Hapless Herbert Hoover chose the term ""depression"" because he felt it did not have the fright potential of such established terms for financial disaster as ""panic"" or ""crisis."" This, and 1001 other facts have been rescued from the near oblivion that blankets the '30's in popular histories (or in tribal memory, for that matter) by an author who knows how to shake dry economic source material until the buried gold of essential fact and ideas fall into plain view. These are burnished with personal anecdote and vivid passages from the contemporary record -- speeches and newspaper features. Her title is her thesis. She contends that this willfully forgotten period has affected national attitudes and individual behavior right down to the youngest adults today. She charts the changes (and the failures to change) in politics, social welfare, employment, selling, marriage, women, and styles of dress, decor and decorum. There are whole chapters in which each paragraph could be the springboard for another whole book or study. There is nothing in print analyzing the Depression in these terms of this scope. The author, a contributor to Fortune magazine and a fascinated student of her subject, can write. If your invisible scar twinges on hearing the refrain from ""Brother. Can You Spare a Dime?"" you should take the time for this -- it tells you why.