The renowned oral historian interviews ordinary people about facing mortality: “It’s the unguarded voices he presents that stay with you.” —The New York Times
In this book, the Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award finalist Studs Terkel, author of the New York Times bestseller Working, turns to the ultimate human experience: death. Here a wide range of people address the unknowable culmination of our lives, the possibilities of an afterlife, and their impact on the way we live, with memorable grace and poignancy. Included in this remarkable treasury are Terkel’s interviews with such famed figures as Kurt Vonnegut and Ira Glass as well as with ordinary people, from policemen and firefighters to emergency health workers and nurses, who confront death in their everyday lives.
Whether a Hiroshima survivor, a death-row parolee, or a woman who emerged from a two-year coma, these interviewees offer tremendous eloquence as they deal with a topic many are reluctant to discuss openly and freely. Only Terkel, whom Cornel West called “an American treasure,” could have elicited such honesty from people reflecting on the lives they have led and what lies before them still.
“Extraordinary . . . a work of insight, wisdom, and freshness.” —The Seattle Times