Jan 15, 2018
I don’t know that the world was bouncing on its heels, waiting impatiently for someone to finally collect the last words of men and women subject to the death penalty in the United States, but now that we have it, Robert K. Elder’s Last Words of the Executed makes for a fascinating read. But don’t take my word for it. The late, great writer Studs Terkel, author of one of my favorite journalistic books, Working—I read and carried it with me everywhere during my senior year of college—wrote the first words for Last Words of the Executed shortly before passing away. Here’s what he said about it, in part: “Elder is a journalist in the noblest tradition, getting at a certain truth. And the truth may come from the most ejected members of our society, the most reprehensible, and yet the humanity is still there… Perhaps there will come a time whena book such as this will no longer be needed but will be remembered as a history of a prehistoric time. It’s all moving stuff.” Terkel went on to say that he found the book to be poetry of a sort. As for Elder, he is a journalist and a teacher at Northwestern University. This is second trip to Mr Media Radio; he was here before talking about his websites, ItWasOverWhen.com and ItWasLoveWhen.com.