The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes is a great look at the politics and economics of the years leading up to and during the Great Depression. It takes a critical view of the politians during this time, and their handling of the situations that arose, especially President Frankin Roosevelt.

The Great Depression had a huge impact on the political and economic scene in the United States, not only during those years, but today as well. The book goes into detail about many programs that came out of the Great Depression, some of which are still in tact today (most notably Social Security). It also tells about how much economic experimentation was actually going on, and what effect that had on the state of the country. This book is an interesting read, especially if you don’t have much background knowledge of what went on “behind the scenes” during this period.

While reading, a lot of parallels can be drawn between what was happening then and what is happening now on the political and economic scene. As quoted from the book:

“So many families were defaulting on their mortgages that [Roosevelt] was now contemplating a home version of Hoover’s debt moratorium, a national plan to prevent any more Americans from losing their homes. What he felt he needed was to buy time, and if stalling on the international monetary question helped that, he would do it.” (162).

Overall, The Forgotten Man was a worthwhile read. It definitely can put what’s happening today in perspective and give you a different view of the Great Depression.

Shlaes, Amity. The Forgotten Man. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007.

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