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The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction
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The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction

(Very Short Introductions)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The New Deal shaped our nation's politics for decades, and was seen by many as tantamount to the "American Way" itself. Now, in this superb compact history, Eric Rauchway offers an informed account of the New Deal and the Great Depression, illuminating its successes and failures.

Rauchway first describes how the roots of the Great Depression lay in America's post-war econom
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 1st 2007)
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3.64  · 
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 ·  376 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Great Depression & the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #166), Eric Rauchway
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), Original Title: The Great Dep
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: us, history, 21-ce
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.
Benjamin Stahl
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent, concise history of the Great Depression and Roosevelt's 'New Deal' strategy to revamp the American economy and national morale. Consistent with the high standard these books usually meet, Eric Rauchway provides a simple yet still thorough analysis of the American financial disaster of the 1930s in a way that even someone like me who does not know or read much about economics generally is able to follow and enjoy this book. Rauchway also never loses sight of the human factor relatin ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jim Angstadt
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
The Great Depression & The New Deal: A Very Short Introduction
Eric Rauchway

Thanks to Will Byrnes for his review of this book, and an introduction to the series.

I am impressed by the author's ability to condense a mountain of information into a short, very readable story. This treatment is exactly what I want when introduced to a new subject. But, for a subject that I am somewhat familiar with, this approach may not be as helpful.

With over 500 subjects to choose from, there should be somethin
Feb 14, 2009 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
Robin Friedman
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Depression And New Deal Discussed Concisely

The Oxford University Press publishes a series called "Very Short Introductions" written by authorities in their fields. The series helps to introduce busy and curious readers to a wide variety of subjects. The series numbers nearly 200 volumes and includes subjects from history, philosophy, religion, science, and the humanities. This series constitutes an admirable way for any person to learn something about new matters and to expand his or her int
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a primer to the bigger issues of the Great Depression, the Very Short Introduction provides a brief overview of topics for exploration, but I feel as though the book lacks context for some of the discussions it dives into. As a very short introduction, it plows through a lot of information very quickly, but its deep dives don't ever feel quite connected to a clear narrative overview of the decade of the '30s. Its information is good, but its narrativization is lousy.

That said, it does provide
Mohamed IBrahim
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics

A very good introduction to the new deal. Does not say much about anything but it does not cover mostly the causes of the great depression. It is focused on how Roosevelt policies dealt with the crises. It was a very good discussion but I was hoping to get some new information about the great depression itselt. It can be good as introduction only.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to the context of the Great Depression and the formation of the New Deal and how FDR implemented it. Probably more economically informative rather than socially, focusing more on the legislative history of the era. Nevertheless great for a brief overview.
Peter Johnson
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, short but thorough look at the politics of dealing with ANY kind of crisis in the U S A. Easy to read with enlightening observations.
Seth D Michaels
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, us-history
Not a lot I didn't know already, but nicely done - efficiently walks through the major points while still having room for a little analysis of what did and didn't work.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Clear, nuanced and exactly what it sets out to be.
Kate Samuelsen
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was an easy read, a concise history of the Great Depression that did its best to tell the story as unbiasedly as it could while presenting the facts with little hubbub.
Daniel Wright
(1) One of the great things about the Very Short Introduction series from OUP is that they achieve a very scholarly level in tone and content without being littered with footnotes (or, still worse, endnotes). This contribution to the series completely disregards this. Fortunately, the notes are only citations rather than explanations, and I soon learnt to ignore them, but it still spoils the book's aesthetic appeal.

(2) While the consensus among historians is that the New Deal was what saved the
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I was just looking for a nice overview. It's fairly difficult to rate a book like this. It's basically a longer and higher quality textbook of the GD - causes, responses, aftermath, and analysis. There were two things I liked: First and foremost, Rauchway synthesizes a lot of sources very well and includes a lot of suggested reading. In that way, it's a great place to start some serious in-depth reading of the Great Depression. Secondly, I appreciated Rauchway's honest analys ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
B. P. Rinehart
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.
Lori Kincaid Rassati
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-reading
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.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a short and sweet introduction into the Great Depression and the New Deal. It is a great little reference book to have.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Succinctly crafted. No attempt to draw parallels to our own decade 2000-2010 but they are there!

A terrific foundation for a good discussion.
Oct 11, 2008 rated it liked it
If you want to a reflection of the current state of affairs, pick up this short read.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Very short and easy to get through, but not as compelling as I wanted.
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Eric Rauchway is an American historian and professor at the University of California, Davis. Rauchway's scholarship focuses on modern US political, social and economic history, particularly the Progressive Era and the New Deal.

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“Postwar debts differed from prewar borrowing. New World borrowers spent nineteenth-century British loans on railroads and ranches, building the capacity to repay their lenders. Belligerent borrowers spent wartime American loans on shot and shell, destroying that capacity. Nations wounded in war borrowed more money to repay their debts, sometimes borrowing from America to pay other belligerents who in turn paid America.” 0 likes
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