Synopses & Reviews
Poignant true stories of resilience, determination, and the search for fulfillment
Inspired by Studs Terkel's Working and by James Agee and Walker Evans' Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, DW Gibson sets off on a journey across the United States to interview Americans who have lost their jobs. Here is the mortgage broker who arrived at work to find the door to his office building padlocked, the human resources executive who laid off a couple hundred people before being laid off herself, the husband who was laid off two weeks after his wife learned she was pregnant, the wife who was forced to lay off her husband.
In telling the stories of people who could be our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, Not Working holds up a mirror to our times, showing us the individuals behind the unemployment statistics—their fears and hopes—and offering a map for navigating our changing economy. With an extraordinary mix of pathos, anger, solidarity, and humor, it brings clarity—and humanity—to the national conversation.
"Remarkable...the range is enormous....Work is the theme and we learn a lot about these trades." The Wall Street Journal
"An enormous amount of exciting material....An incredible abundance of marvelous beings....A very special electricity and emotional power." The New York Times Book Review
"I cannot find words to express sufficiently my admiration for Studs Terkel's Working. This is a powerful, original, indescribable, and incredible book. Over a hundred identifiable people have created it by word of mouth, and only an interviewer of genius, exploiting the tape recorder as hardly anyone else has done, could possibly have brought it forth....One cannot put down this book without wanting to take a long hard look at one's own life and daily work." Lewis Mumford
"A deep penetration of American thought and feeling....A celebration of individuals....A masterpiece." Los Angeles Times
"First class....The talk in Working is good talk earthy, passionate, honest, sometimes tender, sometimes crisp, juicy as reality, seasoned with experience...It is a pleasure to join the hallelujah chorus." Chicago Daily News
"A set of miracles....Nothing could tell our children's children who and how and what we were the way Studs Terkel will. Is it possible the great American novelist is Terkel?" Murray Kempton
“A book with fascinating range [and] a fresh perspective [that shows] how powerful the genre of oral history can be.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Wrenching . . . Wide-ranging . . . This book is so important.” —New York Daily News
“A touching and all-too-necessary text.” —Interview
“Comparable in heft and style to Studs Terkel’s Working, Not Working is as timely as its predecessor. . . . [It] provides an in-depth look at a new type of American and reveals a new type of American story. . . . The storytellers in Not Working . . . show that, as a society, we’re more than where we work.” —City Arts (Seattle, WA)
“Add[s] faces, personalities and pathos to the unemployment figures thrown around every month. Just as [Studs] Terkel showed how so many of us define ourselves with our work, Gibson’s subjects demonstrate how, even beyond the financial havoc that ensues, losing a job unsettles a person’s sense of self.” —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
“An intense, moving, ground-level history of our difficult times.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City
“Powerful and heartrending.” —Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker
Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happinesses on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives....In the first trade paperback edition of his national bestseller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel presents "the real American experience" (Chicago Daily News), "a magnificent book....A work of art. To read it is to hear America talking." (Boston Globe).
This text takes a look at work in the 20th century, with accounts from a variety of people about their jobs.
Perhaps Studs Terkel’s best-known book, Working is a compelling, fascinating look at jobs and the people who do them. Consisting of over one hundred interviews conducted with everyone from gravediggers to studio heads, this book provides a timeless snapshot of people’s feelings about their working lives, as well as a relevant and lasting look at how work fits into American life.
About the Author
Studs Terkel (1912–2008) was an award-winning author and radio broadcaster. He is the author of Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession; Division Street: America, Coming of