Chosen by Paul Auster out of the four thousand stories submitted to his radio programme on National Public Radio, these 180 stories provide a wonderful portrait of America in the 20th century. The requirement for selection was that each of the stories should be true, and each of the writers should not have been previously published. The collection that has emerged provides a richly varied and authentic voice for the American people, whose lives, loves, griefs, regrets, joys and sense of humour are vividly and honestly recounted throughout, and adeptly organised by Auster into themed sections. The section composed of war stories stretches as far back as the Civil War, still the defining moment in American history; while the sequence of 'Meditations' conclude the volume with a true and abiding sense of transcendence.

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