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The Forgotten Man: A New History of the…

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007)

by Amity Shlaes

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1,1994010,258 (3.78)36



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Not an easy read...too many names and some jumping around in time. A very good history of the impact of government intervention in the economy leading up to and during the great depression. Some of the mistakes from that era are certainly being repeated today. History would tell you not to believe politicians when they describe actions as "temporary" or "necessitated by current events". Many of those policies, whether for good or bad, are with us forever. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
Should be required reading for every current elected official in federal government as well as senior staff members of the Federal Reserve. ( )
  dele2451 | Jan 2, 2019 |
This book was informative but at times it was very slow and often had far too many details. However, it did give a very accurate feeling of the time and pointed out several changes that were adopted as to the federal government role for the nation. ( )
  cyderry | Dec 5, 2017 |
Interesting book but sometimes dragged down by all the nitty gritty details it presents. Recommend. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 9, 2016 |
OK book, good audiobook narrator. There were some interesting parts and it all had some interesting speculation but had so many paths that kinda were presented as if "absolutely true" that it just didn't hold interest that well. I don't know, maybe I need to read it again. I can't remember the instance but one part got me saying "what?! that's not right" and I think from then on I had a half hearted attitude. So... I guess if you like reading various ideas about the depression then you'll like this. ( )
  marshapetry | Mar 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
This new book is the finest history of the Great Depression ever written. Hold on — this is supposed to be a review, not a dust-jacket blurb; but it can’t be helped. Although there are several fine revisionist works about the Great Depression and the New Deal, Shlaes’s achievement stands out for the devastating effect of its understated prose and for its wide sweep of characters and themes. It deserves to become the preeminent revisionist history for general readers. . . .

Those conservatives who lately have inclined to some sentimental affection for FDR (this includes Conrad Black and, occasionally, this writer) will be roundly disabused by the damning portrait Shlaes offers. “Roosevelt was not an ideologue or a radical,” she judges, but his affinity for experimentation and improvisation yielded inconsistent and destabilizing economic policy at a time when certainty was the most needful thing. FDR’s intellectual instability was terrifying in its fullness. . . .

When presidential candidate Ronald Reagan remarked that “fascism was really the basis of the New Deal,” liberals and the media hooted; the Washington Post huffed that “several historians of the New Deal period questioned by the Washington Post said they had no idea what Reagan was referring to.” Thanks to Shlaes’s book, journalists in the future will not be able to plead such ignorance. . . .

We are now so far removed from the economic ruin of the New Deal’s ill-considered economic interventionism that resistance to grand central fixes for health care, global warming, or outsourcing may be on the wane. With this prospect in mind, Shlaes’s book could be called The Forgotten Lesson.
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"These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganized but the indispensable units of economic power, for plans like those of 1917 that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid."--Gov. Franklin Roosevelt of New York, Radio Address in Albany, April 7, 1932
"As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X, or in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X...What I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who is never thought of...
He works, he votes, generally he prays--but he always pays..."---William Graham Sumner, Yale University, 1883
for my parents
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One November evening long ago in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a thirteen-year-old named William Troeller hanged himself from the transom in his bedroom.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060936428, Paperback)

In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes, one of the nation's most-respected economic commentators, offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. She traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers and the moving stories of individual citizens who through their brave perseverance helped establish the steadfast character we recognize as American today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It's difficult today to imagine how America survived the Great Depression--only through the stories of the common people who struggled during that era can we really understand it. These people are at the heart of this reinterpretation of one of the most crucial events of the twentieth century. Author Shlaes presents the neglected and moving stories of individual Americans, and shows how through brave leadership they helped establish the steadfast character we developed as a nation. Shlaes also traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers themselves as they discovered their errors. She shows how both Hoover and Roosevelt failed to understand the prosperity of the 1920s and heaped massive burdens on the country that more than offset the benefit of New Deal programs. The real question about the Depression, she argues, is not whether Roosevelt ended it--it is why it lasted so long.--From publisher description.… (more)

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