The list author says: "The Great Depression was a disaster. The economy became unstable under Calvin Coolidge with loose credit and speculation. Farm oversupply led to depressed prices, failed farms, and the Dust Bowl. In 1929, the weakly-regulated financial system collapsed in Herbert Hoover’s first year. 10,000 banks failed. Lending and money flow contracted. Unemployment soared. Production collapsed. Half of mortgages fell into default. The SEC and audited financial statements did not exist. A flawed gold standard constricted the money supply. Without demand, business investment stopped. Wealth was concentrated with a few. Conservatives increased taxes to balance the budget. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff sharply increased tariffs. FDR took office in 1933 and said, "The only thing we have to fear is–fear itself." His fireside chats reassured Americans. The New Deal sought RELIEF, RECOVERY and REFORM. CCC, rural electrification, and WPA infrastructure jobs put people to work. The New Deal created economic stability and security with SEC, Glass-Steagall Act, FDIC, Fed Reserve Board, unemployment insurance, Fair Labor Standards Act, Social Security (also a constant money flow), and farm supports. HOLC saved mortgages. FDR ended the flawed hold standard. In FDR’s first term, GDP grew 63%; personal income after taxes increased 45.5%. Manufacturing rose 3.4% per QUARTER. The DOW soared 353% in four years. Worker productivity soared. Employment stagnated. Uncertainty cowered business investment. FDR was reelected by landslides. A 1937-38 recession was caused when stimulus spending was cut to balance the budget and higher reserve requirements, reversed by massive WWII spending. FDR created GI Bill and FHA (widely available mortgages for the first time). Decades of STABLE, middle class prosperity followed. In 1999, the foolish repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act led to the 2007-08 financial collapse. High risk must be banned from the financial system because it brings the economy down if it collapses."
"This book won the Pulitzer Prize. It is a great history of the events leading to the Great Depression and aftermath. Financiers made mistakes. The financial system was flawed, including a flawed version of the gold standard, disastrous money supply errors, World War I reparations, leveraged speculation, few financial regulations, and a lack of good leadership."
"Winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction. This is a simply incredible book about the severe catastrophe during the Great Depression called the Dust Bowl. A depression hit agriculture long before the collapse on Wall Street due to excess production during WWI. Coolidge did nothing to fix this. Also read John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning "Grapes of Wrath.""
"This is an excellent, fair and balanced history of the New Deal and Great Depression by a Pulitzer Prize-winning business correspondent (and winner of other awards). Authoritative and engrossing. Highest recommendation!"
"This book won the Pulitzer Prize and Francis Parkman Prize. The writing vividly paints the period, and it is the scholarly benchmark. It downplays the New Deal recovery in 1933-37 and the impact of massive infrastructure jobs. Check the GDP and stock market stats for EACH YEAR of FDR's first term, from 1933 to 1938, and then EACH YEAR 1937 to his death in 1945. WWII brought full employment."
"*Starred Review* An excellent book about how the WPA and Americans built America's infrastructure during the Great Depression, building the groundwork for decades of booming economic growth. Note that similar investments were made during the early years of America and today in the Pacific nations."
"Also read "Tree Army" and "Nature's New Deal." FDR's CCC jobs brought hope. Thousands learned vocational skills, built thousands of structures, and planted thousands of trees. Created in response to the economic crisis and ecological disasters, such as the Dust Bowl and floods, the CCC put people to work projects that endure today."
"It was 1929. Most Americans lacked spending power. Weakly regulated financial institutions, a flawed gold standard, leveraged credit, and a rigidly balanced budget were in vogue. The SEC, FHA and FDIC did not exist. Audited financial statements were not required. It collapsed. 10,000 banks failed. Half of mortgages went in default. Millionaires fell from high towers of finance."
"This book won the Bancroft Prize and Francis Parkman Prize. FDR's New Deal sought RELIEF for the unemployed, economic RECOVERY, and bold REFORM for a stronger capitalism. Decades of STABLE, booming prosperity followed. Thanks to New Deal reforms working today, there has never again been another Depression."
