In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes, one of the nation's most-respected economic commentators, offers a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. She traces the mounting agony of the New Dealers and the moving stories of individual citizens who through their brave perseverance helped establish the steadfast character we recognize as American today.
Shlaes's histories are beloved among Congressional budget hawks for suggesting that Calvin Coolidge was the last great thrifty president and that F.D.R. prolonged the Great Depression by ramping up federal spending. This adaptation of Schlaes's history of the Depression by Dixon (Batman) and Rivoche (Mister X) represents her political views faithfully. Its hero and narrator is the practically forgotten Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt's opponent in the critical election of 1940, but all the major social and political players of the time, from Andrew Mellon, Ayn Rand, and Father Divine to the Schechter brothers (kosher poultry kings who won a Supreme Court case against the constraining practices of F.D.R.'s National Recovery Administration), make appearances. The research-heavy narrative sometimes reads like an economics master class: competing government policies and business practices are discussed at length. The real hero is Rivoche, who manages to dramatize this polemic with stunningly realized b&w art and intuitive storytelling, which does not hesitate to open the tale into two-page spreads when necessary. The Keynes vs. Hayek debate may still be unresolved, but no one will argue that this is a beautiful use of comics to boil down a complex, abstract narrative.
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The Forgotten Man
A very good read. Thank you.
Great accounting of the events around the Great Depression and the myths surrounding it. It's goes against the "popular" thinking that the markets failed and government came to the rescue, while the truth was the opposite. Policies that began under Hoover and continued under FDR are shown in a new light.
Overall a great take on the depression. Rambles a bit and is occasionally overly dramatic to emphasize it's point, but an accurate assessment of why the depression just would not end. I am sure many will see some parallels to the great recession. Interesting thoughts but requires way more analysis to support those theories.