Four Hundred Souls
Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

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Narrated By: Full Cast Full Cast

Duration: 14 hours and 2 minutes

What to expect

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 ninety leading Black voices.

The story begins with the arrival of twenty Ndongo people on the shores of the first British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. In eighty chronological chapters, each by a different author and spanning five years, the book charts the four-hundred-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 these pages 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

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

Genre

History of the Americas

Listen to a sample

Highly readable and far more compelling than a mere historical digest would have been ... This collection teaches us that nothing about the latest crisis is new ... a vital addition to that curriculum on race in America and should serve as a gateway to the solo works of all the voices in Kendi and Blain's impressive choir

Washington Post

A polyphonic work that unites writers, historians, lawyers, poets and activists ... From Morgan Parker's poem Before Revolution to writer Bernice L McFadden's soaring exploration of Zora Neale Hurston's genre-defining writing, it's something quite incredible

Stylist

A provocative, stirring anthology . . . Four Hundred Souls weaves a tapestry of unspeakable suffering and unexpected transcendence

O: The Oprah Magazine, 20 of the Best Books of February 2021 to Fall in Love With

An impressive and illuminating collection that rejects Blackness in America as a singular experience and instead illustrates the range of Black experiences and voices