American Dreams: Lost and Found / Edition 1

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Overview

"Here is the raw material for one thousand novels….incomparable."—Margaret Atwood

In this unique look at one of our most pervasive national myths, Studs Terkel persuades an extraordinary range of Americans to articulate their version of "The American Dream." Beginning with an embittered winner of the Miss U.S.A. contest who sees the con behind the dream of success and including an early interview with a highly ambitious Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terkel explores the diverse landscape of the promise of the United States—from farm kids dreaming of the city to city kids determined to get out, from the Boston Brahmin to the KKK member, from newly arrived immigrants to families who have lived in this country for generations, these narratives include figures both famous and infamous. Filtered through the lens of our leading oral historian, the chorus of voices in American Dreams highlights the hopes and struggles of coming to and living in the United States.

Originally published in 1980, this is a classic work of oral history that provides an extraordinary and moving picture of everyday American lives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565845459
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/7/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 714,807
  • Product dimensions: 1.11 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 5.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel is the author of eleven books of oral history, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Good War." A member of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Biography

As a young boy in the early 1920s, Louis "Studs" Terkel moved with his family from New York to Chicago, the sprawling, high-energy city he would call home for the rest of his life. His parents managed hotels catering to a varied and colorful clientele. Listening to the conversations of the tenants, young Terkel developed an early interest in people and their stories and a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity that would lead him in many directions.

He received his law degree from the University of Chicago, but never became a practicing attorney, Instead, he worked briefly in Washington, D.C., then returned to Chicago to take a job in FDR's Works Progress Administration acting and writing plays. In 1939, he married Ida Goldberg. The marriage endured for 60 years, until Ida's death in 1999. He joined the Army during WWII but was discharged because of perforated eardrums. Around this time, he embarked on a long, varied broadcasting career as a sportscaster, news commentator, and disc jockey. He ventured into TV in the 1950s with a relaxed, breezy variety show that helped define the Chicago School of Television, but returned to radio in 1952 with the a daily program of music and interviews that continued for the next 45 years. Among a constellation of memorable guests were Buster Keaton, Billie Holiday, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Tennessee Williams, Gloria Steinem, and Bob Dylan.

Although his first book Giants of Jazz was published in 1957, Terkel's writing career began in earnest a decade later with Division Street, a book of transcribed interviews with Chicagoans from every walk of life. Hailed by The New Yorker as "totally absorbing," this groundbreaking study paved the way for bestselling oral histories of the Great Depression (Hard Times), the working class (Working), WWII (the Pulitzer Prize winner The Good War), and growing old in America (Coming of Age). He also penned several memoirs, including Talking to Myself (1977), My American Century (1997), and Touch and Go (2007).

Active and engaged to the end, Terkel died in October of 2008 at the age of 96. In its obituary, the Chicago Tribune reprinted this epigrammatic quote from the iconic writer: "My epitaph? My epitaph will be, 'Curiosity did not kill this cat."

Good To Know

Terkel's famous nickname derives from the fictional character Studs Lonigan from James T. Farrell's 1930s coming-of-age trilogy.

Famously outspoken, Terkel was blacklisted from television during the McCarthy era for his "incendiary" political views. Fortunately, he found a wider audience when he was hired by Chicago's fine arts radio station WFMT, where his program was a daily staple for 45 years.

Instantly recognizable by his attire, Terkel always wore a red-checked shirt, grey trousers, and a blue blazer.

He appeared in Eight Men Out, John Sayles's 1988 film about the Chicago Black Sox Scandal of 1919.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Louis "Studs" Terkel
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 16, 1912
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      October 31, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Chicago, IL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2004

    AWESOME

    this is a really good book!

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