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The Great Depression Essay

2235 words - 9 pages

The Great Depression was a time of sadness and poverty for many. It became an unforgettable historical time in American history. The author of the book The Great Depression, Pierre Berton gives a clear view of what happened from 1929-1941. He basically outlines the Depression event by event, explaining what happened where and who was involved. Although many books can tell stories of the depression, I think the author of this book did a good job getting all the facts and letting the reader know exactly what happened.
     It is easily shown that the author, Pierre Berton, didn’t show much opinion in this book. He mainly focused on just the facts. He would however give some personal views of reasons for certain things or explanations. He probably got most of his information from a textbook or actual documents. He did a good job compiling these facts into a time line of events. He explains who each important person is that was involved in the times of the depression and all important laws passed.
     He began talking about the crash of the market, dubbed Black Thursday. The crash spelled disaster for the national economy. Corporations with heavy investments faced a sudden shock to their assets. This was the beginning of the depression. The national income slipped lower each year from 1929-1932, and it did not return until World War II. Unemployment became the most important problem of the depression to the people living in the US. Another major problem was that the agricultural prices were cut almost in half, and many farms foreclosed because of it. The author goes on to say that there are many different theories as to why the stock market crashed that day. One was that the attempts of the US government and the Federal Reserve Board to stop speculation caused an overreaction in the market, leading to the selling panic.
     The next big event in the book was the effects the stock market crash had on America. The author did a great job by including interesting statistics and facts. In 1930, farm income had fallen to the lowest it has been since 1921. A result of this was that farmers didn’t have enough money. According to Berton 5 percent of farmers lost their land. Nowhere was it worse than in the dust bowl, a farming area in the Midwest. Many farmers were forced to move west because of the soil erosion and dust storms.
     Other than agricultural problems, the US was struggling in many different areas. The sluggish economy drastically reduced the quantity of goods and services bought and sold. The industrial and financial urban centers suffered from large numbers of business failures, which came about in 1932 with over 30,000 failures world wide. Almost 2500 banks were forced to close their doors because of lack of liquid assets. Because of these massive closings and shut downs, it led to massive unemployment. Unemployment was at an unheard high...

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