Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who've Lived It

Overview

Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who've Lived It is a collective portrait of our times, woven from the voices of seventy very different people, the youngest of whom is seventy and the oldest ninety-nine. Together they give us an extraordinary panorama of American life and work throughout this century and underscore the ways in which the times have changed. Coming of Age is also, in many ways, a sequel to Terkel's acclaimed Working 1974, for it traces the extraordinary ways our working lives have ...
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Overview

Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who've Lived It is a collective portrait of our times, woven from the voices of seventy very different people, the youngest of whom is seventy and the oldest ninety-nine. Together they give us an extraordinary panorama of American life and work throughout this century and underscore the ways in which the times have changed. Coming of Age is also, in many ways, a sequel to Terkel's acclaimed Working 1974, for it traces the extraordinary ways our working lives have changed in the past few decades - often beyond recognition. We meet politicians and preachers, advertising men and hucksters. Here is the partner in a large law firm, suing the colleagues who have forced him out; here, too, is the carpenter, accepting as inevitable the replacement of his skilled tasks by machine. But this is not a group of disgruntled Luddites; most accept - indeed welcome - the new technologies, yet they all deplore the degree to which human contact has declined and how traditional hopes and aspirations have been superseded by the often ruthless demands of the modern corporation.

This collective portrait of our times, woven from the voices of 74 very different people, ranging from the angry farmer in Nebraska to the resigned bank president in New York, provides an extraordinary panorama of American life and work throughout this century, and underscores the ways in which the times have changed.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Youth, so goes the clich, is wasted on the young; likewise, it could be said that old age today is wasted on a younger generation with no sense of the past and willfully ignorant of a wisdom accumulated by years of experience. In his latest oral history, 83-year-old Terkel asks grumpily, "With our past become so irrelevant..., is it any wonder that the young feel so disdainful of their elders?" To reclaim our lost sense of history and to renew respect for our elders, Terkel interviewed 69 individuals who have come of age in the latter part of the 20th century. The youngest is 70, the oldest, 99. Some are well known (artist Jacob Lawrence, actress Uta Hagen, economist John Kenneth Galbraith); others live out of the limelight (a farm workers' organizer, a retired bank president, a librarian). But they all cling to life tenaciously and courageously, acting as "living repositories of our past, our history." For all social science and history collections and where Terkel's books are popular.Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Booknews
Terkel presents a collective portrait of the century, woven from the voices of 70 Americans from the ages of 70 to 99. Farmers, bankers, leaders of social movements, artists, and politicians trace the ways their lives have changed over the past decades, and reflect on how traditional hopes and aspirations have been superseded by the ruthless demands of the modern corporation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booklist
“Superb oral history”
Booklist
BookPage

“Studs Terkel, himself an octogenarian, has personally interviewed senior citizens ranging from their early 70's to almost 100 years of age. In his introduction, Terkel addresses how priceless our elderly citizens and their personal experiences are to our country's heritage. Shirley Venard does a remarkable job interpreting each woman's personal account. Her performances personify their wit, intelligence, fortitude, weariness, spirit and grand sense of humor. Allen Hamilton is a virtual chameleon as he reenacts a wide variety of male personal histories. He adds all the ingredients necessary to portray strong-willed, intelligent men from all walks of life, who have been seasoned by life's unexpected twists and turns.”
AudioFile
The New York Times Review of Books

“Superb oral history”
Booklist
From the Publisher

“It’s a classic, a wonderful example of the Terkel approach: letting people have their say in their own way.”
BookPage

“Inspired. . . . The language spoken here is pure Terkel: the voice of the embattled old liberal shaking his stick at the twentieth century.”
The New York Times Review of Books

From Barnes & Noble
Woven from the voices of 74 very different people ranging in age from 70 to 99, this book provides an extraordinary panorama of American life and work throughout this century and underscores how times have changed. The book, which is in many senses a sequel to Terkel's 1974 best seller Working, is a unique portrait of America--from the angry farmer in Nebraska to the resigned banker in New York to the vanguards of the trade unions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402876295
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Studs Terkel

ALLEN HAMILTON has worked in regional theaters throughout the country—in Minneapolis, Boston, Arizona, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and Washington D.C. He has appeared on Broadway and London's West End. He has acted in dozens of television movies and feature films.

STUDS TERKEL (1912-2008) was a free spirit, an outspoken populist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a terrible ham, and one of the best-loved characters on the American scene. Born in New York in 1912, he lived in Chicago for over eight decades.

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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

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Apologies
Introduction
Prologue: Whose Garden Was This? 1
1 The Big Boys
Jack Culberg 9
Wallace Rasmussen 15
Paul Miller 20
2 The Money Tree
Estelle Strongin 25
Katherine "Kit" Tremaine 30
W.H. "Ping" Ferry 37
3 The Learning Tree
Rochelle Lee 43
Timuel Black 48
Aki Kurose 55
Gertie Fox 64
4 The Firm
Charles A. Bane 71
Judith Vladeck 76
Ernest Goodman 82
5 Hold the Fort
Victor Reuther 89
Genora Johnson Dollinger 97
Charles Hayes 105
Marvin Miller 110
6 Working the Land
Jessie de la Cruz 119
Merle Hansen 124
7 Songs My Mother Taught Me
Russell Knapp 131
Hazel Wolf 136
8 The Muse
Jacob Lawrence 145
Katherine Kuh 150
Katherine Dunham 155
Uta Hagen 161
Milt Hinton 168
9 On the Air
Norman Corwin 177
Robert St. John 182
Charlie Andrews 188
10 The Pitch
Charles A. Kasher 195
Danny Newman 201
11 God
Rev. William Augustus Johnson 209
Betty McCollister 216
Richard McSorley, S.J. 221
Virginia Bowers 227
12 Community
Joe Begley 233
Wallace and Juanita Nelson 240
Raymond Koch 248
Bresci Thompson 253
Guadalupe Reyes 259
13 Health
Quentin Young, M.D. 265
Florence Wald, R.N. 274
Esther Thompson 279
Ted Cox 284
14 The "Others"
Olga Companioni 291
Harry Hay 297
Valerie Taylor 309
15 Public Servant
Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez 317
Sophie Masloff 325
John Kenneth Galbraith 329
Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz 334
Leon "Len" Despres 341
16 Law and Order
Charles Lenz 347
Erskine Moore 353
Alice McGrath 361
Eldred (Bob Schneider) 368
17 Whistle Blower
Admiral Gene LaRocque 377
Philip Clay Roettinger 384
Stetson Kennedy 391
John Gofman, M.D. 401
18 Letters to the Editor
Henry "Hank" Oettinger 413
19 Legacy
Sophie Mumford 423
Margot Jacoby 430
Carolyn Peery 438
Helen Nearing 446
20 At the Home
Millie Beck 451
Frances Freeborn Pauley 456
Bessie Doenges 462
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