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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Four Hundred Souls is an epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, told by 90 leading Black voices.

The story begins with the arrival of 20 Ndongo people on the shores of the first British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. In 80 chronological chapters, each by a different author and spanning five years, the book charts the 400-year journey of African Americans to the present - a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles and stunning achievements - in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty. 

Contributors include some of the leading writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America. They use a variety of techniques - historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes and fiery polemics - and approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people, populating this audiobook with hundreds of extraordinary lives and personalities. Together they illuminate countless new facets to the story of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, reinvention and hope. Through its diversity of perspectives the book shows that to be African American means many different things and demonstrates the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness. 

Four Hundred Souls is an essential work that redefines America and the way its history can be told.

Read by a full cast, including:

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Amir Abdullah, Ryan Vincent Anderson, Kristen Ariza, Dashawn Barnes, Joshua Bennett, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Andre Blake, Torian Brackett, Donte Bonner, Mahogany L. Browne, Ron Butler, Kellie Carter-Jackson, Brianna Collette, Karen Chilton, Sean Crisden, Keith David, Angela Y. Davis, William DeMerrit, Leonard Dozier, Robin Eller, Kevin R. Free, James Fouhey, Alicia Garza, Dion Graham, Danai Gurira, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Jamal Henderson, Ethan Herisse, Susan Heyward, Cary Hite, Dominic Hoffman, Sherrilyn Ifill, James Monroe Iglehart, JD Jackson, Zainab Jah, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Sullivan Jones, Peter Francis James, Terrence Kidd, January LaVoy, Adam Lazarre-White, Keylor Leigh, Nicole Lewis, Dennis Logan, Chante McCormick, Desmond Manny, Jesus Martinez, Heather McGhee, Sheryl Mebane, Robin Miles, Karen Murray, Soneela Nankani, Leon Nixon, Soledad O'Brien, Leslie Odom, Jr., Adenrele Ojo, Genesis Oliver, Prentice Onayemi, Tovah Ott, Morgan Parker, Imani Parks, Lisa Renee Pitts, Imani Jade Powers, Rhett Samuel Price, Bill Quinn, Phylicia Rashad, David Sadzin, Joshua David Scarlett, Heather Alicia Simms, Shayna Small, Patricia Smith, Marisha Tapera, Tashi Thomas, Damian Thompson, TL Thompson, Ella Turenne, Bahni Turpin, Anita Welch, Jade Wheeler, Samira Wiley, Zenzi Williams, Mirron Willis, Andia Winslow, Kai Wright, and with co-editors Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

©2021 Ibram X. Kendi, Keisha N. Blain (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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  • Greta Evans
  • 02-03-2021


I cannot stress enough to everyone to buy this book. I'm a white woman who wanted to increase my knowledge of the struggles and sacrifices and despair, cruelty and power and resilience and unrelenting strength of my fellow black and brown brothers and sisters. This book takes you right back to where it started and the sad thing is how it's still happening. At times I cried, at times I heard myself say "good for you", at times I felt angered and ashamed to be white, but that's ok because I now have a deeper understanding of the why and how people of colour still to this day do not have the same rights, equal treatment and respect that people with my colour skin have. I'm so glad my mother raised me to think I'm not better than anyone else and they're not better than me, you treat people equally no matter what skin colour, religion, sex, thank you mother. The stories you will hear throughout this extremely well put together book of authors will bring it all home. From the plantations, the civil war, Jim Crow, the deep personal stories you never hear of, to the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm white, I'm proud I'm not like those people of the past and I'm prouder to say my understanding has deepened and I will continue the fight for justice for who I lovingly call my black and brown brothers and sisters because Black Lives Matter, they should have mattered back then, they should matter now and my life won't matter until theirs does!! It is time, it's been a long time coming. Well done to absolutely everyone who created this masterpiece.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-03-2021

The Journey

Thanks for creating space and holding each other’s hands to birth the soundtrack of black generations of souls

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.