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Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary

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Stories Make the World

Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary

Stephen Most

288 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-575-4 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (June 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78533-576-1 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (June 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-577-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $29.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Stephen Most… offers an array of information, advice and a rich account of what developing and writing documentary scripts can imply. The book engages the professional and the media student equally, as Most conveys the complexity  of storytelling with an unprecedented variety of examples drawn from his Academy Award Nominee  films and Emmy-winning collaborations… A book that leaves the reader breathless, it interweaves the author’s personal experience and documentary case studies to excellent effect.” • The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

“Filled with fascinating detail and insight into a very broad range of storytelling, Stories Make the World is an important addition to the books on documentaries and on storytelling in general. It will be very valuable for all students and makers of documentary films and for everyone who cares about the power of documentary to tell dramatic stories and to enhance our understanding of the world.” • Eat Drink Films

Stories Make the World is an insightful look into the craft of documentary filmmaking that should be required reading for media students. Story and honesty are needed now more than ever in an era of ‘fake news,’ half-truths, and technical virtuosity.” • John de Graaf, Director of Affluenza and fifteen other national PBS documentaries

“Stephen Most’s take on nonfiction storytelling is unique, compelling, and wonderfully expressed.” • Alexa Dilworth, Publishing Director and Senior Editor, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

“This outstanding book interweaves its author’s personal experiences and documentary case studies to excellent effect. Students, teachers, filmmakers, and other storytellers will find it an engaging and informative resource.” • Maggie Stogner, American University


Since the beginning of human history, stories have helped people make sense of their lives and their world. Today, an understanding of storytelling is invaluable as we seek to orient ourselves within a flood of raw information and an unprecedented variety of supposedly true accounts. In Stories Make the World, award-winning screenwriter Stephen Most offers a captivating, refreshingly heartfelt exploration of how documentary filmmakers and other storytellers come to understand their subjects and cast light on the world through their art. Drawing on the author’s decades of experience behind the scenes of television and film documentaries, this is an indispensable account of the principles and paradoxes that attend the quest to represent reality truthfully.

Stephen Most is a writer and filmmaker. He has writing credits on four Academy Award “best documentary” nominees and five Emmy-winning films, including Wonders of Nature, Promises, and Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. His book River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin was published in 2006.

Eduardo the Healer is available in the Berghahn Books YouTube channel. To stream and download other films in Stories Make the World, go to

Subject: Film and Television StudiesLiterary Studies


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