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Will the Circle Be Unbroken? by Studs Terkel

Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Studs Terkel

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338532,536 (3.81)4
Title:Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
Authors:Studs Terkel
Info:Granta Books (2003), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith by Studs Terkel (2001)



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Studs Terkel ((1912-2008) was an asthmatic sickly child who outlived every member of his family, his beloved wife Ida (M=44), and most of his peers, dying after a bad fall at age 96. Famous for flunking the bar exam and interviewing people on radio, about their Work. At age Terkel took on the topic of death, which, curiously, most people do not want to discuss. Death, and the wild speculations about "after life", is a universal certainty. This book contains 60-plus interviews of mostly regular folks--from the religious to the atheistic with no expectation of "rebirth". Their life stories and speculations about the afterlife are ventilated by one of the great "listeners" of radio experience. Includes a few well-known figures -- Kurt Vonnegut, radio journalist Ira Glass, and folksinger Doc Watson (of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame - bluegrass album "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"). Others, as artists, medics, and clergymen, and parents speaking of losing family members and friends. Some tell of personal encounters with heavenly voices and apparitions and "out of body" views. Terkel does not interject himself much here, but somewhere I recall him saying -- maybe -- he defined himself as "a cowardly atheist" during a 2004 interview with Krista Tippett on American Public Media's "Speaking of Faith".
  keylawk | May 16, 2017 |
This author does the simple things, asks questions and allows people to answer.
Amazing, ordinary people, like you and me ( )
  mikerees | Aug 14, 2015 |
A gift from Uncle Mody, this is a revealing set of Studs Terkel's oral interviews with a wide range of people on the topic of death, and what might come after. Here are interviews with doctors, ministers, atheists and agnostics, soldiers, funeral directors, those who came back from dying, death-row inmates, AIDS victims and helpers, parents who have lost their children, and one with a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing. Fascinating stuff, and mostly touched with a quiet optimism that this life is not the end. I'm reminded by the near-death survivors who "died" on the operating table and reported floating above their bodies, of a scientific experiment I read about recently that might provide some evidence: The researchers will place in the operating rooms a simple and easily-remembered graphic, which can only be seen from above the operating table. After any surgical near-death experiences, those who recount floating above their bodies will be asked if they can recall seeing the graphic. As a man of science, I'm quite interested to see the results someday. Until then, these stories are sufficiently fascinating. ( )
  burnit99 | Dec 3, 2009 |
Not as strong as others he's put together. Considerable insight into effects of the AIDS crisis that seems to be forgotten now. ( )
  ChrisWise | Jan 26, 2007 |
Ordinary stories told with extraordinary eloquence. Another wonderful collection from the master of oral history.
  bostonian71 | Oct 10, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345451201, Paperback)

Mustering more spunk and battery juice than his overworked tape recorder, 88-year-old Studs Terkel cranks out another eclectic treasury of oral histories in Will the Circle Be Unbroken? This time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good War takes on death, a universal experience that solicits plenty of speculation, caution, and emotion from his 60-plus interviewees. Regular folks--ranging from the deeply religious to the deeply atheistic--share their life stories and their hopes or suspicions about the afterlife. Some are well-known, such as author Kurt Vonnegut, radio journalist Ira Glass, and folksinger Doc Watson (who, incidentally, appears in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's classic bluegrass album Will the Circle Be Unbroken). Others, including parents, artists, medics, and clergymen, share equally compelling stories about losing family members, patients, and friends; personal encounters with heavenly voices; and apparitions. Terkel lies low throughout the book; his voice is only heard in the short intros to each speaker's story and in the chuckle-inducing introduction, which tells the story of an asthmatic boy--Studs, of course--who ironically outlives his family and dear wife Ida. The result is a vibrant tapestry of life's full process, sure to stir compassion and inspiration in adults at any point on the curve. --Liane Thomas

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:29 -0400)

"At the age of 88, Studs Terkel has turned to the ultimate human experience, that of death and the possibility of life afterward. Death is the one experience we all share but cannot know. In Will the Circle Be Unbroken? a wide range of people address that final experience and its impact on the way we live. In talking about the ultimate and unknowable culmination of our lives, they give voice to their deepest beliefs and hopes, reflecting on the lives they have led and what still lies before them. For the first time Terkel addresses the whole realm of religious belief and of expectations of an afterlife, including reincarnation, and discovers an extraordinary range and complexity of experience and of belief." "As in Working and Coming of Age, Studs Terkel tackles an issue bound up with all of our lives, yet rarely discussed on its own terms. From a Hiroshima survivor to an AIDS caseworker, from a death-row parolee to a woman who emerged from a two-year coma, these interviewees find an eloquence and grace in dealing with a topic many of us have yet to discuss openly and freely." "Terkel also interviews the vast array of people who confront death in their everyday lives, whether as police, firefighters, emergency health workers, doctors, or nurses. Many of the most moving interviews deal with AIDS, and how the disease has devastated whole communities and forced people to face death at the young ages we associate with centuries past."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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