The Hungry Years A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America

T. H. Watkins

Holt Paperbacks

0805065067

9780805065060

Trade Paperback

608 Pages

$22.99

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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

The Hungry Years offers the full, sweeping story of the Great Depression through the perspectives of those who lived it. Less concerned with the power brokers in Washington than with the daily struggles of ordinary people at the grass roots, it draws on little-known oral histories, memoirs, local press, and scholarly monographs to depict America in a time of extreme crisis. Watkins mines a plethora of individual experiences and telling anecdotes to construct a narrative of compassion, scope, and insight. He traces the disaster chronologically, aptly relating its politics and policies, but never loses sight of the personal wounds it inflicted.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Hungry Years

"A terrific, moving book. The Hungry Years is narrative history at its best. It is the portrait of an entire age, elegantly rendered and remarkably complete and fashioned out of the memories of hundreds, perhaps thousands, or ordinary and not-so-ordinary people who experienced the worst and the best of America during the depression and lived to tell the tale."—Geoffrey C. Ward

"A tour de force, an epic saga brimming with unforgettable anecdotes, glorious storytelling, and sound judgment. As a Great Depression historian, Watkins is in a class of his own."—Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Eisenhower Center

"Watkins offers a narrative overview of both [New Deal policy and the policymakers themselves], giving readers a real sense of how ordinary Americans experienced the Great Depression . . . A thoughtful synthesis . . . Teachers or general readers searching for a compassionate, provocative treatment of life during this period will find this book most worthwhile."—Richard D. Starnes, Western Carolina University, Teaching History: A Journal of Methods

"Watkins's prose often has the intensity and warmth of a photo by Dorothea Lange or a novel by John Steinbeck . . . With richly graphic detail, he refreshes old accounts about the misery and insurgencies of the decade."—Michael Kazin, The New York Times Book Review

"A big-hearted, abundant narrative . . . Watkins draws compelling portraits of people oscillating between despair and hope and a political culture in the midst of historic transformation."—Henry Mayer, Washington Post Book World

"A superb telling of one of modern US history's most painful chapters."—Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent writer of history . . . Watkins here vows to make the Great Depression as experienced by ordinary people 'as rich and full and true as [he] can make it.' A formidable task, but Watkins ably succeeds . . . His opening section excels in imparting the feelings with which people reacted to the crash of 1929—forced optimism, followed by bewilderment, crushed pride, and deepening fear . . . The vignettes Watkins selects are gritty, visceral, and seamlessly sutured to the federal programs that rolled out in the course of the decade, making this a signal addition to the rich historiography of the Depression."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads

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The author of numerous books, T.H. Watkins was perhaps best-known as the author of Righteous Pilgrim, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He died in 2000. At the time of his death he was Wallace Stegner Distinguished Professor of Western American Studies at Montana State University.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • T. H. Watkins

  • The author of numerous books, T. H. Watkins was perhaps best-known as the author of Righteous Pilgrim, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. When he died in 2000, he was Wallace Stegner Distinguished Professor of Western American Studies at Montana State University.
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