • On Coaching: The Against the Rules Anthology
    On Coaching: The Against the Rules Anthology
    On Coaching: The Against the Rules Anthology

    Audiobook

    On Coaching: The Against the Rules Anthology

    byMichael Lewis

    Journalist and bestselling author Michael Lewis takes a searing look at what's happened to fairness. It feels like there's less of it every day---whether it comes to lending practices, college admissions, professional sports, or psychological well-being. Who are the people trying to level the playing field, and are they making an impact? In this anthology from Pushkin Industries, Lewis looks at the rise in coaching in American life, bringing his trademark insight and wry humor to the stories of (in)equality today.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church, and the Great Deception
    Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church, and the Great Deception
    Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church, and the Great Deception

    Audiobook

    Mary Magdalene: Women, the Church, and the Great Deception

    byAdriana Valerio

    From one of Italy’s most renowned historians of religion, an exciting new portrait of one of Christianity’s most complex—and most misunderstood—figures: Mary Magdalene Jesus’ favorite and most devoted disciple? A prostitute shunned from her community? A symbol of female leadership and independence? Who really was Mary Magdalene, and how does her story fit within the history of Christianity, and that of female emancipation? In this meticulously researched, highly engaging book, Adriana Valerio looks at history, art, and literature to show how centuries of misinterpretation and willful distortion—aimed at establishing and preserving gender hierarchies—have stripped this historical figure of her complexity and relevance. By revealing both the benign and the pernicious misrepresentations of Mary Magdalene, this thought-provoking essay reaffirms the central role played by women in the origins of Christianity and their essential contribution to one of the founding experiences of Western thought and society.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler
    Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler
    Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler

    Audiobook

    Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler

    byDavid McKean

    As German tanks rolled toward Paris in late May 1940, the US Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, was determined to stay put, holed up in the Chateau St. Firmin in Chantilly, his country residence. Bullitt told the president that he would neither evacuate the embassy nor his chateau. As German forces closed in on the French capital, Bullitt wrote the president, "In case I should get blown up before I see you again, I want you to know that it has been marvelous to work for you." As the fighting raged in France, across the English Channel, Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy wrote to his wife Rose, "The situation is more than critical. It means a terrible finish for the allies." David McKean's Watching Darkness Fall will recount the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the road to war from the perspective of four American diplomats in Europe who witnessed it firsthand: Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long, and William Bullitt, who all served in key Western European capitals—London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Moscow—in the years prior to World War II. In many ways they were America's first line of defense and they often communicated with the president directly, as Roosevelt's eyes and ears on the ground. Unfortunately, most of them underestimated the power and resolve of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Third Reich.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Into the Zone: Essays on Opposites and Borders
    Into the Zone: Essays on Opposites and Borders
    Into the Zone: Essays on Opposites and Borders

    Audiobook

    Into the Zone: Essays on Opposites and Borders

    byHari Kunzru

    From Pushkin Industries, Into the Zone is a collection of essays about opposites and how borders are never as clear as we think. With a novelist's eye for the unexpected, author Hari Kunzru takes listeners around the world, meeting philosophers and punk musicians, New Age gurus and space explorers, to investigate the gray zone between life and death, public and private, black and white, and more. Originally created as a podcast, this new audiobook expands on how history happens through antagonism and includes a new foreword and afterword.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text
    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text
    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text

    Audiobook

    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text

    byMario Cuomo

    The seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held during the Illinois senatorial race of 1858 are among the most important statements in American political history, dramatic struggles over the issues that would tear apart the nation in the Civil War: the virtues of a republic and the evils of slavery. In this acclaimed book, Holzer brings us as close as possible to what Lincoln and Douglas actually said, Using transcripts of Lincoln's speeches as recorded by the pro-Douglas newspaper, and vice-versa, he offers the most reliable, unedited record available of the debates. Also included are background on the sites, crowd comments, and a new introduction.

