October 06, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who Lived It

Current Status
In Season
Studs Terkel
We gave it a B+

Put 70 reminiscing people, ranging in age from 70 to 99, together, and what do you get? An array of vivid personalities and voices, some of them eminent (the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, the painter Jacob Lawrence, the actress Uta Hagen), and a general sense that the Great Depression wasn’t as bad as the dehumanizing effect of our current corporate and technological demons. And since Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century By Those Who Lived It is another oral history (like Working, etc.) by Terkel, you also get a skewing in favor of his own populist-liberal politics. Not the full story or the only story, then, but tonic and illuminating stories that, in most cases, you wish would go on a lot longer. B+

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