Sat 25 Dec, 2010 10:59 am
A must read book. If you want to repeat the experience the lives of people during the Great Depression, then vote for the Tea Party, the Libertarians and the conservative Republicans. Their ideology to destroy the policies of President Roosevelt will create the same misery people suffered in the 1930s. I was born in 1929 and remember what it was like. I remember people knocking at our door, begging for food. ---BBB
A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression
by Ted Gup
From Publishers Weekly
In a book grown out of a New York Times op-ed piece that drew a huge response, Gup (The Book of Honor) explores an unusual act of generosity by his grandfather, Sam Stone, during the Great Depression and other mysteries of Stone's life.
Discovering a trunk full of old letters addressed to "Mr. B. Virdot," Gup soon learned that the letters were responses to a newspaper ad Stone ran before Christmas 1933, anonymously promising to 75 of Canton, Ohio's neediest families if they wrote letters describing their hardships. (Some of the heartbreaking letters are reprinted here.)
But Gup soon learns that Stone had other secrets: the jovial, wealthy businessman had escaped a horrific childhood as a Romanian Jew, immigrating to America and reinventing himself to fit into all-American Canton, Ohio. Gup also tracked down families who benefited from Stone's gift to discover the impact it had on their lives. Gup paints sobering pictures of "the Hard Times" and the gift made by a successful man who hadn't forgotten his own hard times.
Investigative reporter Gup researched a file of Depression-era letters preserved by his family. They were responses to a Canton, Ohio, newspaper notice that Gup’s grandfather, using a pseudonym, had placed in December 1933, which offered a monetary gift and, perhaps more importantly, a promise of anonymity to recipients of his charity.
That tapped into social attitudes characteristic of the Depression generation—pride in self-reliance matched by mortification to be seen accepting help, overlain with disdain for complaining. Those characteristics vividly animate Gup’s remarkable portraits of the letter writers, which encompass their backgrounds, their bewildering descent to destitute circumstances, and the influence of the Depression on their own and their children’s subsequent working lives.
A subplot involving the identity of Gup’s advertising grandfather, who, for unknown reasons, obfuscated his birth in Romania, also productively interacts with the main plot of what motivated his manner of giving money away at Christmastime. Highly affecting emotionally, Gup’s empathic portraits should powerfully pique memories in Gup’s readers about their own family’s experience of the economic trauma of the 1930s. --Gilbert Taylor
Watch the program on C-SPAN
# Saturday, December 25th at 7am (ET)
# Saturday, December 25th at 1am (ET)
Ted Gup, a former investigative reporter for the Washington Post, is the author of "The Book of Honor: Covert Lies and Classified Deaths at the CIA" and "Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life." He is currently a professor and chair of the journalism department at Emerson College in Boston.
I'm delighted to see you posting on a2k again.