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Topic: Depression Era Recommendations Wanted

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Subject: Depression Era Recommendations Wanted
Date Posted: 10/9/2008 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2006
Posts: 568
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I'm looking for recommendations for a few novels (or short stories) sent in the time of the Great Depression.  It seems sort of timely now. :( 

I really enjoyed Sea Glass by Anita Shreve when I read it a couple of years ago. 

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen--great read, set in the Depression, about a circus train!

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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"Shiloh Autumn" by Bodie and Brock Thoene (I think it'd be considered Christian fiction/lit, but not  preachy):

The stock market crash of 1929 had yet to affect the families of Shiloh, Arkansas, in the autumn of '31.  Though times were hard, the cotton farmers were sure their land and their hard work were insurance against the vagaries of the outside world and its financial markets.  There was no forewarning of the terrible Memphis panic and disaster of Oct. 1, 1931, when in one day the cotton market collapsed and a way of life was blown away with the wind. 

Shiloh Autumn is the saga if the Tucker and Canfield families as they struggle to make it through the Great Depression.  It is an inspiring story of courage, faith, and the healing strength of forgiveness in the face of loss and betrayal.  Based on the lives of Bodie's own grandparents, this touching story mirrors the heartbreak and struggle of Depression-era America.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
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I've heard Ironweed by William Kennedy is really good.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
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Sandra Dallas has written a couple of good books about the Depression, especially Persian Pickle Club

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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The book usually cited as the  No. 1 novel of the 30s is The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.  But I'd like to also recommend Horace McCoy's The Shoot Horses, Don't They?  I second the recommendation of Ironweed.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I second Bonnie's recommendation for The Grapes of Wrath. That'll give you a feel for depression. I also enjoyed In Dubious Battle by Steinbeck. But it focuses more on the labor uprisings/strikes of the 1930s.

Or you could open the newspaper ... ;-)

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I will third the rec for Grapes of Wrath - that book left such an impression on me! Also, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan - focuses on the Dust Bowl as well as The Depression.

Also, Riding the Rails, Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression by Errol Lincoln Uys

Another one that comes to mind is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, although this one is set before the Depression, just before WW1, but a common theme throughout the book is surviving hard times.


Date Posted: 10/9/2008 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2006
Posts: 568
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Thank you for all the recommendations - a good mix of 'contemporary' and classic literature.  Strangely, I've read almost all of Steinbeck's books aside from Grapes of Wrath.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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The Persian Pickle Club was good fun.  I enjoyed it alot.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
Posts: 714
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I liked The Cape Ann by Faith Sullivan.  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780140119794-The+Cape+Ann

Date Posted: 10/12/2008 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Russell Baker's memoir Growing Up is about his childhood during the Great Depression. It's not fiction, but it reads like fiction--very entertaining with sobering moments. It's a terrific book!