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The Great Depression

Todd Carlsen
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."
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
"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."
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
"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 SteinbeckÂ’s Pulitzer Prize winning "Grapes of Wrath.""
The New Deal: A Modern History
The New Deal: A Modern History
"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!"
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)
"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."
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
"A terrific Ken Burns documentary on the Bust Bowl."
American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
"*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."
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
"A classic. The personal stories of people who lived through the Depression. Also read his similar book of stories from WWII called "The Good War.""
American Experience: Civilian Conservation Corps
American Experience: Civilian Conservation Corps
"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."
The Great Crash 1929
The Great Crash 1929
"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."
The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)
The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)
"A timeless classic. Helped Steinbeck win the Nobel Prize in literature."
Herbert Hoover: The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933
Herbert Hoover: The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933
"This is the best brief biography of Herbert Hoover and a terrific brief history of his era."
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940
"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."
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities
"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."
Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941 (Norton Twentieth Century America)
Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941 (Norton Twentieth Century America)
"This is an outstanding history book on both the 1920s and 1930s. Very well written and packed with great information, yet easy to read. Two great books in one! Highest recommendation!"
The Great Depression: America 1929-1941
The Great Depression: America 1929-1941
"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."
Long-Range Public Investment: The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal (Social Problems and Social Issues (Univ of South Carolina))
Long-Range Public Investment: The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal (Social Problems and Social Issues (Univ of South Carolina))
"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 AmericaÂ’s economic backbone. The value of the New Deal investments should not be understated."
Riding the Rails
Riding the Rails
"This is a very interesting DVD about the kids who took to riding the rails during the desperate years of the Great Depression. A fascinating and transitional period in American history."
Essays on the Great Depression
Essays on the Great Depression
"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.""
SINCE YESTERDAY - THE 1930s IN AMERICA
SINCE YESTERDAY - THE 1930s IN AMERICA
"This lively history of the 1930's was written by a popular historian at that time "on the scene." A popular history classic!"
The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I
The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I
"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."
Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940: How Americans Lived Through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression
Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940: How Americans Lived Through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression
"A look at daily life on Main Street, USA during the Great Depression."
The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction
The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction
"This is the best extremely brief introduction to the Great Depression and the New Deal. The brief insights are valuable."
The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance,
The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance,
"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."
Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (Wiley Investment Classics)
Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (Wiley Investment Classics)
"This is a history of crashes, what they are, and how to deal with them. Excessive risk taking and speculation is a reality of free markets."
Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939 (NBER Series on Long-term Factors in Economic Development)
Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939 (NBER Series on Long-term Factors in Economic Development)
"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."
The Conscience of a Liberal
The Conscience of a Liberal
"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."
Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man
Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man
"The wrenching stories of those who suffered through the Great Depression."
Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956
Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956
"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."
Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created ModernAmerica
Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created ModernAmerica
"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."
Stabilizing an Unstable Economy
Stabilizing an Unstable Economy
"MUST READ! Masterpiece economic history of United States from the 1920s forward, how instability will happen due to the nature of capitalism, and what to do about it. Influential."
The Greatest Generation Grows Up: American Childhood in the 1930s (American Childhoods Series)
The Greatest Generation Grows Up: American Childhood in the 1930s (American Childhoods Series)
"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."
An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power
"MUST READ! This enjoyable and concise book tells the economic history of America, including the Great Depression and other financial mistakes."
The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt
The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt
"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."
The Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker, 1933-1940
The Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker, 1933-1940
"This is the best book on the labor movement in the 1930s and the tubulence of that era. This book also is an essential book for the history of the labor movement."
The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (Princeton Classic Editions)
The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (Princeton Classic Editions)
"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."
Lessons from the Great Depression (Lionel Robbins Lectures)
Lessons from the Great Depression (Lionel Robbins Lectures)
"This is a masterpiece economics book on the Great Depression and the economic lessons to be learned."
The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
"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."
Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal
Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal
"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."
The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940
The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940
"This is one of the better books about the Great Depression era and the New Deal, written by an authoritative British historian at Cambridge. This is probably best for advanced study."
A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights
A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights
"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."