It can be easy to underestimate the power of private actions and seemingly apolitical thoughts. But in the 1930s when many Americans felt beaten down, the WPA guides and "life histories" documented ordinary people's experiences to show that they mattered. Benjamin Botkin, who led the effort to collect those life histories (or "oral histories") called them the country's living culture, and said that they show how a democracy functions. Soul of a People is a testimonial to that power of telling people's stories.
"In order to fight for democracy," said Mr. Sun from his hospital bed the other day, "we need to make personal efforts."