During the harshest year of the Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, a top woman news reporter of the day and intimate friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, was hired by FDR’s right-hand man Harry Hopkins to embark upon a grueling journey to the hardest-hit areas of the country to report back on the degree of devastation.
Distinguished historian Michael Golay draws on a trove of original sources - including the moving, remarkably intimate, almost daily letters between Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt - as he re-creates that extraordinary journey. Hickok traveled by car almost nonstop for 18 months, from January 1933 to August 1934, surviving hellish dust storms, rebellions by coal workers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and a near revolution by Midwest farmers. A brilliant observer, Hickok wrote searing and deeply empathetic reports to Hopkins and letters to Mrs. Roosevelt that comprise an unparalleled record of the worst economic disaster in the history of the country. Historically important, they crucially influenced the scope and strategy of the Roosevelt administration’s unprecedented relief efforts.
America 1933 reveals Hickok’s pivotal contribution to the policies of the New Deal and sheds light on her intense but ill-fated relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt and the forces that inevitably came between them.
©2013 Michael Golay (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I read everything I can get my hands on about Eleanor Roosevelt so I jumped at this book. The book has very little about ER except comments about the letters between ER and Lorena Hickok. Lorena Hickok was a investigative journalist and friend of ER, she was hired by Harry Hopkins to travel the country and report to him what is going on with the people (not the reports from politicians) and how the aid and work programs are working or not. Hickok was raised in South Dakota and was a related to Bill Hickok. She traveled nonstop from January 1933 to August 1934 going state by state, sending daily reports to Hopkins. The reports and letters to ER represents and unparalleled record of the worst economic disaster in the history of this country. It is obvious that Michael Golay did in-depth research for this book. The detailed information about the people in each state and the various occupations is fantastic. Hickok also pointed out the area where the work would no longer be available due to advances in technology such as, the coke oven workers, the textile industries, also in farming and mining where machines were doing the job of many men. Hickok paints a picture of the starving, poorly clothed people with no hope. No matter what they say about our current recession nothing was bad as 1933. Hickok went through rain storms, floods, snowstorms and dust storms as well as caught up in riots, and groups of angry miners, and farmers to get her information. Golay also covers Hickok's emotional ups and downs and her personal life during the trips. I had heard of Hickok in passing knowing she was a reporter but this book brings her work and her to life. Robert Fass did a good job narrating the book. If you are interested in history, the depression or just want to know what your great grandparents and grandparent went through, you should read this book. Note this book only covers the United States, remember this depression was world wide. This an interesting book I really enjoyed and learned a great deal listening to it.
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