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Shattered Crowns: The Scapegoats

Author: Christina Croft Narrator: Jack Wynters 

On 28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife, Sophie Chotek, were shot dead in broad daylight on a crowded street in Sarajevo. The murder of a relatively unknown archduke in a remote Bosnian city might well have been quickly forgotten were it not for the fact that this seemingly minor event ignited a spark that would explode into one of the bloodiest conflicts in history.

Within four years, over sixteen million people from one hundred countries would lie dead on the battlefields of the First World War. By 1914, through a series of alliances, Europe was largely divided into two separate camps: the Triple Alliance of the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, and the Triple Entente of Russia, Britain and France. The clashing of these empires has often led to the First World War being described as an Imperial War and their emperors have provided a convenient scapegoat on which to pin the blame for the consequent slaughter. In reality, however, not one of these monarchs – who were close friends and cousins – had any desire for war and each of them struggled desperately to maintain peace. “All our cousins,” wrote Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, “were more like brothers and sisters than mere blood relations.” This novel – the first in a trilogy following the royalties of Europe from 1913 to 1918 – tells the story of the year leading up to the outbreak of war and the very human tragedy that befell those cousins and friends; a tragedy which might have been deliberately engineered to lead to the destruction of the Russian, Austrian and German monarchies.

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Shattered Crowns: The Sacrifice

Author: Christina Croft Narrator:  Jack Wynters

In the summer of 1914 the capitals of Europe erupt in a patriotic frenzy as peoples on all sides, roused by the press, rejoice at the outbreak of the ‘war to end wars’. The rejoicing soon turns to disillusionment as the full horrors of the bloodiest conflict the world has ever seen become apparent. For the Emperors of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia comes the growing awareness that this war, which they sought desperately to avoid, is not being fought for territory or honour, but rather to destroy the old world order and to replace their autocracies with secular ideologies and international economic control. Amid the intrigue and deception, Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas, Emperor Franz Josef, Archduke Karl, and Queen Marie of Roumania not only face the horrific sacrifice of their people, but are also confronted by their own personal and family tragedies. ‘The Sacrifice’ is the second novel in the Shattered Crowns trilogy, following the royalties of Europe from 1913 to the Treaty of Versailles. ‘The Sacrifice’ covers the period from the outbreak of war to the Russian revolution (1914-1917) and is based on actual events.

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Shattered Crowns: The Betrayal

Author: Christina Croft Narrator:  Jack Wynters

Spring 1917 – the war has been raging for over two and a half years and neither the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey) nor the Entente (Britain, France, Russia and Italy) are any closer to a decisive victory. In Russia, the Revolution and enforced abdication of the Tsar has left the country in the shaky hands of the Provisional Government but as the Bolsheviks begin to seize power it is clear that behind the scenes something rather sinister is occurring. Both Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Karl, the new Emperor of Austria-Hungary, are eager to pursue peace but the United States’ entry into the war thwarts their efforts and leaves them convinced that the true aim of the conflict is the destruction of their monarchies. Based on actual events, ‘The Betrayal’ is the third book of the ‘Shattered Crowns’ trilogy which follows the tragic story of the royalties who sought peace throughout the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century.

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The Innocence of Kaiser Wilhelm II

Author: Christina Croft Narrator:  Jack Wynters

Almost a century after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Kaiser Wilhelm II is still viewed as either a warmonger or a madman, as the hundred-year-old propaganda posters remain fixed in the general consciousness. Was he, though, truly responsible for the catastrophe of the First World War, or was he in fact a convenient scapegoat, blamed for a conflict which he desperately tried to avoid? 

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La Vita Nuova (the new life)

Author : Dante Alighieri Narrator:  Jack Wynters

Composed around 1294 in Italian, the Vita Nuova tells the story of Dante’s encounters with and love for Beatrice, culminating in her early death and its effect upon him. Utilizing and developing the conventions of courtly love, in a mixture of prose and verse, Dante deepens the emotional content of the genre, while pointing the way towards the intellectual and spiritual journey of the Divine Comedy. Indeed the final section of the Vita Nuova contains his commitment to the writing of the greater work, in which Beatrice comes to represent divine philosophy, guiding the poet through paradise towards ultimate truth, and embodying in her earthly and transcendental form the beauty and love which emanate from it.

