American Revelations

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, August 3, 2016


While it’s comforting to believe we know what is happening around us, there are times when we really aren’t aware of how others are managing what we know about our shared America. In our penultimate week, we’re happy to be able to share two award-winning titles that give listeners opportunities to discover American life and lives in new ways.


Cristina Henríquez’s novel THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS, performed here by a full cast from Random House Audio, takes us inside a community of whom many Americans have little awareness. As a noted Alex Award title, this adult book with high resonance with teens unfolds with an ensemble of Latino neighbors from a variety of cultures, with different personal histories, and with diverse prospects. For now, though, they live in a Delaware apartment complex, going out each day to work or to school. There’s an unusual teen love story here, as well as finely detailed and realized characters of all ages performed by Yareli Arizmendi, Christine Avila, Jesse Corti, Gustavo Res, Ozzie Rodriguez, and Gabriel Romero.

Steve Sheinkin’s MOST DANGEROUS: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, read by Ray Porter for Listening Library, holds a very different kind of revelation about America. This history of government deception and the journalist who exposed the subterfuge won the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2016 Excellence in Nonfiction Award and was a finalist for a National Book Award as well. As ever, Sheinkin brings a complex episode from recent American history into focus with such clarity that listeners can understand how and why so many Americans of today hold an underlying skepticism about our government. Porter’s pacing allows those unfamiliar with the history of the Pentagon Papers and their public revelation to keep track of history unfolding.

Even if you are running out of listening time for the summer, be sure to download these now so that you can enjoy them whenever you like. All AudiobookSYNC downloads are yours to keep forever.

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