Have You Heard? Nonfiction History Books
14 mins read

Have You Heard? Nonfiction History Books

Travel through time with these tales set throughout history and spanning continents.

Below you’ll find audiobook recommendations from the Plano Public Library featuring various points in history. This is just a sample of the audiobooks in our collection, and you can visit a library location for assistance in finding personalized recommendations.


Four Hundred Souls: a Community History of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, narrated by a full cast. A “choral history” of African Americans covering 400 years of history in the voices of 80 writers, edited by the bestselling, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram X. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook / Large Print.

The Light of Days: the Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion, narrated by Mozhan Marno. Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland–some still in their teens–became the nerves of a wide-ranging resistance network that fought the Nazis. Print / Playaway / eBook / Large Print / Young Adult Edition.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross, narrated by Janina Edwards. A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are–and have always been–instrumental in shaping our country. Print / Playaway / eBook.

Facing the Mountain: the True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown, narrated by Louis Ozawa. A gripping World War II saga of patriotism and courage: the special Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated in camps back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment. Print / eAudiobook / eBook / Playaway / Large Print.

We Keep the Dead Close: a Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence written and narrated by Becky Cooper. 1969: the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment. Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook.

An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War I by Chris Dubbs, narrated by Bernadette Dunne. When World War I began, war reporting was a thoroughly masculine bastion of journalism. But that did not stop dozens of women reporters from stepping into the breach, defying gender norms and official restrictions to establish roles for themselves– and to write new kinds of narratives about women and war. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook.

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and other Dastardly Deeds Perpetuated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean, narrated by Ben Sullivan. Bestselling author Sam Kean tells the true story of what happens when unfettered ambition pushes otherwise rational men and women to cross the line in the name of science, trampling ethical boundaries and often committing crimes in the process. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men who Tried to Make Her Disappear written and narrated by Kate Moore. 1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Threatened by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and outspokenness, her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her and makes a plan to put her back in her place. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook.

African Europeans: an Untold History written and narrated by Olivette Otele. A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as “Africans” and those called “Europeans.” Print / Playaway.

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World by Virginia Postrel, narrated by Caroline Cole. The story of humanity is the story of textiles-as old as civilization itself. Textiles created empires and powered invention. They established trade routes and drew nations’ borders. Since the first thread was spun, fabric has driven technology, business, politics, and culture. In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel traces this surprising history, exposing the hidden ways textiles have made our world. Print / Playaway.


Everything you Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask written and narrated by Anton Treuer. From the acclaimed Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer comes an essential book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Print / Playaway.

Stamped – Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, narrated by Jason Reynolds. A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning. Print / eAudiobook / eBook / Spanish Edition.

Born to Fly: the First Women’s Air Race Across America by Steve Sheinkin, narrated by Kim Mai Guest. National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin tells the story of the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, the first official all-female air race in the U.S. Print / eAudiobook.

Black Birds in the Sky: the Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert, narrated by Brandy Colbert and Kristyl Dawn Tift. In the early morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob marched across the train tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and into its predominantly Black Greenwood District–a thriving, affluent neighborhood known as America’s Black Wall Street. They brought with them firearms, gasoline, and explosives. In a few short hours, they’d razed thirty-five square blocks to the ground, leaving hundreds dead. The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history. Print / eAudiobook.

Flowers in the Gutter: the True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers who Resisted the Nazis by K.R. Gaddy, narrated by Natasha Soudek. The Edelweiss Pirates were a loosely organized group of working-class young people in the Rhine Valley of Germany. They faced off with Nazis during the Third Reich and suffered consequences for their resistance during and after World War II. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling, narrated by Christina Moore. Relates the story of the 19th Amendment and the nearly eighty-year fight for voting rights for women, covering not only the suffragists’ achievements and politics, but also the private journeys that led them to become women’s champions. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook.