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876
    To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876
    To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876

    Audiobook

    To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876

    byBret Baier

    #1 New York Times Bestseller Fox News Channel’s Chief Political Anchor illuminates the heroic life of Ulysses S. Grant "To Rescue the Republic is narrative history at its absolute finest. A fast-paced, thrilling and enormously important book." —Douglas Brinkley An epic history spanning the battlegrounds of the Civil War and the violent turmoil of Reconstruction to the forgotten electoral crisis that nearly fractured a reunited nation, Bret Baier’s To Rescue the Republic dramatically reveals Ulysses S. Grant’s essential yet underappreciated role in preserving the United States during an unprecedented period of division. Born a tanner’s son in rugged Ohio in 1822 and battle-tested by the Mexican American War, Grant met his destiny on the bloody fields of the Civil War. His daring and resolve as a general gained the attention of President Lincoln, then desperate for bold leadership. Lincoln appointed Grant as Lieutenant General of the Union Army in March 1864. Within a year, Grant’s forces had seized Richmond and forced Robert E. Lee to surrender. Four years later, the reunified nation faced another leadership void after Lincoln’s assassination and an unworthy successor completed his term. Again, Grant answered the call. At stake once more was the future of the Union, for though the Southern states had been defeated, it remained to be seen if the former Confederacy could be reintegrated into the country—and if the Union could ensure the rights and welfare of African Americans in the South. Grant met the challenge by boldly advancing an agenda of Reconstruction and aggressively countering the Ku Klux Klan.  In his final weeks in the White House, however, Grant faced a crisis that threatened to undo his life’s work. The contested presidential election of 1876 produced no clear victory for either Republican Rutherford B. Hayes or Democrat Samuel Tilden, who carried most of the former Confederacy. Soon Southern states vowed to revolt if Tilden was not declared the victor. Grant was determined to use his influence to preserve the Union, establishing an electoral commission to peaceably settle the issue. Grant brokered a grand bargain: the installation of Republican Hayes to the presidency, with concessions to the Democrats that effectively ended Reconstruction. This painful compromise saved the nation, but tragically condemned the South to another century of civil-rights oppression. Deep with contemporary resonance and brimming with fresh detail that takes readers from the battlefields of the Civil War to the corridors of power where men decided the fate of the nation in back rooms, To Rescue the Republic reveals Grant, for all his complexity, to be among the first rank of American heroes.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Evergreen Ape: The Story of Bigfoot
    Evergreen Ape: The Story of Bigfoot
    Evergreen Ape: The Story of Bigfoot

    Audiobook

    Evergreen Ape: The Story of Bigfoot

    byDavid Norman Lewis

    The Pacific Northwest has always been home to unusual folktales, bizarre legends, and strange goings ons. From the countless UFO sightings and the dense rainforests of Oregon and Washington, to the sprawling network of Shanghai tunnels interlaced beneath the cities, the region is rife with stories of the unexplained and the unnatural. In Evergreen Ape, David Lewis takes a closer look at the origins of the Pacific Northwest's most beloved and elusive cryptid: Bigfoot. Drawing from newspaper reports, local American Indian legends, and stories passed down from settlers in the 1800s, Lewis explores the true stories that created the modern monster. Discover the various manifestations of the legend and the way he has interacted with society, then read about popular hikes in the area where he has supposedly been spotted, and step onto the path of finding Bigfoot yourself.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America
    The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America
    The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America

