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)
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Dave Isay's vision of collecting the everyday stories of Americans is so simple and yet so powerful. Listening Is an Act of Love
will make you laugh, cry and think. These stories come from the souls of individual Americans. Collectively, they are who we are as a people. You cannot read this book without feeling proud of your country."
-Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley
"Dave Isay's Listening Is an Act of Love
is a gift. I loved this book. I savored these stories. So candid. So open-hearted. So full of life. The StoryCorps project may well be the most important cultural event in America today. It's about us. About who we are. About where we've come from, and where we want to go. Listening Is an Act of Love
is the equivalent of eavesdropping on America. Read it - and pass it on to family and friends. It'll inspire."
"Here are the observations and memories of a giant, diverse nation's citizens. In its sum, StoryCorps asks Americans to reflect upon their experiences, their times of travail, their achievements. In so doing, these individuals create an encompassing national narration: a people's hopes, fears and aspirations, all rendered poignantly to attentive listeners whose respect has enabled, finally, a presentation of a people's mind, heart, soul."
-Dr. Robert Coles, James Agee Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University
"This book is absolutely remarkable. Listening is an Act of Love
is history in the richest sense of the word, the kind that makes people feel like they count. It's a celebration of the lives of the uncelebrated. In our world today people feel helpless, but once they speak of their lives they become alive! This is what our country is all about. Never has a book been more timely or necessary."