Writing for the Atlantic, the magazine titled after an Ocean that signifies two opposing ideologies depending on the coast you stand on, Benjamin Schwarz reviews books from the Depression era.

Atlantic June 1999

Atlantic June 2009

The short article is interesting because it takes seriously the emotional weight of such words as “depression” and “recession”. Schwarz remarks that it was President Herbert Hoover that named the post 1929 slump as depression, to avoid more current, yet dramatic, labels such as panic or crisis. But the sterilizing did not work. Depression and now recession, trigger feelings of dread and insecurity and define our age. This is what Schwarz discovers in the Depression era literature, not famine, nor misery, but “unrelenting fear and dashed hope.”

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