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2021 National Book Awards Longlist: Nonfiction

Here are the available audiobooks for the 2021 National Book Award longlist for Nonfiction! This longlist includes emerging and established writers, and represents an exceptionally wide range of subjects and genres, from American culture and politics, environmentalism, history, current social issues, to works of memoir, and beyond. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 5.

Playlist Tags: genre: Nonfiction awards: national book award nba nonfiction

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How the Word Is Passed

A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

By Clint Smith
Narrated by: Clint Smith
Length: 10 hours 7 minutes

Instant #1 New York Times bestseller

Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction


Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central...

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All That She Carried

The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

By Tiya Miles
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 9 hours 29 minutes

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST • A renowned historian traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft an extraordinary testament to people who are left out of the archives.

“Deeply layered and insightful . . . [a] bold reflection on American history, African American... Read more »

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The Free World

Art and Thought in the Cold War

By Louis Menand
Narrated by: David Colacci
Length: 34 hours 54 minutes

"Narrator David Colacci approaches this opinionated, engrossing audiobook with a practiced voice that lets its numerous stories tell themselves without fanfare...this audiobook is a monumental work." -- AudioFile Magazine

In his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize
–winning The Metaphysical Club, Louis Menand offers a new intellectual and cultural...

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The Sum of Us

What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

By Heather McGhee
Narrated by: Heather McGhee
Length: 11 hours 8 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color.

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”—Ibram X.... Read more »

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Covered with Night

A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America

By Nicole Eustace
Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Length: 14 hours 33 minutes

On the eve of a major treaty conference between Iroquois leaders and European colonists in the distant summer of 1722, two white fur traders attacked an Indigenous hunter and left him for dead near Conestoga, Pennsylvania. Though virtually forgotten today, this act of brutality set into motion a remarkable series of criminal investigations and... Read more »

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The Ground Breaking

An American City and Its Search for Justice

By Scott Ellsworth
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
Length: 10 hours 2 minutes

2021 National Book Award Longlist

One of The New York Times's 11 Books we Recommend This Week | One of Oprah Daily's 20 of the Best Books to Pick Up This May | One of The Oklahoman's 15 books to help you learn about the Tulsa Race Massacre as the 100-year anniversary approaches |A The Week book of the week

As seen in documentaries on History...
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Tastes Like War

A Memoir

By Grace M. Cho
Narrated by: Cindy Kay
Length: 9 hours 24 minutes

Grace M. Cho grew up as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and the Korean bar hostess he met abroad. They were one of few immigrants in a xenophobic small town during the Cold War, where identity was politicized by everyday details—language, cultural references, memories, and food. When Grace was fifteen, her dynamic mother... Read more »

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Running Out

In Search of Water on the High Plains

By Lucas Bessire
Narrated by: John Chancer
Length: 6 hours 19 minutes

This audiobook narrated by John Chancer recounts an intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland

The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and...

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A Little Devil in America

Notes in Praise of Black Performance

By Hanif Abdurraqib
Narrated by: JD Jackson
Length: 9 hours 38 minutes

A Little Devil in America

“Hanif Abdurraqib's exploration of Black performance in America is a cultural keystone that is chillingly relevant. Whether discussing the fact that a knowing look or advice on a route from a cashier is a form of a living Green Book that still exists because there are places Black people are not safe, to the origin of the card game spades or the difference between showing out or showing off, at the heart A Little Devil in America circles back to the fact that Black Americans have been forced to survive in places there were not welcome. The section on Black funerals pierced my heart. This book needs to be read, taught, underlined and discussed.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel , Avid Bookshop
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