The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience
Author: Kirstin Downey
Category: Biography & Autobiography
“Kirstin Downey’s lively, substantive and—dare I say—inspiring new biography of Perkins . . . not only illuminates Perkins’ career but also deepens the known contradictions of Roosevelt’s character.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air One of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s closest friends and the first female secretary of labor, Perkins capitalized on the president’s political savvy and popularity to enact most of the Depression-era programs that are today considered essential parts of the country’s social safety network.
The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Shaping of the New Deal
Author: Michael Golay
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Documents the 18-month journey of woman journalist Lorena Hickok during the height of the Great Depression, recounting her experiences and influence in some of the nation's worst-hit regions as documented in almost daily letters written to close friend Eleanor Roosevelt.
1933-1935, The Age of Roosevelt
Author: Arthur M. Schlesinger
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935, volume two of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s Age of Roosevelt series, describes Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first tumultuous years in the White House. Coming into office at the bottom of the Great Depression, FDR told the American people that they have nothing to fear but fear itself. The conventional wisdom having failed, he tried unorthodox remedies to avert economic collapse. His first hundred days restored national morale, and his New Dealers filled Washington with new approaches to recovery and reform. Combining idealistic ends with realistic means, Roosevelt proposed to humanize, redeem, and rescue capitalism. The Coming of the New Deal, written with Schlesinger’s customary verve, is a gripping account of critical years in the history of the republic.
Author: Morris Dickstein
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
A cultural history of the 1930s explores the anxiety, despair, and optimism of the period, exploring how the period culture provided a dynamic lift to the country's morale.
The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
Author: Nick Taylor
If you’ve traveled the nation’s highways, flown into New York’s LaGuardia Airport, strolled San Antonio’s River Walk, or seen the Pacific Ocean from the Beach Chalet in San Francisco, you have experienced some part of the legacy of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)—one of the enduring cornerstones of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. When President Roosevelt took the oath of office in March 1933, he was facing a devastated nation. Four years into the Great Depression, a staggering 13 million American workers were jobless and many millions more of their family members were equally in need. Desperation ruled the land. What people wanted were jobs, not handouts: the pride of earning a paycheck; and in 1935, after a variety of temporary relief measures, a permanent nationwide jobs program was created. This was the Works Progress Administration, and it would forever change the physical landscape and the social policies of the United States. The WPA lasted for eight years, spent $11 billion, employed 8½ million men and women, and gave the country not only a renewed spirit but a fresh face. Under its colorful head, Harry Hopkins, the agency’s remarkable accomplishment was to combine the urgency of putting people back to work with its vision of physically rebuilding America. Its workers laid roads, erected dams, bridges, tunnels, and airports. They stocked rivers, made toys, sewed clothes, served millions of hot school lunches. When disasters struck, they were there by the thousands to rescue the stranded. And all across the country the WPA’s arts programs performed concerts, staged plays, painted murals, delighted children with circuses, created invaluable guidebooks. Even today, more than sixty years after the WPA ceased to exist, there is almost no area in America that does not bear some visible mark of its presence. Politically controversial, the WPA was staffed by passionate believers and hated by conservatives; its critics called its projects make-work and wags said it stood for We Piddle Around. The contrary was true. We have only to look about us today to discover its lasting presence. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: John Kenneth Galbraith
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Category: Business & Economics
Of Galbraith's classic examination of the 1929 financial collapse, the Atlantic Monthly said:"Economic writings are seldom notable for their entertainment value, but this book is. Galbraith's prose has grace and wit, and he distills a good deal of sardonic fun from the whopping errors of the nation's oracles and the wondrous antics of the financial community." Now, with the stock market riding historic highs, the celebrated economist returns with new insights on the legacy of our past and the consequences of blind optimism and power plays within the financial community.
The National Consumers' League, Women's Activism, and Labor Standards in the New Deal Era
Author: Landon R. Y. Storrs
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Category: Political Science
Offering fresh insights into the history of labor policy, the New Deal, feminism, and southern politics, Landon Storrs examines the New Deal era of the National Consumers' League, one of the most influential reform organizations of the early twentieth century. Founded in 1899 by affluent women concerned about the exploitation of women wage earners, the National Consumers' League used a strategy of "ethical consumption" to spark a successful movement for state laws to reduce hours and establish minimum wages for women. During the Great Depression, it campaigned to raise labor standards in the unregulated, non-union South, hoping to discourage the relocation of manufacturers to the region because of cheaper labor and to break the downward spiral of labor standards nationwide. Promoting regulation of men's labor as well as women's, the league shaped the National Recovery Administration codes and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 but still battled the National Woman's Party, whose proposed equal rights amendment threatened sex-based labor laws. Using the National Consumers' League as a window on the nation's evolving reform tradition, Civilizing Capitalism explores what progressive feminists hoped for from the New Deal and why, despite significant victories, they ultimately were disappointed.
