Various Authors

Chronicle Books, $29.95, 272 pages

This is NPR: The First Forty Years was written by the personalities and contributors who made NPR what it is. Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Car Talk, Weekend Edition and All Things Considered are just a few of the popular broadcasts NPR fans have loved for many years. Even when begging for dollars, their programming and entertainment are unbeatable. The stories are often political, thought-provoking, emotional, even anger-inducing at times, yet always educational, heart-tugging, and demonstrative of diversity. They force listeners to broaden their own understandings of any given topic or event. Where would we be without NPR? A compilation of beliefs and perspectives, NPR is universal.

The book; This is NPR: The First Forty Years gives fans of this popular and sometimes controversial radio station the history and many of the back stories of its roots, offering tidbits on the key players, poor story decisions, successes that surprised directors and editors alike and the gossip of the times by its broadcasters. The contributors for this book are impressive, with Cokie Roberts writing a detailed and brutally honest Foreward. Timelines, original, behind-the-scenes pictures, audio CDs of six classic broadcasts and infamous article contributors make up this poignant homage to a lifelong tradition for so many homes and car radios. If you’re a fan of NPR, you need to own this book!

Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson,