The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression


As it has been said many times, those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.  The United States, and the world as a whole, is currently suffering from the largest recession since the great depression and that in itself makes this book a must read as we are trying collectively to pull out of the current recession in a new world economy.

The Forgotten Man:  A New History of the Great Depression is written by Amity Shlaes who is a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Bloomberg carries her syndicated column and Readers know her work also from the Financial Times, where she was senior columnist for half a decade (2000-2005), and the Wall Street Journal, where she edited op eds and served on the editorial board, eventually concentrating on economics (1983-2000).

The author certainly attempts to have the book tell the story rather than the writer and memoirs of that time in our history were researched to try to frame the readers mindset of the 1930’s.  You will be brought into the world of President Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, Wendell Wilkie, Paul Douglas, and Rexford Tugwell to name a few.  You will become aware how many viewed the Great Depression as a natural disaster of sorts and be compelled to look more into our current economy.  During the Great Depression people had lowered expectations for their standard of living and today we have begun to speak of the “New Normal.”

Some could argue that this book brings to light the economic ignorance among policymakers.  It becomes clear that the struggle over economic policy in the 1930’s was just one part of a long historical conflict between business proponents and anti-business academics.  However, business ultimately needed to be aligned in order to emerge from the Great Depression and we should look for that result in our current economy.  None of this is to say that the author is attempting to drive that conclusion and in fact the author seems to avoid generalizations and drawing conclusions and instead leaves that to the reader after their consumption of the material.

This book represents one way that we as citizens can learn from our country’s past mistakes and how we should drive Government to not make the mistakes of that past.  Arguments could be made that the Great Depression went on far longer than it should have if Government had acted quickly and decisively and I think that is a message for all involved in today’s economy.

As always, I hope you find this review useful and remember to always check back at Top Business Books for the latest reviews on the top business books and products that make your business execution more effective.  Knowledge is power in any economy and sales and business is always available for the prepared mind.  Please feel free to send me your comments via our contact form and watch for our next reviews and additional content by signing up for our newsletter if you haven’t already.

To your business success.

Categories : Business Books


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