Everything from Amos n' Andy to zeppelins is included in this expansive two volume encyclopedia of popular culture during the Great Depression era. Two hundred entries explore the entertainments, amusements, and people of the United States during the difficult years of the 1930s. In spite of, or perhaps because of, such dire financial conditions, the worlds of art, fashion, film, literature, radio, music, sports, and theater pushed forward. Conditions of the times were often mirrored in the popular culture with songs such as Brother Can You Spare a Dime, breadlines and soup kitchens, homelessness, and prohibition and repeal. Icons of the era such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George and Ira Gershwin, Jean Harlow, Billie Holiday, the Marx Brothers, Roy Rogers, Frank Sinatra, and Shirley Temple entertained many. Dracula, Gone With the Wind, It Happened One Night, and Superman distracted others from their daily worries. Fads and games - chain letters, jigsaw puzzles, marathon dancing, miniature golf, Monopoly - amused some, while musicians often sang the blues.
Nancy and William Young have written a work ideal for college and high school students as well as general readers looking for an overview of the popular culture of the 1930s. Art deco, big bands, Bonnie and Clyde, the Chicago's World Fair, Walt Disney, Duke Ellington, five-and-dimes, the Grand Ole Opry, the jitter-bug, Lindbergh kidnapping, Little Orphan Annie, the Olympics, operettas, quiz shows, Seabiscuit, vaudeville, westerns, and Your Hit Parade are just a sampling of the vast range of entries in this work. Reference features include an introductory essay providing an historical and cultural overview of the period, bibliography, and index.