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Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O’Donnell. Read by the author, with the recording produced by Penguin Audio.

No canonizer, O’Donnell questions the 1968 presidential hopefuls’ motives. He’s Boston-born and Harvard educated, and his dropped “r’s” enhance the Democratic portion of his richly detailed chronicle, which includes Robert Kennedy’s last campaign, anti-establishment protests, and the fading of the party boss. O’Donnell also deftly dissects Richard Nixon’s resurgence, stressing his underhanded efforts to prolong the Vietnam War. This audiobook, like its topic year, oscillates from exciting to heartbreaking and back.

Ryan Paul Winn is a columnist and media critic who’s rarely without an audiobook or his earbuds. When not writing or teaching in the Liberal Studies department at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin, he can be found researching overlooked history in local and national archives.