The Great Depression and New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback

The Great Depression and New Deal: A Very Short Introduction Paperback

Part of the Very Short Introductions series

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The New Deal shaped our nation's politics for decades, and was seen by many as tantamount to the "American Way" itself.

Now, in this superb compact history, Eric Rauchway offers an informed account of the New Deal and the Great Depression, illuminating its successes and failures. Rauchway first describes how the roots of the Great Depression lay in America's post-war economic policies-described as "laissez-faire with a vengeance"-which in effect isolated our nation from the world economy just when the world needed the United States most.

He shows how the magnitude of the resulting economic upheaval, and the ineffectiveness of the old ways of dealing with financial hardships, set the stage for Roosevelt's vigorous (and sometimes unconstitutional) Depression-fighting policies.

Indeed, Rauchway stresses that the New Deal only makes sense as a response to this global economic disaster. The book examines a key sampling of New Deal programs, ranging from the National Recovery Agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to the Public Works Administration and Social Security, revealing why some worked and others did not. In the end, Rauchway concludes, it was the coming of World War II that finally generated the political will to spend the massive amounts of public money needed to put Americans back to work. And only the Cold War saw the full implementation of New Deal policies abroad-including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

Today we can look back at the New Deal and, for the first time, see its full complexity.

Rauchway captures this whole in a remarkably short space, making this book an ideal introduction to one of the great policy revolutions in history.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages, 10 maps & halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9780195326345



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is a short and sweet introduction into the Great Depression and the New Deal. It is a great little reference book to have.

Review by

Good introduction to the topic of the 20s and 30s. I really like these Very Short Introductions.