In the Vita Nuova, Dante’s own emotional reactions are made the inner subject of the work, in a groundbreaking manner which foreshadows the Commedia‘s intensity, and the personal nature of the poet’s quest, not merely to seek for meaning but to attain it spiritually.

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Simply Dirac

Author: Helge Krag Narrated by:  Jack Wynters

Paul Dirac (1902 – 1984) was a brilliant mathematician and a 1933 Nobel laureate whose work ranks alongside that of Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Although not as well-known as his famous contemporaries Werner Heisenberg and Richard Feynman, his influence on the course of physics was immense. His landmark book, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, introduced that new science to the world and his “Dirac equation” was the first theory to reconcile special relativity and quantum mechanics.

Dirac held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a position also occupied by such luminaries as Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. Yet, during his 40-year career as a professor, he had only a few doctoral students due to his peculiar personality, which bordered on the bizarre. Taciturn and introverted, with virtually no social skills, he once turned down a knighthood because he didn’t want to be addressed by his first name. Einstein described him as “balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness.”

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Simply Napoleon 

By: Matthew Zarzeczny, J. David Markham Narrated by:  Jack Wynters

The first emperor of France and one of the shrewdest military leaders of all time, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) eventually came to control much of Europe. In Simply Napoleon, authors J. David Markham and Matthew Zarzeczny tell Napoleon’s story, from his birth on the island of Corsica to his eventual imprisonment and death on the island of Saint Helena.

They explain how the famed military commander’s unique combination of determination, intellect, and personal charisma allowed him to rise from a provincial village to become a powerful and authoritative ruler. While taking an overall positive view of Napoleon, Markham and Zarzeczny also make it a point to draw attention to his mistakes and their consequences, providing a balanced picture of this complicated figure who was both a product of his times and a man pointing the way to the future.

Marked by first-rate scholarship, as well as a highly listenable and accessible style, Simply Napoleon is an exceptional introduction to Napoleon and his times – a study that not only illuminates a key personality and period in modern history, but also helps us understand how modern Europe took shape.

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Simply Hitchcock

Author:  David Sterritt  Narrator:  Jack Wynters

“David Sterritt is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable, perceptive, and accessible commentators on Alfred Hitchcock’s career. He makes a convincing case for the charm, technical innovativeness, and often perverse wit of Hitchcock’s films and television shows while, at the same time, not shying away from exploring troubling aspects of his career. Relax with this delightful book and prepare for the illumination and sheer pleasure it delivers.

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Mein Kampf

Author: Adolf Hitler Narrator:  Jack Wynters

This famous essay/work now has an all-new translation for American readers and listeners, with introductions by both the translator and editor. They discuss the influence of the title for the past several decades and how it affects the world today.

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Brexit: The tip of the Populist Iceberg: Populism in Europe, Volume 1

Author: J.N. Paquet Narrator:  Jack Wynters

The author takes a close look at the dynamics that exist between populism and the society in general. From Farage in Britain to Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, Sarkozy, Orbán, Hofer or Duda, the book takes us on a journey to understand how populist characters have successfully challenged established elites, mainstream parties and experts in recent years and forever redefined politics from a Left-Right two-party system with shared democratic values to a split multi-party system with deeply rooted nationalistic and revolutionary principles. The old Left-Right, Socialist-Conservative, Labour-Tories, Democrats-Republicans divisions have now given place to new divides: Brexiteers-Remoaners, Trump-Sanders, Racists/Bigoted-World Citizens, Populists-Unifiers.

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The Failed Life of a Mormon Missionary

Author: Jaron Summers Narrator:  Jack Wynters

Jerry Wonder is the hero of this hilarious coming-of-age novel.

A 19-year-old Mormon missionary, Jerry leaves South Dakota to save souls in New Zealand for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Elder Wonder’s path is fraught with challenge.

He misses his girlfriend, Susan, who tried valiantly to seduce him before he left, but to his regret, he remained strong for both of them.

Against the strictures of the LDS church, he is a compulsive masturbator, or in Mormon parlance, a “self-pollinator”.

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Occupied

Author: Josh Sheldon Narrator:  Jack Wynters

Some people live under occupation.

Some people occupy themselves.

No one is free.

Step into a world which is both magically fictitious and shockingly real, to follow the lives of Tamsin, Ellie, Arun, and Charlie; a refugee, native, occupier, and economic migrant. Watch them grow up during a halcyon past, an everyday present, and a dystopian future. And be prepared to be amazed.

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