Studs Terkel died today, having lived a long and very interesting life full of very good work, and the gifts he left behind. As the Times article says, "Mr. Terkel was widely credited with transforming oral history into a popular literary form." If you haven't read Working, you should, right now. While critics seemed to feel that he went for the emotional jugular, this criticism seems to belie the cynicism of the critic.
Mr. Terkel’s succeeded as an interviewer in part because he believed most people had something to say worth hearing. “The average American has an indigenous intelligence, a native wit,” he said. “It’s only a question of piquing that intelligence."
Even at 96, he still thought most Americans had something worth listening to. Would that we could all be that generous.