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Extended Audio Sample True Believers: A Novel Audiobook, by Kurt Andersen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (951 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kurt Andersen Narrator: Vanessa Hart Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9780449011812
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In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heydayand Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.

Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968—an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret—as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.

As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.

Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fascinating and wisely observant.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Funny, fiendishly smart.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A great American novel.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “A big, swinging novel…[A] colorful story…This could be the most rambunctious meeting your book club will have for a long time.”

    Washington Post

  • “Intelligent and insightful…Think The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Atonement, a 60s-era female Holden Caulfield…Andersen is an agile storyteller…[There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the 60s and today.”

    USA Today

  • “So epic: Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, the novel alternates between the present and the 1960s, capturing some of America’s most pivotal moments in history like a time capsule.”

    Marie Claire

  • “This is an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude. Moreover, it asks essential questions about what it means to be an American and, in a sense, what it means to be America.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah S | 2/20/2014

    " Politcs, memory, trust, history, Chicago, and I liked the narrator. It wasn't a perfect book, there were parts that were a litle slow or predictable, but overall I enjoyed it, and can't wait to discuss things with someone who lived through the 60s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Will | 2/15/2014

    " great book to read while watching homeland. domestic terrorism and the 60's. weird combo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Potsdam Public | 1/20/2014

    " Wow - what a ride. So many memories from back in the day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 1/8/2014

    " I felt like I was re-learning my own history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leila Cohan-Miccio | 1/7/2014

    " I love slightly trashy books masquerading as literary fiction as much as I love fiction inspired by the Weather Underground. This is both. Recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kimberley | 11/26/2013

    " just okay. writing interesting but had to get past government/cia/fbi mumbo jumbo to figure it out. liked the main character but had trouble caring about anyone else. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 11/22/2013

    " I really admire Kurt Andersen's career, but I'm always disappointed by his novels. It probably says more about me, than him, but I just can't get plow through them to the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 7/22/2013

    " Really 3.5 stars. Exquisite writing but I just didn't care about the characters. The reveal of her big, deep dark secret seemed anti-climatic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellen | 3/23/2013

    " Decent story, but too long to get to the main point of the book. I found myself skipping ahead chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelley | 3/4/2013

    " I liked the author's writing style and the story was interesting. Add the historical aspect of it and I'm not surprised I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 11/14/2012

    " One of the best books I've read this year. Expresses the passion of being 18 and knowing everything and how that changes over time. "

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About the Author
Author Kurt Andersen

Kurt Andersen is an author and essayist. He has also written for film, television, and the stage and has contributed to the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time. He is also host and cocreator of Studio 360, the Peabody Award–winning cultural magazine show produced by Public Radio International and WNYC and broadcast on 140 stations to 500,000 listeners each week. He cofounded the transformative independent magazine Spy, which was nominated for two National Magazine Awards.

About the Narrator

Vanessa Hart (1959–2014) narrated dozens of award-winning audiobooks in her career. She was a finalist for the 2009 Voicey Award for Best Female Voice and was a finalist in the 2008 Audie Awards.