America 1933: The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of the New Deal.
Michael Golay. S&S/Free Press, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9601-4
Golay (A Ruined Land) examines the first years of FDR's presidency through the lens of an unusual research project. In an effort to develop a clear picture of the impact of relief work, Harry Hopkins, the newly appointed head of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, hired a former Associated Press reporter to travel across the country, observing the relief efforts and administrations in various communities, and sending him detailed reports. This woman was Lorena Hickok, an intimate friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, and Golay uses the correspondence of these two extraordinary women, as well as Hickok's reports, to describe a United States riven by want, struggling to right itself in the face of widespread unrest. The stories are rough going, a catalog of very difficult circumstances and bleak compromises. Hickok's practicality and willingness to see what was in front of her make what could have been a sob story into a frank but human accounting. Golay expertly weaves Hickok's travels into the larger events of the period, from massive Pennsylvania coal strikes to the closing of the Civil Works Administration, providing a useful and specific portrait of a very large and general crisis. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Hardcover - 316 pages - 9781439196014
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 9781439196038
Paperback - 352 pages - 9781439196021