Hard Times

An Illustrated Oral History of the Great Depression

The masterpiece that brings to life an era that resonates all too well with the current moment, reissued in a stunning new edition with documentary photographs from the celebrated Farm Security Administration archive

First published in 1970, Studs Terkel’s bestselling Hard Times has been called “a huge anthem in praise of the American spirit” (Saturday Review) and “an invaluable record” (The New York Times). With his trademark grace and compassion, Terkel evokes a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were destitute: politicians, businessmen, artists and writers, racketeers, speakeasy operators, strikers, impoverished farmers, people who were just kids, and those who remember losing a fortune.

Now, in a handsome new illustrated edition, a selection of Studs’s unforgettable interviews are complemented by images from another rich documentary trove of the Depression experience: Farm Security Administration photographs from the Library of Congress. Interspersed throughout the text of Hard Times, these breathtaking photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Jack Delano, and others expand the human scope of the voices captured in the book, adding a new dimension to Terkel’s incomparable volume. Hard Times is the perfect introduction to Terkel’s work for new readers, as well as a beautiful new addition to any Terkel library.


“Read a page, any page. Then try to stop.”
National Observer
“Wonderful!. .  . It will resurrect your faith in all of us to read this book.”
“The horrors of the Depression come through vividly. . . .[Terkel’s] lifelong empathy for the disenfranchised was rooted in the troubled era recalled so vividly in Hard Times.”
—Adam Cohen, The New York Times

News and Reviews

In March 1970, Maya Angelou sat down with Studs Terkel for a radio interview about her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Books by Studs Terkel

How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession

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Giants of Jazz

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Further Thoughts from a Lifetime of Listening

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Coming of Age
Growing Up in the Twentieth Century

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Goodreads Reviews