By Ben Trefry
Editor’s note: Here at The Sheet, we occasionally assign books for young staffers to review in order to broaden their horizons (and yours).
Years back, Devon Frederickson was famously assigned War and Peace during a period of unusual orneriness.
By comparison, Ben Trefry lucked out with his assignment: Studs Terkel.
Working by Studs Terkel
“Working” is a near 600-page book by famed journalist Studs Terkel. As the title suggests, it’s all about how ordinary Americans feel about their jobs.
Terkel starts the book with a ten-page introduction, then hands a microphone over to hundreds of people, mostly from the Chicago area. Other than brief footnotes and clarifications, the book is filled entirely with these peoples’ exact words. And there’s something to be said for that. It’s rare to find a book like this, where the author steps back to let people say what they really believe as opposed to synthesizing people’s words into a generic whole.