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Download Bleeding Kansas Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Bleeding Kansas, by Sara Paretsky Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (969 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sara Paretsky Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781423319856
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Set in the Kaw River Valley, where Paretsky grew up, Bleeding Kansas is the story of the Schapens and the Grelliers, two farm families whose histories have been entwined since the 1850s, when their ancestors settled the valley as antislavery immigrants. Today, the Schapen family, still terrified by the lawlessness of the 1970s - when Lawrence was the most violent college town in the nation - have turned to that old-time religion for security. The Schapens keep a close eye on all their neighbors, most especially the Grelliers. They keep careful track of everyone’s misdeeds, and print the most egregious on their family website. When Gina Haring, a Wiccan, moves into a nearby empty farmhouse and starts practicing pagan rites, the Schapens are so outraged that they begin an active harassment campaign against the Wiccans. The family members worry, too, about who stands better with the Lord, they or the Grelliers. When a Schapen cow gives birth to what may be a “Perfect Red Heifer” - needed if the Temple is ever rebuilt in Jerusalem - the Schapens are convinced that God is indeed smiling on them. The pastor at their church, Salvation Bible, proclaims: “We were given a miracle, a chance to make history, in Kansas. The nation and the world laugh at us. ‘What is the matter with Kansas?’ liberals ask. We have a chance to say, ‘Nothing’s the matter with Kansas, generation of vipers. Everything’s right with Kansas.’ What’s the matter is, you have turned your backs on the truth of the risen Lord.” Despite parental cautions, the Grelliers’ teenage children are enraged by the Schapens. All their short lives, they and the young Schapens have fought, first in their country elementary school and now in high school. One particularly angry confrontation causes Chip Grellier to be expelled from school and consequently to join the Army. Chip’s death in Iraq is the catalyzing event for momentous, even monstrous, changes in the lives of not only the Schapens and the Grelliers but all the families in the Valley. The powerful, climactic scene at Gina Haring’s Samhain bonfire will forever haunt the listener. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 2/18/2014

    " I like the fact that Paretsky tried to do something different. As usual, her writing was good. The underlying plot was interesting too. Although I was getting annoyed with the characters, I did stay up late to finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 1/22/2014

    " A little Hatfield and McCoys... all gossip though. I thought it was all over the place. Didn't really care too much about the plot. It could have been a lot better, my interest was peaked because of the history behind it but in my opinion there wasn't enough on the subject. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tina | 1/22/2014

    " This book started out promising. I enjoyed the historical background the author gave regarding the KS/MO border wars. However, the writing and plot became scattered and disjointed. It's also billed as a mystery, which it most definitely is not. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jane T | 1/10/2014

    " Interesting story, but V. I. Warshawski novels are Paretsky's strongest books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. | 12/20/2013

    " How did I not add this earlier? This was dark, and sad, and honest -- totally unlike her VI Warshawski novels, but lovely all the same. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Missmath144 | 11/18/2013

    " It started out with so many names from different generations that I got lost and bored in the confusion. But halfway through the book, I was finding it compelling reading, although not very realistic. I wonder if Paretsky really thinks Kansans are so stereotypical. The characters were charicatures, and most of them were not likeable. The book painted liberals, conservatives, and religious people alike with the color of hatred and/or simplemindedness. The library labels it as mystery, but it's more about wacko religious nuts than any mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rrshively | 11/15/2013

    " In quite a departure from her usual mystery novels, Ms. Paretsky writes a novel filled with conflicting characters that represent different looks at life, religion, and relationships. The only mystery here is Elaine's relationship with the 70's commune. I especially liked Lara and her Romeo/Juliet romance. This novel deals with the issue of extreme fundamentalist Christian beliefs and how they may interfere with true Christianity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marian Willeke | 10/27/2013

