• Unthinkable

  • Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy
  • By: Jamie Raskin
  • Narrated by: Jamie Raskin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (1,624 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A number-one New York Times best seller

In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the 45 days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life - and his family’s - as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence. 

On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned to Congress to help certify the 2020 presidential election results when violent insurrectionists led by right-wing extremist groups stormed the US Capitol, hoping to hand four more years of power to President Donald Trump. As our reeling nation mourned the deaths of numerous people and lamented the injuries of more than 140 police officers hurt in the attack, Congressman Raskin, a Constitutional law professor, was called upon to put aside his overwhelming grief - both personal and professional - and lead the impeachment effort against President Trump for inciting the violence. Together, this nine-member team of House impeachment managers riveted a nation still in anguish, putting on an unprecedented Senate trial that produced the most bipartisan presidential impeachment vote in American history. 

Now for the first time, Congressman Raskin discusses this unimaginable convergence of personal and public trauma, detailing how the painful loss of his son and the power of Tommy’s convictions fueled the congressman’s work in the aftermath of modern democracy’s darkest day. Going inside Congress on January 6, he recounts the horror of that day, a day that he and other Democrats had spent months preparing for under the correct assumption that they would encounter an attempted electoral coup - not against a president but for one. And yet, on January 6, he faced the one thing he had failed to anticipate: mass political violence designed to block Biden’s election. 

With an inside account of leading the team prosecuting President Trump in the Senate, Congressman Raskin shares never-before-told stories of just how close we came to losing our democracy that fateful day and lays out the methodical prosecution that convinced Democrats and Republicans alike of Trump’s responsibility for inciting insurrectionary violence against our government. 

Through it all, he reckons with the loss of his brilliant, remarkable son, a Harvard Law student whose values and memory continually inspired the Congressman to confront the dark impulses unleashed by Donald Trump. At turns, a moving story of a father coping with his pain and a revealing examination of holding President Trump accountable for the violence he fomented, this book is a vital reminder of the ongoing struggle for the soul of American democracy and the perseverance that our Constitution demands from us all. 

©2022 Jamie Raskin (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Unthinkable

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This book is a MASTERPIECE

I watched Mr. Raskin during the impeachment trial and had the utmost respect for him. Besides being one of our countries greatest patriots, most brilliant scholars, and beacon of light, he is a beautiful writer. This is a wonderful book about the bond of a father and son, a tribute to his adored son, and a call to action for all of us. Mr. Raskin, along with Adam Schiff, Adam Kinsinger and Liz Cheney will go down in history as the greatest patriots of our time. I should also add our President and Democratic leaders. We are in unprecedented times and this book is a shimmer of hope and as I said a major call to action.
THANK YOU Mr. Raskin! I have no doubt that your boy Tommy is looking down so proud of you!
!

46 people found this helpful

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Must reading/listening for every American who has despaired of losing our democracy.

The untold story of the assault on the Capitol on January 6 2021 and a father’s unbearable grief over the loss of his brilliant son to suicide a week earlier. Brilliant prose in small words that tore my heart. Love of family, love of country, love of humanity in the context of an historical assault on our democracy. Thank God for Jamie Raskin and his gifts of service land intelligence.

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Enlightenment, Clarity, Factual, so Refreshing!

I would first like to say that my review is not meant to offend anyone, it is merely my opinion and review of the book “UNTHINKABLE” by Jamie Raskin.

Thank you, Jamie, for sharing your memories of your beautiful boy, Tommy! I loved hearing them and I truly believe he is now one of the “Angels” that watch over you and your family. He was truly one special energy that touched this world in a positive way.

When you provided such enlightenment, fact, and clarity as a “subject matter expert” on the constitution on what happened on January 6th, just cemented the facts I saw clearly with my own eyes that what happened was clearly a insurrectionist act led by our twice impeached, disgraced former president, and I don’t care how many ways the “current” corrupt GOP tries to spin it, it is what we all saw and that’s it.

As a true Independent, I am very saddened that we lost what we knew of a credible GOP party that I admired so much. However, I no longer pay much attention to the current GOP as I truly believe the Universe will make them accountable, whether in the physical or spiritual as everyone is made accountable for this life actions. The sad thing is most of the GOP are not negative energies they are just a bunch of cowards that have turned into a bunch of sheep following the herd in order to hold on to money and power, but they will be grouped in with the truly negative dark energies with loud voices that show their darkness every time they speak! Yes, the “Historians” will remember all their names and their legacies will not be remembered in a good way. I feel bad for their future family generations that will have to deal with the aftermath of their ancestors, which we know as the current GOP party, and in fact, I feel they will also look back on them with disappointment and disgust, so in reality, their Karma will be felt in the physical, as well as in the spiritual.

