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Oral Historian STUDS TERKEL Dies at 96

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Studs Terkel, Chicago Author and Oral Historian, Dies at 96

By Cary O'Reilly

Nov. 1, 2008 (Bloomberg) -- Studs Terkel, who chronicled the travails and triumphs of America's working class as a radio-show host and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has died. He was 96.

Terkel died yesterday at his home in Chicago, his son, Dan Terkel, said in an interview. ``He just went very quickly and was in no pain at all,'' Dan Terkel said. ``He lived a very long, full, satisfying though sometimes impetuous life.''

Born in New York, Terkel became synonymous with Chicago, the city where he moved at age 10 and rarely left. His parents ran a boarding house and a men's hotel during the Great Depression, giving the young Terkel a steady diet of the struggles of ordinary people whose stories became his life's work.

``People's everyday experience can be as profound and as compelling as any celebrity,'' said Russell Lewis, chief historian of the Chicago Historical Society, which houses many of Terkel's collected works. ``Everyday experience is powerful, and Studs understood this.''

Terkel's most popular books, ``Working,'' ``Hard Times,'' and ``The Good War,'' which earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1985, were compilations of transcribed interviews with waitresses, truck drivers, gravediggers and prostitutes telling their own stories.

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