American prize-winning author Studs Terkel dead at 96

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Terkel at a 2007 rally promoting health care for all Americans.
Image: jhahn6.

Studs Terkel, an American historian, radio talk show host and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has died at the age of 96. His son, Dan Terkel, said he died peacefully in his Chicago, Illinois home.

"My dad led a long, full, eventful, sometimes tempestuous, but very satisfying life. [His death was] peaceful, no agony. This is what he wanted," said his son in a statement to the press.

Terkel was born in New York City in 1912. He moved to Chicago when he was eight years old. He was mostly known for his oral histories, but he was also host of his own radio show, an author of several books, and an activist.

In 1985, Terkel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize after his writing about World War II in his book called The Good War. In 1970, he published a book about the Great Depression, entitled Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, which told the stories of people from all walks of life who were affected by the stock market crash in 1929.

In 2007 Terkel published his memoirs, titled Touch and Go, in which he described himself as a "martini and cigar man" who never retired.

"It was those loners — argumentative ones, deceptively quiet ones, the talkers and the walkers — who, always engaged in something outside themselves, unintentionally became my mentors," said Terkel in his memoirs.


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