Although I was glad to hear all the facts from you with a clear understanding of how they relate in the constitution, I am beyond tired of hiring about the divide in our country with the focus being on the people who voted for continued corruption, as that is all cable news talks about. Instead of focusing on the 8 million more people that voted for change and unfortunately the only choice was Biden. I did vote for Biden, but honestly was hoping for a younger, more aggressive candidate, but honestly, anybody was better than what we had. I no longer listen to cable news other than Rachael Maddow, who truly differentiates herself from all the other cable news shows. Like you, she brings enlightenment, facts, clarity and integrity that I can actually stomach.

So, kudos to you Jaime on this well written book that not only brought total clarity on a number of constitutional laws, and the love you felt for your son Tommy. You are truly a man that the historians will remember in a very good way and your future family generations can look back with total pride in remembrance of you.

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Ezceptional - a must read

Honest, sincere, incredible. There are really no words. To hear the author read it was so moving. My heart is broken, my heart is full.

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Congressman Raskin has served up a virtual diary, both

Congressman Raskin has served up a virtual diary, both personally touching and factually accurate, regarding the death of his son and the events surrounding the storming of our Capitol last year. Having read many of the books about 1/06/21, this book stands alone.

Howard Fatell
Havertown, PA.

12 people found this helpful

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Unbelievable

Jamie Raskin tells a truly “Unthinkable” story about his life beginning with the end of 2020 and ending in the beginning of 2021. He reads it with eloquence. It was brilliant.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent book

A very well written and very sad read. Oh that we in America will have empathy for the animals and ALL the people. We must rise up against evil it is not enough to reject or ignore it. We must demand honesty and truth. With consequences for those that mislead and lie in the pursuit of personal gain and power.

To the Raskin family I am so so sorry for your loss. it is possible, in fact probable that your dear boy is now part of the light that will guide us to better days ahead. May God bless you and the United States.

8 people found this helpful

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Brilliant and Fervently Sincere

Exactly what you'd expect from this highly intelligent and trustworthy public servant. Raskin explains both the Constitution and the struggles and losses of loving someone with significant mental illness with ease and poignant clarity. If the future of the Democratic party and our country's democratic norms are in this man's hands, we can all rest assured that we will survive the current political debacle a stronger and far better nation. Raskin is a national treasure, and this book is a road map to our recovery in all aspects of life and politics.

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Saving Democracy

Jamie Raskin has proven to be a great lawyer, constitutionalist, defender of our democracy, patriot, speaker, author, and most importantly a wonderful family man.

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Unforgetttable

It was a true privilege to catch a glimpse of the emotions, the grief, the love for family and friends, his brilliance and his loyalty to this country. A truly remarkable man. His narration kept me hanging onto every word.
What an amazing President he would make!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Artorias
  • 01-08-22

Riveting and poignant

I watched the second impeachment with fascination, and particularly was impressed by Raskin's eloquence. I had no idea of the back story at the time, the tragic loss of his beautiful son. This book weaves the personal together with the political in a seamless fashion, making the story of the impeachment in the aftermath of the insurrection all the more urgent and important. It is well narrated by the author and is, to slip into a written word metaphor, a page turner. The characters of the drama, both domestic and national are deftly drawn, and the motivations and psychological elements of where America finds itself today clear and worrying. The reflections on the importance of memory in the epilogue have given me a lot of food for thought. I highly recommend this book as a window into the fight for liberty against the forces which want to hand it over to forces of populism and capitalist greed. as Thomas Bloom Raskin, the hero of the story said, it's hard to be human. I pray he rests in peace.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-21-22

Fascinating insight to the insurrection

Really enjoyed listening to Jamie Raskin, his heartbreaking story of losing his beloved son, Tommy and how Trump continues to repeat the big lie and how corrupt some Republicans are. I've been fascinated in this since watching the counting of the votes and then the shocking attack on the Capital. living in the UK I'm more interested in this than the politics of UK. He would be the person I would love to meet. Such a lovely man with a loving family. Gill.

