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In the early 1970s, legendary American author, historian, actor and broadcaster Studs Terkel travelled the country interviewing ordinary people about the work they did. The result was the highly-acclaimed Working. 

Since publication in 1974 the book has been made into a Broadway show and adapted for PBS television. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of oral history it has now been turned into a cartoon book. All of Terkel’s subjects are here – miners, farmers, barbers, hookers, box boys and stockbrokers – in cartoon form but with their testimonies intact.

Cartoon books are not everybody’s cup of tea; it seems you either love them or hate them. But somehow this one works, if for no other reason than the extraordinary triumph in the words of the protagonists. In an age obsessed by celebrity it’s refreshing to find a work devoted to the quotidian life and existence of ordinary, working people. This adaptation will help introduce Terkel’s most powerful work to a new generation.


New Internationalist issue 425 magazine cover This article is from the September 2009 issue of New Internationalist.
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