‘The Depression and New Deal: A History in Documents’ is an acclaimed book that intends to inform readers about the political conditions, economic condition, the culture, literature, and the people of united states of America. Robert S. Mc Elvaine’s written this book is an important source of information to understand the condition of America during 1920’s and thereafter. Mc Elvaine, a well known historian describes American history and several related aspects in his book in a very interesting yet very informative manner. This paper intends to discuss the book and several other related aspects of the book in a detailed outlook.
Readers get a glimpse of America’s internal as well as external situation in the decades of twenties and thirties through Mc Elvaine’s book. The book is very useful for youngsters who are completely dependent on similar sources to know about the old times. New generation has witnessed an America that leads the world in almost every sector but the situation was not the same in the decades of twenties and thirties. When People read this book, then they come to know that America has witnessed the economic depression which made America quivering. This long depression was longest and perhaps the gravest in the history of United States.
The book gives a description of consumerism, the end of prosperity and American life which is corroborated by a number of government sources and documents. Author moves ahead and talks about stock market crash which gave a serious jolt to the American economy. The economic depression that America faced in the twenties taught America to find new ways and the nation learnt some new lesson which made the America a world superpower.
‘The Depression and New Deal: A History in Documents’ is considered as a very practical and accounts of true incidents that was prepared with a neutral and biased mind. The author sounds very true and unbiased when in chapter two of the book, ‘stormy weather’ discusses about a number of things which one would not like to discuss in today’s time because of government’s interference and watch. Author shares that people were starving, they used to write letters to the white house with a expectation that he would get some assistance but did not get anything but only assurances. A majority of requests were not responded and author shares how some requests were responded with demand of some charity.
One more chapter that seems praiseworthy is chapter eight, ‘women can change better than a man’. This chapter is one of the most intriguing parts of this book. Author mentions about the economic depression and the condition of women in the society. Author describes how women used to manage their house and feed their children. To console their unemployed men was an additional liability on their shoulders. Women played a significant role in order to manage family, feed their family members. Author also uses a picture of one Owens Thompson who lost her dignity and everything else in order to feed her seven children but not the hope. This famous picture belongs to Dorothea Lange and won acclamations from all over. Author through This chapter gives a glimpse of the contemporary society in the decades of twenties.
The book discusses the social, political and economical situations of contemporary America but psychological aspect is the most important thing that comes out after reading this book. The economic depression affected the psyche of Americans in a significant manner. Men were loosed their jobs, they were mentally depressed, women had to feed their hungry children but they had nothing in their hands. The situation was too adverse to imagine. Women used to manage things without caring about their respect and a spate of unfortunate things came in the society which seemed to be beyond anybody’s control.
After having observed the above mentioned analysis of the book, The Depression and New Deal: A History in Documents, it is good to say that the book takes us back in the decades of thirty and enable the readers to have a glimpse on the events that took place in the contemporary America. The economic depression has a very momentous role in the history of America and the author suggests that nation took a positive turn instead of getting succumbed to this blow.
McElvaine, Robert S. The Depression and New Deal: A History in Documents . Oxford, USA: Oxford University Press, 2003.