Shlaes on the Great Depression
The Forgotten Man
A New History of the Great Depression
by Amity Shlaes
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The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
Hoover was an anti-free-trade interventionist, not an advocate of free markets. Far from "saving capitalism" or bringing the country out of the Great Depression, FDR's hyper-interventionism lengthened the depression.
Read Ari Armstrong's review at The Objective Standard.
This reading works well for four meetings. Suggested review questions follow.
Review Questions for Shlaes I: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 3
1. Who is the "forgotten man?"
2. Why is Hoover upheld by some as a an alleged champion of "laissez faire?"
3. What are some of the differences between Hoover versus Coolidge and Mellon?
4. What were the major federal policies of 1929, and what were their effects?
Review Questions for Shlaes II: Chapters 4-6
1. What were the general Federal Reserve policies of the early 1930s, and what were their effects?
2. What was the intellectual climate during the Hoover/FDR era?
3. What was tax policy -- and unemployment -- by the end of Hoover's term?
4. What were the themes of FDR's campaign rhetoric?
5. What were the powers and consequences of the NRA and AAA?
6. What were the general trends in FDR's monetary policy?
7. What was the basic nature of the struggle between Willkie and the TVA?
Review Questions for Shlaes III: Chapters 7-9
1. Why motivated the Roosevelt administration's prosecution of business leaders?
2. What did the Schechter poultry case illustrate about the Roosevelt administration's commitment to controlling the economy?
3. What strategies did Roosevelt employ to win reelection in 1936?
4. What role did the Tennessee Valley Authority play in the advancement of political controls of energy?
Review Questions for Shlaes IV: Chapters 11, 13, 15, and Afterword
1. In what ways did the Federal government go after businesses and wealthy citizens?
2. What the were labor controls of the later 1930s, and what were their effects?
3. What was FDR's response to the Supreme Court's antipathy to some of his programs, and what was the result?
4. How did the fight between the TVA and private utilities play out?
5. What were the major themes of the 1940 election?
6. What is Shlaes's take on the "recovery" of FDR and the results of his federal spending programs?