Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America, September 3, 1929–September 3, 1939

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A “wonderfully written account of America in the ’30s,” the follow-up to Only Yesterday examines Black Tuesday through the end of the Depression (The New York Times).

Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Opening on September 3, 1929, in the days before the stock market crash, this information-packed volume takes us through one of America’s darkest times all the way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
Following Black Tuesday, America plunged into the Great Depression. Panic and fear gripped the nation. Banks were closing everywhere. In some cities, 84 percent of the population was unemployed and starving. When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933,  public confidence in the nation slowly began to grow, and by 1936, the industrial average, which had plummeted in 1929 from 125 to fifty-eight, had risen again to almost one hundred. But America still had a long road ahead. Popular historian Frederick Lewis Allen brings to life these ten critical years. With wit and empathy, he draws a devastating economic picture of small businesses swallowed up by large corporations—a ruthless bottom line not so different from what we see today. Allen also chronicles the decade’s lighter side: the fashions, morals, sports, and candid cameras that were revolutionizing Americans’ lives.  
 
From the Lindbergh kidnapping to the New Deal, from the devastating dust storms that raged through our farmlands to the rise of Benny Goodman, the public adoration of Shirley Temple, and our mass escape to the movies, this book is a hopeful and powerful reminder of why history matters.
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About the author

Frederick Lewis Allen (1890–1954) was born in Boston, studied at Groton, and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He was assistant and associate editor of Harper’s Magazine for eighteen years, then the magazine’s sixth editor in chief for twelve years until his death. In addition to The Lords of Creation, Allen was well known for Only Yesterday, Since Yesterday, and The Big Change.
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4.5
2 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
May 26, 2015
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781504011389
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Corporate & Business History
History / Social History
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The United States has always fancied itself a nation apart -- "exceptional" in its values, traditions, and way of life. For most of the country's history, ideas about what made America distinctive generally were framed in terms of a liberal idealism rooted in the thought of John Locke and articulated by Jefferson, Madison, and other Founders. While some commentators also observed that the United States was a land of plenty, it wasn't until the mid-twentieth century that material abundance emerged as the principal standard of American "greatness," as measured by a host of new economic indicators.

Beginning in earnest in the wake of World War II, opinion-shapers in politics, business, academia, the media, the schools, and public diplomacy gloried in the nation's booming economy. Where "plenty" had once been a largely abstract concept, it was now quantifiable, thanks to new national income accounting and other economic data collection and analysis techniques. One could tally up production and consumption of an ever-expanding cornucopia of goods and services that made up the gross national product (GNP), the king of postwar statistics. American preeminence and American identity were increasingly linked with this measurable prosperity, presented in the language of a newly influential economics profession.

In Measuring America, Andrew L. Yarrow explores this history, telling two parallel, interlocking stories -- of how economic ideas came to have vastly greater influence on American culture after World War II, and how those ideas dovetailed with a growing belief that the meaning and value of the United States resided in its material output. How and why this new way of "measuring America" developed, how it was expressed, and what it has meant and means for Americans today are the subject of this well-researched and insightful book.

A “stimulating” account of the capitalists who changed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the stage for the 1929 crash and Great Depression (Kirkus Reviews).

In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the “lords of creation” who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and greed, America’s giants of industry remolded the US economy in their own image. They established their power and authority, ensuring that they—and they alone—would control the means of production, transportation, energy, and commerce—creating the conditions for the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

As modern society continues to be affected by wealth inequality and cycles of boom and bust, it’s as important as ever to understand the origins of financial disaster, and the policies, practices, and people who bring them on. The Lords of Creation, first published when the catastrophe of the 1930s was still painfully fresh, is a fascinating story of bankers, railroad tycoons, steel magnates, speculators, scoundrels, and robber barons. It is a tale of innovation and shocking exploitation—and a sobering reminder that history can indeed repeat itself.
 
The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness. The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence. A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

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