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Since Yesterday: The 1930's in America, September 3, 1929 to September 3, 1939 Paperback – July 16, 1986


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Since Yesterday: The 1930's in America, September 3, 1929 to September 3, 1939 + Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 16, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060913223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060913229
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frederick Lewis Allen was born in Boston in 1890 and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He served on the editorial staffs of the Atlantic Monthly and Century magazines and was editor in chief of Harper's magazine from 1941 until his death in 1954


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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As an author who sets some pulp-style stories in the era it provides an invaulable overview and copious research opportunity.
Howard Hopkins
I think anyone who has an interest in this time period should read this book or just for the person looking for a good historical read.
William D Jenkins
This is not a hard-hitting expose' of the Depression years, but it is a highly informative book that is a great lesson in history.
k. powers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By k. powers on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
The best thing about this book is that unlike most other ones about the depression it was written by someone who experienced it at the time they experienced it - 1939. Spanning 1929 to 1939 it gives you a you-were-there feeling.
Most of the political commentary is just matter-of-fact with very little bias. Many depression books seem to be left-leaning and written by authors with political agendas, not this one. The fact is that many things actually were very corrupt in the years leading up to the depression.
Allen obviously liked FDR very much and yet he still always countered accolades for him with opposing opinions and even agrees with them at times.
This is not a hard-hitting expose' of the Depression years, but it is a highly informative book that is a great lesson in history.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Rolland W. Amos on October 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Frederick Lewis Allen begins this short book (346 pages) where he left off in his last book (�Only Yesterday�) - with the stock market crash of 1929 - and ends it with the
advent of World War II in 1939. Allen skillfully weaves the minor events of this decade (the fads, books, crimes, machines, gadgets, personalities, movies, fashions, etc.) together
with the major events (the stock market crash, the �Great Depression�, and �the New Deal�) in a delightfully entertaining, informative fashion - assuming, of course, that you
enjoy American history!
The '29 crash had been immediately preceded by the �Big Bull� market that had carried investors and stocks onward and upward for some 2 years before it finally peaked. Investors, by then, were �programmed� to buy, buy, buy. All feared that they might miss one last opportunity to get richer. Stock transactions sometimes became so hectic that Wall Street could not keep up with the paperwork (no computers!). Some pundits of that
day were issuing warnings that stock prices were overvalued, that investors were investing too much borrowed money, but few investors were heeding these warnings. When stock prices began falling, nothing could stop them. By the time stock values hit
bottom on 13 November investors had lost enough money to finance World War I once, or pay off the national debt twice! In a matter of months 25% of the work force was unemployed; many of them were now standing in the ubiquitous breadlines, or peddling
apples for 5 cents on street corners.
The market crash triggered another major event of the �30�s - the �great depression�.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Meeks on September 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
When it comes to a structured review of life in America in this time period, they don't come any better than this tome by Frederick Lewis Allen. Along with its companion volume "Only Yesterday," this book gives a practical and educational view of the period. I love re-reading both books every three years or so, just to reacquaint myself with "a kindler, gentler time."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Allen covers the period from September 3, 1929, to September 3, 1939. Interestingly, the first date is when the Bull Market reached its peak, and the last date is when England and France declared war on Germany. The book is an excellent contemporary account of the 1930's. The topics that Allen thought were noteworthy in 1939 are still noteworthy today. Anyone who reads this book should also read "Only Yesterday" which is Allen's account of the 1920's.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Completed in 1939, Frederick Lewis Allen's "Since Yesterday" was a sequel to his immensely successful "Only Yesterday: an Informal History of the 1920s". Writing in the same jaunty, gossipy style, Allen mingles serious political history with such ephemera as the invention of miniature golf, fashion parades, and candid camera. Even so, this sequel never achieved the perennial popularity of the earlier book, perhaps because the foibles of life in the '30s could never match the iconic insanity of the '20s. But "Since Yesterday" is an immensely valuable primary source for social historians, providing an in-depth portrayal of what Americans thought of themselves and their deeds during the decade of the Great Depression.

Along with the may-flies of trivia, Allen also delves into the social significance of phenomena such as gangsterism, the rise of team sports to a national passion, the mania for dam construction, swing jazz, and science fiction. On a more earnest level, he wrestles with what to make of charismatic eccentric figures such as isolationist/proto-fascist Charles Lindbergh, thorough fascist Father Coughlin, and Populist demagogue Huey Long. The dominating figure of the book and of the era, however, is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Allen's portrayal of Roosevelt is detached, admiring yet critical, quizzical to the end, and well aware that the end as of 1939 was probably the beginning of a much darker and more dangerous decade. Allen's Roosevelt was always in the lead but never quite in charge, a depiction later historians have largely confirmed.

"Since Yesterday" begins with the financial crisis of 1929, and covers Hoover's opera buffa term as President in four solid chapters. The New Deal arrives in chapter five, in 1933.
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