    Audiobook

    The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America

    byNoah Feldman

    This program is read by the author An innovative account of Abraham Lincoln, constitutional thinker and doer Abraham Lincoln is justly revered for his brilliance, compassion, humor, and rededication of the United States to achieving liberty and justice for all. He led the nation into a bloody civil war to uphold the system of government established by the US Constitution—a system he regarded as the “last best hope of mankind.” But how did Lincoln understand the Constitution? In this groundbreaking study, Noah Feldman argues that Lincoln deliberately and recurrently violated the United States’ founding arrangements. When he came to power, it was widely believed that the federal government could not use armed force to prevent a state from seceding. It was also assumed that basic civil liberties could be suspended in a rebellion by Congress but not by the president, and that the federal government had no authority over slavery in states where it existed. As president, Lincoln broke decisively with all these precedents, and effectively rewrote the Constitution’s place in the American system. Before the Civil War, the Constitution was best understood as a compromise pact—a rough and ready deal between states that allowed the Union to form and function. After Lincoln, the Constitution came to be seen as a sacred text—a transcendent statement of the nation’s highest ideals. The Broken Constitution is the first book to tell the story of how Lincoln broke the Constitution in order to remake it. To do so, it offers a riveting narrative of his constitutional choices and how he made them—and places Lincoln in the rich context of thinking of the time, from African American abolitionists to Lincoln’s Republican rivals and Secessionist ideologues. A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Shattering: America in the 1960s
    The Shattering: America in the 1960s
    The Shattering: America in the 1960s

    Audiobook

    The Shattering: America in the 1960s

    byKevin Boyle

    On July 4, 1961, the rising middle-class families of a Chicago neighborhood gathered before their flag-bedecked houses, a confident vision of the American Dream. That vision was shattered over the following decade, its inequities at home and arrogance abroad challenged by powerful civil rights and antiwar movements. Assassinations, social violence, and the blowback of a "silent majority" shredded the American fabric. Covering the late 1950s through the early 1970s, The Shattering focuses on the period's fierce conflicts over race, sex, and war. The civil rights movement develops from the grassroots activism of Montgomery and the sit-ins, through the violence of Birmingham and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, to the frustrations of King's Chicago campaign, a rising Black nationalism, and the Nixon-era politics of busing and the Supreme Court. Kevin Boyle captures the inspiring and brutal events of this passionate time with a remarkable empathy that restores the humanity of those making this history. Often they are everyday people like Elizabeth Eckford, enduring a hostile crowd outside her newly integrated high school in Little Rock, or Estelle Griswold, welcoming her arrest for dispensing birth control information in a Connecticut town.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance
    From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance
    From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance

    Audiobook

    From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance

    byJohn Pomfret

    The epic story of how Polish intelligence officers forged an alliance with the CIA in the twilight of the Cold War, told by the award-winning author John Pomfret Spanning decades and continents, from the battlefields of the Balkans to secret nuclear research labs in Iran and embassy grounds in North Korea, this saga begins in 1990. As the United States cobbles together a coalition to undo Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, six US officers are trapped in Iraq with intelligence that could ruin Operation Desert Storm if it is obtained by the brutal Iraqi dictator. Desperate, the CIA asks Poland, a longtime Cold War foe famed for its excellent spies, for help. Just months after the Polish people voted in their first democratic election since the 1930s, the young Solidarity government in Warsaw sends a veteran ex-Communist spy who’d battled the West for decades to rescue the six Americans. John Pomfret’s gripping account of the 1990 cliffhanger in Iraq is just the beginning of the tale about intelligence cooperation between Poland and the United States, cooperation that one CIA director would later describe as “one of the two foremost intelligence relationships that the United States has ever had.” Pomfret uncovers new details about the CIA’s black site program that held suspected terrorists in Poland after 9/11 as well as the role of Polish spies in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In the tradition of the most memorable works on espionage, Pomfret’s book tells a disquieting tale of moral ambiguity in which right and wrong, black and white, are not conveniently distinguishable. As the United States teeters on the edge of a new cold war with Russia and China, Pomfret explores how these little-known events serve as a reminder of the importance of alliances in a dangerous world.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol
    Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol
    Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

