The Good War by Studs Terkel
An Oral History of World War II

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The Good War for which Terkel won the Pulitzer Prize, is a testament not only to the experience of war but to the extraordinary skill of Terkel as interviewer. As always, Terkel’s subjects are open and unrelenting in their analyses of themselves and their experiences, producing what People magazine has called “a splendid epic history of World War II.” With this volume Terkel expanded his scope to the global and the historical and the result is a masterpiece of oral history.

"Tremendously compelling, somehow dramatic and intimate at the same time." —The New York Times Book Review

About Studs Terkel

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Studs Terkel was an actor, writer, and radio host. He was born Louis Terkel on May 16, 1912 in New York City. He took his name from the James T. Farrell novel, Studs Lonigan. Terkel attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a law degree in 1934. Terkel acted in local stage productions and on radio dramas until he began one of the first television programs, an unscripted show called Studs Place in the early 1950s. In 1952, Terkel began Studs Terkel's Almanac on radio station WFMT in Chicago. Terkel compiled a series of books based on oral histories that defined America in the 20th Century. Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do received a National Book Award nomination in 1975. The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1985. Working was turned into a hit musical in 1978. Terkel was named the Communicator of the Year by the University of Chicago in 1969. He also won a Peabody Award for excellence in journalism in 1980 and the National Book Foundation Medal for contributions to American letters in 1997. He died on October 31, 2008 at the age of 96.
Published July 26, 2011 by The New Press. 610 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Good War

Kirkus Reviews

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In World War II memories, Terkel has found a great, untold story--with fore-shadowings of Vietnam and aftershocks of atomic warfare.

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The New York Times

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(Though most of these folks deplore the competitiveness of American life, they are not about to let anyone get the better of them, including the old man with the scythe.) For anyone over the age of 70, the minimum age of the interview subjects, there is a risk that these tales will be not inspiri...

Sep 24 1995 | Read Full Review of The Good War: An Oral History...

Christian Science Monitor

World War II Veterans remember "the last good war."

Nov 02 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good War: An Oral History...


The oral historian, in reading his own work, faces a difficult task: to recite the words of all the people whose memories of World War II he elicited for this book.

May 05 1986 | Read Full Review of The Good War: An Oral History...

London Review of Books

They were just inside the house when Mrs A., who was watching at the edge of the shelter, heard that unmistakable high thin drone, and jumped back inside.

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The New York Review of Books

In their footnote, Evans and the editors miss the very deliberately placed quotation marks around the title, an intention described by Terkel himself in a note “not as a matter of caprice or editorial comment, but simply because the adjective ‘good’ mated to the noun ‘war’ is so incongruous.” Ant...

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Good War: An Oral History...

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