Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Studs Terkel listened to America

Studs Terkel
It is the birthday of writer and historian Studs Terkel (1912), whose book The Good War (1985) won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He is remembered for his oral histories of ordinary Americans, a style he called guerrilla journalism. He wrote more than 18 books. The Good War told the story of World War II through first-person accounts of people affected by the war on the home front, in battle and after the war was over. It includes people at all levels of society. There is even a section that includes a conversation with survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Terkel also wrote Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970), which includes oral histories of the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor. Terkel's book Working, People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), compiled the oral histories of ordinary workers. It was widely acclaimed and inspired a Broadway musical. Terkel was host of a weekday radio program on Chicago's WFMT for 45 years. He was also the host of a 1950 TV show, Stud's Place, a variety show with weekly guests set in a barbecue joint. Terkel also acted in plays, movies and radio dramas, usually playing the bad guy. “I would always say the same thing and either get killed or sent to Sing Sing,” he once recalled.

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