    Audiobook

    Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

    byMallory O'Meara

    “At last, the feminist history of booze we’ve been waiting for!” —Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist From Los Angeles Times bestselling author Mallory O’Meara comes a lively and engrossing feminist history of women drinking through the ages Strawberry daiquiris. Skinny martinis. Vodka sodas with lime. These are the cocktails that come in sleek-stemmed glasses, bright colors and fruity flavors—these are the Girly Drinks. From the earliest days of civilization, alcohol has been at the center of social rituals and cultures worldwide. But when exactly did drinking become a gendered act? And why have bars long been considered “places for men” when, without women, they might not even exist? With whip-smart insight and boundless curiosity, Girly Drinks unveils an entire untold history of the female distillers, drinkers and brewers who have played a vital role in the creation and consumption of alcohol, from ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi to iconic 1920s bartender Ada Coleman. Filling a crucial gap in culinary history, O’Meara dismantles the long-standing patriarchal traditions at the heart of these very drinking cultures, in the hope that readers everywhere can look to each celebrated woman in this book—and proudly have what she’s having.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Teutonic Knights: A Military History
    The Teutonic Knights: A Military History
    The Teutonic Knights: A Military History

    Audiobook

    The Teutonic Knights: A Military History

    byWilliam Urban

    The Teutonic Knights were powerful and ferocious advocates of holy war. Their history is suffused with crusading, campaigning and struggle. Feared by their enemies but respected by medieval Christendom, the knights and their Order maintained a firm hold over the Baltic and northern Germany and established a formidable regime which flourished across Central Europe for 300 years.This major new book surveys the gripping history of the knights and their Order and relates their rise to power; their struggles against Prussian pagans; the series of wars against Poland and Lithuania; the clash with Alexander Nevsky's Russia; and the gradual stagnation of the order in the fourteenth century. The book is replete with dramatic episodes - such as the battle on frozen Lake Peipus in 1242, or the disaster of Tannenberg - but focuses primarily on the knights' struggle to maintain power, fend off incursions and raiding bands and to launch crusades against unbelieving foes. And it was the crusade which chiefly characterised and breathed life into this Holy Order. William Urban's narrative charts the rise and fall of the Order and, in an accessible and engaging style, throws light on a band of knights whose deeds and motives have long been misunderstood.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Whose Middle Ages?: Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past
    Whose Middle Ages?: Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past
    Whose Middle Ages?: Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past

    Audiobook

    Whose Middle Ages?: Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past

    byAndrew Albin

    Whose Middle Ages? is an interdisciplinary collection of short, accessible essays intended for the nonspecialist reader and ideal for teaching at an undergraduate level. Each of twenty-two essays takes up an area where digging for meaning in the medieval past has brought something distorted back into the present: in our popular entertainment; in our news, our politics, and our propaganda; and in subtler ways that inform how we think about our histories, our countries, and ourselves. Each author looks to a history that has refused to remain past and uses the tools of the academy to read and re-read familiar stories, objects, symbols, and myths. Whose Middle Ages? gives nonspecialists access to the richness of our historical knowledge while debunking damaging misconceptions about the medieval past. Myths about the medieval period are especially beloved among the globally resurgent far right, from crusading emblems on the shields borne by alt-right demonstrators to the on-screen image of a purely white European populace, defended from actors of color by Internet trolls. This collection attacks these myths directly by insisting that readers encounter the relics of the Middle Ages on their own terms. Each essay uses its author’s academic research as a point of entry and takes care to explain how the author knows what she or he knows and what kinds of tools, bodies of evidence, and theoretical lenses allow scholars to write with certainty about elements of the past to a level of detail that might seem unattainable. By demystifying the methods of scholarly inquiry, Whose Middle Ages? serves as an antidote not only to the far right’s errors of fact and interpretation but also to its assault on scholarship and expertise as valid means for the acquisition of knowledge.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone
    The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone
    The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone

