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The Great Depression: America in the 1930s Paperback – January, 1995

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Product Details

  • Series: Great Depression (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st Paperback Ed edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316924547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316924542
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,388,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former American Heritage editor Watkins augments this engaging study of the Depression with numerous news clips, documentary stills and period photographs.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-A captivating companion volume to the PBS series. Watkins offers a panoramic view of this challenging and painful decade, and includes approximately 150 photographs, posters, and documents. The book surveys the era's business closures, bank failures, labor movements, unemployed, disenfranchised, soup-kitchen lines, apple sellers, drought, farmers' strikes, and homeless. Students will appreciate the depth of coverage, the primary-source material, the photographs, the comprehensive index, and the list of additional resources. Anyone interested in history and specifically the cause-and-effect relationships between history and modern life will relish this book.
Sue Davis, Cedar Falls High School, IA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
T.H. Watkins takes the reader on a fascinating journey into life in America during the late 1920's and 1930's in his book "The Great Depression-America in the 1930's".Well-researched, thoroughly written, and graced with an astounding collection of photos that truly capture the pain and desperation of America at the time, this book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in American history, politics, and societal behavior.
Millions of Americans who had been raised on the belief that hard work, discipline, and thrift would see them through were shell shocked by their sudden fall upon hard times-due of course to events largely out of their control. As never before, suddenly the adequacy of self-sufficiency and individualism (qualities inherent in the model of the "good American") were called into question, and with the forces of international economics, politics, growing industrial unionism, racism, adverse weather conditions, and historical fate combining to produce a bitter pill to swallow, it is easy to see why the 1930's was a time for some of the most angry, chaotic, and divergent politics ever.
As one would expect, the dealings of the Hoover and FDR administrations are given much mention in this book, but so too are many other locales of political activity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on November 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Although rich and varied in its summary of the impact the "Great Depression" had on American culture, this continuation of the PBS documentary of the same name is broad but not very deep. As I only caught the "tail end" of the TV version of this documentary, my purpose for reading the book was to "round out" what I had missed in search of a better handle on the reasons that actually caused the "Great Depression." But unfortunately for me, on that particular issue, this book provided only limited answers. It merely "skates lightly along the surface" of the causes, in an almost polemical way: making only backhanded references to bank failures, stock market speculation, and the laxity of regulations, more generally. What I expected, but did not get, was a robust narrative or economic analysis to go with the somewhat "left-leaning" polemics.

Given our present search for solutions to the 2008 economic meltdown, and the "sea change" that Franklin Delano Roosevelt's government programs represented in altering the course of the social contract between government and the people, it did not seems unreasonable to me to expect a much more thorough analysis of the economic causes of the great depression. And while the book did not satisfy my demands on that score, it did provide something infinitely more valuable: It showed just beyond the text, that the ultimate schism in American culture is not just the one that moves along the gridline that divides us by race, but also along the deeper more philosophical issue of how the nation is to organize itself economically.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bernard L. Kapell on June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book very accurately portrays life in the 30's and the crucial role FDR played in ameliorating the devestating conditions of that era.Many current day commentators downplay or belittle the role that FDR played in this regard. This book corrects that misconception and sets the record straight.
Unfortunately, the photographs, though excellent and some of which I had never seen before, were of very poor quality in the paperback edition.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 12, 2004
Format: Library Binding
This is the first book I've read that is totally about the Great Depression.However,I have read all of Steinbeck's,Erskine Caldwell's and numerous by and about Woody Guthrie as well as many about Capone and other Gangsters.While these were all about the same period,they tended to zero in on specific ways of life,even though one aspect of the depression did not escape the effect of another.The black sharecroppers in the Deep South of Caldwell,the bootlegging,clubs and turf wars of Chicago of Capone and Ness,the Dust Bowl migrations of the Oakies of Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie give detailed insight of people living through these times but but each went on almost oblivous to each other.What Watkins has done is to deal with every
thing during the Depression and somewhat ties it all together. This is was no mean feat.
He leaned towards Government,Big Business ,Politics , Unions and other Organizations and shows how they were the source of the problems and in the final analysis had to be the solution. It was not the honest,hard working ,good,trusting majority of the people who suffered so much,that brought on this mess and they were sure helpless to correct it.As a matter of fact most of the systems prevented them by law and control from doing so.
Watkins gives most of the credit of getting things turned around to FDR and there is no doubt that he had to fight everyone to do it;in many cases his own party.This has often been the case in America from the times of Washington to Bush of today.Often the President stands alone and as Truman said "The buck stops here!" The great presidents had what it took to deal with the challenges of their times.The less great did not.
America was flat on its back and pulled itself up by its bootstraps without the help of any other country.
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