THE WPA GUIDE TO AMERICA: The Best of 1930s America as Seen by the Federal Writers' Project by Bernard A.--Ed. Weisberger

THE WPA GUIDE TO AMERICA: The Best of 1930s America as Seen by the Federal Writers' Project

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This compendium and travelogue of the American scene and psyche consistently maintains literary quality and a feeling of movement. The more than 50 vignettes were selected by Weisberger from hundreds of works commenced in the 1930's and organized under The Federal Writers Project of the W.P.A. Unlike the first person interviews compiled by Ann Banks (First Person America, Knopf, 1980) or the anti-fascist encounters in the Big Apple chronicled by Jerre Mangione (An Ethnic at Large, Putnam, 1978), this collection of anecdotes, local humor and tragedy--pegged and held together by scenic description--infuses life and impregnates us with the diversity of what is America. There's a wealth of beauty, wit and information here. From the ""fake Czar"" of all the Russias attending Mrs. Fish's society ball in Newport to the vibrant tones of a chimney sweep plying his trade in New Orleans, we are entertained and enlightened. We take heed at the warning of the Union Pacific Railway to the flush, gold-toting men riding the line--not to step off the train in Fort Sidney, Nebraska, if they wanted to leave the town alive. As editor, Weisberger goes a fine job of introducing us to the different regional flavors of the nation as the mixing of the melting pot that is the US "". . .becomes more racially heterogeneous--though not racially equal."" A well-edited book of historical, social and storified pertinence.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1985
Publisher: Pantheon