The Great Depression (DVD) ~ Mario Cuomo (host) Cover Art

The Great Depression (DVD)

Mario Cuomo (host)


Current Price: $81.29

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Review

Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention, and at no point has a cliché been so prescient as in the 1930s. During that era, Franklin Delano Roosevelt''s New Deal took documentation to new heights in U.S. history, turning artists and artisans into government-sponsored vehicles for reportage and representation of both American ideals and the harsher set of realities citizens were dealing with. And this four-volume set, narrated by the instantly recognizable Mario Cuomo, leverages many of the Great Depression''s own media-savvy documentary advances to tell the period''s varied stories. Volume 1 covers the pre-New Deal era, as desperation hit farm hands and businesses and bank patrons, bringing the U.S. economy to its knees. Latter-day celebs chime in on the period, with James Michener''s tales of his own rail-riding striking powerful bolts through the episode. Volume 2 spotlights the spotlight, the way mass media developed around themes of escape and promised lands--some rising from earlier historical eras--that somehow managed to both cornerstone pop culture and elude the vast majority of radio listeners and filmgoers. Here is the place where the era''s media is so integral to this set, offering that great historical lifeblood: primary documents. Of course, not everyone bought the media meal, and the theme for Volume 3 is popular resistance. From the riots that infamously bookended the Harlem Renaissance to bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd, discontent was grounds for wide upheaval. Of great interest here is the worker-led organizing that so clearly lies in the vanguard of contemporary labor history. Finally, Volume 4, "Desperate Measures" centers on a trio of events: the "Battle of Washington," where President Herbert Hoover ordered the vaunted Douglas MacArthur to forcibly remove World War I veterans who had marched on the capital; the rise of Louisiana''s firebrand populist Huey Long into the state governor''s mansion; and the onset of World War II. By far the most comprehensive treatment of the period, this set is also exhaustively long, making it a delight for patient viewers--and educators. It''s also painstakingly organized and produced and warrants repeated viewings. --Andrew Bartlett

Release Note

Take an in-depth look at the decade that defined a generation with The Great Depression, a four-part series from History.

In the first years of the Great Depression, banks and businesses failed in record numbers as America struggled to come to grips with the disaster. Examine the changes that swept the shaken nation, from the landslide victory of FDR in 1932, to the California migrations of Dust Bowl farmers, in ''''The Great Shake-Up.'''' Faced with hard times, Americans sought release wherever they could find it, from marathon dancing to going to the movies. ''''Face the Music'''' uses extensive film clips and photos to show how the media came of age to become an integral part of daily life. As the Depression lingered and the New Deal failed to live up to people''s expectations, some Americans fought back against a system they felt had betrayed them. In ''''Striking Back,'''' rare footage and revealing interviews relive the desperate acts of people who had been pushed too far by the crisis. Finally, ''''Desperate Measures'''' shows how the approach of World War II did what all the protests and recovery programs failed to do - end the Great Depression.


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