The Great Depression: America 1929-1941

Overview

One of the classic studies of the Great Depression, featuring a new introduction by the author with insights into the economic crises of 1929 and today.
 
In the twenty-five years since its publication, critics and scholars have praised historian Robert McElvaine’s sweeping and authoritative history of the Great Depression as one of the best and most readable studies of the era. Combining clear-eyed insight into the machinations of ...

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The Great Depression: America 1929-1941

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Overview

One of the classic studies of the Great Depression, featuring a new introduction by the author with insights into the economic crises of 1929 and today.
 
In the twenty-five years since its publication, critics and scholars have praised historian Robert McElvaine’s sweeping and authoritative history of the Great Depression as one of the best and most readable studies of the era. Combining clear-eyed insight into the machinations of politicians and economists who struggled to revive the battered economy, personal stories from the average people who were hardest hit by an economic crisis beyond their control, and an evocative depiction of the popular culture of the decade, McElvaine paints an epic picture of an America brought to its knees—but also brought together by people’s widely shared plight.
 
In a new introduction, McElvaine draws striking parallels between the roots of the Great Depression and the economic meltdown that followed in the wake of the credit crisis of 2008. He also examines the resurgence of anti-regulation free market ideology, beginning in the Reagan era, and argues that some economists and politicians revised history and ignored the lessons of the Depression era.

Repackaged to tie-in to a forthcoming PBS series on the Great Depression scheduled to air in October, this perennially popular work is fully revised to include new scholarship published over the last eight years. One of the country's premier scholars on the subject, McElvaine is consulting historian to the PBS documentary. Photos throughout.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Times Notable Book
 
“It would be hard to find a fairer or more balanced account of how the American people and their leaders learned to grapple with their greatest economic crisis.” —New York Times Book Review
 
“A thorough work of scholarship, a lively story, and a highly original feat of analysis.”—Business Week 
 
“This is essential reading.” —Studs Terkel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812923278
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 402
  • Sales rank: 357,901
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT S. MCELVAINE is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts and Letters and chair of the Department of History at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of ten books and served as historical consultant for the PBS series The Great Depression. His writing appears frequently in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and he blogs on the Huffington Post.  

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2006

    Political Comparisions Aside

    Certainly MaCelvaine takes alot of shots at Reagan. So what? The book does a lot more than slam the former president. For example, the author describes quite eloquently the philosophies of Hoover and Roosevelt. Furthermore, McElvaine does a great job of measuring the pulse of the nation in the 1920s and 1930s. To focus only on where the author went wrong is to not acknowledge the contributions of the book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    It could have been written about 2008

    It could have been written as a blueprint for the fall of our present economy. That is what is scary about it. Its a view of what unfettered greed and a unregulated capitalistic society can do for the equality of humanity. He was not easy on FDR and did not portray him as perfect in any way. What the author did do is show us that it isn't just the leader but its the society that must be prepared to change in order for real change to occur during times like the depression and now. Its a provocative book in that it makes you think about what America is and who you are as an American.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    A Superb rendering of the Great Depression

    If you have only enough time for one book about the Great Depression---Read This One! I¿ve read dozens of books about FDR and the Great Depression and McElvain¿s rendering covers the field with insightfulness and interesting prose. I especially appreciate the ¿Forgotten Man¿ perspective throughout the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    Rather heavy on the anti-Reagan rhetoric

    This book was originally written in the mid-80s and just brims with anti-Reagan contempt. One rather interesting sidenote is how many times McElvaine infers that Reagan is/was obviously leading us into the same situation that caused the original Great Depression. Seems to me, 15 years after the fact, that this clearly did not happen. Truly, we're still in the throes of one of the longest peacetime expansions in US history. Having gotten the 80s so wrong - and not even bothering to reframe his arguments when he wrote a new 90s intro for this edition - causes one to wonder about his conclusions on the 30s. It's not a thoroughly bad book, though the economic discussions can get a little thick. But it needs a more dispassionate point of view. Such strenuous Reagan-bashing was common on campus in 1984, but it sounds a bit quaint and out-of-context nowadays. My main concern in starting a book on the Great Depression was that it would be - well, too depressing. But the healthy dose of 80s politics that came with this one tended to pull my attention away from the main storyline of the 20s and 30s.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2008

    Not History, More Commentary

    I was greatly dissapointed in the writers attack on President Reagon., which most of his predictions truned out to be false. I wanted the history of the Great Depression, not a diatribe on Reagans policy.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2001

    An example of what is wrong with academic history

    In the introduction to the book, the author states that he has biases. Everyone has them. Fine. He goes on to say that historians can't completely escape them. True enough. But this author does what too many academic historians do today: he does not even try to moderate his biases. This book is less a piece of scholarship than a polemic for the Democratic Party. He constantly takes shots at Ronald Reagan's policies throughout the book. Love or hate Reagan, this has nothing to do with the Great Depression. This author lets presentism direct his research, and the result is a warped perception of the past. It is absolutely worthless.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    Review

    I thought it was good, I just read one of the articles though

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2001

    the book was more than i could endure

    mcelvaine makes no attempt at a reasonable bias. with this in mind i think 'the great depression' belongs in the social issues section not the historical section of a bookstore. it had as much of an agenda as 'mien kempf' or oliver stones' movie 'jfk'. i ask mr. mcelvaine, why such contempt for ronald reagan, and does it really belong in a book about the great depression. maybe historical comparissons help the reader more clearly understand events of the past, but had i finished the book i suspect you would have placed ronald reagan on the grassy knoll.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 2, 2009

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    Posted December 18, 2008

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    Posted April 16, 2009

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