Studs Terkel Interviews Himself

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

After years of interviewing other people, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Studs Terkel tells his own story in a new memoir, Touch and Go. Terkel says the US is suffering from a case of national Alzheimer’s, and we need to get in touch with our histories.

Touch and Go is available for purchase at

Weigh in: What do you think Americans can learn from oral histories? What can we learn from the lives of our older generations?


Studs Terkel

Comments [11]

Renee Hankins from Kettering, Ohio

Hello Mr. Terkel -
Being a keen listener takes practice. Asking on-target questions asks the interviewer to be patient. How did you bring a sense of ease with your slew of interviewees that would allow you an audience? What would us younger folks do to become refined in listening and asking questions - as you have learned over these years? Ever so thankful. Respectfully, Renee Hankins

Mar. 19 2008 10:21 PM
Rick from Bronx, NY

"we have forgotten that the Russians killed more Germans than we did"

uh.. your point being? the united states entered the war after everyone else. in fact, the americans wanted to befriend and do business with the germans (as they did) even after having knowledge of the holocaust. so what does your comment have to do with anything?

Dec. 11 2007 03:58 PM
Shirley Hawkinson from Yonkers, NY

What a treat to listen to Studs Terkel! And I must say that Leonard you were so gracious and allowed him to give his piece which edified the listener. I really appreciated his explanation of the phrase "touch and go."

Dec. 11 2007 02:44 PM
joe from Brooklyn

Studs may be amazing for 95, but he's still the same boring old leftist he has been for all the years I've been aware of him (I'm 68). Leonard was unable to solicit one truly interesting remark out of him re his latest book; every time he asked a question, Studs went off on another general diatribe and you could hear the host vainly trying to get a word or question in again. The WWI marches and songs were "baloney"; the greatest generation was not that of the WWII era, but of the 1960s drug and self-interest culture; we have forgotten that the Russians killed more Germans than we did; the striking air controllers did so for passenger safety; the NRA was responsible for some poor woman's death when she was shot by a relative, etc., etc. To quote a less respected authority, one Lawrence Berra, it was deja vu all over again!This segment did neither Studs nor the listeners any favors and I couldn't wait for the "interview" to be over. Interestingly, it was followed by a segment on skeletons; was this (perhaps subconciously) intended as a sequel to the prior half-hour?

Dec. 11 2007 01:05 PM
Greg from Bronx

David's comment above about the "draft dodging, doped up, laid back" lost generation is a precise description of our current 'president' and his master, Dick. There is no Greatest Generation. Time to deflate Brokaw's myth. Let's honor the troops and innocent victims of all wars. Finally, as the Dalai Lama has stated: in our time, War is obsolete--may this be the last one.

Dec. 11 2007 01:05 PM
Barbara from NJ

I am here with tears in my eyes having been moved deeply by your interview with Studs Terkel who is a truly great man to me. Leonard handled the interview just right letting Studs talk and share his wisdom with the audience. Studs inspires me!


Dec. 11 2007 12:45 PM
David Scoff from Endwell, NY

Did I hear right? Mr. Terkel believes the doped up, draft dodging, lay back slackers (I’m generalizing here) of the sixties were the greatest generation ever? What an insult to the men and women of the WWII generation who selflessly sacrificed in so many ways to defeat the tyrannical enemies from Japan and Germany.

Dec. 11 2007 12:45 PM

I love this guy.. I wonder what his opinion is on Ron Paul?

Dec. 11 2007 12:36 PM

Bob, that's the sound of angels singing.

Dec. 11 2007 12:29 PM
Greg Burrows from Riverdale/The Bronx

I love Studs Terckel -- today's LL show was my first real 'introduction' to him. All hail the great sage and thank God for heart medication!! Studs, you are a wise spirit and you tell the real story of American history, the way it should be told--untainted by fake 'patriotic' hoopla.

Dec. 11 2007 12:28 PM
bob from Brooklyn

Lenny, I have to say THANK YOU so much for sitting back and letting Studs talk. He sounds old and broken down but I think I detect diamonds and pearls flying out of my radio.

Dec. 11 2007 12:18 PM

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