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Extended Audio Sample Touch and Go: A Memoir Audiobook, by Sydney Lewis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (141 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sydney Lewis, Studs Terkel Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781400175888
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At nearly ninety-five, Studs Terkel has written about everyone's life, it seems, but his own. In Touch and Go, he offers a memoir that-embodying the spirit of the man himself-is youthful, vivacious, and enormous fun. Terkel begins by taking us back to his early childhood with his father, mother, and two older brothers, describing the hectic life of a family trying to earn a living in Chicago. He then goes on to recall his own experiences-as a poll watcher charged with stealing votes for the Democratic machine, as a young theatergoer, and eventually as an actor himself in both radio and on the stage-giving us a brilliant and often hilarious portrait of the Chicago of the 1920s and 1930s. He tells of his beginnings as a disc jockey after World War II and as an interviewer and oral historian-a craft he would come to perfect and indeed personify. Finally, he discusses his involvement with progressive politics, leading inevitably to his travails during the McCarthy period, when he was blacklisted and thrown out of work despite having become by then one of the country's most popular television hosts. Fans of Studs Terkel will find much to discover in these remarkable reminiscences. Others will be captivated to learn of the unique and eclectic life of one of America's greatest living legends. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An engrossing stream-of-consciousness meditation on the 20th century.”

    New York Times

  • Emotionally charged (but never sentimental), politically charged (but never formulaic) and energy-charged.... Terkel is a self-aware and self-effacing presence who happily knows he has been at the center of many things. Kirkus Starred Review
  • “As dry and clear and crisp as a good martini. And meant to be savored.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “A fitting portrait of a legendary talent…Americans might get to know their collective past a lot better if all history lessons were as absorbing and entertaining as this one.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Emotionally charged (but never sentimental), politically charged (but never formulaic) and energy-charged…Terkel is a self-aware and self-effacing presence who happily knows he has been at the center of many things.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barrie Collins | 2/17/2014

    " I enjoyed reading Studs on himself and his many subjects and acquaintances, great raconteur, I love his recorded interviews. Speak Truth to Power - one of his favourite sayings, still relevant today. Read this book to get a feel for what has happened in the US over the last 100 years or so, Studs is in his 90's now. He went through the great depression and Maccarthyism, much else. The beginning chapter rambles a little but Studs soon gets into his stride, not great prose but readable history with personal passion. This man is a national treasure. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen | 2/17/2014

    " I read about 30 pages of this book and just could not get into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 2/17/2014

    " This is a great conversationalist's book. Reading it is like talking with a friend over a beer or a glass of wine. Studs has been around a long time and seen a lot of changes. He is a lover of humanity and it comes through in everything he talks about. This is a book that will guide the reader to other authors and thinkers - and not necessarily the one's that agree with you - or with Terkel. He helps the reader to appreciate what has come before us and to look foreward to what's coming next. He encourages us to be a part of whatever is happening - always with the love of others in our hearts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey Logan | 1/23/2014

    " i wish i liked this more than i did. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael Harris | 1/15/2014

    " An APL Recycled Reads find. I clearly was not the target audience. I did not enjoy his writing style nor did I find his life's story interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 1/11/2014

    " I listened to the audio version, which is extremely well read. The narrator speaks just as Terkel thinks and writes - in stream of consciousness. One has to listen hard to keep the mind from wandering as the 95-year old Terkel moves from topic to topic and personality to personality. But this is a vintage work as much for the random walk down the twentieth century as for insights into Terkel's life and career. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian Vargo | 1/9/2014

    " The book rambles at the beginning, but it is worth sticking it through to the end. I would love to sit down with Studds and my grandpa when they were both still sharp. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim Z | 1/3/2014

    " So many interesting stories sometimes get a bit rambling (think Grandpa Simpson), but the stories are interested to keep with it. What an amazing life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 12/16/2013

    " Really glad I read this - those who fail to remember history (the Great Depression, Communist witch-hunts) are doomed to repeat it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darlene | 12/3/2013

    " What a life. Studs was born in 1912, so this memoir is as much about history as it is about Terkel himself. The book has a conversational, reminiscent feel. My only complaint about the book is that it includes a fair amount of material pulled from his previous books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jana | 9/16/2013

    " Wow. I love Studs Terkel's other books but this was definitely "touch and go" -- incomprehensible in the way it randomly moves from one subject and person to another. I was listening to the audio book and couldn't follow it at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tuck | 7/17/2013

    " studs talks about himself and his life in this more than any other of his books. sad that HE didn't have a whole fox network for himself. he was a true american. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mo | 2/18/2013

    " Studs is quite a storyteller! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 12/23/2012

    " Not quite as interesting as I was expecting, but it had its moments. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kjersti | 3/21/2012

    " I love me a good autobiography, but this one wasn't it. He writes like he's talking and it's total free association so it's hard to follow. I wanted to love it, but I couldn't even finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthonia | 10/9/2011

    " I loved seeing the city I've been madly in love with through the eyes of one of it's richest living treasures: Studs Terkel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher | 7/9/2011

    " Delightfully rambling history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dagmar Cunningham | 5/16/2011

    " "United States of Amnesia", Terkel tried to fight this condition. It is such an entertaining lesson in history and human solidarity, should be mandatory High School reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jana | 1/17/2011

    " Wow. I love Studs Terkel's other books but this was definitely "touch and go" -- incomprehensible in the way it randomly moves from one subject and person to another. I was listening to the audio book and couldn't follow it at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dagmar | 2/3/2010

    " "United States of Amnesia", Terkel tried to fight this condition. It is such an entertaining lesson in history and human solidarity, should be mandatory High School reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paul | 12/1/2009

    " A little too much name-dropping and guess who I saw at the dinner party "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 7/23/2009

    " Really glad I read this - those who fail to remember history (the Great Depression, Communist witch-hunts) are doomed to repeat it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 6/25/2009

    " Yes. My hero.

    I only regret that I didn't discover Studs Terkel until recently. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen | 2/8/2009

    " I read about 30 pages of this book and just could not get into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 1/15/2009

    " Fantastically written. It's as though he is sitting down and having a conversation with you. "

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About the Narrator

Norman Dietz is a writer, voice-over artist, and audiobook narrator. He has won six Earphones Awards and was named one of the fifty “Best Voices of the Century” by AudioFile magazine. He and his late wife Sandra transformed an abandoned ice-cream parlor into a playhouse, which served “the world’s best hot fudge sundaes” before and after performances. The founder of Theatre in the Works, he lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.