The Making of Four Hundred Souls
Four Hundred Souls: The Making of an Epic Audiobook

A star-studded cast of eighty-seven narrators. Three audiobook producers. Pitch-perfect recording during a pandemic. The audiobook edition of Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 features pairings of celebrity narrators reading the works of historians, journalists, activists, philosophers, novelists, political analysts, lawyers, economists, educators, and cultural critics. Together this chorus of voices echoes the depth and breadth of the remarkable new anthology edited by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Dr. Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.

Each narrator, authors and actors alike, safely recorded in the midst of a pandemic, and each narrator powerfully brings their own individual nuance and vibrancy to this recording. But the true beauty of this book is the way these individual voices come together as a community of voices—enhanced by the choral effect woven throughout the audio—to shine a light on this community history of African American experience.Amber Beard, Sarah Jaffe, and Molly Lo Re
Penguin Random House Audio producers of Four Hundred Souls

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi says of the audiobook, “we envisioned this community of writers sounding like a choir, intoning the history of African America. This audiobook of 87 voices is the powerful and resounding choir we envisioned. I’ve never listened to a book quite like this.” The effect of the recording is both sweeping and precise, even intimate. As Dr. Keisha N. Blain notes, “the audiobook beautifully captures the essence of our project: community. Together, the 87 voices weave a tapestry of the remarkable history of Black America.”

Listen to a clip of the Introduction, read by Ibram X. Kendi:

The cast includes Leslie Odom Jr, Danai Gurira, Soledad O’Brien, Keith David, Phylicia Rashad and Samira Wiley, in addition to contributors who read their own pieces, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, political strategist Heather McGhee, poets Morgan Parker, Mahogany L. Browne, Patricia Smith and Joshua Bennett, podcast host Kai Wright, historian Kellie Carter Jackson, NAACP LDF President Sherrilyn Ifill, and political activist Angela Y. Davis. Co-editors Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain also lend their voices, narrating the Introduction and Conclusion, respectively. You can find the full cast here: Full Cast List of Four Hundred Souls. This is an audio event you won’t want to miss.

Explore more audiobooks centering on Black authors, narrators, and stories by visiting the Penguin Random House Audio Amplify Black Voices page.