Dancing in the Dark
A Cultural History of the Great Depression
Morris Dickstein W. W. Norton, $29.95, 624 pp.
Many a baby boomer was raised on tales of the Great Depression, tales of sharecroppers, breadlines, NRA parades, and sparing a dime for a brother in need. These often played a bigger part in our lives than Dr. Spock. My mother, who learned about John Steinbeck’s work from a savvy nun at a Brooklyn high school, regarded the depiction of the Joad family’s struggle in The Grapes of Wrath as a moral touchstone, a must-know story of human dignity imperiled. Morris Dickstein...
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