Audiobooks are pretty neat. I didn't really appreciate their utility until I downloaded an app for my phone that allowed me to listen to free public domain recordings of books on Librivox.org. Lots of great stuff there- a lot of the classic stuff, like Kafka and Aquinas, but also more unknown authors too. One book I found particularly interesting was a short recording by a British general discussing the history of the Afghanistan conflicts of the 1800s.
Right now I made it about halfway through a recording of "On the Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Dubois, and it's been a really interesting listen. His writing concerned the history of slavery and discrimination against blacks in the US, starting before the Civil War and continuing to the time of his writing. The critical thing to understand about this book is that it was written a couple decades after the war that ended slavery- and as he describes in his writing, the end of slavery did not mean the end of institutional efforts to oppress blacks.
I like his writing style. It's relatively plain but not without a certain amount of emotion laid in. It's very formal and dignified writing, its passion...disciplined, I suppose. He wants his message to be eloquent because to be hostile would allow his detractors to distract from his point and put all the attention on his tone, which would work against him... despite his anger being perfectly justifiable.
The most interesting information in his writings, to me, concerns the efforts by the prejudiced to force blacks back into a lifestyle analagous to slavery- more like serfdom, really. The methods of subjugation were not strictly violent, though the Ku Klux Klan did use such tactics. Rather, the most widespread and effective methods were economic- forcing blacks to rent, rather than own land, racking up debt, high rent bills, forcing farmers to pay for their own equipment out of pocket. These tactics were rampant from the 1870s onwards, and they are an interesting thing to think about with regards to the Gilded Age, when most lower class workers were being exploited by their employers, necessitating the creation of unions.
I think this is the issue everyone faces today: while we do have plenty of political freedom, economic conditions and mechanisms can infringe on our prosperity and freedom just the same. You could have the right to vote, but if you're homeless, what does it matter? The 2012 election had everyone up in arms about economic philosophies related to this point. W.E.B. Dubois faced the same tribulations along with millions of blacks living all over the USA, and so I think his writing is extremely relevant to the present.