A heartfelt chorus of voices composes a well-researched community mosaic of Black American history in Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain’s Four Hundred Souls (14 hours).
The book is divided into five-year periods that span 400 years of the Black American experience, and the audiobook transitions between each section via layered, echoing voices for a haunting, emotional effect. Eighty-seven narrators comprise the full cast, including the authors of some of the essays and poems as well as other notable voices such as journalist Soledad O’Brien and actors Danai Gurira and Leslie Odom Jr. The performances are straightforward or theatrical as appropriate, but they’re always engaging, and the variety of voices and styles sustains the listener’s attention.
Offering the best of education and entertainment, this epic audiobook enhances Kendi and Blain’s transformative history project through the sense of humanity that only a person’s voice can convey. Listeners will learn and be moved, and will no doubt listen more than once. Bravo.