"The great book was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It explains the economic thinking of financial calamities. It shows how otherwise superior free markets fail through rational (greed) but catastrophic excessive risk. The philosophy of laissez faire is a Utopian delusion. Markets will not always self-correct. This book gives suggestions for “reality based markets” whereby catastrophic risk is banned."
"This is a great general history of the era. Thought-provoking, with an emphasis on the turbulent issues and the efforts to resolve those problems -- like trying to ride a boat through a storm. The values people had during those hard times were different than today."
"This concise book (265 pages) presents a vivid picture of the extensive infrastructure investments the New Deal made in the economy and the tremendous payoffs those investments made in the second-half of the 20th Century (and today). Tens of thousands of structures were built, forming an important part of America’s economic backbone. The value of the New Deal investments should not be understated."
"This is THE best economics book on the Great Depression. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke brilliantly covers the economics of the Great Depression. He credits FDR for stabilizing the banks after 10,000 had failed and eliminating a flawed version of the gold standard which contracted the money supply. "Between Roosevelt's coming to power in 1933 and the recession of 1937-38, the economy grew strongly.""
"This history of the Great Depression won the Francis Parkman Prize and Bancroft Prize. Volume I details the decade before the economic collapse when the seeds of the disaster were sown and then the collapse from 1929 to 1933. Volume II covers FDR's first term beginning in 1933."
"Frances Perkins was the first woman cabinet secretary. She exerted a profound influence on the formation of the New Deal and American history. FDR and Perkins forged their relationship while he was governor of New York governor. This book tells her story."
"This is an outstanding book on the economics of the Great Depression. A ruinous gold standard and the collapse of the financial system caused the Great Depression. Countries that left the gold standard soonest recovered soonest. Countries that never were on the gold standard avoided the Depression! FDR ended the gold standard and saved the financial system."
"Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2008. In this easy-to-read book he details the extremely positive long-term economic impact of the New Deal for the middle class and what he thinks we need to do today for public policy."
"The New Deal produced a revolution in state-sponsored economic development that led to decades of booming prosperity for the middle class and America. At the heart of the new deal were big infrastructure investments, including government projects, credit and private contracts. The Eisenhower highway project followed."
"This is probably the best written history of FDR's Hundred Days and his energetic response to the Great Depression for 3 years under Hoover. The influences of the people in FDR's inner circle, such as Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins, are detailed. Hopkins and Perkins were especially important. However, much of the New Deal happened after the first 100 days, such as Social Security."
"This fine book concisely tells the story of what it was like to grow up in the 1930s. It also explains how the New Deal, with only a little money, made a huge improvement in the lives of children. Graduation rates greatly increased. This high level would endure for a few decades."
"The New Dealers developed markets in America, especially the West and South, through massive investments in the economy, such as energy and transportation investments. This "state capitalism" was made through extensions of credit and direct fiscal spending. It caused a booming economy in the decades that followed and built unprecedented prosperity for the middle class. FDR transformed the economy."
"Classic monetarist interpretation by Milton Friedman. The massive banking system collapse caused it made worse by money supply errors by the Fed due to a lack of leadership following the death of the Fed Chairman Strong. The book fails to mention the constrictive role of the Gold Standard and that investment spending is volatile and will languish (paradox of thrift) without demand. Incomplete."
"The Nazi dictator Hitler gained power during the Great Depression, because desperate Germans were receptive to a radical - the world hurling from economic collapse to world war. 55 million would die."
"This is an outstanding history of the laissez-faire conservative movement that reacted (some would say overreacted) to the New Deal. This movement culminated in Ronald Reagan, who idolized FDR and was a New Dealer but changed."
"Franklin Roosevelt profoundly changed the world with his vision for the post-war world. His Four Freedoms gave the war meaning. His moving words aimed for a world based on human rights and collective security. Colonialism and Nazism fell, and Communism would eventually fall to this new world of freedom."