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Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man"

"Here is history written by the people who had to live it, in the U.S.A. of the 1930's. Down and Out is a hell of a good book." – Pete Seeger

Down and Out in the Great Depression is a moving, revealing collection of letters by the forgotten men, women, and children who suffered through one of the greatest periods of hardship in American history. Mainly because of his radio talks, thousands felt they knew President Franklin Roosevelt personally and could confide in him about their troubles. Sifting through some 15,000 letters from government and private sources, Robert McElvaine has culled nearly 200 examples that best show the problems, thoughts, and emotions of ordinary people during this time. For this twenty-fifth anniversary edition, McElvaine provides a new foreword recounting the history of the book, its impact on the historiography of the Depression, and its continued importance today.

"McElvaine . . . has produced [a] compelling, often poignant glimpse of America's mood during the Great Depression. . . . It makes a fitting memorial to 'the forgotten man.'" –NEWSWEEK

"An enormously valuable and revealing document . . . . An experience that pays rich if painful rewards. The most obvious of these is that Down and Out in the Great Depression adds an important new dimension to our knowledge of a vastly important period in American history." – Jonathan Yardley, WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

"A collection of unforgettable vignettes that offer vivid testimony to the hardships the 'forgotten' men and women endured in the 1930s." – William E. Leuchtenburg, author of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

"McElvaine makes a unique and significant contribution. . . . The thorough mastery of the subject that he has brought both to the selection and the introductions gives authority to the work far beyond that which a statistical, quantifying study could achieve." – Frank Freidel, author of multi-volume biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt