on 8 April 1998
Working profiles the working lives of scores of Americans. From prostitute to chief executive, coal mine worker to major league ballplayer- a myriad of professions are covered. The book reads like a documentary (which it is). Terkel has included the most interesting aspects of each case study's working life, and ultimately you see why each continues to pursue their career in that chosen field- or at least what satisfaction they get from showing up everyday. It's a great book to pick up and spend 5 to 10 minutes or so reading about how someone else's working life has parallels to your own. The interviews were conducted mostly during the late 60's and early 70's but while it is slightly dated, even that fact makes for an interesting historical perspective.
on 19 November 2013
I'm still amazed that so few people in UK have even heard about Studs Terkel, in several ways the most powerful, original, and human writer of the 20th century. This book is as good an introduction as any, once started you will want to read more. He is the grandfather of virtually all oral historians.
Julian Tudor Hart
on 27 November 2016
It is hardly possible to decide which of all Terkel's books is the best. Yet, this one does pull even more than the others at the heartstrings. Terkel deals with reality. With hard, in-your-face reality. And with how us human beings tackle that hard reality. What makes Terkel incredible as an oral history master (I have published several books full of oral histories) is how he manages to make people both tell their dreams (i.e, illusions about themselves and their lives) and give an honest appraisal of their lives and endeavors. If there is one wise man in America, it must be Studs Terkel.