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Download Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mothers Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South Audiobook, by Beth Macy Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Beth Macy Narrator: Suzanne Toren Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2016 ISBN: 9781478957027
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The true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a twenty-eight-year struggle to get them back.

The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever.

Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even “Ambassadors from Mars.” Back home, their mother never accepted that they were “gone” and spent 28 years trying to get them back.

Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home? Truevine is a compelling narrative rich in historical detail and rife with implications to race relations today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Provides an important lens through…America’s tortured racial history.”

    Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Macy’s conscientious reporting and her vigorous storytelling make the saga of George and Willie Muse even more enthralling than fiction.”

    USA Today

  • “Even in the worst circumstances, Ms. Macy makes clear, the Muse brothers maintained their humanity.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Macy is a gifted storyteller and a dogged researcher, and readers will be riveted by her account of Harriet Muse’s struggle to find her sons.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A true mystery that provides insight into a long-gone world that still has echoes today.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Macy puts their story into its larger historical context, giving the reader an understanding of the virulent, often violent racism of the Jim Crow era.”

    Tampa Bay Times

  • “Narrative nonfiction at its best.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This first-rate journey into human trafficking, slavery, and familial bonding is an engrossing example of spirited, determined reportage.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A deeply moving and endlessly compelling book.


  • “Narrator Suzanne Toren brings an understated and lucid voice to this strange but true story of the Jim Crow South…Toren’s poised, sophisticated narration makes for enjoyable listening while still allowing author Beth Macy’s impressive journalistic efforts take center stage.”


  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick for October 2016
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2016 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of the Best Nonfiction of 2016
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2016
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2016
  • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of 2016
  • Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, 2016
  • Finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction
  • A Houston Chronicle Pick for 2016
  • Longlisted for the 2017 Carnegie Medal for Literature 
  • An Entertainment Weekly Pick of Books to Read This Fall
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About the Author

Beth Macy won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, a joint project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, for “her extraordinary reporting and narrative skills” and her work on Factory Man. The daughter of a factory worker, she writes about outsiders and underdogs. Her articles have appeared in national magazines and the Roanoke Times, where she has won more than a dozen national awards for her reporting, including a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. She lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

About the Narrator

Suzanne Toren has over thirty years of experience in narration. She has won the American Foundation for the Blind’s Scourby Award for Narrator of the Year, AudioFile magazine named her the 2009 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture, and she is the recipient of multiple Earphones Awards. She performs on and off Broadway and in regional theaters and has appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.