The Great Depression: 1929-1939

Front Cover
Anchor Canada, 2001 - History - 555 pages
12 Reviews
Over 1.5 million Canadians were on relief, one in five was a public dependant, and 70,000 young men travelled like hoboes. Ordinary citizens were rioting in the streets, but their demonstrations met with indifference, and dissidents were jailed. Canada emerged from the Great Depression a different nation.

The most searing decade in Canada's history began with the stock market crash of 1929 and ended with the Second World War. With formidable story-telling powers, Berton reconstructs its engrossing events vividly: the Regina Riot, the Great Birth Control Trial, the black blizzards of the dust bowl and the rise of Social Credit. The extraordinary cast of characters includes Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who praised Hitler and Mussolini but thought Winston Churchill "one of the most dangerous men I have ever known"; Maurice Duplessis, who padlocked the homes of private citizens for their political opinions; and Tim Buck, the Communist leader who narrowly escaped murder in Kingston Penitentiary.

In this #1 best-selling book, Berton proves that Canada's political leaders failed to take the bold steps necessary to deal with the mass unemployment, drought and despair. A child of the era, he writes passionately of people starving in the midst of plenty.

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Review: The Great Depression: 1929-1939

User Review  - Jim - Goodreads

Fairly good, old-fashioned narrative history written with heart. Read full review

Review: The Great Depression: 1929-1939

User Review  - Erin Mclea - Goodreads

I grew up hearing my Grandmother speak of her experiences on her farm during the great depression, but reading this was eye-opening to how horrific the situation was. Grab some Kleenex if you choose to read this book! Read full review

About the author (2001)

Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics.

Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He wrote columns for and was editor of Maclean’s magazine, appeared on CBC’s public affairs program “Close-Up” and was a permanent fixture on “Front Page Challenge” for 39 years. He was a columnist and editor for the Toronto Star and was a writer and host of a series of CBC programs.

Pierre Berton received over 30 literary awards including the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Leger National Heritage Award. He received two Nellies for his work in broadcasting, two National Newspaper awards, and the National History Society’s first award for “distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.” For his immense contribution to Canadian literature and history, he was awarded more than a dozen honourary degrees, is a member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame, and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Pierre Berton passed away in Toronto on November 30, 2004.


From the Hardcover edition.

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