Spanning the 1930s, this narrative follows the downturn of the U.S. stock market—which pivoted the country into the Great Depression—and accounts for the leaders (women and men) and historic events that contributed to its crash.
In his first book for young readers, Favreau constructs a mostly linear account, told in four parts. “Fall,” the first section, sets the stage after the stock market crashed: poverty, hunger, soup lines, evictions, homelessness, and bank runs and closures. “Rise” begins with the entrance of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In an enlightening narration, Favreau does not waste time in swiveling the spotlight to Eleanor Roosevelt, who was FDR’s closest confidante. He also takes care to profile some of the era’s other notables, including Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (who launched Social Security), union organizer John L. Lewis, and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration and leading member of the so-called “Black Cabinet.” “Setback” recounts the Dust Bowl, and “Victory,” takes the account to the beginning of World War II. Propelling readers through the decade, the book is liberally illustrated with archival material including newspaper clippings and photographs. Throughout, Favreau gives readers incisive, penetrating, at times heartbreaking prose.
A dynamic read deserving of a wide audience. (source notes, bibliography, selected primary sources, timeline, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)