Author: Timothy P. Lynch
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
The Depression brought unprecedented changes for American workers and organized labor. As the economy plummeted, employers cut wages and laid off workers, while simultaneously attempting to wrest more work from those who remained employed. In mills, mines, and factories workers organized and resisted, striking for higher wages, improved working conditions, and the right to bargain collectively. As workers walked the picket line or sat down on the shop floor, they could be heard singing. This book examines the songs they sang at three different strikes- the Gastonia, North Carolina, textile mill strike (1929), Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mining strike (1931-32), and Flint, Michigan, automobile sit-down strike (1936-37). Whether in the Carolina Piedmont, the Kentucky hills, or the streets of Michigan, the workers' songs were decidedly class-conscious. All show the workers' understanding of the necessity of solidarity and collective action. In Flint the strikers sang: The trouble in our homestead Was brought about this way When a dashing corporation Had the audacity to say You must all renounce your union And forswear your liberties, And we'll offer you a chance To live and die in slavery. As a shared experience, the singing of songs not only sent the message of collective action but also provided the very means by which the message was communicated and promoted. Singing was a communal experience, whether on picket lines, at union rallies, or on shop floors. By providing the psychological space for striking workers to speak their minds, singing nurtured a sense of community and class consciousness. When strikers retold the events of their strike, as they did in songs, they spread and preserved their common history and further strengthened the bonds among themselves. In the strike songs the roles of gender were pronounced and vivid. Wives and mothers sang out of their concerns for home, family, and children. Men sang in the name of worker loyalty and brotherhood, championing male solidarity and comaraderie. Informed by the new social history, this critical examination of strike songs from three different industries in three different regions gives voice to a group too often deemed as inarticulate. This study, the only book-length examination of this subject, tells history "from the bottom up" and furthers an understanding of worker culture during the tumultuous Depression years.
Author: Murray Newton Rothbard
Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute
Category: Business cycles
Applied Austrian economics doesn't get better than this. Murray N. Rothbard's America's Great Depression is a staple of modern economic literature and crucial for understanding a pivotal event in American and world history. The book remains canonical today because the debate is still very alive. This book applies Austrian business cycle theory to understanding the onset of the 1929 Great Depression. Rothbard first summarizes the Austrian theory and offers a criticism of competing theories, including the views of Keynes. Rothbard then considers Federal Reserve policy in the 1920s, showing its inflationary character. The influence of Benjamin Strong, the Governor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was especially important. In part, his expansionary policy was motivated by his desire to help Britain sustain the pound. Strong was close friends with Montagu Norman, the Governor of the Bank of England. After the 1929 crash, Herbert Hoover followed an interventionist policy that prefigured the New Deal. He favored keeping wage rates high and thus contributed to rising unemployment. Against the popular stereotype, Rothbard shows that Hoover was not a partisan of laissez-faire.
Author: William E. Leuchtenburg
Publisher: Harper Collins
When the stability of American life was threatened by the Great Depression, the decisive and visionary policy contained in FDR's New Deal offered America a way forward. In this groundbreaking work, William E. Leuchtenburg traces the evolution of what was both the most controversial and effective socioeconomic initiative ever undertaken in the United States—and explains how the social fabric of American life was forever altered. It offers illuminating lessons on the challenges of economic transformation—for our time and for all time.
Author: Ira Katznelson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
An exploration of the New Deal era highlights the politicians and pundits of the time, many of whom advocated for questionable positions, including separation of the races and an American dictatorship.
How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression
Author: Ted Gup
Category: Biography & Autobiography
An inspiring account of America at its worst-and Americans at their best-woven from the stories of Depression-era families who were helped by gifts from the author's generous and secretive grandfather. Shortly before Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper ad offered $10, no strings attached, to 75 families in distress. Interested readers were asked to submit letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author's grandfather Sam Stone was inspired to place this ad and assist his fellow Cantonians as they prepared for the cruelest Christmas most of them would ever witness. Moved by the tales of suffering and expressions of hope contained in the letters, which he discovered in a suitcase 75 years later, Ted Gup initially set out to unveil the lives behind them, searching for records and relatives all over the country who could help him flesh out the family sagas hinted at in those letters. From these sources, Gup has re-created the impact that Mr B. Virdot's gift had on each family. Many people yearned for bread, coal, or other necessities, but many others received money from B. Virdot for more fanciful items-a toy horse, say, or a set of encyclopedias. As Gup's investigations revealed, all these things had the power to turn people's lives around- even to save them. But as he uncovered the suffering and triumphs of dozens of strangers, Gup also learned that Sam Stone was far more complex than the lovable- retiree persona he'd always shown his grandson. Gup unearths deeply buried details about Sam's life-from his impoverished, abusive upbringing to felonious efforts to hide his immigrant origins from U.S. officials-that help explain why he felt such a strong affinity to strangers in need. Drawing on his unique find and his award-winning reportorial gifts, Ted Gup solves a singular family mystery even while he pulls away the veil of eight decades that separate us from the hardships that united America during the Depression. In A Secret Gift, he weaves these revelations seamlessly into a tapestry of Depression-era America, which will fascinate and inspire in equal measure. Watch a Video
Letters from the Forgotten Man
Author: Robert S. McElvaine
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Down and Out in the Great Depression is a moving, revealing collection of letters by the forgotten men, women, and children who suffered through one of the greatest periods of hardship in American history. Sifting through some 15,000 letters from g
Learning from the Successes and Failures of the New Deal
Author: Sheila D. Collins,Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Social Science
When Government Helped systematically evaluates some parallels between The Great Depression and the 2007-2008 global economic meltdown, not only in terms of their economic causes and consequences, but also in terms of their political and cultural contexts and the environmental crises that afflict both periods. The positive and negative lessons for contemporary policy-making are evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of authors across a range of policy arenas. This book is a unique blend of disciplines that presents a new set of guideposts--some beneficial, some cautionary--for the future.
