The chief virtue of Lawson's books on American wars is their simplicity and accessibility to less ambitious readers. This history of the Thirties is similarly painless, but thin--and in the first chapter on causes of the depression, at least, the simplicity becomes simplistic. Young people who are independently interested in the period will want either more color or more political analysis than Lawson provides; for those seeking the shortest route to a completed school assignment, he supplies summaries of major initialed programs (CCC, NRA, PWA, etc.), quick profiles of cabinet members, and highlights of Roosevelt's actions from his initial welcome decisiveness through the now-established social measures (social security, unemployment insurance, the more problematical farm supports and ADC) and the worst bungles (the attempted court-packing)--until the New Deal and the book end with Pearl Harbor. Unimpressive, but probably handy.