Men We Reaped

  • by Jesmyn Ward
  • Narrated by Cherise Boothe
  • 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped." (Harriet Tubman)
In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life - to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth - and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.
Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity.

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What the Critics Say

"The audiobook version of Jesmyn Ward's memoir does perfect justice to the beautiful original…. This is beautiful writing, voiced beautifully, by veteran audiobook narrator Cherise Boothe, who also narrated the Recorded Books edition of Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones." (Salon)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wow. I thought I was the only one.

This book felt so personal. Real raw truth!!! Thank you so much for this Jesmyn. It was a great read that felt so similar to my own story. I couldn't stop listening
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- chasidyCormier

Terrifyingly Moving

This is written by a woman of my son's age. I feel she teaches me that that I am naive to think that we've come a long way since the 60s. We made yards, not miles.
Black lives do matter. The lives of black men matter.
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- E. C. Abrahams

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-26-2013
  • Publisher: Recorded Books