P.S.: Further Thoughts from a Lifetime of Listening
Studs Terkel. New Press, $16.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-1-59558-423-6
Cleaning out the office after years of disuse was worthwhile for beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian Terkel (1912-2008), and even more so for the loyal readers who recently lost him. This collection of previously unpublished essays and interviews shouldn't disappoint. Much of the author's best stories come from his beloved hometown of Chicago, and ""Dreamland"" is a transporting example, about a 12-year-old Terkel and his big brother's habit of taking the wrong women home from the Dreamland ballroom. His 1961 interview with black author James Baldwin, covering music and politics, is both warm and bitingly honest: says Baldwin, ""to be a Negro in this country is really just...never to be looked at."" Another highlight, ""A Gathering of Survivors,"" is a discussion of the Great Depression that's especially timely. In just a few pages, Terkel can effortlessly invoke laughter, tears and thoughtful wonder. Some pieces are less successful (an interview with lyricist E.Y. ""Yip"" Harburg, of ""Somewhere Over the Rainbow"" fame), but fans will be happy to sort them from the gems.
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008