Simon & Schuster Audio, in association with The Weinstein Company, is proud to announce the August 2013 publication of THE BUTLER: A Witness to History. This audiobook companion to the major motion picture is read by the stars who play the family at the center of the film: the title character, his wife, and his son– Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo.
Commented director Lee Daniels: “The story THE BUTLER tells is one not only of epic historical significance, but a universal one about the importance of family. To have it come to life on screen and with this audiobook, through the tremendous talents of Forest, Oprah, and David, is a dream come true.”
Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker narrates the story of Eugene Allen, a butler who served no less than seven presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Allen was witness to history during his years at the White House, serving tea and supervising buffets as influential decisions about the moon landing, Vietnam War, civil rights legislation, and more took place around him.
THE BUTLER audiobook also includes author Wil Haygood‘s exploration of the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, read by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo.
Lee Daniels, the Academy Award nominated director of Precious, reads the forward he penned.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have these incredible actors lend their voices to THE BUTLER,” says Chris Lynch, President & Publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio. “It’s a very rare occasion indeed when you have such extraordinary talent in one audiobook production.”
37 INK, a new imprint of Atria Books, will publish hardcover and ebook editions of THE BUTLER on July 30.
The film, which opens on August 16, is set against the tumultuous political backdrop of 20th century America. The historical epic Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER tells the story of fictional White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who serves during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986. Inspired by Wil Haygood‘s 2008 Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by This Election” about the real life of former butler Eugene Allen, the film begins in 1926 with a young Cecil living in the fiercely segregated South and facing the tyranny of the region’s prejudices. After years spent working in a hotel, Cecil is discovered by a White House employee, which leads to the opportunity of a lifetime: a job as a server at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There, Cecil becomes a firsthand witness to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office as the civil rights movement unfolds. At the same time, he and his volatile but loving wife (Oprah Winfrey) must grapple with the rebellious spirit of their son Louis (David Oyelowo) whose tenacious hunger for activism and equal rights often puts him in dangerous situations – and at perpetual odds with his father. While Cecil remains fiercely committed to his duties at the White House and to providing for his family, his determination leads to increasing tensions between him and his anti-establishment son. Through the eyes and emotions of the Gaines family, Daniels’ film follows the changing tides of American politics and race relations; from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., to the Freedom Riders and Black Panther movements, to the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, Cecil experiences the effects of these events as both an insider and a family man. With an incredible supporting cast that includes John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr, Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and Robin Williams, Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER is a story about the resilience of one man, the growth of a nation, and the power of family.