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Studs Terkel: Author, Historian, Broadcaster, Actor

Updated on November 16, 2014

Studs Terkel: America's Greatest Conversationalist

Learn about Studs Terkel, the Chicago author, historian, broadcaster and actor widely regarded as America's greatest conversationalist. Bringing the oral histories of the average Joe to light, Studs was a revolutionary in our time. His countless books, radio show, and interviews are treasures as well as historical documents capturing the world as Studs saw it. As Studs might say, we'll not see the likes of a man like him again!

R.I.P. Studs

Sadly, Studs Terkel died October 31, 2008 at the age of 96. He once said his epitaph would be

CURIOSITY DID NOT KILL THIS CAT.

Rest in peace Studs.

Why Studs?

Studs Terkel was one of the true "characters" of Chicago. A legend, admired among even his enemies, and relentless in his pursuit of the truth of the human experience - its time to recognize his contribution to our national culture. Few who have been so influential are recognized in their own time.

NEW: Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation - by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle

This is a must read for any fan of Studs Terkel - buy it today!

Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation
Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation

"Working" is Studs Terkel's most beloved book, having been turned into a radio drama, Broadway musical, and now - a graphic novel! Comic book legend Harvey Pekar, a Studs-like working class character himself who is author of the popular American Splendor series, has taken Working's stories of how average folks earn a living and beautifully adapted it into graphic novel form. With an impact that is just as strong as the original work's was many decades ago, Pekar will no doubt make Working a hit for a new generation. All fans of Studs Terkel and Harvey Pekar should pick this book up today!

 

StoryCorps Interviews Studs Terkel

Listen to this 2005 interview, where Studs talks about what has happened to the human voice.

Giants of Jazz by Studs Terkel

Giants of Jazz
Giants of Jazz

Written in 1957, this is Studs Terkel's first published book.

 

Division Street: America by Studs Terkel

Division Street: America
Division Street: America

One of Studs' first forays into the oral histories of the "average Joe", this book is a classic and required reading for any Chicagoan.

 
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Learn from those who lived through and survived the Great Depression by reading these real life stories.

 

What is your favorite Studs Terkel book?

The Good War: An Oral History of World War II
The Good War: An Oral History of World War II

A writer, reporter, and above all, a good listener, Studs Turkel has spent a career posing provocative questions and actively listening to the answers. In "The Good War", Terkel talks to Americans, both famous and obscure, about their contrasting, not always golden, memories of the war that shaped their lives, World War II. This first trade paperback edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book features a new Preface by the author.

 
Voices of Our Time: The Original Live Interviews
Voices of Our Time: The Original Live Interviews

From the 1950s through 1997, Louis “Studs” Terkel, bestselling author of Hard Times, Working, The Great War, Coming of Age, and eight other books, hosted a daily one-hour show on WFMT Radio in Chicago. This nationally syndicated, Peabody Award-winning program was an ideal showcase for his curmudgeonly wit, his maverick opinions, and his genius as an interviewer. The 48 interviews in this collection, span Terkel’s five decades on radio and encompass a wide range of entertainers, sc...

 
The Studs Terkel Reader: My American Century
The Studs Terkel Reader: My American Century

"A summing up of the best of Terkel."—Herbert Mitgang, DoubletakeThe Studs Terkel Reader, originally published under the title My American Century, collects the best interviews from eight of Terkel's classic oral histories together with his magnificent introductions to each work. Featuring selections from American Dreams, Coming of Age, Division Street, "The Good War", The Great Divide, Hard Times, Race, and Working, this "greatest hits" volume is a treasury of Terkel's most memorable subje...

 
Hard Times; An Oral History of the Great Depression
Hard Times; An Oral History of the Great Depression

Studs Terkel's classic history of the Great Depression. In this unique re-creation of one of the most dramatic periods in modern American history, Studs Terkel recaptures the Great Depression of the 1930s in all its complexity. The book is a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were most destitute: politicians like James Farley and Raymond Moley; businessmen like Bill Benton and Clement Stone; a six-day bicycle racer; artists and writers; racketeers; speakeasy operators,...

 
Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith
Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith

A major new oral history from the Pulitzer Prize-winner, dealing with the universal experience of death. At the age of 88, Studs Terkel has turned to the ultimate human experience, that of death and the possibility of life afterward. Death is the one experience we all share but cannot know. In Studs Terkel's powerful new book, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? a wide range of people address that final experience and its impact on the present in which we live. In talking about the ultimate and unknowa...

 
The Studs Terkel Interviews: Film and Theater
The Studs Terkel Interviews: Film and Theater

An elegant new edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winner's "richly entertaining" (Publishers Weekly) conversations with the masters of stage and screen.The Studs Terkel Interviews: Film and Theater collects the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian's remarkable conversations with some of the greatest luminaries of film and theater. Originally published under the title The Spectator, this "knowledgeable and perceptive" (Library Journal) look at show business presents the actors, directors, playwrights...

 
The Spectator: Talk About Movies and Plays With the People Who Make Them
The Spectator: Talk About Movies and Plays With the People Who Make Them

The Pulitzer Prize-winner talks to masters of stage and screen in "Terkel's latest richly entertaining oral history" (Publishers Weekly), now in paperback. The Spectator collects Studs Terkel's "knowledgeable and perceptive" (Library Journal) interviews with some of the greatest luminaries of film and theater. This "disarming, invigorating look at show biz" (Publishers Weekly) presents the actors, directors, playwrights, dancers, lyricists, and others who have created the dramatic works of the p...

 
The Good War : An Oral History of World War Two
The Good War : An Oral History of World War Two

"The Good War is Stud Terkel's most exciting, most popular, and most moving work, an account of the lives of ordinary Americans, at home and abroad, during World War Two. Terkel presents men and women recalling the time when they were all of eighteen and nineteen, thrown into the Far Pacific or confronting the Germans in the last, vicious battles of the European campaign...includes the memories of some of the famous: the admirals, the politicians, the intellectuals, ranging from Averell Harriman...

 

What story would you tell Studs about YOUR life?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Studs is an Icon of Chicago, loved him.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I adored Studs Terkel, I have several of his books and loved his radio style. I've featured this on my fan-club thank-you lens so - thank you!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, yes I remember Studs Terkel -- part of my college studies. "Thank you Studs!"

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Margo! Studs is my hero too. An American original and treasure. People laugh when I mention his name, thinking it's some sort of wacky pseudonym. I added one of my favorites to the list: Working. Thanks. 5*

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 8 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      Studs is the man! He was a hero and a friend of a history professor I had in college. We did a lot of readings from his work and I loved every minute of it.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      Studs Turkel is my hero. If the only history books anyone read were his, we would all be educated! *****