Working by Studs Turkel

Studs Turkel ( offers this invaluable sociological work from 1972 documenting the working lives of ordinary Americans. It is an exploration of what makes work meaningful for people in all walks of life: from Lovin’ Al the parking valet, to Dolores the waitress, from the fireman to the business executive, the narratives move constantly between mundane details, emotional truths and existential questioning. A landmark work of oral history into which it it is possible and profitable to dip.

For a more British slant but the same theme, listen to the BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ episode (30 minutes) on work in the 20th century. Available at  With Professor Richard Sennett, visiting professor, London School of Economics and author of The Corrosion of Character – the Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism; Theodore Zeldin, historian and Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford; Melanie Phillips, columnist on The Sunday Times and currently working on a book about The Sex Change State. First broadcast Thursday 26 Nov 1998.

640 pages in The New Press paperback edition

ISBN  978-1565843424

Studs Turkel

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