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This American Life: Stories Of Hope And Fear [2 CD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 7, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

2-CD collection of the smartest and funniest show on the radio

This American Life is one the most popular yet most unusual programs on radio today, airing on public radio stations all across the country. Each week listeners tune in to hear riveting stories that explore the highs and lows of the human condition.

Host Ira Glass and the staff of This American Life selected some of their favorite segments for the This American Life: Stories Of Hope And Fear 2-CD set. Featuring segments by bestselling writer and humorist David Sedaris (Naked), Comedy Central's Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman and many others, this eclectic anthology addresses topics ranging from gender reassignment to karaoke comedy, with over two hours of alternately hilarious and heart-breaking spoken performances set against a hip indie-rock and electronica musical background. Includes music by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Calexico, Morcheeba, Mogwai, Tortoise and others.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. If I Can Make It There - Jorge Just
  2. Is This Thing On? - Jonathan Goldstein
  3. Thinking Inside The Box - David Wilcox
  4. Infinite Gent - Alex Blumberg
  5. Miami Vices - Sascha Rothchild
  6. The Babysitters - Myron Jones

Disc: 2

  1. Fears Of Your Life - Tom Wright
  2. On Hold No One Can Hear You Scream - Julie Snyder
  3. Anti-Oedipus - Nancy Updike
  4. So A Chipmunk And A Squirrel Walk Into A Bar - David Sedaris
  5. Slingshot - John Hodgman


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B000IONLFY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,494 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Here's something different for your CD collection. "This American Life" is a radio show that features stories - usually true - that are unusually compelling. If you are a fan of public radio, then you may already be familiar with the program. Usually, it's the kind of show that keeps you sitting in your driveway, listening to the very end. As a host of my own (much smaller) radio program, I figure that's probably the biggest compliment that any radio show can receive. "Stories of Hope and Fear" compiles eleven of these stories on two disks, and much like the radio program, I find it addictive enough to disrupt my schedule. Even though I know I could pause the CD and pick up where I left off, I still found myself sitting in my car, waiting for the story to end before heading inside to my evening dinner.

Each story is extraordinarily compelling as both human drama and comedy. For example, "The Babysitter" is told by an older man and his sister, recalling their `need' as teenagers to invent a family so they could escape the grasp of their mother. It is both sad, funny and touching to hear them relate their deceit, especially in light of the fact that their ninety-something year old mother is still alive. "On Hold Noone Can Hear You Scream" is a tale of phone company indifference that everyone can relate to, only hopefully not to this degree. From a technical perspective, each show's editing is brilliant, utilizing interesting music segments to enhance the mood and allow the pathos to subconsciously set itself in your mind.

Whether or not these stories will hold up after repeated listens is another matter, and I imagine that unlike music, most listeners will not feel inclined to hear the same stories repeatedly.
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I've listened to This American Life going on 8 years now either on NPR or on-line on the website. Great program, this is the 3rd compliation CD I have purchased and I must say that this was interesting especially the Stories of Fear. I am interested in how the human psyche handles fear given certain levels of stress introduced through everyday normal situations. Quite frankly it can be more than a little funny. The story that really clicked with me was On Hold No One Can Hear You Scream, one persons ordeal dealing with an unresponsive phone company. This is a great cd. Better than the last compliation cd for This American Life.
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Format: Audio CD
I was fortunate to receive this CD the day before I had a 2 hour car ride ahead of me. I put in the CD and I have no memory of the trip, the traffic, or the route I took. I play the CD frequently, and I learn something new each time. Ira Glass - you are the best.
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Format: Audio CD
Ira Glass has a job that everyone would love to do. He gets to interview people and learn about life lessons. I have listened to the NPR show on occassion but could never follow the program faithfully. If you are like me, then this will be your solution. In this 2-CD collection, there are stories about hopes and fears in a new light. I think that the 2nd CD is the most interesting of the 2 CDs.

The story that really made an impression was Julie Synder's dilemna with cell phone customer support (CD 2 Track 2). She really articulates her frustrations that we can all relate to. I worked as an software engineer and dealt with customer service issues on occasion. It's good to see how sometimes mis-communication and tempers often flair into after-the-fact humor. You definitely see the views from both sides which sheds some light on problems with customer support. But, the problems with a phone company just compounds to the humor with technology issues that you cannot imagine. Believe me, it's laughter after laughter but you soon realize that we can all relate to it.

Another touching but eerie story (CD 2 Track 3) is about a closeted son who takes care of his mother. It borders on the unreal as the interviewer learns about the ordeal with his father than suddenly changes things completely. As you listen, there are intimate details that you feel as if you are in the same room. This is one of the true experience that you lack with TV today. It just seems to be all about the shock factor and nothing about the fact that we are all human. It's wonderful that NPR still has shows out there for everyone to listen instead of being glued to the tube.
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Format: Audio CD
I always loved catching This American Life on the Radio, but I never seemed to listen regularly enough. Or I would find myself catching the end of a great story. This is a fabulous listening opportunity fr a long trip! Something different to buy people as well.
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I have a set appointment each Saturday to tune in to NPR for another introduction to "This American Life". I am thrilled that I have access to old shows on cd. This is ideal for a long road trip and conversation.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the third "best of" collection from "This American Life", and it's the collection that I find I listen to the least. The quality of storytelling is still there, but there's something that's slightly off about these. While there are great moments of humor and thoughtfulness. I particularly love the story of Julie Snyder attempting to get her phone bill corrected.

Perhaps it's just a reflection of the mood the country was in during the time these stories were produced and first broadcast. If you are a fan of TAL, this will be an enjoyable listen. Will you return to it? You might go back a couple times, but I find that this collection doesn't require repeated listens unlike the first two collections.

Still, this is a good collection of "This American Life" stories, and even some of their weaker material is better than a lot of other radio broadcasts.
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