Studs Terkel Dead at 96

Quotes from “A Personal Memoir (and parenthetical comment)” to Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, Studs Turkel:

“This is a memory book rather than one of hard fact and precise statistic….The precise fact or the precise date is of small consequence. This is not a lawyer’s brief nor an annotated sociological treatise. It is simply an attempt to get the story of the holocaust known as The Great Depression from an improvised battallion of survivors.”

“That there are some who were untouched or, indeed, did rather well isn’t exactly news. This has been true of all disasters. The great many were wounded, in one manner or another. It left upon them an ‘invisible scar’….The suddenly-idle hands blamed themselves, rather than society. True, there were hunger marches and protestations to City Hall and Washington, but the millions experienced a private kind of shame when the pink slip came. No matter that others suffered the same fate, the inner voice whispered, ‘I’m a failure.’”

“True there was a sharing among many of the dispossessed, but, at close quarters, frustration became, at times, violence, and violence turned inward. Thus, sons and fathers fell away, one from the other. And the mother, seeking work, said nothing. Outside forces, except to the more articulate and political rebels, were in some vague way responsible, but not really. It was a personal guilt.”

You can hear recordings of Terkel’s “Conversations with America” here

Obit at NYT

2 thoughts on “Studs Terkel Dead at 96

  1. Studs Terkel was an extraordinary, wonderful human. I feel his death as I would that of a friend. He made the Great Depression real and hurtful to a young girl living a comfortable life in a Dublin suburb.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s