Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hungry Years

I recently read a superb book on the Great Depression titled The Hungry Years. T.H. Watkins has written a gripping narrative of an era where very few had much and many had nothing at all. It's one of the most detailed histories of this era that I've ever read, and it is both meticulous and thorough while retaining its readability.

It's difficult to understand what the 1930s were like from a distance, and the seismic impact they had on people who lived through the era. My grandmother had a little sweater that she liked to wear around her house. It was in tatters, not even really a garment any more, and she still wore it every day.

In her closet, side by side, were three brand new sweaters.

I never understood that, but reading The Hungry Years helped me understand that her reality encompassed a different world than mine.

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