The Grapes of Wrath seemed like a hard time, but this story is much, much worse. It's hard to imagine how people could remain living in a place where the elements were so unkind to them. It is a great lesson about Mother Earth's payback when we misuse her bounty.
This book is a marvelous history of an agency that helped to transform the United States during a period of monumental misery. American Made tells the story of the WPA and how it put impoverished and unemployed men and women to work building and updating America's infrastructure during the Great Depression. The book describes an agency that personifies the positive outlook of Franklin Roosevelt and his trusted associate, Harry Hopkins. The WPA embodied their preference for work, craftsmanship, skill, ability, and creativity rather than providing unnecessar "make work" projects or the do nothing "dole".
This history clarifies the evolution of the WPA from an emergency agency designed to provide incomes for the unemployed in the bleak winter months of 1933 through its termination in 1942 in the full employment environment of World War II. Nick Taylor catches the unique flavor of the agency and provides an excellent account of the Writers Project, the Theater Project, and the Artist Project. Taylor captures the rationale for assisting out of work authors, actors, and artists in a time of economic catastrophe and he carefully details their accomplishments. He also underscores the monumental lasting accomplishments of unskilled and semi-skilled employees of the WPA.
This book is worth a full and complete listening.
I found this brief history to be pedantic and fundamentally unsatisfactory. I was looking for an American history which could relate the flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright; the journey of the Great White Fleet, the life of J.P. Morgan and the development of the Progressive movement to issues of America in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, I did not find this in this history.
The story reveals the contrast between the haves and have-nots. Sometimes humorous, it deals with the intractability of one's own fate.
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