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Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (Penguin Books for English: Developmental) Paperback – October 28, 2008


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Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (Penguin Books for English: Developmental) + Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps + Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Books for English: Developmental
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143114344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143114345
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Four years ago. StoryCorps set out to record an oral history of America with the voices of everyday people. This book is a collection of the most compelling excerpts from more than 10,000 interviews recorded, compiled by StoryCorps founder Isay (Flophouse), a radio documentary producer and MacArthur fellow. And they are compelling. Each one captures a moment in time—historical, emotional or personal—that make us who we are. As simple stories of humanity, each one has its own potency, with themes of family, love, dedication and struggle. In one of the most emotionally wrought stories, a father sits down with his daughter and remembers her late mother and older brother, who both died of cancer within months of each other. To gather the stories, StoryCorps provides a facility, recording equipment and a facilitator, then waits for people to invite loved ones, friends, grandparents to sit down for a 40-minute session. A copy of the tape is filed in the Library of Congress, and parts have aired on NPR. As Isay says, I realized how many people among us feel completely invisible, believe their lives don't matter, and fear they'll someday be forgotten. Photos. (Nov. 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Each interview is a revelation.”—USA Today

“ As heartwarming as a holiday pumpkin pie and every bit as homey . . . what emerges in these compelling pages is hard-won wisdom and boundless humanity.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Everyone wants to love and be loved, everyone makes mistakes, everyone hurts.
Stacey @ The Scenic Life
This project is truly amazing and shows us how we can all learn to understand each other through telling our honest stories.
Dylan M.
I ended up reading the whole book over the weekend because I couldn't put it down.
W. J. Wells

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cumming on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book was published to mark the recent recording of the ten thousandth interview by the StoryCorps Project. Perhaps you have heard excerpts from some of these interviews on National Public Radio?

David Isay had the idea that he wanted to record the stories of regular folks-like you an I. He set up the first recording booth in Grand Central Station. For ten dollars you can record a 40 minute interview. Family members and friends interview each other. A facilitator is there to help out and sometimes to conduct the interview. Recordings are given to the respondents and also put in the Library of Congress with the permission of those who told their stories.

Some incredible stories are being told in the StoryCorps booths that now travel America inside Airstream trailers. Storycorps is preserving our oral history.

This book contains excerpts from interviews with senior citizens who remember the way it was in the olden days. There's a story from a bounty hunter. Another from a woman who survived a jet airliner crash in Iowa. There are the stories of people battling addictions and diseases like AIDS, cancer, and alcoholism.

There are tales of love lost and love found. A child re-unites with his birth mother. A grandchild interviews
the grandmother who took him in from his abusive parents.

Most dramatic of all is the story of a man who escaped from the 105th floor of the World Trade Center after the first tower was hit. He was in the second tower. This story will make your heart race and your tears flow. It's incredible!

What a wonderful book! Studs Terkel, our greatest oral historian loves this book. It reminded this reviewer of that classic book by Studs Terkel; HARD TIMES.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By FirstNorn on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Listening Is an Act of Love" is truly a book for everyone; I believe it is central to understanding what compassion is all about. By extension, it is clear to me that it is not just about American family and love relationships, but also about the entire human family.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Listeners to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" on Fridays are familiar with interviews from Dave Isay's StoryCorps project. Here in written form is a collection of some of those essays, along with a photograph of the person being interviewed and usually the interviewer as well. The essays are grouped in "Home and Family," "Work and Dedication," "Journeys," "History and Struggle" and finally "Fire and Water," recollections of survivors of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, certainly some of the most moving interviews in the entire book.

How refreshing in a world gone mad with non-news of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton-- I do not believe I have ever heard either of these women's names mentioned or either public radio or public television-- to listen to and read of ordinary people whose lives are interesting, who have done often noble, unselfish deeds with no pomp and circumstance.

While some of these stories are more engaging than others, to a person each one interviewed here has something to say that touches the reader. There is an interview of a woman reunited with her son whom she gave up for adoption: "Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again" [let her son be adopted]. An eighty-seven-year-old World War II veteran still sees in his dreams the blond, blue-eyed teenaged member of the Hitler Youth he had to kill to save his own life. A forty-nine-year-old prisoner in the Oregon State Penitentiary hopeful of his eventual freedom died from a drug overdose shortly after his interview. A Memphis sanitation worker recalls the death of Martin Luther King.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Compiled by Dave Isay, Listening Is an Act of Love is perhaps one of the most profoundly touching books I've read in many years. As I read the stories I kept having to remind myself that these are true stories told by real people.

The most touching was the 911 story in the Trade Tower. Gripping and moving at the same time.

If you enjoy living history then Listening Is an Act of Love is the book for you.

Peace my friends.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Verhoeven on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this, and then make an appointment to submit an interview to StoryCorps. I interviewed my dad today, and it was a very moving experience. What a great concept!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By citygal VINE VOICE on August 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really like listening to Story Corp interviews on NPR. However, I'm not all that impressed by this collection. It's fine, but it's nothing outstanding. I just think that transcripts of interviews are not as touching to read as they are to hear. These aren't "essays," after all. They're merely people telling their respective stories, and the original medium for them doing so is a tape recorder, not a word processor. As such, the "translation" into print is not as effective (for me. at least). Also, I know it must have been tough to choose among all the great Story Corps interviews, but there were some I've heard that are so moving, and it would have been great to have those included, but they weren't.
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