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Studs Strikes Gold

January 04, 1987

Jack Miles' "The Trouble With Studs" (The Book Review, Nov. 23) puzzled me. Was the article meant to be a review of Studs Terkel's latest book or was Miles "roasting" the unofficial mayor of Chicago?

Terkel and I worked together on The Illinois Writers Project (yes, WPA) in the 1930s. We have been friends since. Perhaps Studs stayed in Chicago while most of us left for New York or California not out of loyalty, sense of place or love for Chicago but because he had struck a vein of literary gold there.

Each day Studs dons his miner's cap, descends into the mine's shaft, chips away diligently and brings up the precious nuggets that he refines into the patois that has become recognizable Terkelese.

Studs has made the craft of oral history synonymous with his name and has been rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize. I have not as yet seen a copy of Studs' new book--"Chicago"--it may be that like Nelson Algren, Studs has gone to the well once too often. I hope not.

EDMUND MORRIS

Santa Monica

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