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  • lainey
  • 03-22-22

What a Man

Fab insights into a man dealing with his indescribable loss of his son and country

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  • jonty59
  • 03-17-22

Heartfelt and insightful but fails to be engaging

I so wanted to like this book! The inside story of Trump impeachment 2.0 at a time of terrible personal tragedy - plus 5 star reviews everywhere. In the end I admire, respect and empathise with Jamie Raskin, and I detest Trump and his apologists even more than before - but I'm so sorry to say that the book was a bit of a struggle to get through. Not because of the awful grief, borne so nobly by the Raskin family, and not because of the complexity of the legal arguments so hard fought, but, perhaps, because the author tried too hard to be fair to the opposition (even Trump) and ingratiating towards his colleagues and friends - and it all ended up being a bit dull and rather humourless.

In contrast, I listened to Rick Wilson's indictment of Trump "Everything Trump touches dies", immediately after Raskin's book. A very different book with a very inauspicious title, but I came back to that book with anticipation each day due to Wilson's incisive arguments and cutting humor.

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  • SueF
  • 02-06-22

An exceptional experience

This is one of the most moving books I've listened to. Mr Raskin's honest outpouring of love for his 'beautiful boy, Tommy' was truly touching and his meticulous sharing of events surrounding Jan 6, 2021 at the US Capitol I found riveting. Thank you for sharing this momentous and for the most part very private part of your life with us, Mr Raskin. A truly memorable listening experience.

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  • d. kinney
  • 02-02-22

a beautiful book about a terrible thing

Rep. J Raskin in his eloquent voice tells the story of losing his beautiful boy and how his boy will forever be with him to inspire him in his fight for democracy...
...the story about the glasses really did break my heart

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  • Brian
  • 01-26-22

Gripping inside story

Firstly my condolences to the author and his family.
As for the book, Fantastic work, loved it from start to finish.
Great insights into the workings of Congress and senate procedures, and the struggles against the GQP.

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  • Brian
  • 01-26-22

A book of great humanity and conviction.

A wonderful, and at times heartbreaking book by a true champion of democracy. Mr Raskins son Tommy would doubtless be so proud of his dad, as I'm sure his entire family are.

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  • A. Dailly
  • 01-20-22

A book of two stories

This was a very interesting book about the loss of a son and background of an emplacement and the capitol riot on January 6th. It was very clear that the author is still burdened by the grief of his loss of his beloved son, his pain shone through every page.
I found the details of what happened on January 6th from his point of view was very interesting, I learnt a lot of things I previously didn’t know.
It was well written, informative and I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

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  • Cian Tormey
  • 01-13-22

Absolutely spectacular

Heartbreaking, inspiring, exquisitely written and read with stentorian elegance. This book is absolutely magnificent, and a rare moment where the audio version is quite arguably better than the print. It's January 2022 and I have found my book of the year.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-02-22

Unthinkable

Thank you Jamie 💕
A wonderful account of Jan 6 th but also a moving tribute to your brilliant son
Gut wrenching to hear the battle he fought, but essential reading for those who have lost a loved one to mental illness.
My understanding is so much clearer now and resolved so many questions
BTW hope you’re getting over Covid quickly
Nobody deserves this awful disease 🦠 🤗

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  • Jim Grant
  • 01-26-22

Stunningly moving blend of politics and love

Jamie Raskin has written a book from deep within his heart and mind. The horrors of the 2020 insurrection are beautifully blended with the tragic loss of his remarkable son Tommy. I was moved, enthralled and deeply affected by this extraordinary book. Raskin’s courageous generosity in sharing the intimacy of his life experience is something for which I am truly thankful.

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  • Miss B. KNORR
  • 01-16-22

Moving & masterful, a tribute to justice & love.

There's something reassuring in hearing about the insurrection & subsequent impeachment trial from someone who was not only there but who was a chief architect of bringing democratic justice to the most shocking episode of modern American history. Jamie Raskin, himself bruised & battered by the loss of his only son only days before the riot, weaves a suspenseful, meticulous & deeply personal narrative that draws the listener into the nightmare. I was riveted & moved by the telling as well as impressed with his structure & eloquence. It was like being invited to a series of dinners with the author. I feel privileged to have heard his story.

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  • AM
  • 01-10-22

insightful

at once a deeply moving story of a man's love for his son and dealing with profound grief + how he deals with a profoundly dysfunctional political leadership.... a deeply humane book