The acclaimed 2009 Nebraska Non-Fiction Book of the Year, The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: and Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns by Stew Magnuson has found a second life as an audiobook.
The “Audible” company released the downloadable book this summer and an MP3 compact disc followed.
As told by actor Shaun Taylor-Corbett, The death of Raymond Yellow Thunder follows 130 years of shared history between the peoples of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and Sheridan County, Ne.
The central story of the book focuses on the kidnapping, beating, and death of Raymond Yellow Thunder in the town of Gordon in 1972 and subsequent protests by the American Indian Movement.
Magnuson’s roots are in Stapleton where his grandparents lived.
“Thirteen years after its publication, Audible contacted me out of the blue and asked if they could produce an audiobook. One of the editors had discovered it and was a huge fan, ”said Magnuson.
“I was thrilled when they chose Shaun Taylor-Corbett to tell the story,” he added.
A member of the Blackfeet Nation, Taylor-Corbett appeared on Broadway in the original cast of In the heights, toured nationally as Frankie Valli in The boys of the jersey and appeared on television in All my kids.
The CD version is in the new MP3 format, which reduces audiobooks to a single disc, which previously took five or six discs, Magnuson said.
Thirteen years later The death of Raymond Yellow Thunder publication, most of the people he interviewed for the book are dead. And, the contentious issue of Whiteclay, which once sold millions of cans of beer a year to residents of Pine Ridge, was resolved after the state revoked the stores’ liquor licenses.
However, the 1999 murders of Ronnie Hard Heart and Wallace Black Elk just outside Whiteclay, which were touched on in the book, have never been resolved.
“If the new version of the book does anything, I hope it will renew interest in solving their murders so that their souls can rest in peace,” Magnuson said.
The death of Raymond Yellow Thunder The audio version is on Audible (free for subscribers) and as an MP3 disc, along with the original book, a Kindle version for e-readers, or to order from stores such as A to Z Books at North Platte.
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