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Talking About Studs Terkel

Biographer Alan Wieder reads at Woodland Pattern

Sep. 13, 2016
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Over the course of his amazing 96 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel chronicled the lives of countless “ordinary” Americans. The Chicagoan was born in 1912 and spent the early years of his professional career producing radio shows as part of the WPA’s Federal Writer’s Project. From there, he went on to become a familiar radio voice working as a news commentator and disc jockey. In books such as Division Street: America (1967), Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970) and Working (1974), Terkel beautifully captured diverse personal stories through his unique oral histories. A long-time, often outspoken, supporter of civil rights, Terkel’s biographies moved beyond race and class to showcase authentic American stories boasting strong themes of social justice and democracy.

This famous Chicago broadcaster, actor and politically charged supporter of radical causes now comes to life in his first comprehensive biography by Portland, Ore.-based author Alan Wieder. In Studs Terkel: Politics, Culture, But Mostly Conversation, Wieder has compiled over 100 interviews with people who knew Terkel in both his public and private lives. This intimate portrait of the man dubbed “Mr. Chicago” highlights not only the large body of work that Terkel compiled during his long life but also the personal values he espoused as he strove to respect and listen to the ordinary workers, dreamers and survivors living among us in society. 

Wieder taught at universities in both the U.S. and South Africa. He will appear at Woodland Pattern Book Center for a reading at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.

Book Happening: 

Lawrence Kessenich

7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15

Boswell Book Co.

2559 N. Downer Ave. 

A new novel by Milwaukee native and UW-Milwaukee graduate Lawrence Kessenich takes readers back to the late 1960s on the city’s East Side, during a time in our recent past when parents and their children were deeply at odds over the war in Vietnam, experimental drug use and racial protests. Cinnamon Girl is the tender story of a trio of young Milwaukee friends coming of age in 1969 facing the tumultuous trials of youth and the influential families that complicated their lives. Kessenich, the 2010 winner of the Strokestown International Poetry Prize, has drawn upon his poetic training to craft a beautifully written and haunting debut.


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