Studs on a Soapbox
Studs Terkel, who made his name listening to ordinary folks talk about their ordinary lives — and who turned that knack for conversation into a much-honored literary career — died today. He was 96.
The author of blockbuster oral histories on World War II, the Great Depression, and contemporary attitudes toward work, Terkel roamed the country engaging an astounding cross-section of Americans in tape-recorded chats — about their dreams, their fears, their chewing gum, about racism, courage, dirty floors, the Beatles.
With his loud laugh and raspy voice, plus his inept fumbles with his tape recorder, he set his subjects at ease and tugged from them memories, predictions and simple truths about their everyday existence. Terkel transcribed and edited the interviews, then compiled them into books at once intimate and sweeping, among them “Division Street,” “Hard Times,” “Working,” and “The Good War,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984.
Terkel was also a legendary radio personality, hosting a daily music and interview show on Chicago’s WFMT for 45 years.
He never prepared his questions in advance. He interrupted his guests often. Yet Terkel was known as a master interviewer, able to establish an easy rapport with just about anyone. His secret, he once said, was simple: “It’s listening.”
Read the full story on the LA Times site here
Thanks for the heads up Kensey.