Print ISBN: 978-1-58765-725-2
# of Pages: 1256
# of Volumes: 3
Print List Price: $395
e-ISBN: 978-1-58765-729-0
eBook User Price: $395
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The Thirties in America

Editor: Thomas Tandy Lewis, St. Cloud State Univ.
March 2011

Comprehensive coverage of the years 1930-1939 in the United States and Canada, paying special attention to the impact of the Great Depression on North America in particular and the world in general.

This set joins previously published Salem sets on the Forties Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties, which have been acclaimed as effective teaching aids that enable students quickly to grasp significant aspects of each decade's history. Written to be understood by high school students and college undergraduates, The Thirties in America offers a clear and innovative approach to North America during the 1930's that can also be used by advanced students and scholars. The set covers the full breadth of North American history and culture in 675 alphabetically arranged and easy-to-understand articles and also offers such helpful finding aids as end-of-article cross-references and a category index.

Every decade in the 20th century is closely identified with at least one landmark event or major turning point. The key event of the 1930's was the Great Depression. This unparalleled worldwide economic downturn drove the economies of both the United States and Canada into steep decline, profoundly shook the confidence of North Americans in the free market system, and gave rise to a political and social revolution in the United States fostered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs.

The Thirties in America naturally devotes a great deal of its space to Depression-era topics, including New Deal programs, but not at the expense of other important subjects. In addition to the set's extensive coverage of such Depression-era subjects as the economic downturn, bank failures, Dust Bowl conditions, and unemployment and such transformational New Deal programs and agencies as Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Housing Administration, the National Recovery Administration, and the Works Progress Administration, The Thirties in America covers a diverse array of other events and developments that set the 1930's apart from other decades, including:

  • the development of sound and color films and a general blossoming of the film industry;
  • the first ominous signs of the coming world war; the ascendancy of radio entertainment;
  • golden eras of Major League Baseball and professional boxing;
  • the birth of Canada's Dionne quintuplets;
  • the rise of gangsters such as Al Capone, John Dillinger, Ma Barker, and Bonnie and Clyde;
  • major breakthroughs in nuclear physics that would eventually make possible atom bombs and nuclear energy;
  • exciting new theories in astronomy about black holes and neutron stars and the discovery of Pluto;
  • the invention of electric typewriters, instant coffee, radar, and the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes.

The decade also had its share of dramatic events, such as the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby; the disappearances of Amelia Earhart and Judge Crater; the Hindenburg disaster; the repeal of Prohibition; Marian Armstrong's concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial; and the devastating Dust Bowl.

The 1930's also experienced a flowering of the arts--the photographer Ansel Adams; composers such as George M. Cohan and George Gershwin; musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and many others; writers such as Pearl S. Buck, Erskine Caldwell, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Thomas Wolfe, and Lillian Hellman.

As with Salem's other decade sets, The Thirties in America mixes long overview essays on broad subjects with shorter articles discussing people, books, films, fads, individual events, and other important topics representative of the decade. Every article focuses on its subject within the context of the 1930's. Only enough attention is given to the histories of the subjects before and after the 1930's to place them within their fuller historical contexts. Each essay begins with a concise title followed by a brief definition or description of the person, organization, work, concept, or event. The main body of the essay concludes with an "Impact" section that reviews the subject's broader importance during the 1930's. "See also" cross-references that follow every article direct readers to additional articles on closely related or parallel subjects. Every article also offers bibliographical notes, which include annotations in articles of 1,000 or more words, and every article is signed by its author.

Volume 3 contains 12 appendixes providing additional information about:

  • major films
  • Academy Award winners
  • major Broadway plays and theatrical awards
  • major radio programs
  • best-selling books and major literary awards
  • popular musicians and top-selling recordings
  • winners of major sports events
  • U.S. legislation and Supreme Court decisions

The appendixes also include a glossary of the decade's new words and slang, a detailed time line, and an annotated general bibliography.

View a Full List of Titles from The Decades Series