The Great Depression

Books that illuminate the struggles of a nation during prolonged economic drought.



Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

By Mildred Armstrong Kalish


Octogenarian Kalish recounts in unsparing, unsentimental detail his early years growing up on a farmduring lean times: a pile of blankets to warm you at night, cows to milk in the morning, and an outhouse out back. Kalish transmutes youthful hardship into an enthralling and vivid tale.




The Great Depression: A Diary

By Benjamin Roth and edited by James Ledbetter


Two years after the Wall Street crash of 1929, Benjamin Roth, a New York City lawyer, began noting in his diary how he saw the persistent financial crush etching its consequences on everyday life. His record of social transformations raises eerie echoes for twenty-first century readers.




Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression

By Morris Dickstein


Wallets may have been empty during the Depression --  but America was culturally quite rich: from the emergence of early jazz and the pairing of Rogers and Astaire to the writings of John Steinbeck and the making of Gone With the Wind. Dickstein masterfully chronicles an era's unique artistic legacy -- and argues for its enduring appeal.




Essays on the Great Depression

By Ben Bernanke


Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke is known as one of the pre-eminent living scholar of the economics of the Great Depression. His 2005 study of how the nation fell into such monetary distress provides the background for understanding Bernanke's current efforts to right the nation’s still-listing financial ship.



Complete Little Orphan Annie, Volume 3

By Harold Gray


Just how bad was it?  This third volume of strips from Harold Gray's beloved funny-pages serial offers a taste: The vast empire of Daddy Warbucks goes down the tubes and he and Annie are forced to rent a room and take blue-collar jobs. Don’t worry, though. A friend by the name of Flop-House Bill helps them regain respectability.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.