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NPR: The First Forty Years

Narrated by: uncredited
Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

NPR was created in 1970, three years after Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act and established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Signing the act into law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, "We in America have an appetite for excellence...we want most of all to enrich man's spirit." Today, NPR produces and distributes programming that reaches more than 26 million listeners weekly. More than 900 stations nationwide broadcast NPR programming.

From the turmoil of the Vietnam era to a delightful visit with the riotously funny Dame Edna Everage, join hosts Susan Stamberg (1970s), Noah Adams (1980s), Renee Montagne (1990s), and Guy Raz (2000s) for an unforgettable journey through the first 40 years of NPR. This commemorative collection overflows with thought-provoking commentaries, award-winning journalism, and humor from the public radio programs that have become an essential part of our lives: All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Tell Me More, Fresh Air and much more.


  • David Sedaris
  • Chris Rock
  • Dame Edna
  • Terry Gross
  • Little Richard
  • Red Barber
  • Ira Glass
  • Car Talk's Tom and Ray Magliozzi

And many more.



  • "Introduction" by Susan Stamberg
  • "May Day Demonstration in Washington Against the Vietnam War"
  • "Life Savers Give Off Sparks"
  • "Special Coverage of President Nixon's Resignation"
  • "Nazi Demonstration at Marquette Park"
  • "Robert Krulwich and the $5 Bill"
  • "Aftermath of Three Mile Island"
  • "John Henry Faulk on the Bicentennial"
  • "Pickle Ranch: Family Run"
  • "Life at the South Pole"
  • "Sunset"


  • "Introduction" by Noah Adams
  • "Watching a Solar Eclipse with Your Head in a Box"
  • "Revolution in Prague"
  • "Fridays with Red: A Retrospective"
  • "Miniskirt: Fashion Industry Mistake"
  • "Little Richard, the Quasar of Rock"
  • "Yuppie Anguish: A Concept for the 80's"
  • "Jim Crow: Blacks Survived with Dignity"
  • "Challenger Disaster"
  • Roger Boisjoly, Morton Thiokol Engineer"
  • "Goodbye, Saigon"


  • "Introduction" by Renée Montagne
  • "Driving Lesson" with Click and Clack
  • "Clarence Thomas Accused of Sexual Harassment"
  • "Prom Night"
  • "Dorothy West and the Harlem Renaissance"
  • "Rwanda Carnage Claims Over 500,000 Lives"
  • "President Clinton Interview"
  • "Objects of Affection"
  • "Chris Rock Interview"
  • "Adolescence in War-Torn Bosnia"
  • "Santaland Diaries"


  • "Introduction" by Guy Raz
  • "Planet Money: Giant Pool of Money"
  • "A Bit of a Chat with Dame Edna"
  • "Change Has Come"
  • "Vernon Jordan on Politics, Obama, and Civil Rights"
  • "September 11, 2001"
  • "StoryCorps: Wives, Daughters, Mothers"
  • "War Update: View from Baghdad"
  • "Katrina: The Chertoff Interview"
  • "Stuck and Suicidal in Post-Katrina Trailer Park"
  • "April Fool's: New England Suffers Maple Woes"
  • "Couple Frantic to Find Loved Ones in Rubble"
  • "Safety, Prosperity Return to Afghan Village"
©1971-2010 National Public Radio, Inc. (P)2010 National Public Radio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This is nowhere near ALL the best work produced for NPR over the last 40 years, but it reminds us of what they do best: tickle our funny bones one minute and move us to tears the next." ( AudioFile)
"All the stories in the audiobook offer something that the printed edition can't. They offer what I've always felt is the strength of public radio and grew to cherish as I worked in it - the ability to tell a story that is all in the voice and language." (Renee Montagne of NPR, AudioFile interview)
"A must for NPR fans and history lovers." ( Publishers Weekly)

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This book was interesting from beginning to end. I found myself laughing, concerned, and enlightened. I look forward to listening to it again.