In attempting to cover almost every important aspect of U.S. life in that most momentous period of 1929 to 1939, Mr. Hoyt has managed to provide something for everybody but not a great deal for anybody. With 20 chapters covering 18 discrete subjects, and in less than 400 pages, the sauce is likely to be pretty thin. In consequence, a whole gallery or major figures whom history will etch in acid, memorialize in marble or hide in the compost heap, is given with a disconcerting, subliminal speed. One has the impression that the author is striving for the fairest appraisal of people and events, but he can be curiously ambivalent. Herbert Hoover is introduced as a paragon, boasting every virtue to which man can aspire, but when the author gets down to chapter and verse he frequently characterizes the man as stupid, stubborn and worse. Obviously this is not for even the casual student of recent history, but to the nostalgic it will rekindle memories, and for the young it may serve as a goad to more serious study. And it is a better book than his last, The Supersalesmen (World- p. 308-1962).