Essential reading—as is all of Terkel’s work—for would-be practitioners of journalism, oral history and “active listening.”



A personal anthology of unpublished pieces by the nonagenarian master of oral history.

Following closely on the memoir Touch and Go (2007), this small selection illustrates some of the episodes in that nicely anecdotal book and might best be read with it alongside. At the start, Terkel revisits his early beginnings as an actor of many voices, most of them gangsterish—Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney—and most leading up to a climax along the lines of, “Fuggiva me, Mudder of Ooaawwow!” Readers interested in tracing the origins of Terkel’s interview style, and particularly of his early work on the Great Depression, have the answer here in a radio broadcast that is most timely today. Says one interviewee, sagely, “It’s really—it’s really hard to…to talk about the Depression because what can you say except you were hungry.” The Wizard of Oz and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” lyricist Yip Harburg adds more wise words to Terkel’s discussion of the era, as does his luminous, too-brief reflections on Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, a painting that hangs in the Art Institute of his beloved Chicago, a place rapidly disappearing. In that vein, Terkel laments the growing cancer of “The Red Lobster. The Golden Arches. Marriott hotels. You can’t tell one city from another.” This is no old man’s nostalgic grousing—though Terkel would be entitled to that—but instead the populist editorializing of a great progressive whose credentials acquire new depth with his searching interview with the African-American novelist James Baldwin, who seldom had such a sympathetic ear for his remarks on race in America: “To be a Negro in this country is really just…never to be looked at. And what white people see when they look at you is not really you.”

Essential reading—as is all of Terkel’s work—for would-be practitioners of journalism, oral history and “active listening.”

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59558-423-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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