Books on America's Great Depression and related topics

Books about the Great Depression

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, by Studs Terkel.  Classic oral history of America's Great Depression.
Reflections on the Great Depression, by Randall E. Parker. Parker interviews a number of economists who lived through the Great Depression. Interview subjects include Moses Abramovitz, Morris Adelman, Milton Friedman, Albert Hart, Charles Kindleberger, Wassily Leontief, Paul Samuelson, Anna Schwartz, James Tobin, Herbert Stein and Victor Zarnowitz.

The introduction of this book is available online at the Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History. See "An Overview of the Great Depression".
Rethinking the Great Depression, by Gene Smiley, a professor of economics at Marquette University and a specialist in economic theory and American economic history.
The Great Depression : An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies, by Thomas E. Hall & J. David Ferguson
The Great Depression : America in the 1930s, by T. H. Watkins.  T.H. Watkins' widely-acclaimed history of the Great Depression, hailed as "a moving account of an era that forever altered our land" by the Atlanta Constitution. Illustrated with 154 photos, this companion volume to the popular PBS series brilliantly brings to life the people, the politics, and the devastation of the Great Depression.
Essays on the Great Depression, by Ben S. Bernanke
Riding the Rails : Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression, by Errol Lincoln Uys.  A companion piece to the award-winning 1997 documentary of the same name.  Includes excerpts from letters written by the boys and girls who rode the boxcars and more than 500 interviews and photographs by Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and Dorothea Lange.
Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depression?, by Peter Temin
The Great Crash 1929, by John Kenneth Galbraith
The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941, by Robert S. McElvaine
The World in Depression, 1929-1939, by Charles P. Kindleberger
America's Great Depression, by Murray Rothbard.  Rothbard is an economist of the Austrian school variety who makes the case that all business cycles are caused by government intervention in the economy.  Rothbard makes two arguments in this book.  First, that the Federal Reserve Board overinflated the money supply during the twenties, causing an artificial boom. The Stock Market crash and subsequent depression were thus inevitable as the economy worked out the "malinvestments" caused by actions of the Fed.  The second argument that Rothbard makes is that Hoover exacerbated the Depression, and therefore delayed the recovery, by enacting massive government interventions in the economy to keep wages and prices artificially high.

Note: This book is now available online as a PDF file. Click here to get the viewer from Adobe.
Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939, by Barry Eichengreen
The Great Depression and the New Deal (Greenwood Press Guides to Historic Events of the Twentieth Century), by Robert F. Himmelberg
The Banking Panics of the Great Depression, by Elmus Wicker
Other books on the Great Depression Ayers Company Publishing specializes mainly in reprints of works judged by experts as being worthy of staying in print forever, including depression topics.

Books on Related Topics

A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, by Milton Friedman.  A detailed history of the money supply by Nobel Laureate and leading monetarist, Milton Friedman
Secrets of the Temple:  How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, by William Grieder.  This is a retrospective of Paul Volcker's chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board from 1979-1987 by a left-wing journalist.  There is also some interesting material about the creation of the Fed.
The Triumph of Conservatism: A Re-Interpretation of American History, 1900-1916, by Gabriel Kolko.  Kolko argues that much of the business regulation that came about early in this century was due not to pressure from progressives and consumer groups, but to pressure from businesses seeking protection from competition.  The chapter on banking is especially relevant.
Macroeconomics, by Steven E. Landsburg and Lauren J. Feinstone.  A good introductory text for macroeconomics.  Samples from the book are online here.
The Case Against the Fed, by Murray Rothbard.  Rothbard argues against central banks and fractional reserve banking.

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