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Hard Times Book Review: Hard Times By Studs Terkel An Oral History Of The Great Depression New York: Pantheon Books, 1970

1643 words - 7 pages

Studs Terkel, the noted journalist, radio commentator, and author has provided us with different views on different topics with the many books he's published throughout the years. Particularly in his 1970 publication of Hard Times, which is an oral history of the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties. Terkel interviewed dozens of people across the United States for this book, then bringing together a collection from these interviews with mostly ordinary people to talk about their views and experiences in certain aspects of the Great Depression. Issues like employment problems, the crash of nineteen twenty-nine, "farm holidays" where crops were destroyed, and U.S. President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt's New Deal programs are covered in his interviews. Stud Terkel was born in nineteen twelve in New York, but grew up in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Chicago in nineteen thirty-two and from the University of Chicago Law School in nineteen thirty-four. Currently, Terkel has a daily radio program on WFMT in Chicago that is broadcasted throughout the country where he lectures and interviews about different history topics. Hard Times (1970) is one of Terkel's best-sellers books among with Working (1974), Race (1992), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War (1985). Recounting others lives and events is Terkel's life's work, and Terkel's exceptional skill as a radio interviewer has led to the publication of eight books. His publication of Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession, consist of interviews with nearly 100 people regarding their attitudes toward race. A writer, a reporter, but above all a good listener. Hard Times is a compilation of oral recounts of the Great Depression of the twentieth Century, taken by Studs Terkel. He begins with the events of what the country went through after October, 1929. In this book Terkel is able to provide his readers with reflections, views, and memories of the Great Depression told by those who were alive during these times and who were affected by it. Studs Terkel is able to capture the Depression in all its vast ways it affected the American society, putting together pieces of memories as told by those who faced troubles as well as those who stayed rich. The book is filled with information and details about peoples lives during these times. It very vividly illustrates the Depression's effect on those who lived through it, and eventually to what became of the United States of America afterwards. The book ultimately serves as a great example of the great American spirit, how after the struggling years the nation recovered and got back on its feet. The anecdotes from people range from sharecroppers on up to highly placed executives, politicians, and professionals. Terkel leaves almost no topic untouched, as these stories grouped by occupation and social status show how the Depression affected people in all aspects of life in the United States. ...

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