    " This was a really enjoyable book that I listened unabridged while travelling on the road. I really connected with the characters, but while I think we're supposed to like Susan, I found her generally extremely annoying. The story demonstrated very well how history still impacts current generations, and was very attention grabbing. My only issue was the extreme behaviour of the factions Paretsky was representing. Everybody was too far into the attitude that she had placed them - to the point where you catch yourself occasionally rolling your eyes. However, it was still an interesting story and I would certainly read more of Paretsky's work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis M | 10/19/2013

    " Excellent read, but the ending was a bit disappointing, almost like she decided, "OK, that's enough pages, let's wrap up the lose ends" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gailpellegrini | 6/9/2013

    " This author writes V.I. Warshawski, private investigator, sotries that that are hip fast paced and fun. But this is a completely different type of book about three families with deep roots in Kansas history. Includes some radical religion and a good story line. I enjoyed the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Senner | 3/6/2013

    " Conflict between two farm families near modern Lawrence Kansas with references to the pre-civil war history of the area. Paretsky tries to capture some of the paradoxical politics and religion of a state that is simultaneously liberal and conservative/fundementalist Christian and Wiccan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 1/29/2013

    " I loved this book about 3 farm families in NE KS and how they deal with racial prejudice and idealism as well as loss. Some of it was a little trite, but most of it felt very true to me and I kept turning pages. I definitely enjoyed this one more than Ghost Country. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maryellen Woodside | 12/7/2012

    " I listened to this book. Quite different from Paretsky'd usual mysteries. Set in Kaw River Valley, where Paretsky grew up, it's the story of 2 families whose histories have been intertwined since before the Civil War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arlene Richards | 7/3/2012

    " As demonstrated in this book, the Americans have a long history of religious fundamentalism and an anti-science bias. this book was a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 6/5/2012

    " A mix of historical and contemporary issues; in fact at one point I wondered how many issues could be included in one book! While a bit long, the novel is interesting and has a fairly satisfying ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caren | 4/17/2012

    " A moving story, excellent for the politically or psychologically minded reader. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 2/22/2012

    " Flat characters. Gave it a good 100 pages because of a starred PW review ... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 jennifer | 1/28/2012

    " This felt like a rural rehashing of "Ghost Country". The writing is evocative but the characters are flat. There are three plot threads, and only one is (mostly) resolved. I suppose in real life we don't get all the answers, but I read fiction for that certainty. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 10/27/2011

    " Light reading with a good story. Although the title might suggest Kansas in the 1850s, the story touches on the period just tangentially. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 8/22/2011

    " This is one of my favorite novels of the past year. Sara Paretsky does a Wonderful job of writing about two different eras in Kansas. So many novels that attempt to do that seem choppy to me - not this one. This novel integrates the two eras and stories extraordinarily well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 5/17/2011

    " A very Important historical novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 5/15/2011

    " An unusual book for Sara Paretsky, not her usual heroine, but her characters are always terrific and this is a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Irene | 3/23/2011

    " audio -- I seem to pick books with like mind themes. this book is about growing up poor and restricted/ about death and the right to go on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 1/20/2011

    " A little much by the end but very enjoyable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jane | 1/12/2011

    " Interesting story, but V. I. Warshawski novels are Paretsky's strongest books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynne | 12/14/2010

    " She should have stuck with mysteries. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 9/11/2010

    " A yarn about life in rural Kansas focusing on the lives of the families on four neighbouring farms. Deals with coming of age, war, death + gossip. Okay but I had hoped for a little more mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maryellen | 9/4/2010

    " I listened to this book. Quite different from Paretsky'd usual mysteries. Set in Kaw River Valley, where Paretsky grew up, it's the story of 2 families whose histories have been intertwined since before the Civil War. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jami | 8/20/2010

    " The writer is awesome but I wasn't fond of the story's subject matter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra | 8/16/2010

    " I love Paretsky. Have read all of her books so I plodded through this one. Deeply disappointed -- kept waiting for it to get better -- got to the end and it didn't get any better at all! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 7/16/2010

    " Interesting fictional account of descendants of families who survived Quantrill's raid in Northeast Kansas. The book interweaves several storylines that explore religious, political, mental health, and familial issues. "

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