    Audiobook

    The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone

    byEdward Dolnick

    The surprising and compelling story of two rival geniuses in an all-out race to decode one of the world’s most famous documents—the Rosetta Stone—and their twenty-year-long battle to solve the mystery of ancient Egypt’s hieroglyphs. The Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous objects in the world, attracting millions of visitors to the British museum ever year, and yet most people don’t really know what it is. Discovered in a pile of rubble in 1799, this slab of stone proved to be the key to unlocking a lost language that baffled scholars for centuries. Carved in ancient Egypt, the Rosetta Stone carried the same message in different languages—in Greek using Greek letters, and in Egyptian using picture-writing called hieroglyphs. Until its discovery, no one in the world knew how to read the hieroglyphs that covered every temple and text and statue in Egypt. Dominating the world for thirty centuries, ancient Egypt was the mightiest empire the world had ever known, yet everything about it—the pyramids, mummies, the Sphinx—was shrouded in mystery. Whoever was able to decipher the Rosetta Stone, and learn how to read hieroglyphs, would solve that mystery and fling open a door that had been locked for two thousand years. Two brilliant rivals set out to win that prize. One was English, the other French, at a time when England and France were enemies and the world’s two great superpowers. The Writing of the Gods chronicles this high-stakes intellectual race in which the winner would win glory for both himself and his nation. A riveting portrait of empires both ancient and modern, this is an unparalleled look at the culture and history of ancient Egypt and a fascinating, fast-paced story of human folly and discovery unlike any other.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War
    The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War
    The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

    Audiobook

    The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

    byMark Bulik

    Sensational tales of true-life crime, the devastation of the Irish potato famine, the upheaval of the Civil War, and the turbulent emergence of the American labor movement are connected in a captivating exploration of the roots of the Molly Maguires. A secret society of peasant assassins in Ireland that re-emerged in Pennsylvania’s hard-coal region, the Mollies organized strikes, murdered mine bosses, and fought the Civil War draft. Their shadowy twelve-year duel with all powerful coal companies marked the beginning of class warfare in America. But little has been written about the origins of this struggle and the folk culture that informed everything about the Mollies. A rare book about the birth of the secret society, The Sons of Molly Maguire delves into the lost world of peasant Ireland to uncover the astonishing links between the folk justice of the Mollies and the folk drama of the Mummers, who performed a holiday play that always ended in a mock killing. The link not only explains much about Ireland’s Molly Maguires—where the name came from, why the killers wore women’s clothing, why they struck around holidays—but also sheds new light on the Mollies’ re-emergence in Pennsylvania. The book follows the Irish to the anthracite region, which was transformed into another Ulster by ethnic, religious, political, and economic conflicts. It charts the rise there of an Irish secret society and a particularly political form of Mummery just before the Civil War, shows why Molly violence was resurrected amid wartime strikes and conscription, and explores how the cradle of the American Mollies became a bastion of later labor activism. Combining sweeping history with an intensely local focus, The Sons of Molly Maguire is the captivating story of when, where, how, and why the first of America’s labor wars began.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History
    Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History
    Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History

    Audiobook

    Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History

    byAlex von Tunzelmann

    An Economist Best Book of the Year In this timely and lively look at the act of toppling monuments, the popular historian and author of Blood and Sand explores the vital question of how a society remembers—and confronts—the past. In 2020, history came tumbling down. From the US and the UK to Belgium, New Zealand, and Bangladesh, Black Lives Matter protesters defaced, and in some cases, hauled down statues of Confederate icons, slaveholders, and imperialists. General Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate Army, was covered in graffiti in Richmond, Virginia. Edward Colston, a member of Parliament and slave trader, was knocked off his plinth in Bristol, England, and hurled into the harbor. Statues of Christopher Columbus were toppled in Minnesota, burned and thrown into a lake in Virginia, and beheaded in Massachusetts. Belgian King Leopold II was set on fire in Antwerp and doused in red paint in Ghent. Winston Churchill’s monument in London was daubed with the word “racist.” As these iconic effigies fell, the backlash was swift and intense. But as the past three hundred years have shown, history is not erased when statues are removed. If anything, Alex von Tunzelmann reminds us, it is made. Exploring the rise and fall of twelve famous, yet now controversial statues, she takes us on a fascinating global historical tour around North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, filled with larger than life characters and dramatic stories. Von Tunzelmann reveals that statues are not historical records but political statements and distinguishes between statuary—the representation of “virtuous” individuals, usually “Great Men”—and other forms of sculpture, public art, and memorialization. Nobody wants to get rid of all memorials. But Fallen Idols asks: have statues had their day?

