Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Studs Terkel, 1912-2008

In an age where everybody talks at once, Terkel was the great American listener. He aimed his microphone at people nobody else paid attention to — farmers, phone operators, barbers, prostitutes — and published their words in oral histories like Hard Times and Working, works of fact as rich as any fiction. "My epitaph," he once said, "will be 'curiosity did not kill this cat.'"

Lev Grossman

See pictures of Barack Obama's college years.