Cover for HICKOK: One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression

One Third of a Nation

Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression

Vividly and compassionately portrays the same heartrending devastation, sorrow, and quiet heroism of the Depression that Steinbeck depicted in Grapes of Wrath and that Woody Guthrie evoked in his songs of the common people.

Between 1933 and 1935, Lorena Hickok traveled across thirty-two states as a "confidential investigator" for Harry Hopkins, head of FDR's Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Her assignment was to gather information about the day-to-day toll the Depression was exacting on individual citizens. One Third of a Nation is her record, underscored by the eloquent photographs of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and others, of the shocking plight of millions of unemployed and dispossessed Americans.

"Lorena Hickok was a singularly gifted witness to the calamity of the Great Depression. From one end of the country to the other, she stared long and hard into the human face of America's greatest economic failure and social catastrophe. A seasoned reporter, she recorded her impressions in spare, muscular prose that still packs a punch. Eleanor Roosevelt told Hickok that her writing would come to be regarded in future years as ‘the best history of the Depression.' Readers of this memorable volume will surely agree."--David M. Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War

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