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Defining Moments

The Great Depression and the New Deal

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The thrill ride that was the Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt in October 1929, when the Stock Market crashed and America was thrust into the Great Depression. Out of this catastrophe emerged a president whose social, economic, and political reforms would leave a legacy of programs and ideas that continue to have an impact today.

Defining Moments: The Great Depression and the New Deal presents an authoritative account of the origins and progression of the Great Depression and the New Deal. It also explores the era’s lasting impact on America’s political and cultural landscape. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to the Great Depression and New Deal, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the Great Depression and the New Deal
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, song lyrics, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: The Great Depression and the New Deal are below:

  • Study the factors that contributed to the optimism and prosperity of the Roaring Twenties
  • Investigate the economic and political problems that triggered the Great Depression
  • Provide a day-by-day overview of the Stock Market Crash of 1929
  • Write a story that features the hunger, unemployment, and homelessness that was common during the Depression
  • Describe the environmental and economic devastation of the Dust Bowl, and compare it to modern environmental disasters
  • Review the successes and failures of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms
  • Summarize Roosevelt’s political battles with conservative opponents in Congress and the media
  • What was the role of World War II in ending the Depression
  • Describe what might have happened in the U.S. economy and society if World War II had not occurred
  • Analyze the changed role of government in the aftermath of the Depression
  • Explore the legacy of the Great Depression and the New Deal


“The Great Depression and the New Deal is a well-organized, balanced, and approachable reference source for its intended audience, undoubtedly reflective of the composition of the series advisory board (public and school librarians and educators).”

—American Reference Books Annual, 2010

“Useful for those seeking a basic or starter overview of events in U.S. history, the volumes from this series are recommended for high school and public libraries.”

—Library Journal, Apr ’09