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution
    Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution
    Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

    Audiobook

    Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

    byWoody Holton

    A sweeping reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans—women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters. Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Liberty Is Sweet explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers. “It is all one story,” prizewinning historian Woody Holton writes. Holton describes the origins and crucial battles of the Revolution from Lexington and Concord to the British surrender at Yorktown, always focusing on marginalized Americans—enslaved Africans and African Americans, Native Americans, women, and dissenters—and on overlooked factors such as weather, North America’s unique geography, chance, misperception, attempts to manipulate public opinion, and (most of all) disease. Thousands of enslaved Americans exploited the chaos of war to obtain their own freedom, while others were given away as enlistment bounties to whites. Women provided material support for the troops, sewing clothes for soldiers and in some cases taking part in the fighting. Both sides courted native people and mimicked their tactics. Liberty Is Sweet gives us our most complete account of the American Revolution, from its origins on the frontiers and in the Atlantic ports to the creation of the Constitution. Offering surprises at every turn—for example, Holton makes a convincing case that Britain never had a chance of winning the war—this majestic history revivifies a story we thought we already knew.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather
    Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather
    Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather

    Audiobook

    Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather

    byMark Seal

    The behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Godfather, fifty years after the classic film’s original release. The story of how The Godfather was made is as dramatic, operatic, and entertaining as the film itself. Over the years, many versions of various aspects of the movie’s fiery creation have been told—sometimes conflicting, but always compelling. Mark Seal sifts through the evidence, has extensive new conversations with director Francis Ford Coppola and several heretofore silent sources, and complements them with colorful interviews with key players including actors Al Pacino, James Caan, Talia Shire, and others for irresistible insights into how the movie whose success some initially doubted roared to glory. On top of the usual complications of filmmaking, the creators of The Godfather had to contend with the real-life members of its subject matter: the Mob. During production of the movie, location permits were inexplicably revoked, author Mario Puzo got into a public brawl with an irate Frank Sinatra, producer Al Ruddy’s car was found riddled with bullets, men with “connections” vied to be in the cast, and some were given film roles. As Seal notes, this is the tale of “a classic movie that revolutionized filmmaking, saved Paramount Pictures, minted a new generation of movie stars, made its struggling author Mario Puzo rich and famous, and sparked a war between two of the mightiest powers in America: the sharks of Hollywood and the highest echelons of the Mob.” ​ Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli is the lively and complete story of how a masterpiece was made, perfect for anyone who loves the movies.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe
    When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe
    When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe

    Audiobook

    When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe

    byMaureen Quilligan

    A leading Renaissance scholar shows in this revisionist history how four powerful women redefined the culture of European monarchy in the glorious sixteenth century. Library Journal, "Books and Authors to Know: Titles to Watch 2021" Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars—yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe's thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Catherine de' Medici. Recasting the dramatic stories and complex political relationships among these four women rulers, Maureen Quilligan rewrites centuries of scholarship that sought to depict intense personal hatreds among them. Instead, showing how the queens engendered a culture of mutual respect, When Women Ruled the World focuses on the gift-giving by which they aimed to ensure female bonds of friendship and alliance. Detailing the artistic and political creativity that flourished in the pockets of peace created by these queens, this book offers a new perspective on the glory of the Renaissance and the women who helped to create it.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped America
    The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped America
    The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped America

