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The Great Depression & the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction
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The Great Depression & the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #166)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The Great Depression forced the United States to adopt policies at odds with its political traditions. This title looks at the background to the Depression, its social impact, and at the various governmental attempts to deal with the crisis.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 1st 2007)
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Will Byrnes
When George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it," he must have been thinking about the sorts of political leaders we have today (2011) as Republicans and some Democrats seem determined to repeat the errors of that earlier time. Those who espouse looking forward only, it can usually be seen, are eager to avoid responsibility for what lies behind. And so it is today. Looking backward, or learning from experience, is what intelligent people do, in order t ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Ginger rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
The title is definitively appropriate. It's a 130 page summary of the causes immediately leading to the Great Depression, the social climate, and then what the Roosevelt Administration did in response to it. It reads like the extended version of a 101 level college textbook chapter. It covers A LOT of ground in very short time so it's pretty hard to hold onto the specifics and the lists of New Deal acronyms gets weary, but the refresher was definitely helpful. You can't go over this information ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
I read this guy's blog regularly (economic historian at UC Davis), and am obsessed with the stimulus debate, plus I'm working on a research project about 20th C debt in the US. So this is a natural choice. Plus, it's "very short." On his blog, he tags his discussions of current New Deal/Keynes/FDR debates "New Deal Denialist Truth Squadding." He's smart and funny. With killer stats. In case you're curious, he's of the opinion that the New Deal worked, and his numbers prove it. Helpful knowledge, ...more
Tim Pendry
This is a 'very short introduction' in Oxford's useful series of that name. It is a simple guide to the defining event of the US' twentieth century - the New Deal that arose out of the Great Depression. It is also the story of a conservative politician [FDR] quite capable of radical rhetoric. His electoral achievement in 1936, taking every State except Maine and Vermont, was unparalleled since Munroe in 1820.

Rauchway references JK Galbraith once and Galbraith is not to be found in the Further Re
A fine overview of the Great Depression and New Deal, as the title makes plain. As it's meant to be "very short," lots get missed. As I'm not an economist I can't argue about the finer points of their arguments about why the Great Depression started and what impact the New Deal had on the Depression. Rauchway does seem to do a fine job of bringing in a lot of the major points of those debates. He seems to discuss the left-wing critiques of FDR and the New Deal more than he does the right wing cr ...more
This is a helpful volume and a good place to start your reading on this subject. In so brief a volume, however, the author has focused mainly on the legislative history of The New Deal. If you want a narrative about how the Depression affected the day-to-day lives of Americans (and I did), you won't find it here, except in the briefest and most abstract terms, though you might try David M. Kennedy's Freedom From Fear: The American People In Depression and War, 1929-1945.
I've been reading a lot of these very short introductions recently, and this has been at the top of the list. Rauchway focuses less on an overview of the period than on the New Deal's role as a promoter of countervailing force to prop up Capitalism at it's weakest, rather than an attempt to fundamentally change capitalism, certainly not revolutionary. Seems like as good a place as any to start learning about the subject.
Lori Kincaid
The book lived up to its name--a very short introduction to the subject matter. Although no fault of the author, I became bogged down in all of the legislation related to the New Deal. I would have liked more of an explanation of what led up to the depression. Overall, a good quick read.
A fairly clear and concise read, it was on my reading list for a History class I was taking about the Transformation of Modern America. I thought there were a few holes and you could tell it was only a brief introduction, but overall it was easy to get through and well written.
Highly recommended for those who want a brief but fairly comprehensive overview of the Great Depression. I was not aware of how closely it hewed to our present day situation. I am now interested in reading the transcripts for the fireside chats or an FDR biography.
Ken Moten
This book is a very good, to the point intro/summary of the New Deal and how it worked. I was very impressed at how finely detailed the information was and I gained a big appreciation for the ambition that the architects of the New Deal had.
It certainly lives up to its subtitle... although the editors cheated a bit by using really tiny type... anyway, a decent read for students of history and for those trying to get a handle on our current macroeconomic debates, re: "stimulus" etc.
Nov 10, 2008 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kate, anna, evelyn, stacey
Good short guide to the past that is so relevant to us today.
Scaringly mirrors our current situation. Those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it: and as Marx said: the first time its tragedy, the second time farce.
Gives a historical perspective on the understanding of the Depression and the New Deal. I learned quite a bit from this book and it lead me to other sources that helped me further understand this topic.
lucid, non-dogmatic recap of fiscal policy and politics from 1929-WWII. Totally useful for planning your response to the nu-metal great depression of 2008-whenever it ends.
Nov 15, 2008 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, npr
As heard on the NPR Books podcast: Laura Conaway describes it as "required reading".
Succinctly crafted. No attempt to draw parallels to our own decade 2000-2010 but they are there!

A terrific foundation for a good discussion.
This is a short and sweet introduction into the Great Depression and the New Deal. It is a great little reference book to have.
Robert Giambo
A good short history of the great depression with no particular bias. Another good book in the Very Short Introduction series.
Craig J.
The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Eric Rauchway (2008)
If you want to a reflection of the current state of affairs, pick up this short read.
Very concise, direct, sums up events and response in a helpful manner.
Very short and easy to get through, but not as compelling as I wanted.
It was ok, got a little dry at times but overall a very interesting read.
Kevin MudWing
Very informative. I really liked the descriptions in it.
Wren added it
Oct 22, 2014
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