The March Against Fear: the Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum, narrated by Karen Chilton. Mississippi. 1966. On a hot June afternoon, an African-American man named James Meredith set out to walk through his home state, intending to fight racism and fear with his feet. A seemingly simple plan, but one teeming with risk. Just one day later Meredith was shot and wounded in a roadside ambush. Within twenty-four hours, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, and other civil rights leaders had taken up Meredith’s cause, determined to overcome this violent act and complete Meredith’s walk. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook.

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Marrin Albert, narrated by Jim Frangione. In spring of 1918, World War I was underway, and troops at Fort Riley, Kansas, found themselves felled by influenza. By the summer of 1918, the second wave struck as a highly contagious and lethal epidemic and within weeks exploded into a pandemic, an illness that travels rapidly from one continent to another. It would impact the course of the war, and kill many millions more soldiers than warfare itself. Print / eAudiobook.

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge, narrated by Ray Porter. An exploration of the Vietnam War from many different perspectives including an American soldiers, a nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee. Print / eAudiobook.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, narrated by Damaras Obi. Shares the story of the youngest person to complete the Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in Civil Rights events. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson, narrated by Will Patton. Based on James Swanson’s adult book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, this young people’s version is a look at the assassination of a president, and shows readers Abraham Lincoln the man, the father, the husband, the friend, and how his death impacted those closest to him. Print / Book on CD / eAudiobook.

In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden History of the Space Race by Amy Cherrix, narrated by Josh Horowitz. The award-winning author of Eye of the Storm chronicles the lesser-known rivalry between former Nazi-turned-U.S. Cold War scientist Wernher von Braun and Russian rocket designer Sergei Korolev, explaining how their controversial scientific achievements shaped human history. Print / eAudiobook.


Passage to Freedom: the Sugihara Story written and narrated by Ken Mochizuki. Tells the true story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat stationed in Lithuania in 1940 who risked the safety of his own family members and put his job on the line by issuing visas to as many as 10,000 Jews who were facing death at the hands of the Nazis. Print / Wonderbook / Spanish Edition.

Terrible Typhoid Mary: a True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, narrated by Donna Postel. What happens when a person’s reputation has been forever damaged? With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary’s controversial life. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

The Day the World Went Nuclear: Dropping the Atom Bomb and the end of World War II in the Pacific by Bill O’Reilly, narrated by Robert Petkoff. Portrays the events of World War II in 1944, when escalating Pacific battles between the forces of General MacArthur and the Japanese army led to the development of humanity’s deadliest weapon and President Truman’s impossible choice. Print / Book on CD.

A Spy Called James: the True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell, narrated by Rodney Gardiner. The true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn’t qualified him for the release he’d been hoping for. For James the fight wasn’t over; he’d already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own. Print / Book on CD / Wonderbook / DVD.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr, narrated by various readers. A look at many of the men and women who revolutionized life for African Americans throughout history. Print / Book on CD / Wonderbook / eAudiobook / CDC Set.

Locomotive by Brian Floca, narrated by Eric G. Dove. An exploration of America’s early railroads, examining the sounds, speed, and strength of the fledgling transcontinental locomotives and the experiences of pioneering travelers. Print / Playaway / DVD.

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson, narrated by Danny Burstein. Traces the story of Holocaust survivor Leon Leyson, who was the youngest child in his family and possibly the youngest of the hundreds of Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook.

Wild Boy: the Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure. Presents the story of the feral boy known as the Savage of Aveyron, discovered in the mountain wilderness of Southern France in the late 18th century, and describes the attempts led by Paris physician Jean Marc Gaspard Itard to civilize him. Print / Playaway / Book on CD.

Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone, narrated by J.D. Jackson. Examines the role of African-Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought against attacks perpetrated on the American West by the Japanese during World War II. Print / Playaway / Book on CD / eBook.

The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage by Walter Dean Myers and Bill Miles, narrated by Corey Allen. A regiment of African American soldiers from Harlem travels across the Atlantic to fight alongside the French in World War I, and inspires an entire continent with their unique brand of jazz music. Playaway / eBook.

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