BOOKS: Touch and Go

The Great Interviewer, the Storyteller par excelance, the reigning Mayor of Bughouse Square has finally written his personal memoirs, told his own story.

Often it is suggested that liberals can not make an articulate, intelligent argument. To which I always respond, “Do you know who Studs Terkel is?”

IN the beginning, before blogs, there was Studs Terkel, who, more than anyone else in what Time-Life founder Henry Luce called the American Century, gave the great mass of Americans who were not Henry Luce a way to be heard. “I have, after a fashion, been celebrated for having celebrated the lives of the uncelebrated among us; for lending voice to the face in the crowd,” Terkel, now 95, writes in “Touch and Go,” his new memoir. In a dozen books of oral history, including “The Good War” (about World War II), “Hard Times” (the Great Depression) and “Working” (the life of people on the job), Terkel has won an enduring place in American letters. “Touch and Go” is, not surprisingly, conversational and impressionistic. It is his own oral history, engaging, entertaining and evocative of a big-hearted American liberalism we don’t hear much about anymore.,0,260027.story?coll=cl-books-features

“Do you know who Studs Terkel is?”


I found this interesting…btw, are you in the book? perhaps your too young:shrug:

*Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do is a book by oral historian and broadcaster Studs Terkel. It is perhaps Terkel’s best-known book.

It is an exploration of what makes work meaningful for people in all walks of life: from Lovin’ Al the parking valet, to Dolores the waitress, from the fireman to the business executive, the narratives move constantly between mundane details, emotional truths and existential questioning*.

Not that I’m aware. But, then, if Studs perhaps passed me on the street at one time, I may be a character he speaks of unknown.

His old interviews on WFMT were awesome. Check out some excerpts at:

You can also hear some interviews and excerpts at:

Or listen to replays Saturday nights:,1,41,31

I’ve always enjoyed the classic “this train”, which can be heard here:

(Check Aug. 9 & 10)

Thanks for the links:thumbsup:

And, alas, Studs has “Checked out”:

Studs Terkel turned the voice of average Americans into a font of history.

The Pulitzer-Prize winning author, television pioneer, theatrical actor, long-time radio host, unrepentant leftie and friend of the little man, died peacefully at his home on the North Side of Chicago this afternoon.

Studs said in 1980: “If there’s something I want to do, it’s create a sense of continuity — that there is a past and a present and that there may be a future. And that there isn’t any present unless you know the past.”

Studs Terkel. 96. Storyteller, thinker, political agitator, friend to thousands, inspiration to millions. Gone.

You often hear the words “end of an era,” but only occasionally is it true. Studs’ death genuinely is the end of a Chicago era, a last cap on the 20th Century.

You can read the details in his Tribune obituary by Rick Kogan. The short version: Studs spent his life making the case for social justice and racial equality.

In his century, Studs chronicled the lives of almost everyone who mattered–the hundreds include Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Toni Morrison. Just as important, he chronicled the lives of those who officially didn’t matter, and in doing so made us understand they did. He searched for the decency in everyone.

My epitaph? My epitaph will be, ‘Curiosity did not kill this cat,’." he said.

He then said that he wanted his and Ida’s ashes to be scattered in Bughouse Square, that patch of green park that so informed his first years in his adopted city.

“Scatter us there,” he said, a gleeful grin on his face. “It’s against the law. Let 'em sue us.”

“Take it easy, but take it!”

Listen to the ongoing tribute all day Saturday:,1,41,31

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