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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amity Shlaes Narrator: Terence Aselford Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2007 ISBN: 9780061472961
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It's difficult today to imagine how America survived the Great Depression. Only through the stories of the common people who struggled during that era can we really understand how the nation endured. In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. Rejecting the old emphasis on the New Deal, she turns to the neglected and moving stories of individual Americans, and shows how they helped establish the steadfast character we developed as a nation.

Shlaes also traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers themselves as they discovered their errors. She shows how both Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt failed to understand the prosperity of the 1920s and heaped massive burdens on the country that more than offset the benefit of New Deal programs. The real question about the Depression, she argues, is not whether Roosevelt ended it with World War II. It is why the Depression lasted so long. From 1929 to 1940, federal intervention helped to make the Depression great—in part by forgetting the men and women who sought to help one another. The Forgotten Man, offers a new look at one of the most important periods in our history, allowing us to understand the strength of American character today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Americans need what Shlaes has brilliantly supplied, a fresh appraisal of what the New Deal did and did not accomplish.”

    George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer

  • The Forgotten Man offers an understanding of the era’s politics and economics that may be unprecedented in its clarity.”

    Mark Helprin, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Well written and stimulating.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Amity Shlaes tells the story of the Depression in splendid detail, rich with events and personalities.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “This breezy narrative comes from the pen of a veteran journalist and economics reporter. Rather than telling a new story, she tells an old one…in a fresh way…A thoughtful, even-tempered corrective to too often unbalanced celebrations of FDR and his administration’s pathbreaking policies.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William J. Shep | 2/17/2014

    " This is not a right wing rant but a very credible and well argued critique of The New Deal. Shlaes skilly weaved in a series of mini biographies of the major pro and anti New Dealers to tell her story, which is so relevant today, especially since academic historians generally are untruthful with their readers, and themselves, by continuing to perpetuate the New Deal myth of FDR (President for Life) arriving on a white horse to save the day and singlehandedly slay the Great Depression dragon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dexter | 2/16/2014

    " I highly recommend this book for anyone who would like to know more about the political aspects of the Great Depression as well as anyone who wants some historical insight into the current economic situation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue Semple | 2/15/2014

    " A lot of what you think you know about the great depression is wrong! It took me over a year to read it, because my DH borrowed it and lost it. But it was worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Hollins | 2/13/2014

    " A wonderful study of the policy prescriptions of the depression era. There are some passages which are eerily descriptive of conditions today. Should be required reading for Congress. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 amypete | 2/11/2014

    " I had to give this one up. A total yawner. When I picked up four new books from the library, this one no longer seemed interesting. But I tried. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Raymond | 2/3/2014

    " A history of the Great Depression with extra attention paid to how FDR's policies truly affected the people it was meant to help. A good companion piece to the more academic/war-minded New Dealer's War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 1/16/2014

    " dragged a litle but the similarities to our social and political situation today were annoyingly clear. too bad we don't always seem to learn from our mistakes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Frantzen | 1/9/2014

    " Its alittle dry but the similarities between the great depression and current events are uncanny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 1/7/2014

    " It's about time a popular book told the true, compelling story of the 1930's. This is a must read for anyone who thinks, without question, that FDR was effective in ending the great depression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teechbiz | 12/10/2013

    " Remove the name FDR and replace it with Obama.... Lots of information. I learned many things I had never been taught when I was in school about the man and his administration "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerri | 12/7/2013

    " An enlightening history of the New Deal and its socialist roots. I found this a captivating read on the history of the great depression, the steps and mis-steps of FDR and his contemporaries in trying to turn the country around. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanieq Banner | 12/6/2013

    " I rarely leave a book unfinished, but after 6 months (!) of slogging through this, I am going to be done, even if I'm not! Very political (which usually doesn't bother me) and fact-filled to a fault. This would be a great history textbook if it were a bit more readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirk | 11/17/2013

    " A bit text bookish but after reading Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath, an excellent explanation of what caused the depression. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Kubat | 7/9/2013

    " Fascinating book, well documented and well written. The parallels between FDR's and Obama's "transformationizing" are unmistakable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 7/13/2012

    " Trying to change the dynamics of the Supreme Court from 9 to 15 Justices so that he could get his social programs declared constitutional fascinating piece of history. Talk about hubrus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Bruce | 5/1/2012

    " Since we're knee deep in the New Depression, it might be instructive to look over the old one. This is a finely researched, well written and fully considered account of what caused the GD and how we finally pulled out of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denny Wanlass | 8/12/2011

    " A difficult read as it is hard to keep all the names straight but enlightening nonetheless! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 7/8/2011

    " I loved this book. It is especially interesting to read given today's economic situation. She makes some very good points about FDR and The Depression that are never taught in your typical history class. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gavin | 5/5/2011

    " This is a timely look back to familiar finincial woes from the past. It seems the present administration is repeating almost exactly the mistakes of the Great Depression. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 4/11/2011

    " Read this one a few years ago. It was a bit dry but was full of great information about the failures of FDR's New Deal that have stuck with me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 3/20/2011

    " An excellent look into the Great Depression and how FDR's New Deal extended the problems and the pain. A lesson that seems to have been forgotten by today's politicians. Eerie similarities to today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacki | 2/17/2011

    " I expected an anthology of the man lost on the street after the Great Depression, and instead was bored with the politics. The name is deceiving, giving little insight into the people most affected by the crash. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanieq | 2/7/2011

    " I rarely leave a book unfinished, but after 6 months (!) of slogging through this, I am going to be done, even if I'm not! Very political (which usually doesn't bother me) and fact-filled to a fault. This would be a great history textbook if it were a bit more readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 1/4/2011

    " A lot of what you think you know about the great depression is wrong! It took me over a year to read it, because my DH borrowed it and lost it. But it was worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bud | 12/23/2010

    " Very interesting book with many parallels to what we see going on today. Author's style is sometimes a little hard to follow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fred | 12/11/2010

    " She doesn't really have a natural talent for history, but at least she has an original viewpoint. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 11/18/2010

    " Fascinating if you have any interest in understanding the generally celebrated president, FDR: there is SO much the average American does not know. It also gave an excellent understanding as to what the "new deal" was. Shocking and enraging in my view. "

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About the Author
Author Amity Shlaes

Amity Shlaes writes a column for Forbes and serves as the chairman of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Coolidge, The Forgotten Man, and The Greedy Hand. She chairs the jury for the Hayek Book Prize of the Manhattan Institute. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.