in 1985 for The Good War
, and is best remembered for his oral histories
of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.
Terkel was born to Samuel Terkel, a Russian Jewish
tailor and his wife, Anna Finkelin in New York City, New York
. At the age of eight he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois
, where he spent most of his life.
Something was still there, that something that distinguishes an artist from a performer: the revealing of self. Here I be. Not for long, but here I be. In sensing her mortality, we sensed our own.
At a time when pimpery, lick-spittlery, and picking the public's pocket are the order of the day — indeed, officially proclaimed as virtue — the poet must play the madcap to keep his balance. And ours.
Chicago is not the most corrupt American city, it's the most theatrically corrupt.
I'm celebrated for celebrating the uncelebrated.
For the first book, I interviewed one mother of four little kids, skinny, pretty, bad teeth — meaning no dental care — and the kids are jumping around, 'cause they want to hear their mamma's voice played back... and so I play it back, and she listens to what she said on the tape and she says, 'Oh my God,' she says. ' I never knew I felt that way before' ... That's pretty hot stuff, isn't it? That's hot stuff. That's the stuff.
You know, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"? It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. Albert Einstein|Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.