This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

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The new paperback in the bestselling series of inspiring personal philosophies

This collection of This I Believe essays gathers seventy-five essayists?ranging from famous to previously unknown?completing the thought that begins the book?s title. With contributors who run the gamut from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to ordinary folks like a diner waitress, an Iraq War veteran, a farmer, a new husband, and many others, This I Believe II, like the first ...

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This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

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The new paperback in the bestselling series of inspiring personal philosophies

This collection of This I Believe essays gathers seventy-five essayists—ranging from famous to previously unknown—completing the thought that begins the book’s title. With contributors who run the gamut from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to ordinary folks like a diner waitress, an Iraq War veteran, a farmer, a new husband, and many others, This I Believe II, like the first New York Times bestselling collection, showcases moving and irresistible essays.

Included are Sister Helen Prejean writing about learning what she truly believes through watching her own actions, singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore writing about a hard-won wisdom based on being generous to others, and Robert Fulghum writing about dancing all the dances for as long as he can. Readers will also find wonderful and surprising essays about forgiveness, personal integrity, and honoring life and change.

Here is a welcome, stirring, and provocative communion with the minds and hearts of a diverse, new group of people—whose beliefs and the remarkably varied ways in which they choose to express them reveal the American spirit at its best.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Allison and Gediman's newest omnibus highlights 75 more essays from the archives of the successful NPR program, a contemporary version of Edward Murrow's classic radio show. Culled from writers both legendary and previously unfamiliar, each essayist presents what he or she believes in 500 words. From Robin Baudier's tract on "Strange Blessings," detailing her experience living in her parents' FEMA trailer after the devastation of Katrina, to Michelle Gardner-Quinn's credo for "upholding reverence for all life" (Quinn was tragically murdered after completing this essay) to Kim Phuc's essay on "Forgiveness," borne of her experience as that "girl in the picture" running naked, napalm-burnt on a road near Saigon, each micro-essay stuns with its singular beauty, lucidity and humility. Icons like Helen Prejean, Studs Terkel and Elie Wiesel find estimable company in heretofore unknown writers who distill their individual truths with affecting sincerity and admirable aptitude. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805090895
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 176,184
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Allison is one of public radio's most honored producers. He has produced hundreds of nationally broadcast documentaries and features for radio and television. His work has earned him the duPont-Columbia and five Peabody Awards, and he was the 1996 recipient of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding contributions to public radio, the industry's highest honor. He was the curator and producer of This I Believe on NPR and he produces The Moth Radio Hour. Before his career in broadcasting, Jay was a theater director in Washington, D.C. He is also the founder of the public radio stations for Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod where he lives.

Dan Gediman is the executive producer of This I Believe. His work has been heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Jazz Profiles, and This American Life. He has won many of public broadcasting’s most prestigious awards, including the duPont-Columbia Award.

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Read an Excerpt

Finding the Strength to Fight Our Fears

Terry Ahwal

I believe in fighting fear.

When I was eleven years old and living under the Israeli occupation, I took a chance and after curfew I ran to visit my grandmother who lived two blocks away from us. On the road I had to hide under a truck to avoid soldiers who were coming my way. For twenty minutes I lay there in utter fear watching their boots walk back and forth in front of the truck. My heart was pounding so fast and loud that I was afraid one of the soldiers would hear it and I would be killed instantly.

To calm myself, I started begging God to take mercyon me and save me from these men and their guns. I remembered the words of my mother after Israeli soldiers beat my father. She told us to put our fear and anger aside and pray for the poor soldiers, who were also afraid because they were away from their homes in Israel.

I began to feel bad for the soldiers. I wondered: Where do they sleep and are they afraid of little children like me? What kind of food do they eat? Do they have big or small families? Their voices began to remind me of my neighbors. My fear dissipated a bit as I pictured the soldiers as people I knew. Although my twenty minutes under the truck seemed like an eternity, I believe that shedding my fear literally saved my life.

Thirty- six years later I look around and see another kind of devastation created by fear. I saw the collapse of my city, Detroit, when so many white people fied the city out of fear. After 9/11, the Arab and Muslim communities segregated themselves because of the level of suspicion directed at them from others. Fear of association because of ethnicity led many to retreat within themselves and their community. They stopped socializing with non- Arab/ Muslim colleagues and neighbors. Once again, we allow differences to separate us because of fear.

When I was hiding under that truck, if my terror had made me lose control and I had started to cry, the jittery soldiers might have pulled the trigger because of their own fears. Thank God I lived to wonder about this. I understood as a child that fear can be deadly.

I believe it is fear we should be fighting, not the “other.” We all belong to the same human tribe; that kinship supersedes our differences. We are all soldiers patrolling the road, and we’re all little children hiding under the truck.

