To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Touch and Go: A Memoir Hardcover – November 30, 2007
|New from||Used from|
How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales | Learn more
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
The son of immigrant parents, Terkel was born in New York City in 1912 ("three weeks after the Titanic blithely sailed into the tip of that iceberg. Make of it what you will."). In 1921, he moved to Chicago, the city with whom his life has been linked so intimately. There, his parents ran a series of rooming houses and small hotels; his mother Annie, the dominant parent, even beat up a pimp on one occasion. Studs spent his free time hanging out among the soapbox orators at Bughouse Square, Chicago's low-rent version of London's Hyde Park. Those familiar with Terkel's streetwise persona may be surprised to learn that he graduated from the elite University of Chicago Law School, although he confesses that a career in the law "just wasn't there for me." Indeed, his fondest recollection of his law school days was the transfer on his trolley ride in an area known as "Bronzeville," where he first encountered the blues, firing a lifelong passion for that music.
Although TOUCH AND GO follows an arguably chronological path, it's the frequent detours that offer the most pleasure.Read more ›
History buffs (of which I'm not) will enjoy this book (he includes an extensive index), and so will people who've strong ties or interest in Chicago, and Terkel fans. I'd never read anything of Terkel's before so I was introduced to his:
* Dry sense of humor: "The last time I saw Bernays, he was approaching the century mark. He was frail and hard of hearing, and his memory played hide-and-seek at times, but he still had almost all his marbles."
* Grasp of Chicago vernacular: "Who you? Dis seat's mine. Possession's nine-tent's a da law, ain't it?"
* Descriptive sense: "Lowell Sherman immediately comes to mind. He was among the first. Brilliantined, patent-leather black hair, with a mustache that also appeared patented; evil-eyed; a cad in a class by himself. Lew Cody, a fair-skinned, craven toady up to no good. Their mustaches gave them away. What the scarlet letter was to Hester Prynne, the damnable facial adornment was to them." (He's noticed a lot of mustaches over the years.)
* And most importantly, how Terkel has chosen the people he wants to write about: "When I look for people, I'm not looking only for those who share my views; I'm looking for those who have grown to think a certain way, who have changed their views. A number of conservative people are in my books; not as many as more progressive thinkers, but that's not the point of my books at all. I'm looking for those who can talk about how they see their lives and the world around them.Read more ›
The truth is TOUCH AND GO simply did not engage me. I found myself skimming large parts of the first hundred pages or so. All of the "inside dope" on the political scene of Chicago from the 1920's and 30's was not at all interesting to me, although the too-brief parts about his parents and brothers were. And I especially enjoyed the brief chapters about his wife, Ida, and his "limited service" during WWII. And a chapter on Nelson Algren was mildly interesting too.
There was something too "cobbled together" about the book that created a choppy sort of read, as excerpts from a few of his other books were interspersed here and there. Perhaps the task of writing a comprehensive autobiography at the age of ninety-something was just a bit too much for Terkel, because I sensed the sometimes obtrusive hand of an editor trying to squeeze one last book out of him. Even the FBI investigations and surveillances of Terkel's left-wing lifestyle and friendships didn't quite work for me.
Perhaps the part, albeit extremely brief, that moved me most was Terkel's heartfelt tribute to his brothers and his son in the book's Postscript.
I know Studs Terkel is gone now, and I do have a tremendous respect for all he accomplished with his wonderful oral histories, so I'm not going to bad-mouth him. But maybe this is more of a book for Chicagoans, because - sorry, Studs - it just didn't work for me.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir BOOKLOVER
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Studs Terkel, the voice of American radio, has a magical gift of telling the stories of ordinary people, but this time he tries to tell his own! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Alexandra Levitas
Fantastic book, even the preface is wonderful.
If you want to learn a LOT of interesting details, I know of no book better. Read more
I'm from Chicago's Northside. N. Clark Street, Diversy, Division, and running around Fullerton in the 50's was a wonderful time. Read morePublished on December 8, 2011 by P. Boddy
I am a fan of Studs Terkel. I own and have read his books about other peoples' lives (such as Working) and heard him speak in person about his radio career, interviewing people... Read morePublished on January 7, 2010 by VB
This was a wonderful and interesting book, I enjoyed hearing about Studs growing up and living his life in Chicago. Read morePublished on January 27, 2009 by C. Nogar
I am very pleased with the selection of "Touch and Go" by Studs Terkel. The book was delivered promptly in very good condition. Amazon is doing a terrific job. Eva B. Read morePublished on December 16, 2008 by Eva B. Levi
As is my habit, I have been running through the oral histories collected by the recently departed Studs Terkel, the premier interviewer of his age. Read morePublished on November 21, 2008 by Alfred Johnson
Studs is a national treasure. That he's a great listener anyone who is familiar with his "Working," "Hard Times," "Race," etc. already knows. Read morePublished on February 17, 2008 by Jim Sommers