    Audiobook

    The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped America

    byMatthew Pearl

    In his first work of narrative nonfiction, Matthew Pearl, bestselling author of acclaimed novel The Dante Club, explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of legendary pioneer Daniel Boone’s daughter and the dramatic aftermath that rippled across the nation.  On a quiet midsummer day in 1776, weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thirteen-year-old Jemima Boone and her friends Betsy and Fanny Callaway disappear near the Kentucky settlement of Boonesboro, the echoes of their faraway screams lingering on the air. A Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party has taken the girls as the latest salvo in the blood feud between American Indians and the colonial settlers who have decimated native lands and resources. Hanging Maw, the raiders’ leader, recognizes one of the captives as Jemima Boone, daughter of Kentucky's most influential pioneers, and realizes she could be a valuable pawn in the battle to drive the colonists out of the contested Kentucky territory for good. With Daniel Boone and his posse in pursuit, Hanging Maw devises a plan that could ultimately bring greater peace both to the tribes and the colonists. But after the girls find clever ways to create a trail of clues, the raiding party is ambushed by Boone and the rescuers in a battle with reverberations that nobody could predict. As Matthew Pearl reveals, the exciting story of Jemima Boone’s kidnapping vividly illuminates the early days of America’s westward expansion, and the violent and tragic clashes across cultural lines that ensue. In this enthralling narrative in the tradition of Candice Millard and David Grann, Matthew Pearl unearths a forgotten and dramatic series of events from early in the Revolutionary War that opens a window into America’s transition from colony to nation, with the heavy moral costs incurred amid shocking new alliances and betrayals. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty
    Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty
    Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

    Audiobook

    Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

    byAnderson Cooper

    New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts. When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires—one in shipping and another in railroads—that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by “the Commodore,” subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers—the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’s grandson and namesake had built—the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all. Now, the Commodore’s great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper, joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family’s empire, basked in the Commodore’s wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other. Written with a unique insider’s viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783
    The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783
    The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783

    Audiobook

    The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783

    byJoseph J. Ellis

    In one of the most “exciting and engaging” (Gordon S. Wood) histories of the American founding in decades, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph J. Ellis offers an epic account of the origins and clashing ideologies of America’s revolutionary era, recovering a war more brutal, and more disorienting, than any in our history, save perhaps the Civil War. For more than two centuries, historians have debated the history of the American Revolution, disputing its roots, its provenance, and above all, its meaning. These questions have intrigued Ellis—one of our most celebrated scholars of American history—throughout his entire career. With this much-anticipated volume, he at last brings the story of the revolution to vivid life, with “surprising relevance” (Susan Dunn) for our modern era. Completing a trilogy of books that began with Founding Brothers, The Cause returns us to the very heart of the American founding, telling the military and political story of the war for independence from the ground up, and from all sides: British and American, loyalist and patriot, white and Black. Taking us from the end of the Seven Years’ War to 1783, and drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, The Cause interweaves action-packed tales of North American military campaigns with parlor-room schemes and chicanery, creating a thrilling narrative that brings together a cast of familiar and long-forgotten characters. Here Ellis recovers the stories of Catharine Littlefield Greene, wife of Major General Nathanael Greene, the sister among the “band of brothers”; Thayendanegea, a Mohawk chief known to the colonists as Joseph Brant, who led the Iroquois Confederation against the Patriots; and Harry Washington, the enslaved namesake of George Washington, who escaped Mount Vernon to join the British Army and fight against his former master. Countering popular histories that romanticize the “Spirit of ’76,” Ellis demonstrates that the rebels fought under the mantle of “The Cause,” a mutable, conveniently ambiguous principle that afforded an umbrella under which different, and often conflicting, convictions and goals could coexist. Neither an American nation nor a viable government existed at the end of the war. In fact, one revolutionary legacy regarded the creation of such a nation, or any robust expression of government power, as the ultimate betrayal of The Cause. This legacy alone rendered any effective response to the twin tragedies of the founding—slavery and the Native American dilemma—problematic at best. Written with the vivid and muscular prose for which Ellis is known, and with characteristically trenchant insight, The Cause marks the culmination of a lifetime of engagement with the founding era. A landmark work of narrative history, it challenges the story we have long told ourselves about our origins as a people, and as a nation.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Empire and Jihad: The Anglo-Arab Wars of 1870-1920
    Empire and Jihad: The Anglo-Arab Wars of 1870-1920
    Empire and Jihad: The Anglo-Arab Wars of 1870-1920

