Studs Terkel: The Art Of The Schmooze

Garry Wills writes: ‘Studs Terkel, who died in 2008, is best remembered, if at all, by Americans at large for his popular and prize-winning books of oral history—nine of them, from Division Street (1967) to Hope Dies Last (2003). But we Chicagoans remember him more vividly for his large presence in our city over the last half of the twentieth century. He was as much identified with Chicago as Herb Caen was with San Francisco, or Jimmy Breslin with New York, or H.L. Mencken with Baltimore. He was born in New York in 1912, but he came to Chicago at age eight and never left. He went to university and law school here, acted in local theater, ran a pioneering television show, championed local candidates and causes, and, most importantly, did a five-day radio interview show on WFMT for an astonishing forty-five years (1952–1997). Many people in Chicago either grew up or grew old (or both) along that thread of continuity in their lives.’

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