The Good War
By Studs Terkel
I spent a period of time in Chicago in the mid-'90s and I fell in love with all things Chicago. I found such pleasure in the robust, down-home intellectuals like Terkel that the city seems to produce. I've always been interested in oral history; I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandmother, who talked about Gallipoli and the Depression. The joy of this oral history is that we learn so much more about ourselves from listening to the small man's account of the war than from the general's. This book influenced me tremendously. It's made me overly invasive; I approach old Welsh men in pubs and I'm like, "Let's talk about the war!" Individuals carry our history—that's what the book left me with.