From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up. This succinct chronological narrative of the Great Depression in America is good history and good reading as well. The decade of economic disaster, government legislation, and international political crises is brought to life through anecdotes, accounts of spontaneous social movements, and descriptions of the daily struggle of ordinary men and women. Sherrow conveys the desperation of the unemployed, the sorrows of families caught in the dust bowl or ruined by debt, and the myriad ways that people coped with poverty. An apt quotation from Will Rogers heads each of the eight chapters that trace the growing economic crisis and the slow restoration of hope under the New Deal. Inserts every few pages offer human-interest stories or present issues or events pertinent to that era. Although the book contains no illustrations or photographs, the clear print and the use of turquoise accents on chapter titles and sidebars give unity of design. The volume should be read as a whole. Each chapter covers many topics of life during the Depression years, and the book's value lies in the author's skillful integration of many individual stories and many group experiences into an understanding of the decade. A fine addition to the other titles on the subject such as Jacqueline Farrell's The Great Depression (Lucent, 1996).?Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River,
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Nearly one-third of America's labor force was out of work in 1932. Apple selling became a symbol of grim times, when an unusually good apple crop prompted growers to sell the fruit to the unemployed, who, in turn, could sell them for profit on the streets. The game Monopoly was invented during the Depression, and in that age of scaled-down leisure pursuits, people could vicariously enjoy high finance. Sherrow explores the economic, political, and social face of American society from the late twenties to the beginning of World War II, with a timely chapter on the legacy of New Deal programs that touches on current welfare reform law. The narrative, though not lively, is balanced and clear and includes many personal Depression-story excerpts. Considering the wealth of memorable photography available to reflect those years, the presentation suffers from a lack of illustration beyond the excellent cover shot. Nevertheless, this slim, accessible volume will be helpful to students working on reports about the Depression and needing information and details that supplement a text but do not overwhelm. Bibliography; source notes. Anne O'Malley