Hard Times: An Illustrated Oral History of the Great Depression
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First published in 1970, Studs Terkel’s bestselling Hard Times has been called “a huge anthem in praise of the American spirit” (Saturday Review) and “an invaluable record” (The New York Times). With his trademark grace and compassion, Terkel evokes a mosaic of memories from those who were richest to those who were destitute: politicians, businessmen, artists and writers, racketeers, speakeasy operators, strikers, impoverished farmers, people who were just kids, and those who remember losing a fortune.
Now, in a handsome new illustrated edition, a selection of Studs’s unforgettable interviews are complemented by images from another rich documentary trove of the Depression experience: Farm Security Administration photographs from the Library of Congress. Interspersed throughout the text of Hard Times, these breathtaking photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Jack Delano, and others expand the human scope of the voices captured in the book, adding a new dimension to Terkel’s incomparable volume. Hard Times is the perfect introduction to Terkel’s work for new readers, as well as a beautiful new addition to any Terkel library.
this absolutely obnoxious. I got taken by some of my clients in a way that made me keenly aware of how stupid were some of our approaches. The irrelevance of the kind of goodies we were handing out. It was the psychiatric approach. Sit, be passive, and let your client tell you what’s wrong. It was my first contact with poverty. I found out the hard way. I saw the impact on one family. There were nine children and two parents living in three rooms. I found them a great big, sunny apartment, with
LC-DIG-fsa-8b34256 Page 434 Worker living on cotton patch near Vicksburg, Mississippi Dorothea Lange, 1936 LC-DIG-fsa-8b29633 Page 437 While the mothers are working in the fields, the preschool children of migrant families are cared for in the nursery school under trained teachers. Kern migrant camp, California Dorothea Lange, 1936 LC-USF33-015328-M1
the New Deal did become the basis of a new union drive. And people did find jobs. . . .” Hank Oettinger A linotype operator. Much of his spare time is devoted to writing “Letters to the Editor.” “I like to throw barbs into my political opponents. I hang around bars in the Loop. I like arguments and I get into dillies. Even Birchers look toward my coming into the place. When I don’t show up, they get worried: ‘Where the hell ya been?’ “I go to work late in the afternoon, get through at
the Brotherhood alive. “The Brotherhood was born after several attempts by porters who were fired for it. The Company set up a Pullman Porter Benefit Association. Controlled by the Company. Three of the men were walkin’ down the street one day and heard Randolph speakin’ on a soapbox.* These three porters heard him and said, ‘This is the man we need.’ “They didn’t have any salary to offer him. Randolph took the chance. We had a women’s auxiliary. They would have fish fries and raise some money.
more power in the central government. At the time, it was necessary, especially in the farm area of our economy. Left to itself, farming was in a state of anarchy. Beyond that, there was no need to reorganize in industry. We merely needed to get the farms prospering again and create a market for the industrial products in the cities. The second New Deal was an entirely different thing. My disenchantment began then. Roosevelt didn’t follow any partic ular policy after 1936. Our economy began to