Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

An Unauthorized Biography of the World

cover-unauthbio-72“This wonderful book was written by one who understands oral history from the inside – and masterfully reveals its mission to articulate history’s silences.”  Mary Marshall Clarke, Director, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University, NY.

“Make no mistake, this fascinating book is no dry academic history.  Michael Riordon’s book represents oral history at its passionate best.”  Dr. Steven High, Professor of History, Concordia University, Montreal.

“Michael Riordon does us all a great service by helping to amplify those so often silenced within this culture, and I thank him for this powerful contribution.”  Derrick Jensen, writer, NY Times Magazine; author, A Language Older than Words.

An Unauthorized Biography of the World explores the hard, sometimes dangerous work of engaged oral history, recovering silenced human voices and stories.  It springs from the author’s thirty years of experience as a writer and broadcaster in this field.

Meet a gallery of people who foster human rights, peace and environmental justice in several countries, by gathering stories of brave, determined people on the front lines: First Nations battle for survival in Canada; inner city residents seek environmental justice in Chicago; Andean women raise their voices against repression in Peru; homeless people organize for basic rights in Cleveland; New York City, 9/11 – the official version vs the real human stories; gay survivors of electroshock speak out in Britain; activists in Palestine-Israel breach the apartheid wall; artists in Newfoundland revive history and identity in Newfoundland; farmers in Turkey resist a corporate gold mine that poisons their land and water.

Given the wealth of experience represented in this book, the result is a marvelous guide to the challenges, ethics and inherent power of oral history.  It is not a how-to manual, but a series of rich encounters with a range of diverse and stimulating people.  As always with oral history, the gold is in the stories.

Available in print and ebook.

Inside An Unauthorized Biography of the World, read:


Umut / Hope

One thought on “An Unauthorized Biography of the World

  1. Hello Michael, Long ago, I helped arrange an interview between you and Diana Avila Paulette, who you wrote about so beautifully in An Unauthorized Biography of the World. Diana passed away in December. But before she died, your book gave her a wonderful gift that extended her life and her happiness. I’d like to tell you about it, as a means of once more saying thank you for your book.


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