Books: Down But Not Out

HARD TIMES by Studs Terkel. 462 pages. Pantheon. $8.95.

The Great Depression! In these troubled times, how could more words about those troubled times become a national bestseller? The answer is that Studs Terkel's omnifaceted study of the last major societal breakdown in the U.S. seems remarkably relevant to 1970. For those who despair of the system, there is the sobering view of what ensues when the system collapses. For those who cannot understand why the system inspires so much dissent, there is a harrowing display of America's ingrown inequities.

A celebrated Chicago radio journalist, Terkel has put the Depression back together from...

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