What Was the Great Depression?

What Was the Great Depression?

by Janet B. Pascal, Who HQ, Dede Putra

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On October 29, 1929, life in the United States took a turn for the worst. The stock market – the system that controls money in America – plunged to a record low. But this event was only the beginning of many bad years to come. By the early 1930s, one out of three people was not working. People lost their jobs, their houses, or both and ended up in shantytowns called “Hoovervilles” named for the president at the time of the crash. By 1933, many banks had gone under. Though the U.S. has seen other times of struggle, the Great Depression remains one of the hardest and most widespread tragedies in American history. Now it is represented clearly and with 80 illustrations in our What Was…? series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399540134
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 12/22/2015
Series: Penguin What Was... Series
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 556,139
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
File size: 48 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Janet Pascal is an Executive Production Editor at Viking Children's Books and the author of Who Was Dr. Seuss?, Who Was Maurice Sendak?, and Who Was Abraham Lincoln? She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt


What Was the Great Depression?
In the fall of 1928, Herbert Hoover, future president of the United States, announced, “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.” Most citizens agreed. Life was the best it had ever been. Only 4 percent of the population was unemployed—four out of every one hundred workers.
A little more than a year later, financial panic had taken over. The New York stock market crashed. Millionaires were ruined. Ordinary citizens lost everything.
The crisis spread from the stock market to the rest of the country. Banks and businesses closed. People’s life savings disappeared. They lost their jobs and their homes. By 1933, one out of every four Americans was out of work. The crisis soon spread all over the world.
This period is called the Great Depression. It remains the worst financial disaster the modern world has ever known. All the money, goods, businesses, and workers that make a country run are called its economy. During the Great Depression, the economy broke down almost completely. To those living through it, it seemed like a bad dream that would not end. What had happened? How did the good times end so quickly?

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