A History of Arkansas Ozarkers & Their Image
Author: Brooks Blevins
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
In the first comprehensive social history of the Arkansas Ozarks from the early 19th century through the end of the 20th century, Blevins examines settlement patterns, farming, economics, class, and tourism. He also explores the development of conflicting images of the Ozarks as a timeless arcadia peopled by quaint, homespun characters or a backward region filled with hillbillies.
Voting Behavior and Realignment in Boston, 1920-1940
Author: Gerald H. Gamm
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
"Why is The Making of New Deal Democrats so significant? One of the major controversies in the study of American elections has to do with the nature of electoral realignments. One school argues that a realignment involves a major shift of voters from one party to another, while another school argues that the process consists largely of mobilization of previously inactive voters. The debate is crucial for understanding the nature of the New Deal realignment. Almost all previous work on the subject has dealt with large-scale national patterns which make it difficult to pin down the precise processes by which the alignment took place. Gamm's work is most remarkable in that it is a close analysis of shifting voter alignments on the precinct and block level in the city of Boston. His extremely detailed and painstaking work of isolating homogeneous ethnic units over a twenty-year period allows one to trace the voting behavior of the particular ethnic groups that ultimately formed the core of the New Deal realignment."—Sidney Verba, Harvard University
The Rise of Hitler and FDR--Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny
Author: David Pietrusza
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Two Depression-battered nations confronted destiny in 1932, going to the polls in their own way to anoint new leaders, to rescue their people from starvation and hopelessness. America would elect a Congress and a president—ebullient aristocrat Franklin Roosevelt or tarnished “Wonder Boy” Herbert Hoover. Decadent, divided Weimar Germany faced two rounds of bloody Reichstag elections and two presidential contests—doddering reactionary Paul von Hindenburg against rising radical hate-monger Adolf Hitler. The outcome seemed foreordained—unstoppable forces advancing upon crumbled, disoriented societies. A merciless Great Depression brought greater—perhaps hopeful, perhaps deadly—transformation: FDR’s New Deal and Hitler’s Third Reich. But neither outcome was inevitable. Readers enter the fray through David Pietrusza’s page-turning account: Roosevelt’s fellow Democrats may yet halt him at a deadlocked convention. 1928’s Democratic nominee, Al Smith, harbors a grudge against his one-time protege. Press baron William Randolph Hearst lays his own plans to block Roosevelt’s ascent to the White House. FDR’s politically-inspired juggling of a New York City scandal threatens his juggernaut. In Germany, the Nazis surge at the polls but twice fall short of Reichstag majorities. Hitler, tasting power after a lifetime of failure and obscurity, falls to Hindenburg for the presidency—also twice within the year. Cabals and counter-cabals plot. Secrets of love and suicide haunt Hitler. Yet guile and ambition may yet still prevail. 1932’s breathtaking narrative covers two epic stories that possess haunting parallels to today’s crisis-filled vortex. It is an all-too-human tale of scapegoats and panaceas, class warfare and racial politics, of a seemingly bottomless depression, of massive unemployment and hardship, of unprecedented public works/infrastructure programs, of business stimulus programs and damaging allegations of political cronyism, of waves of bank failures and of mortgages foreclosed, of Washington bonus marches and Berlin street fights, of once-solid financial empires collapsing seemingly overnight, of rapidly shifting social mores, and of mountains of irresponsible international debt threatening to crash not just mere nations but the entire global economy. It is the tale of spell-binding leaders versus bland businessmen and out-of-touch upper-class elites and of two nations inching to safety but lurching toward disaster. It is 1932’s nightmare—with lessons for today.
Author: Robert McCloskey
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard proudly return to their home in the Boston Public Garden with their eight offspring.