Saturday, November 1, 2008

Studs Terkel 1912-2008

I didn't intend this to be the literary obituary blog, but another writer who had a big impact on me has left us. Studs Terkel died yesterday, Oct 31st. He was 96 years old.

Studs Terkel went to work as a radio voice actor, news reader and sportscaster during the great depression. He began his own daily interview show on Chicago's WFMT in 1952 and continued until 1997 to interview people for an hour show, five days a week.

Using his interviewing skills, hone by his radio experience Suds began to write books, starting with Giants of Jazz in 1956. Studs' books are "oral histories," stories told to him by people from all walks of life. The ones I recommend reading are:

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970)

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

The Good War (1984)

My American Century (1997)

Studs wrote 18 books in all. The latest, a memoir, P.S. Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening has just been published.


  1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression was a great book. It is still very relevant today.

  2. Wow - I missed that one. I remember reading "Working" years ago and it really affected me, not just by its content, but how he did the book. I guess to that time I'd never read anything that kept the authenticity of each person's voice. It was remarkable then and now. What an American original!

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.



  3. CBS Sunday Morning did a great interview with him. Studs took a lot of valuable insight with him.

  4. We're losing a lot of good writers, aren't we? I'm sure 96 was a full life, though.

  5. And now Michael Chrichton, too.


Comments will be moderated - so keep your comments moderate!

OpenID users will have their blog links again, yay!