"The New Yorker"
A "New York Times Book Review" Books for Vacation Reading & Notable Book of the Year
First-rate explanatory essays by the editor.
"The New Yorker"
There's nothing more deeply moving than reading the words and thus hearing the voices of the actual survivors of hard times. McElvaine has captured these voices as no one else ever has.
The book is unique. Nowhere else can we read of despair as recorded by those who were feeling it hardest, unfiltered by memory.
[This] book is easily the best thing of its sort ever done.
David Shannon, Commonwealth Professor of History, University of Virginia --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
McElvaine . . . recreates the Great Depression with this collection. . . . The result is a much more vivid account than most historical works can provide, with their usual emphasis on statistics and generalizations. . . . The letters make vivid reading.--Houston Post
As a record of the Depression era's forgotten men, women and children-Down and Out is worth much more than its purchase price.--Charlotte Observer
[I] found Down and Out very interesting and informative.--Rosalynn Carter
Reminiscent of Walker Evans' photographs in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.--The Mountain Times
[This] book is easily the best thing of its sort ever done.--David Shannon, Commonwealth Professor History, University of Virginia
The letters bear a sense of urgency that recollections of the Depression lack, and Robert McElvaine's solid introduction and method of organization deepen their meaning.--Christian Century
These letters are a moving testimony.--Times Literary Supplement
Robert S. McElvaine has compiled a fascinating, touching and above all illuminating book. . . . This book is a classic. No New Statesman reader should be without it.--New Statesman (London)
A powerful collection, offering a rare glimpse of the conditions of the poor during the Depression.--Mississippi Magazine
The book makes good reading. . . . Compelling human drama as well as important history.--Hartford Courant
Here is history written by the people who had to live it, in the U.S.A. of the 1930s. . . . A hell of a good book.--Pete Seeger
McElvaine has done a masterful job.--Sojourners
The dispirited reality of the Walton's age is vividly outlined in . . . Down and Out in the Great Depression.--Kansas City Star
McElvaine . . . has produced [a] compelling, often poignant glimpse of America's mood during the Great Depression. . . . It makes a fitting memorial to 'the forgotten man.'--Newsweek
These are the forgotten men, women and children of the Depression years.--Newsday
Some of the letters are heartbreaking with their revelations of deprivation, illness, and old age; some provoke a smile, and all are enormously affective.--Progressive
Like a well-chosen seasoning . . . it . . . bring(s) out the flavor of history. By rescuing the struggles of individuals from the anonymity of statistics, this volume preserves the Depression as it was experienced-with sorrow, anguish, hatred, faith, and humor.--The New Republic
Spanning the continent and representing a wide variety of groups, these letters give eloquent voice to the people embodied in government statistics and reports.--Wisconsin Magazine of History
Adds an important new dimension to our knowledge of a vastly important period in American history.--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
The most readable and entertaining historical work I [have] ever seen.--T.M. English, Mississippi Magazine
A stark documentary of a people one short step from despair.--Center Magazine
There's nothing more deeply moving than reading the words and thus hearing the voices of the actual survivors of hard times. McElvaine has captured these voices as no one else ever has.--Studs Terkel
McElvaine . . . successfully draws the reader into the heart and mind of the era-as it affected individuals.--Clarion-Ledger
McElvaine is to be commended. . . . Down and Out in the Great Depression is a remarkable testament to a time that no longer seems so distant and, at times, strikes awfully close to home.--Philadelphia Inquirer
Here are 'real people' at rock bottom, in their own words, often heart-breakingly desperate and ungrammatical.--Spectator
The book is unique. Nowhere else can we read of despair as recorded by those who were feeling it hardest, unfiltered by memory.--Southern Living
This is a good book . . . capturing people's moods well." --Library Journal
An illuminating contribution to the history of a bad time half a century ago.--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., New York Times Book Review
An enormously valuable and revealing document. . . . An experience that pays rich if painful rewards. The most obvious of these is that Down and Out in the Great Depression adds an important new dimension to our knowledge of a vastly important period in American history.--Washington Post Book Review
A collection of unforgettable vignettes that offer vivid testimony to the hardships the 'forgotten' men and women endured in the 1930s.--William E. Leuchtenburg, University of North Carolina
These are voices that need to be heard.--Journal of the Illinois Historical Society
The editor provides solid background.--Publishers Weekly
McElvaine's . . . contribution [is] significant and his conclusions . . . [are] more convincing than those of other scholars who have also tried to recount the Depression 'from the ground up.' . . . There is a poignancy which occasionally pushes past the confines of history and turns into street poetry, art, delirium.--Los Angeles Herald Examiner
Soundly conceived and imaginatively edited, Down and Out in the Great Depression shows how Americans responded to economic collapse, not in memory, but in their own words at the time-a compelling contribution to our history.--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
McElvaine . . . has found and filled a gap. . . . [He] has brought the feelings of these invisible people to life.--St. Petersburg Times
First-rate explanatory essays by the editor.--The New Yorker
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.