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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 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the listener 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 in shaping America's collective history. 

It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than 400 people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers. 

A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of America's most essential stories are hidden in plain view - whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth or entire neighbourhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women and children has been deeply imprinted. 

Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith's debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of the United States and how it has come to be.

©2021 Clint Smith (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

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Deeply important

It’s true, we all as human beings, need to have access to this deeply transformative book.
Full of gratitude for Clint Smiths work, experience presentation skills and for Brene Brown for bringing it forth

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I am forever changed

Once in a while, an author comes along that changes how you see the world. This book is beautifully written and heartbreaking. It should be required reading for everyone.

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essential

a must listen for anyone wanting to understand slavery in the US. it broke my heart

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Essential read and learning for all humans

An essential read for all and a reminder of how easily dehumanising groups of people is to our world and importantly to each unique and special life. As a privileged whites women I am grateful to have this uncomfortable yet essential learning.

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A book that carries a message every person should hear.

I found this book valuable not just as an education on American history but as a much needed insight into how so much of our ‘History’ is whitewashed and turned into something more palatable - often turning villains into heroes and gaslighting those who were oppressed. I think this book has global relevance. I’m not from America but I know my own home country also has statues, street names and stories that are an injustice to those who suffered unimaginable loss. I really appreciate the author putting himself out there and doing the work. I hope that it is widely read, it would be great to see it in schools.

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  • Nobuo Mori
  • 31-07-2021

Moving

I have realized that I have very little understanding of this critical aspect of the US or even world history. This is the book must be read, and extremely useful to get perspectives for BLM and other important movements.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-06-2021

Simply Wonderful

Clint Smith’s writing is a beautifully brutal gut punch that left me dumbfounded. He is consistently sincere and yet never crosses the line into sentimental. The structure of the book keeps a pace which never feels dragging or rushed. The content is well researched and presented with authority and inarguable insight. All I want now is more of his work. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed a book like How The Word Is Passed. Instead I will just say that I feel enriched having heard it and reminded that as with all history we are intrinsically interconnected and must always strive to confront and understand our past to better our future. Thank you Clint thank you very much

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  • Anonymous
  • 13-09-2021

Insightful

Thank you for creating this book Clint. You've given me a deeper perspective into the

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  • Rachel Nicholas
  • 18-08-2021

Beautifully written and powerful

This is something everyone should read, we need to know this to understand today.

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  • MS SARAH C JONES
  • 08-07-2021

Extraordinary; persepctive-shifting; life-changing

Powerful, poignant and inspiring; it opens the heart and mind. Clint's words have wings.

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