“IT’S THE UNGUARDED VOICES HE PRESENTS THAT STAY WITH YOU. . . . Terkel’s interviews may not allay fears about death. But reading them certainly encourages life while we have it.”
–The New York Times
Whether it’s Working or The Great War, the legendary oral histories of Studs Terkel have offered indispensable insights into all areas of American life. Now, at eighty-eight, the Pulitzer Prize winner creates his most important work on a subject few can comfortably discuss: death.
Here, in the voices of people both esteemed and unknown, are wise words, meaningful memories, and compassionate predictions about the experience of life’s end–and what may come after. A grad student explains how her two-year coma convinced her of the existence of reincarnation . . . A Hiroshima survivor reconciles her painful memories with the stoicism of her Japanese culture . . . Actress Uta Hagan expresses how her art is her religion and will be her legacy . . . Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler relives his World War II ordeal, after a torpedo left him in a lifeboat among injured and dying comrades . . . An AIDS counselor reveals why healthy gay men may require the most crucial psychological help . . . and a retired firefighter admits he “never felt so alive” as when he was doing his dangerous job.
From the sheer physical facts to the emotional realities to spiritual speculations, all aspects of death are openly expressed in this wonderful work, the stirring culmination of Studs Terkel’s brilliant career.
“In these moving, thought-provoking, and powerful interviews, Terkel beautifully illustrates that this book may be about death, ‘but only by living to the full its long prelude, life.’ ”
“TERRIFYING, MOVING, PAINFUL, AND REDEMPTIVE . . . Terkel provides us with [a] community, and . . . there is solace in knowing, at least for now, that we are not alone.”