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Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the Storycorps Projectby Dave Isay
Synopses & Reviews
Drawn from the work of StoryCorps, the largest and most ambitious oral history project in American history, comes this tapestry of the stories Americans have been sharing from their lives to leave behind to their loved ones. In its two permanent public recording booths in New York City, at Grand Central and at Ground Zero, and its two mobile booths touring the country, StoryCorps, the most ambitious oral history project in American history, has collected the memories of people from all fifty states and every imaginable walk of life, background, identity group, age, and state of mind-more than ten-thousand in all. It is a wondrous nationwide celebration of our shared humanity, capturing for posterity the stories that define us and bond us together.
In small towns and big cities, from Indian reservations in the Pacific Northwest to army bases in North Carolina, StoryCorps has brought people together to share the treasures of their lives in story. In Listening Is an Act of Love, Dave Isay selects the most remarkable stories from the entire astonishing pool of memories. He arranges them thematically to form a mosaic of American life and binds them together with the history and principles of the StoryCorps project. The voices here connect us to a broad range of real people whose lives are filled with ordinary, extraordinary things — joy, sadness, courage, meaning, despair, good work and bad work, good times and hard times.
To read this book is to be reminded how wildly varied and interesting Americans really are, how resistant to easy categorization and caricatures. Above all, this book is a way to honor the gift of meaning that each participant in StoryCorps has made, out of the raw stuffof his or her life, to the people who come after. In a very real sense, we are our history, individually and collectively, as Listening Is an Act of Love so powerfully reminds us.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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
"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." Studs Terkel
From the author of the beloved 30 Lessons for Living
Karl Pillemers 30 Lessons for Living first became a hit and then became a classic. Readers loved the sage advice and great stories from extraordinary older Americans who shared what they wish they had known when they were starting out. Now, Pillemer returns with lessons on one of the mosttalked- about parts of that book—love, relationships, and marriage.
Based on the most detailed survey of longmarried people ever conducted, 30 Lessons for Loving shows the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. The author, an internationally renowned gerontologist at Cornell University, offers sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together. Along the way, the book answers questions like these: How do you know if the person you love is the right one? What are the secrets for improving communication and reducing conflict? What gets you through the major stresses of marriage, such as child-rearing, work, money issues, and inlaws? From interviews with 700 elders, 30 Lessons for Loving offers unique wisdom that will enrich anyones relationship life, from people searching for the right partner to those working to keep the spark alive after decades together.
Filled with great stories, wise observations, and useful advice, 30 Lessons for Loving is destined to become another classic.
Drawn from the work of StoryCorps, the largest and most ambitious private oral history project in American history, comes this tapestry of the stories Americans have been sharing from their lives to leave behind to their loved ones.
About the Author
Dave Isay, founder of Sound Portraits Productions, describes the genesis of the StoryCorps oral history project, its progress and plans for expansion at the opening of the Atlanta Story Corps booth. Over the past sixteen years his radio documentary and feature work has won almost every award in broadcasting including four Peabody Awards, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and two Livingston Awards for young journalists. Dave has also received the Prix Italia (Europe's oldest and most distinguished broadcasting honor), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994) and a MacArthur Fellowship (2000). He is the author (or co-author) of four books based on Sound Portraits radio stories: Holding On; Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago; Flophouse; and Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones.
Table of Contents
Listening is an Act of Love Introduction
Home and Family
Work and Dedication
History and Struggle
Fire and Water
The Story of StoryCorps
The Conversation of a Lifetime
Favorite StoryCorps Questions
StoryCorps Facilitators, 2003-06
What Our Readers Are Saying
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