Studs Terkel's Chicago

Studs Terkel's Chicago

Studs Terkel

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1595587187

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the tradition of E. B. White’s bestselling Here Is New York, Chicago is a tribute to the “Second City”—part history, part memoir, and 100% Studs Terkel—infused with anecdotes, memories, and reflections that celebrate the great city.

Chicago was home to the country’s first skyscraper (a ten-story building built in 1884) and marks the start of the famed "Route 66." It is also the birthplace of the remote control (Zenith), the car radio (Motorola) and the first major American city to elect a woman (Jane Byrne) and then an African American man (Harold Washington) as mayor. Its literary and journalistic history is just as dazzling, and includes Nelson Algren, Mike Royko and Sara Paretsky. From Al Capone to the street riots during the Democratic National Convention in 1968, Chicago, in the words of Terkel himself, “has—as they used to whisper of the town’s fast woman—a reputation.”

Chicago was of course also home to the Pulitzer Prize–winning oral historian Studs Terkel, who moved to Chicago in 1922 as an eight-year-old and who would make it his home until his death in 2008 at the age of 96. This book is a splendid evocation of Studs’ hometown in all its glory—and all its imperfection.

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United States History: 1841 to 1877: Westward Expansion & the Civil War (Essentials)

American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance















cathedrals all his worklife. You name the place; he, like Kilroy, was there. Yet it is the thought, the image of Chicago that holds him fast. “The Chicago I knew was vast and squalid. An inexpressibly dreary city, without any delight. Yet you’re caught in a sort of beat; you always move. Chicago was a place where things were done, a working place. Probably too much so. Yet it had that something that makes living in it an experience. To me the delight was to go to Lincoln Park and sit on the

ferocity, look them up in the atlas. Thanks to Third World hackies, you can save an enormous amount of time and energy. You peek up front toward the driver and you see the name Ahmed Eqbal. Naturally, you ask him what’s the population of Karachi and he tells you. With great enthusiasm. If his surname is Kim, you’ll find out that Seoul is close to seven million. If the man driving at an interesting speed is Marcus Olatunji, you might casually offer that Ibadan is bigger than Lagos, isn’t it? If

despite the song, he’ll not find Eden here. Here, in Chicago, this cock-eyed wonder of a town, he is—and all of us are—twice blessed and twice deceived. And he’ll settle for that. * Big Bill, the Builder, three-term mayor of Chicago. He was celebrated for his safety-deposit box and his credo: Throw Away the Hammer and Pick Up the Horn. * Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (New York: The New Press, 2005), p. 198. * Slappy Hooper, the Wonderful Sign Painter

our University of Chicago has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other in the world?” “Really?” “Yeah.” He returns to what appears to be his favorite subject: gumption. “Your mayor had it. I’m delighted to say that our lady prime minister has it, too.” I am suddenly weary. Too much Bells Reserve, I’m afraid. “So long, sir. I’ll see you in Chicago.” “Not likely; not bloody likely.” In Munich, a student of the sixties, now somewhat portly and balding, ventures an opinion. Not that I

in the violent part of life.” Our rooming house; early twenties. Ashland and Flournoy. Call it the Near West Side. It was adjacent to the largest medical complex in the world. At least, so the Chicago brag went in those days. In the same fashion, State and Madison was “the busiest corner in the world.” It was certainly busy enough for me. When I visited my brother at the Boston Store on Saturdays, I was a sardine in the elevator. Five, please. He was a demon shoe dog, popular with the kids and

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