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We Interrupt This Broadcast: Relive the Events That Stopped Our Lives...from the Hindenburg to the Death of Princess Diana (book with 2 audio CDs) Hardcover – October, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Beginning with the explosion of the dirigible Hindenburg in 1937, this book and double-CD collection of audio broadcasts recalls a series of dramatic events so urgent that they interrupted regularly scheduled broadcasting in America. The text of this package includes capsule explanations of such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the death of Elvis, accompanied by dramatic black-and-white stock photos. Introduced by the sonorous voice of TV journalist Bill Kurtis, the recordings of the news broadcasts revive the panic and thrill of some of the defining moments (mostly American) of the 20th century.

We Interrupt This Broadcast offers, in some ways, a strange view of the past. News that interrupts broadcasts is always sensational, and usually tragic. Of the 39 recordings, only five or so don't involve assassinations, explosions, death or defeat; furthermore, only the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana represent the female side of modern events. Nevertheless, these recordings will fascinate many listeners too young to have heard the original broadcasts, and those who were alive might enjoy hearing them again in all their crackling, nostalgic glory. --Maria Dolan

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1998, this book and double-CD set documents, in text, audio and black-and-white photographs, the moments when history, for better or for worse (though usually for worse), was made in an instant. Garner's updated third edition includes segments on the 2000 presidential election reporting fiasco ("the most embarrassing election night coverage since... `Dewey Defeats Truman' ") and the events of September 11 (the collapse of Tower 2 in a "terrifying ballet of twisting, screaming metal"). In addition to the CDs' reports and sound bites dramatically introduced and explained by longtime journalist Kurtis each event gets about four pages of coverage, with an efficient summary and at least half a dozen photos. A smiling, handsome Robert Kennedy on one page becomes a mortally wounded man on the next, while on the CD, reporter Andrew West asks the senator a strategy question, and then "Senator Kennedy has been shot! Is that possible?" he cries. "Is it possible?... Oh my God... He still has the gun, the gun is pointed at me right at this moment! Take a hold of his thumb and break it if you have to!" It doesn't matter that the clips and the photos are old news: from the Hindenburg explosion to the death of Elvis, and from the crumbling of the Berlin Wall to the shooting at Columbine High, these are the kinds of moments that still shock and amaze. This moving book is "a tribute of sorts" to the events that defined eras, the journalists who reported on them and the media television, radio that made us all witnesses.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc; Har/Com edition (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570713286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570713286
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,044,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Sheffield on December 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As an avid fan of both history and news, I was excited to see this book come to the shelf. One would expect the audio to be the key feature to this book, and indeed it should have been. Sadly, the news portions of the audio are kept to ineffective soundbites that average about 15 seconds each. Instead of having the sensation of listening to the radio when a news break comes through, you are lulled to sleep by Bill Kurtis' summation of the event. Only a small cut from a radio broadcast accents the audio. In fact, most of the news clips are not even the "breaking news," but rather some portion of a later news report. Another problem is the omission of key news events for the inclusion of cultural events (death of Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe). Finally, many of the clips begin with the news reporter speaking, not with the broadcast as it occured prior to the break-in. Thus, the "interruption of the broadcast" is never re-lived. Other reviews which claim the edited audio "revive[s] the panic and thrill of some of the defining moments" of these events, are greatly mistaken.
If you are looking for a 'best of' listing of news stories (PBS style, edited to 60 minutes t.v. program), this will be a good edition to your library. The program does do a good job of summarizing major 20th century news stories. However, if you are looking for a unique historical record of major radio news events, this will leave you disappointed and frustrated with the missed potential of this series.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had the oppurtunity to interview the book's author and have read the book and listen the the audio. The book and it's attachments will long be a part of my family as I viewed and heard the days of my grandparents, my parents, and remember myself where I was when ... Your children's, childrens, childrens, children will love this archive. An instant 20 Century hit.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Anne on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book primarily for my interest in broadcast news events, but I never expected the feelings and emotions that I felt by the time I finished reading and listening to it. As a GenXer, the first event I can vividly recall is the Challenger Disaster. Listening to the CD brought me back to the day and spot I was when I heard about the disaster. Even though I've cared for hundreds of WWII vets, the devestation of the war never really made an impact on me until I read and listened to this book. It makes all the events of the past become real to those who weren't fortunate enough to be alive then. The CDs themselves make this book worth every penny you spend.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best literary ideas I have ever seen! I was fortunate enough to receive this book for my birthday and have since perused it's pages (and listened to the CDs, of course) a dozen times. The whole book gives you a *you are there* feeling, and the audio just enhances that. Does an excellent job covering so many of the century's biggest moments. The sound of Walter Cronkite's voice announcing JFK's death, the Hindenburg disaster, Princess Diana...amazing! The pictures are great too...an all around wonderful coffee table book to have laying around. If you are at all interested in history, current events, or any major event that occurred in the 20th century, buy this...you won't be disappointed!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book would make a perfect gift for that hard to buy for person. A walk back in time, a very nostalgic piece for the older reader. Entertaining, interesting and educational for younger readers. The price here is unbeatable, just priced it elsewhere at $45.00.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brent M. Ottaway on February 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a great concept with a so-so follow-through. The book has some fine photos and lackluster text. The real disappointment is the CD's, which unfortunately feature the exposition of Bill Kurtis over the actual recordings. Instead of minutes of actual news broadcasts knitted together with seconds of exposition by Bill Kurtis, we get lengthy introductions by Kurtis with snippets of the news broadcasts. Bottom line: Worth having, but falls short of potential.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Frank Mazzocco on January 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The best part of the book is the forward written by Walter Cronkite - in itself is of important to journalism and our first amendment rights.
If you're going to by this book for the two audio CDs in order to "Relive the Events That Stopped Our Lives. . .," don't. The audio CDs are mostly a narrative, read a bit over dramatically by Bill Kurtis. The actual news broadcasts and historical audio has been edited down to modern-day 30-second sound bites, as if we're too dumb to listen to anything longer. It would have been far better to provide *at least* five minutes of uninterrupted audio so we could experience some of the tension and awe of the first moon landing, the assassination of a president or the launch of an invasion. I can hear Bill Kurtis just about any day of the week on TV. We are of an age where technology can help us re-present history in significant chunks. Too bad this book and audio CDs don't do so.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By william keasler on June 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was initially impressed with this book, until I began to read..... I noticed several Inaccuracies, most blatantly on p 68, The rocket photo referred to as "Apollo 11" is NOT Apollo 11, also on p 70 inset photos are referred to as "Armstrong descends the Lunar Module" the photos are NOT of Armstrong. Unfortunately I would have to oversee any use of this book by my Son, I would NOT want him to incorrectly absorb even the most minute piece of "false" history.
Since the book already contains detailed commentary on each event, maybe the CDs could have contained more historical clips and less "setup" for each clip.
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