THE GREAT LEAP by John Brooks


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About half of us were alive then, but it is questionable whether anyone today remembers how different it was to be an American in 1939--except for Mr. Brooks, and he's done a tremendous lot of research into the matter. What was it like? Well, for one thing, only one out of thirty-three of us paid any income tax. And experts were worried about the depopulation problem, for another. Our economy had ""matured,"" we thought; it was done with expansion. The past quarter-century, this author asserts, has seen more rapid change in our nation than any comparable period anywhere else in history, other than those marked by great physical catastrophes such as the Black Plague. He has buttressed his argument with fascinating data, culled from mail order catalogues and everywhere else imaginable, and states it with excellent style. The end product tells us as much about ourselves now as then, and thoroughly entertains in the process. To some extent, the book completes with, but can't beat, Carolyn Bird's The Invisible Scar (see p. 1147, 1965), which has more to tell us about the time we'd rather forget.

Publisher: Harper & Row