Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary Audiobook, by Joe Jackson Play Audiobook Sample

Download Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary Audiobook

Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary Audiobook, by Joe Jackson Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Joe Jackson Narrator: Traber Burns Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Audio Length: Release Date: October 2016 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781504754378

Publisher Description

Here is the epic life story of the Native American holy man who has inspired millions around the world.

Black Elk, the Native American holy man, is known to millions of readers around the world from his 1932 testimonial, Black Elk Speaks. Adapted by the poet John Neihardt from a series of interviews, it is one of the most widely read and admired works of American Indian literature. Cryptic and deeply personal, it has been read as a spiritual guide, a philosophical manifesto, and a text to be deconstructed—while the historical Black Elk has faded from view.

In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West.

Born in an era of rising violence, Black Elk killed his first man at Little Big Horn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior and instead chose the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that haunted and inspired him, even after he converted to Catholicism in his later years.

In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to Black Elk the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.

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  • “The book is read superbly with matter-of-fact pacing and clarity by Traber Burns, who distinguishes between text, dialogue and quotation with subtle modulation. He executes the many Indian names and expressions gracefully, doing justice throughout to a very great book.”

    - Washington Post (audio review)
  • “Traber Burns provides a narrative performance that resides somewhere between that of a devoted professor and a wise storyteller. That’s fitting, because this is a deep, detailed historical document.”

    - AudioFile
  • “Jackson’s fascinating biography tells the true story of this American holy man.”

    - Newsday
  • “Jackson…creates a deeply felt and personal story of loss and change on the plains…The long set piece concerning the Battle of the Little Bighorn is among the very best I’ve ever read.”

    - Washington Post
  • “Remarkably researched and beautifully told…shifting in subtle ways the stories we thought we knew.”

    - National Book Review
  • “Leaves the reader in awe of Black Elk’s struggle to help his people preserve their culture.”

    - Booklist (starred review)
  • “Stirring…Of much literary and historical merit and a fine addition to the shelves of anyone interested in this part of America’s unhappy past.”

    - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Jackson does a magnificent job…in what is by far the most comprehensive biography of its subject to date. Jackson portrays Native Americans with a clear-eyed sympathy that avoids sentimentality, bringing historical figures such as Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull to life and providing fascinating insights into Indian life, culture, and, most notably, religion.”

    - Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)
  • “Jackson panoramically renders a narrative as majestic as the American West in this fine account of the life of Black Elk…A major contribution to Native American history.”

    - Publishers Weekly
  • “Jackson endeavors to extricate the historical Black Elk from the mythology surrounding his legacy…Fascinating.”

    - Library Journal


  • A Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2016
  • A Pick for Most Anticipated Nonfiction Book of 2016
  • Winner of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
  • A Boston Globe Pick of the Best Books of 2016
  • Longlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

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About the Author

Joe Jackson is the author of one novel and six works of nonfiction, including Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic. His book The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire was named one of Time magazine’s top ten nonfiction books of 2008. His Leavenworth Train was a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime Book.

About the Narrator

Traber Burns worked for thirty-five years in regional theater, including the New York, Oregon, and Alabama Shakespeare festivals. He also spent five years in Los Angeles appearing in many television productions and commercials, including Lost, Close to Home, Without a Trace, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case, Gilmore Girls, and others.