In this panorama, subtitled The 1930s in America, Frederick Lewis Allen combines an eye for the significant trivia of everyday existence with a facility for neatly dissecting the political monoliths of the era. Whether discussing the varieties of bathtub gin or elucidating Keynesian economics, Allen displays, in the words of Edward Weeks of The Atlantic, "a talent for terse and telling resume which is the envy of any historian."More
"Mr. Allen's shining service is to recall the things that have blurred equally with those that have stuck in memory. No one else does this sort of thing so well....Somehow it conveys the impression of the American people telling their own story in autobiographical form." (The New York Times)
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A Solid View of 1930s America
Yes. It does a relatively good job of capturing the culture and conditions of the American experience of the 1930s. If you are interested in an overview of that era, this book provides a lot of useful information of what it would have been like to live and work (or be unemployed) in the country during that difficult time period.
This is a nonfiction work that analyzes news and events from the 1930s which shaped American culture during that time frame.
The narrator's reading was fine, but the technical aspects of how this was edited have much to be desired. Portions of the narration frequently repeat because of sloppy editing. I am guessing that producers have gone back and re-edited this at points, and their efforts to insert updated portions contain numerous errors. The narrator will read an entire paragraph, then the audio compression will change and become hissy, then you'll hear the narrator read a the same paragraph over again before moving on to new content. This happens probably on 10 or more occasions across the duration of the book. Some portions of the narration are tinny and filled with annoying hiss, while the remainder of the audio is acceptable. It is, hands down, the worst edited audiobook I've ever listened to. That said, the information was, for the most part, interesting and provided perspectives of American life in the 1930s of which I was previously unaware.
Yes, though it focused more on politics than I cared for. I was more interested in cultural aspects of the time period, but since politics drives culture I suppose this was okay. Earlier parts of the book talk about music of the era, clothing styles, slang, social mores, and how those things shifted from the late 1920s through the 1930s. I wish that the book would have included more of this type of information, but about halfway through it changes emphasis and mostly discusses the politics of the decade with a heavy emphasis on Roosevelt's political agenda, his fights with congress, his major political opponents, why they hated him, laws that worked and ones that failed, etc. The last chapter, naturally, shifts to the looming cloud of WWII and how Americans, whom had not given much notice to Europe during the rise of fascism and Naziism, began paying attention to the aggressive expansionism happening in Europe and Asia as worries of another major war began to manifest.
Overall I enjoyed the audiobook and would recommend it for anyone interested in an overview of what America was going through during this challenging decade of the country's past.
- Jason Hutchens