Terry Ahwal was born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and now lives with her family near Detroit. She is development director for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and teaches classes in nonviolent communication at Madonna University. Ahwal said her husband’s family is Jewish and that Thanksgiving in their house hold is a mix of Jews and Arabs coming together with no uneasiness.

Excerpted from This I Believe II by Jay Allison.

Copyright © 2009 by by Jay Allison.

Published in July 2009 by Henry Holt and Company.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Table of Contents

Contents IntroductionJAY ALLISON  Finding the Strength to Fight Our Fears
TERRY AHWAL  I Will Take My Voice Back
QUIQUE AVILES  A Silent Night That Brought Healing
STEVE BANKO  Living with Integrity
BOB BARRET  The Strange Blessing That Brought Me Home
ROBIN BAUDIER  Returning to What’s Natural
AMELIA BAXTER-STOLTZFUS  The Right to Be Fully American
YASIR BILLOO  The Person I’m Supposed to Be
ANDY BLOWERS  Making It Up as I Go Along
ALICE BROCK  Sticking My Nose in the World’s Business
BRIGID DAULL BROCKWAY Teaching a Bad Dog New Tricks
DAVID BUETOW  The Learning Curve of Gratitude
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER  Failure Is a Good Thing
JON CARROLL  The Faith That Brings Me Peace
BETSY CHALMERS  The Person I Want to Bring into This World
LAURA SHIPLER CHICO  The Deeper Well of Memory
CHRISTINE CLEARY  A Marriage That’s Good Enough
CORINNE COLBERT  Creating Our Own Happiness
WAYNE COYNE  A Way to Honor Life
DENNIS DOWNEY  The Questions We Must Ask
TAMAR DUKE-COHAN  Learning True Tolerance
JOEL ENGARDIO  Doing Things My Own Way
BELA FLECK  Dancing All the Dances as Long as I Can
A Reverence for All Life
DAVID GESSNER  All the Joy the World Contains
DAVID GREENBERGER  Untold Stories of Kindness
ERNESTO HAIBI  Peace Begins with One Person
IVORY HARLOW  Do What You Love
TONY HAWK  Combating the Tyranny of the Positive Attitude
BARBARA HELD  My Husband Will Call Me Tomorrow
BECKY HERZ  The Tense Middle
ROALD HOFFMANN  Living in the Here and Now
JEFFREY HOLLENDER  Inner Strength from Desperate Times
JAKE HOVENDEN  Becoming a Parent Is a Gift
CHRIS HUNTINGTON  Finding Redemption Through Acceptance
INTERROGATOR  Paying Attention to the Silver Lining
ANNALIESE JAKIMIDES  There Is No Blame; There Is Only Love
ANN KARASINSKI  The Universe Is Conspiring to Help Us
KEVIN KELLY  We All Need Mending
SUSAN COOKE KITTREDGE  Telling Kids the Whole Truth
MARTHA LEATHE  Every Person Is Precious
ISABEL LEGARDA  Navigating Turbulent Waters
JIMMY LIAO  All Beings Are Interconnected
JAMES LONEY  A Musician of Many Cultures
YO-YO MA  Being Content with Myself
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE  That Old Piece of Cloth
FRANK MILLER  My Home Is New Orleans
MIKE MILLER  That Golden Rule Thing
CRAIG NEWMARK  My Personal Leap of Faith
BILL NUNAN  Admittance to a Better Life
MICHAEL OATMAN  Living What You Do Every Day
YOLANDA O’BANNON  The Long Road to Forgiveness
KIM PHUC  The Practice of Slowing Down
PHIL POWERS  Living My Prayer
SISTER HELEN PREJEAN  The Chance to Move Forward
MARIA MAYO ROBBINS  Utterly Humbled by Mystery
FATHER RICHARD ROHR  I Always Have a Choice
LISA SANDIN  Resilience Is a Gift
JOEL SCHMIDT  The Designated Celebrator
MELINDA SHOAF  Baking by Senses and Memories
EMILY SMITH  Learning to Trust My Intuition
CYNTHIA SOMMER  An Optimistic View of the World
DAN TANI  Community in Action
STUDS TERKEL  Music Makes Me Come Alive
JOAN TOWER  God Is God Because He Remembers
ELIE WIESEL  The Guts to Keep Going
AMY LYLES WILSON  Freeing Myself Through Forgiveness
YOLANDA YOUNG  A Potential for Brutality
YINONG YOUNG-XU  A Duty to Family, Heritage, and Country
YING YING YU  We’re All Different in Our Own Ways
How to Write Your Own This I Believe Essay  APPENDIX B:
How to Use This I Believe in Your Community  Acknowledgments  Reading Group Guide

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