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The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (Graphic Edition) Paperback – May 27, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In transforming her 2008 history of the Depression into a graphic novel, Shlaes removes some of the sting of the original. Although two types of forgotten man are referenced—the jobless working stiff of FDR’s first inaugural address and the voiceless taxpayer of liberal economist William Graham Sumner’s 1876 essay—this book isn’t the story of either. This adaptation features two main figures—1940 Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie and bureaucrat Rexford Guy Tugwell—and their collective presence has an overall humanizing effect, especially as realized by Rivoche, whose understated artwork outclasses that of most other historical comics. Willkie and Tugwell, as well as other prominent figures on both sides, are sympathetically rendered, and a few, such as Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson and black religious-cult leader Father Divine, are brought in to exemplify independent improvement initiatives that were arguably more successful than FDR’s New Deal. The resultant portrait of the era is one of headstrong social engineers trying various nostrums to reduce unemployment, failing, and giving up, voluntarily and not. --Ray Olson


“Rendered with extraordinary historical detail. . . . A dazzling achievement.” (The Washington Times)

“Everyone who has always wanted to share The Forgotten Man now has a wonderful medium, this book. Give it, enjoy it. Teach your children with it.” (Steve Forbes)

“Entertaining, illuminating, and exceedingly fair. . . . A rich, wonderfully original, and extremely textured history of an important time.” (The American Spectator)

“Amity Shlaes’s fast-paced review of the [Depression] helps enormously in putting it all in perspective.” (Paul Volcker)

“Amity Shlaes is among the most brilliant of the young writers who are transforming American financial journalism.” (Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times)

The Forgotten Man offers an understanding of the era’s politics and economics that may be unprecedented in its clarity.” (Mark Helprin)

The Forgotten Man is revisionist history at its best—full of fresh insights, undogmatic judgments, and illuminating observations. Shlaes’s account of The Great Depression goes beyond the familiar arguments of liberals and conservatives to make a truly original contribution. And it’s an awfully good read.” (William Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard)

The Forgotten Man is an incisive and controversial history of the Great Depression that challenges much of the received wisdom.” (Harold Evans, author of The American Century and They Made America)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061967645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061967641
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amity Shlaes is proud to announce the publication of FORGOTTEN MAN GRAPHIC, a graphic version of her national bestseller about the 1930s, THE FORGOTTEN MAN. The artist for this 300-page treatment is the renowned cartoonist Paul Rivoche. Some samples of this cartoon book are on Miss Shlaes's facebook page. This is a book for thinkers and teachers, containing timelines and profiles of historic characters from the 1920s and 1930s.
Miss Shlaes is the author of three national bestsellers, COOLIDGE, THE FORGOTTEN MAN, and THE GREEDY HAND.
Miss Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. She is chairman of the Hayek Prize, a prize for free market books given by the Manhattan Institute.
She teaches economic history at New York University's Stern School of Business.
Miss Shlaes has been the recipient of the Frederic Bastiat Prize of the International Policy Network, the Warren Brookes Prize (2008) of the American Legislative Exchange Council, as well as a two-time finalist for the Loeb Prize (Anderson School/UCLA).
In 2009, "The Forgotten Man" won the Manhattan Institute's Hayek Prize. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and did graduate work at the Freie Universitaet Berlin on a DAAD fellowship. She and her husband, the editor and author Seth Lipsky, have four children.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By James Lucier on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here is incisive history in a graphic format that really captures the look and feel of the 1930s. It's totally original idea. It makes you wonder why more history books aren't presented this way, especially when they deal with a foundational period such as the 1930s that shapes our lives and experience to this day. I was a fan of the 480-page scholarly book, which should be the next step for anyone reading the graphic edition that has not read the big book first. Amity Shlaes presents an enormous number of personalities and situations in densely-researched, meticulously reported detail. The writing is lively, but here—wow! The personalities jump right off the page and the arc of the narrative takes off before your eyes. It's like watching a fine mosaic turn into a movie. I would recommend the Forgotten Man Graphic Edition for history buffs of any age, but I would recommend it particularly for university students getting interested in the field and secondly, for post-college adults who may have studied another areas and think that an ambitious, serious (and pathbreaking) work of social and economic history might be more than than they can handle. Yet with the Graphic Edition they can plow right in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant number of new writers find their inspiration in this masterwork by Miss Shlaes. The more, the merrier, I say.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nick S. on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book: A history of the Great Depression and New Deal illustrated like a comic book. It tells a lot of stories that you won't find in conventional histories, the stories of small businesspeople struggling through a difficult era.
The illustrations are marvelous---they really convey the times. I'm a book reader and haven't read many comic books, but I loved this one. Comic book lovers, of course, will love it too. For adults, this will be a novelty and revelation. For kids and teens, this will make American history fun.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By C. Bordelon on May 31, 2014
Format: Paperback
Amity Shlaes is an incredibly gifted researcher and articulate writer. Her original "The Forgotten Man" addresses the state of this country following the start of the Great Depression in August of 1929 and ran throughout the 30's, 40's, and until the mid-50's, and describes in an excellent analysis how the administrations and federal government did things which made the Depression worse and much longer through "The New Deal", which most Americans of all ideologies do not understand.

The New Deal was a series of domestic programs enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1936, and a few that came later. They included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term (1933-37) of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were in response to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the "3 Rs": Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression. In the "First New Deal" of 1933-34, programs, such as the National Recovery Administration (NRA), sought to stimulate demand and provide work and relief through increased government spending. The Roosevelt Administration reacted by launching a rhetorical campaign against monopoly power, which was cast as the cause of the depression, and appointing Thurman Arnold to break up large trusts. Ignoring the pleas of the Treasury Department, Roosevelt embarked on an antidote to the depression, reluctantly abandoning his efforts to balance the budget and launching a $5 billion spending program in the spring of 1938 in an effort to increase mass purchasing power. Sound familiar? It failed.
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Format: Paperback
‘The Forgotten Man Graphic Edition’ originally written by Amity Shlaes is comic adaptation of a bit controversial title ‘A New History of the Great Depression’ where its author who is one of the most respected economic analysts provided different interpretation of the time known as the Great Depression.

The importance of the book is primarily in the fact that it provides a different picture compared to what we were taught in the schools of this period; in same time being extremely informative about the Great Depression, it manages to somehow end the history myths that are usually connected with those times, mainly about the view on Roosevelt’s New Deal. What is certainly evident is amount of time author spent writing and researching her book, therefore it is not surprising that the result is such an interesting and extensive work, which is extremely important to consider from the historical and economic point of view.

Speaking about this graphic version, first I would say that the audience the author addresses is different from the one of text version - this edition will be more liked by younger people who may not have enough time or will to go through 500 pages of text, but also for those who love graphics novel in general because it certainly offers great illustrations and interesting story, especially for a person who has not read the original book.

The story is told from the perspective of Wendell Willkie, an executive who worked in utilities company, a man who ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the election back in 1940. Willkie will introduce reader to the history of the Great Depression, though in moments his story can somehow seem disjointed, perhaps in this way also giving criticism how contradictory the New Deal policies actually were.
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