Sad Men

What Writers Can Learn from the Great Depression

Posts tagged Great Depression

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Bestsellers of the Great Depression

Abe Books has posted gorgeous book covers from bestsellers of the Great Depression, a peek at the books the publishing industry depended on during this difficult decade.

Check it out: “Many of the most popular novels offered an escape from the worries of the time such as the 1934 bestseller Anthony Adverse, which depicts a globetrotting adventurer, or the feel good story of Goodbye, Mr. Chips in which boarding school teacher Mr. Chipping overcomes shyness and his initial inability to connect with his students to become an inspiring educator … many of these novels are out-of-print and largely forgotten.”

Filed under bestsellers Great Depression Anthony Adverse Goodbye Mr. Chips

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Trinity Church & Occupy Wall Street

Over the weekend, Occupy Wall Street activists temporarily occupied Juan Pablo Duarte Square in New York City. They chanted “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” and  “All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street!” as they climbed homemade ladders to scale the chain link fence around Trinity Church’s property.

During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers Project team used the church’s historic reputation to make a point about tenant’s rights.

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Filed under occupywallstreet occupy Wall Street Trinity Church Great Depression free ebooks

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John Cabbage, the Garbageman Poet

All weekend, I was reading John Cabbage, the garbageman poet. He made headlines during the Great Depression for writing verse while steering a garbage scow for the NYC Department of Sanitation. I found a copy of his 1938 collection, Time & Tides

He was a member of the Raven Poetry Circle, and wore a white-brimmed hat and smiled for the camera in their photos. In a poem, he once compared his work to  “He shampoos and manicures the City’s streets / For he is the Barber of the Streets.”

Below, I’ve copied down lines from “My Children,” a short poem about economic inequality and memory. He ends by writing a spooky few lines about us, his future readers…

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Filed under Poems john cabbage raven poetry circle Great Depression

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Why Haven’t We Seen More Protests Like the Great Depression?

The Transport Workers Union have reportedly voted to support the Occupy Wall Street protests. If unions join these demonstrations, this may be the beginning of a much larger mobilization.

Everybody keeps criticizing the Wall Street protestors for their lack of clear goals. I think we should be asking the opposite question: Why haven’t we seen more protests like the Great Depression?

I keep going back to strike stories from New York City during the Great Depression—they serve as a powerful reminder of the epic fight workers staged around America during those dark days.

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Filed under occupywallstreet strike great depression union