Harley's Reviews > Touch and Go: A Memoir

Touch and Go by Studs Terkel
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's review
Aug 17, 10

bookshelves: history, memoir, non-fiction, read-2010, audio
Recommended for: writers, leaders and other communicators
Read from August 10 to 17, 2010

Touch and Go is a brilliant, insightful memoir filled with poetic language and great stories by the legendary Studs Terkel. And the amazing thing is that he was 94 when he dictated the book or should I say carried on a conversation about his life.
I first encountered Studs Terkel in the 1970's through his oral history of work. A professor of mine, Nickolas Lindsay, son of Vachel Lindsay, was interviewed for the book. A radio and TV show host early in his career, Terkel was black-listed during the early 50's and under the surveillance of the FBI. He produced his first book of oral history when he was 55.
I actually listened to the audio version of this book read by Norman Dietz and it took awhile for me to get into the rhythm of the book. Studs jumps back and forth in time frequently, sometimes within the same sentence. And he is always going off on tangents. Early in the book he is talking about his father's moustache when he is eight. Soon he is talking about the actors in silent films. He constantly makes historical and cultural references to people and places. I first thought it probably would have been better to read the book than to listen to it because it would be easier to catch all his references. I realized as I was finishing the book that the audio version was probably best because it was like listening to Studs tell stories and carry on a conversation. It might be boring to actually read it. It took awhile to get used to the voice of Norman Dietz. At first I found him annoying.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves language, history and stories.
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