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The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction Audio Download – Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback
The Great Depression and The New Deal is a new title from Oxford University Press in its terrific series of Very Small Introductions. This topic will draw considerable debate from those interested in the factional aspects of economic theory but the author (and I) leave that for the reader to judge for themselves.

Eric Rauchway is a Professor of History at the University of California, Davis and has done a remarkable job of putting together an interesting little book which, without pretending to present everything, covers this remarkable period with both old an new perspectives.

Starting with the end of The Great War, Rauchway goes into the boom time of the Roaring 20's and into the Wall St Crash of 1929. He points to excessive levels of cheap credit and high levels of debt as a major factor in the impact the Crash had on America, which parallels the present Global financial Crisis.

Efforts by the Hoover administration to contain the effects failed and by the time Roosevelt took office in 1933, unemployment stood at around 25%. With a clear mandate and a major crisis on his hands, Roosevelt and his crew acted swiftly and instituted a series of reforms to stabilise the problem in order that it could be acted upon. To do this he took on the banks and brokers in defiance of those who considered him a traitor to his class. Many would have seen it the other way around but it was a brave move anyway you look at it and it had to be done.

The book goes on to describe many of the programs such as the CCC and CWA which took on so many of America's unemployed. Purists will argue that this didn't solve any problems but that point of view fails to take into account the fact that these programs had three positive effects.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Firstly, I was studying Edexcel's GCE 'America: Boom, Bust and Recovery' (Option C) to which I decided to buy this book as a wider reading tool to help me understand the New Deal.

While the book does break the vast array of issues down in to a easily digestible amounts, there is sometimes a problem of long, potentially overly complex sentences. Sometimes, although this may just be my reading ability, I found myself having to re-read certain sentences or pages to understand them. It required, as expected, my full attention, but at times was a little too intense!

In terms of content and helpfulness in general, however, I found that it did address the main issues in each of the sections and did also work well with the course - in that it didn't go into much more detail than required by my course. One thing I did find useful was the list of 'Acts' passed as part of the New Deal in the back - there are a great many!

I would recommend this from a student viewpoint, but also for anyone looking to understand the New Deal as it does make a lot of sense even with little background knowledge. Just those clunky sentences to work on to make it a full 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This a good resource for an introduction or especially useful to someone doing research on the subject like me who needs some guidance and pointers. The bibliography of further reading at the back, and the various fiscal charts, are also quite useful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Something we've all heard about but few of us, except economists, have ever studied. This is not an in depth analysis but I felt I learned what I needed to know with very little effort. The insights into Roosevelt's motivations and the general phobia about socialism was particularly intriguing.
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