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The 1619 Project  By  cover art

The 1619 Project

By: Nikole Hannah-Jones,The New York Times Magazine,Caitlin Roper - editor,Ilena Silverman - editor,Jake Silverstein - editor
Narrated by: Nikole Hannah-Jones,Full Cast
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Publisher's Summary

Number One New York Times Best Seller

A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together 18 essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction - and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

Cover image: Lorna Simpson Beclouded, 2018 © Lorna Simpson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Read by a full cast, including:
Nikole Hannah-Jones, January LaVoy, Claudia Rankine, Nikky Finney, Janina Edwards, Dorothy Roberts, Shayna Small, Terrance Hayes, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Yusef Komunyakaa, Eve L. Ewing, Karen Chilton, Aaron Goodson, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Erin Miles, Dominic Hoffman, Adenrele Ojo, Matthew Desmond, Tyehimba Jess, Tim Seibles, Jamelle Bouie, Cornelius Eady, Minka Wiltz, Martha S. Jones, Darryl Pinckney, ZZ Packer, Carol Anderson, Tracy K. Smith, Evie Shockley, Bryan Stevenson, William DeMeritt, Jasmine Mans, Trymaine Lee, A. Van Jordan, Yaa Gyasi, Linda Villarosa, Danez Smith, Terry McMillan, Anthea Butler, Rita Dove, Camille T. Dungy, Wesley Morris, Natasha Trethewey, Joshua Bennett, Chanté McCormick, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Ron Butler, Kevin M. Kruse, Bahni Turpin, Gregory Pardlo, Ibram X. Kendi, JD Jackson, Jason Reynolds, and Sonia Sanchez

©2021 Random House (P)2021 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The 1619 Project

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History demands the official story be corrected

History has been my passion for 50 years. Between biography and subject specific historical elements, easily half of the books I focus on an aspect of history, most often award winning and critically acclaimed works. Much of it has been an attempt to illuminate and reconcile my own family's complicated racial and migrational history.

When the New York Times released the 1619 Project in 2019, I read all that I was able to access online and probably read this much more superficially than I would normally admit. Then the push back hit as critics attacked the work as propaganda and politicians of the right tried to use this as partisan leverage by responding with their own projects. But what became apparent was who was criticizing the project. They weren't the luminaries of history but rather a virtually anonymous group of third tier historians and pundits. But, in the interim between the magazine and the book, I tried to weigh the criticism and retorts, some of which seemed valid but the bulk seemed partisan.

I chose to "read" the book via Audible and broke it into 20 intervals of about an hour each and roughly by chapter and period features in poem and short story read mostly by the authors. This meant that different voices carried forward the narrative not from a single authority, but via dozens of perspective. In fact, 54 other poets and authors contribute to the project conceived by Historian Nicole Hannah-Jones who won the Pulitzer for the original work. The Audible format allowed me to walk as I listened and I logged about 75 miles with my pup these last three weeks.

I can attest that, as I read so much history, most of these stories were known to me. Particularly on the subject of the Civil War, I have, without exaggeration, read tens of thousands of pages on the subject and will be adding another thousand or so from the two books in my current queue. What stopped me in my tracks was one story from the Civil War related to an atrocity during Sherman's March and caught me having to catch my breath from the shock. I won't give it away but, I fact checked the events at Ebenezer Creek and was horrified that, not only was it was true and, yet never told in any of the dozens of books I have read on the subject. I found myself in tears at the side of the road trying to process a disgusting betrayal by Union forces of people who believed that they had won freedom.

There is a concerted effort to discredit this work but, despite disagreements concerning intentions, the fact that this comes from a different perspective other than the dominant one obviously makes those who have dictated the narrative want to perpetuate their perspective.

Not only do I recommend that this work be read, it needs to be taught. Not as a separate course but as part of grade school and high school history and civics curriculum. You may learn things that you never realized or may change the picture of events you thought you understood. Yes, it may hurt. Yes, it may shock. Yes, it may make you feel guilt, or anger, or betrayal.

And, that's okay. For those who want to know the truth, it may cause one to reassess values and worth. Most importantly, I hope it helps you appreciate that we are a complicated species peopling a complicated nation where we all think we mean well but, in retrospective, may tolerate terrible things and awful people as a necessity in order to achieve great things.

But not knowing is a criminal act of the human and, most especially, American mind and conscience. If we wish to aspire to being a more perfect union, it will require us acknowledging the imperfections that got us there and strive to make recompense for the harm we caused on our path to who we are, and who we can become.

119 people found this helpful

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Disjointed

Is it history… not really.
Is it economics….not really
Is it Poetry……not really

It’s an amalgam of all three that is confusing.

106 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive and Cutting

The 1619 Project (Project) is a comprehensive review and evaluation of the American Experiment. The Project conveys a view of America that is disregarded because of its purposefully effectuated cruelty. Empire building is a gruesome undertaking and America, as it is known today, is no exception.

The Project contains information found in numerous other texts; however, those texts are singularly focused. The mastery of the Project lays in its scaffolded approach; revealing how issues are not isolated but multidimensional, overlapping, and yes - systemic. While the repetition is rather irritating for the learned on these topics, it is essential for the novice.

Why such a vicious backlash to the Project? Why such degrading commentary about the Project? Why such a challenge to the scholarly work and presentation of the Project’s contributors? Simple. When what is done in the dark comes to the light, the perpetrator suffers exposure of their hypocrisy and evil.

To divorce America’s success from its 250 plus years of free labor is to tell a child that a stork brought it into the world. Let the fables cease and fairy tales be regarded as such. America’s origin is ugly. It is brutal. It is frightening. Yet, America stands as a beacon of hope to many throughout the world. Let America also stand as an example of truth, inclusion, and forgiveness too.

69 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

I know this book is controversial. However, it contains important historical facts everyone should know. Not to teach these facts to American children is analogous to not teaching German children about the holocaust.

40 people found this helpful

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A good writer does not a good reader make.

You know that kid in high school English that you wished the teacher would have the mercy to skip over when calling upon students to read aloud?

40 people found this helpful

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The truth of US history

This story needed to be told. It’s incredible that my Jewish people who were holocaust survivors were able to receive reparations from the German government and the descendants of African slaves still must wait for reparations from the US government.

38 people found this helpful

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Being incensed and caucasian listening to the book

I loved this book. It speaks volumes about the racial divides which still riven our country. The history, the voices of Black Americans and the legacy this country still tries to reconcile. Very well done and well worth the listen or the read.

38 people found this helpful

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Thank you!

I'm finally learning the ugly truth about America History which helps me understand more why there's systematic racism built into every single institution's in the United States, which I always believed exist to this day. Louisiana public schools doesn't teach you our Real History it's been White Wash.

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  • JB
  • 02-04-22

The 1619 Project: A Case for Racism and A Desperate Plea Reparations

I began this book with an open mind. I quickly discovered that hate and racism is alive and well within these pages.

Books like this, with a focus on the past and a demand for a check, will ultimately do more harm than good for race relations.

As a Native American, a person of color, I feel like must remind the author that before the pilgrims, before the slaves of 1619, we were here. We are still here.

Do better.

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It is always about skin color to racists.

It is always about skin color to racists. You should judge others by their character and not by the color of their skin.It is always about skin color to racists.

21 people found this helpful