- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 25th anniversary edition (February 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807858919
- ISBN-13: 978-0807858912
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man 25th anniversary Edition
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First-rate explanatory essays by the editor.
"The New Yorker"
A "New York Times Book Review" Books for Vacation Reading & Notable Book of the Year
First-rate explanatory essays by the editor.
"The New Yorker"
There's nothing more deeply moving than reading the words and thus hearing the voices of the actual survivors of hard times. McElvaine has captured these voices as no one else ever has.
The book is unique. Nowhere else can we read of despair as recorded by those who were feeling it hardest, unfiltered by memory.
[This] book is easily the best thing of its sort ever done.
David Shannon, Commonwealth Professor of History, University of Virginia
Some of the letters are heartbreaking with their revelations of deprivation, illness, and old age; some provoke a smile, and all are enormously affective.--Progressive
An illuminating contribution to the history of a bad time half a century ago.--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., New York Times Book Review
McElvaine has done a masterful job.--Sojourners
A collection of unforgettable vignettes that offer vivid testimony to the hardships the 'forgotten' men and women endured in the 1930s.--William E. Leuchtenburg, University of North Carolina
These are voices that need to be heard.--Journal of the Illinois Historical Society
McElvaine's . . . contribution [is] significant and his conclusions . . . [are] more convincing than those of other scholars who have also tried to recount the Depression 'from the ground up.' . . . There is a poignancy which occasionally pushes past the confines of history and turns into street poetry, art, delirium.--Los Angeles Herald Examiner
These are the forgotten men, women and children of the Depression years.--Newsday
Soundly conceived and imaginatively edited, Down and Out in the Great Depression shows how Americans responded to economic collapse, not in memory, but in their own words at the time-a compelling contribution to our history.--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
As a record of the Depression era's forgotten men, women and children-Down and Out is worth much more than its purchase price.--Charlotte Observer
Robert S. McElvaine has compiled a fascinating, touching and above all illuminating book. . . . This book is a classic. No New Statesman reader should be without it.--New Statesman (London)
McElvaine makes a unique and significant contribution. . . . The thorough mastery of the subject that he has brought both to the selection and the introductions gives authority to the work far beyond that which a statistical, quantifying study could achieve.--Frank Freidel, University of Washington
Reminiscent of Walker Evans' photographs in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.--The Mountain Times
McElvaine is to be commended. . . . Down and Out in the Great Depression is a remarkable testament to a time that no longer seems so distant and, at times, strikes awfully close to home.--Philadelphia Inquirer
Adds an important new dimension to our knowledge of a vastly important period in American history.--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
These letters are a moving testimony.--Times Literary Supplement
An enormously valuable and revealing document. . . . An experience that pays rich if painful rewards. The most obvious of these is that Down and Out in the Great Depression adds an important new dimension to our knowledge of a vastly important period in American history.--Washington Post Book Review
This is a good book . . . capturing people's moods well." --Library Journal
A powerful collection, offering a rare glimpse of the conditions of the poor during the Depression.--Mississippi Magazine
McElvaine . . . successfully draws the reader into the heart and mind of the era-as it affected individuals.--Clarion-Ledger
First-rate explanatory essays by the editor.--The New Yorker
McElvaine . . . has produced [a] compelling, often poignant glimpse of America's mood during the Great Depression. . . . It makes a fitting memorial to 'the forgotten man.'--Newsweek
The book is unique. Nowhere else can we read of despair as recorded by those who were feeling it hardest, unfiltered by memory.--Southern Living
Like a well-chosen seasoning . . . it . . . bring(s) out the flavor of history. By rescuing the struggles of individuals from the anonymity of statistics, this volume preserves the Depression as it was experienced-with sorrow, anguish, hatred, faith, and humor.--The New Republic
The book makes good reading. . . . Compelling human drama as well as important history.--Hartford Courant
The editor provides solid background.--Publishers Weekly
Spanning the continent and representing a wide variety of groups, these letters give eloquent voice to the people embodied in government statistics and reports.--Wisconsin Magazine of History
Here are 'real people' at rock bottom, in their own words, often heart-breakingly desperate and ungrammatical.--Spectator
[I] found Down and Out very interesting and informative.--Rosalynn Carter
A stark documentary of a people one short step from despair.--Center Magazine
McElvaine . . . recreates the Great Depression with this collection. . . . The result is a much more vivid account than most historical works can provide, with their usual emphasis on statistics and generalizations. . . . The letters make vivid reading.--Houston Post
Here is history written by the people who had to live it, in the U.S.A. of the 1930s. . . . A hell of a good book.--Pete Seeger
[This] book is easily the best thing of its sort ever done.--David Shannon, Commonwealth Professor History, University of Virginia
The most readable and entertaining historical work I [have] ever seen.--T.M. English, Mississippi Magazine
There's nothing more deeply moving than reading the words and thus hearing the voices of the actual survivors of hard times. McElvaine has captured these voices as no one else ever has.--Studs Terkel
The letters bear a sense of urgency that recollections of the Depression lack, and Robert McElvaine's solid introduction and method of organization deepen their meaning.--Christian Century
McElvaine . . . has found and filled a gap. . . . [He] has brought the feelings of these invisible people to life.--St. Petersburg Times
The dispirited reality of the Walton's age is vividly outlined in . . . Down and Out in the Great Depression.--Kansas City Star
Top customer reviews
The phenomenon of writing to Roosevelt was clearly unique, and probably only recently emulated during Obama's election campaign.
A good read, and although McElvaine provides some background to the Depression in his introduction, I recommend reading in in conjunction with some of the other historical texts written about the Great Depression.
The Shock? Each of these letters are mirrored in the Letters to the Editors of my local paper.
From the despair of the working (or unemployed) poor to the blame the victim letters.
Increased the size of my food garden beds as the remedy of the truth facing us now.