October 28, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Studs Terkel

Language: English

Pages: 433

ISBN: 1565846567

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A reissue of Terkel's classic work, with a new introduction by the author.

Studs Terkel's classic history of the Great Depression. In this unique re-creation of one of the most dramatic periods in modern American history, Studs Terkel recaptures the Great Depression of the 1930s in all its complexity. The book is a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were most destitute: politicians like James Farley and Raymond Moley; businessmen like Bill Benton and Clement Stone; a six-day bicycle racer; artists and writers; racketeers; speakeasy operators, strikers, and impoverished farmers; people who were just kids; and those who remember losing a fortune. Hard Times is not only a gold mine of information—much of it little known—but also a fascinating interplay of memory and fact, showing how the Depression affected the lives of those who experienced it firsthand, often transforming the most bitter memories into a surprising nostalgia.

"Hard Times doesn't render the time of the Depression or historicize about it--it is that time, its lingo, mood, its tragic and hilarious stories".--Arthur Miller


First published in 1970, this classic of oral history features the voices of men and women who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. It includes accounts by congressmen C. Wright Patman and Hamilton Fish, as well as failed presidential candidate Alf M. Landon, who recalls what it was like to be governor of Kansas in 1933:

Men with tears in their eyes begged for an appointment that would help save their homes and farms. I couldn't see them all in my office. But I never let one of them leave without my coming out and shakin' hands with 'em. I listened to all their stories, each one of 'em. But it was obvious I couldn't take care of all their terrible needs.

The book includes also the perspectives of ordinary men and women, such as Jim Sheridan, who took part in the 1932 march by World War I veterans to petition for their benefits in Washington, D.C., where they were repelled by army troops led by General Douglas MacArthur. Or Edward Santander, who was a child then: "My first memories come about '31. It was simply a gut issue then: eating or not eating, living or not living." Studs Terkel makes history come alive, drawing out experiences and emotions from his interviewees to the degree few have ever been able to match.


Note - First attempt at de-DRMing a book - please let me know if I've inadvertently processed it wrong and should remove the Retail flag.

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kind of governmental control, because we continued to use the market mechanism. In the two years of the NRA, the index of industrial production went up remarkably. Things had been going downgrade—worse, worse, worse. More than anything else, the NRA changed the climate. It served its purpose. Had it lasted longer, it would not have worked in the public interest. Although toward the end, the consumer group was making progress. Had the NRA continued, it would have meant dangerously diminishing

fellows organizing the CIO. Left wing is a term that was used, where you don’t go around with the rank-and-file. They organized the fellows that worked hard for a living up at the stockyards. The American Federation of Labor did nothing for the laborer, nothing. I can remember when my father worked at the stockyards when I was a little boy. That’s fifty years ago. His salary was ten cents an hour. My brother worked up there for the same. He worked ten hours for a dollar a day. If they mentioned

enable people to play the market without owning a share of stock. The result: the system is tilting from investment to speculation.”5 It rings a distant bell. Were Arthur A. Robertson still around, he’d recognize the tolling sound—at least, the alarm. He was an industrialist, “a scavenger. I used to buy broken-down businesses that banks took over.” He was a millionaire at twenty-four. He knew all the legendary figures of the market, who’d “run up a stock to ridiculous prices and unload it on the

I know it’s theirs I’m asking for, and, in a way it’s mine. But it does sound silly, as I say it. During the Depression, the La Follette movement grew, with Bob, Junior, and Phil. When the New Deal came in, they worked with Roosevelt. By this time, my father was getting pretty old and bitter. Being an extreme strict Catholic, he fell for Coughlinism. It was quite a deal between him and his favorite son. He even wanted to sell Social Justice. I hated to do it, but I had to tell him: If Social

an acre of ground, a playground with no equipment. Out there were the toilets, three-holers, and in the winter—You remember Chic Sale?91 You had moons, crescents or stars on the doors. You’d be surprised at the number of people in rural areas that didn’t have much in this way, as late as the Thirties. One of the greatest contributions of the WPA was the standardized outdoor toilet, with modern plumbing. (Laughs.) They built thousands of them around here. You can still see some of ’em standing.

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