David M. Kennedy’s The American People in the Great Depression provides an exceptional account of America’s harrowing economic slump of the 1930s. Though this is not a simple retelling, rather it is the story of America’s perseverance to overcome the Great Depression. “[The book] tells the dark and disturbing tale of the Great Depression…including its wrenching human impact as well as the fumbling efforts to understand and overcome it on the part of citizens and policy-makers alike.” (ix) Through insight and many primary sources, Kennedy sheds light on one of the darkest periods of American History. Offering surprising conclusions along the way, Kennedy presents a stunning look at how the decisions made to cope with the depression laid the foundation for America’s modern national government. From the onset of the book Kennedy may shock many readers when he declares the Great Depression was not a product of the infamous Stock Market Crash of 1929, but rather a creation of American excess and saturation of it’s economic sectors in the 1920s. Following World War I, Americans experienced a time of prosperity. New technology offered easier, quicker, and more efficient ways to complete tasks and American’s wanted it all. As wages rose, Americans had more money to spend; purchasing automobiles, washing machines, radios, and others items deemed necessities by the advertisers. Overtime, the consumer market became stagnant, leaving factories filled with unwanted products and forcing business owners to lay off employees. (Example of automobile cost 3 months’ pay) However, things were no better in the South or West. The two regions whose life and blood remained agriculture were also guilty of saturating their demand by growing an abundance o... ... middle of paper ... ...as FDR deliberately increased federal debt for the sake of economic stimulation. (359) As noted by Kennedy, it took World War II to completely end the depression but that does mean the New Deal was a failure. As stated in one of his earliest goals, FDR wished “to make a country…in which no one is left out” and he succeeded. (378) While immigrants, blacks, and Native Americans would continue to face racism long after FDR, he provided accommodations for each of these minorities. He converted millions of acres of land into national parks for all to enjoy. Most importantly, the New Deal offered security in many ways Americans had never experienced prior to the depression. In a sense, he created the modern welfare state in which we live today. Works Cited David M. Kennedy. The American People in the Great Depression. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.