NYT Columnist: Best books about the Great Depression

Historians in the News

As part of my annual list of economics books (from today’s Times), I promised two online extras: a list of good books about the Great Depression, courtesy of Barry Gewen, an editor at The Times Book Review; and links to excerpts from several of the books I mentioned in the newspaper.

The Depression list starts with “Freedom From Fear,” by David Kennedy, which won the Pulitzer Prize. In a 1999 review, Mr. Gewen called the book “the best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era,” and he says that judgment still stands.

Next is the “Age of Roosevelt” trilogy, by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., which I mentioned in the column. Mr. Gewen said I was perhaps being charitable by calling the book “a bit” triumphalist. But he also said: “Those volumes are still the most readable books on the subject. No one writes like Schlesinger.”

Also on the list:

* “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal,” by William E. Leuchtenburg.
* John Kenneth Galbraith’s “The Great Crash, 1929.” (Mr. Gewen wrote about Galbraith last week on the Paper Cuts blog.)
* “Only Yesterday” and “Since Yesterday,” Frederick Lewis Allen’s contemporaneous accounts of the Depression.
* Alonzo Hamby’s “For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s.” Mr. Gewen describes it thusly: “It’s a multinational history that shows how F.D.R. handled the Depression compared to how it was handled in Germany and England. It’s a useful perspective to have, especially these days.”

Now, those links to the excerpts:...
Read entire article at David Leonhardt in the NYT

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