    Audiobook

    Empire and Jihad: The Anglo-Arab Wars of 1870-1920

    byNeil Faulkner

    A panoramic, provocative account of the clash between British imperialism and Arab jihadism in Africa between 1870 and 1920 The Ottoman Sultan called for a "Great Jihad" against the Entente powers at the start of the First World War. He was building on half a century of conflict between British colonialism and the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Resistance to Western violence increasingly took the form of radical Islamic insurgency. Ranging from the forests of Central Africa to the deserts of Egypt, Sudan, and Somaliland, Neil Faulkner explores a fatal collision between two forms of oppression, one rooted in the ancient slave trade, the other in modern "coolie" capitalism. He reveals the complex interactions between anti-slavery humanitarianism, British hostility to embryonic Arab nationalism, "war on terror" moral panics, and Islamist revolt. Far from being an enduring remnant of the medieval past, or an essential expression of Muslim identity, Faulkner argues that "Holy War" was a reactionary response to the violence of modern imperialism.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • The Exotic
    The Exotic
    The Exotic

    Audiobook

    The Exotic

    byHampton Sides

    In The Exotic, Hampton Sides leads us on a grand adventure that is so strange and epic, it rivals the greatest tales of myth. Moving between a London high society newly infatuated with the Romantics and the perfumed archipelago of the Society Islands, Sides turns a riveting narrative into a cautionary tale about the heedless cruelty of colonialism and the collateral damage that can result from even the best-intentioned first contact. —Peter Heller, bestselling author of The Dog Stars, The River, and The Guide So much is made of “civilized" explorers heading out on grand adventures, but little is said of indigenes on their own journeys of exploration into the heart of whiteness. Sides gives us just that, in a meticulously researched story that is gripping, important, and inexplicably sad. A must-read. —David Treuer, New York Times bestselling author of Rez Life and The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee With The Exotic, Hampton Sides paints a superb portrait of a Polynesian Candide, whose picaresque travels to Europe and back in the Age of Enlightenment serve as a heartbreaking parable about human nature and colonialism. — Julian Sancton, author of Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Arctic Night From the New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers, In the Kingdom of Ice, and On Desperate Ground, the story of the Polynesian man who became the toast of eighteenth-century English society and whose complicated fate foreshadowed the cultural and racial reckoning of today. The story begins with a painting: A handsome young man with copper skin and regal posture gestures with a delicately tattooed hand. He is dressed in a turban and flowing robes and has the indisputable look of a prince from a foreign land. Painted in 1776 by Joshua Reynolds, the portrait is widely considered to be the artist’s masterpiece. But the man it depicts is a deception. Since the 2001 release of his New York Times bestseller Ghost Soldiers, Hampton Sides has been celebrated for his ability to discover little-known stories that bring fresh perspective to momentous historical events. In the new Scribd Original The Exotic, Sides tells the story of a South Seas native who, in the 1770s, became the first Polynesian to set foot on British soil. Having lost his home in an attack by invaders from Bora Bora, twenty-year-old Mai swore revenge. When Captain James Cook’s ships landed in Tahiti in 1774, during the renowned explorer’s second voyage, Mai saw his chance: He begged to be taken to England, where he hoped to amass the guns and ammunition with which he would return to Polynesia to destroy his enemies. In England, Mai was feted as a “human pet”—an exotic creature from a wild place who provided high society with a source of entertainment and cultural study. But throughout his two years in England, he never lost sight of his goal: to return to his homeland and avenge his family. To that end, he agreeably played his part, living in pampered comfort and charming the British nobility, most notably King George III, who eventually agreed to fund Mai’s return voyage with a shipful of weaponry. The Exotic follows Mai’s journey from Tahiti to England and back again, during which time he transformed into someone not quite Polynesian, not quite British. Mai represents the countless number of Indigenous people who lost their identities, if not their lives, as the result of their encounters with the Western world. His story raises questions with no easy answers: What is Mai’s legacy? How do we reinterpret the complicated role of an explorer-like Cook? How do people retain their heritage while also assimilating? Both a cultural study and an entertaining historical yarn, The Exotic explores the ramifications of European exploration and colonialism that changed the world forever.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
Explore History

Jump to another category and find the right match to your mood:

Great Finds: History

Featured Reading Lists

Curated collections from experts, influencers & our editors.

Explore more in History