Peter Conn opens the book with a timeline of the decade, forcing the reader to begin straightaway thinking in terms of the coexistence of political and cultural history. Corresponding with the timeline at the beginning are the dates of literary prizes and bestsellers at the end of the book. The author proposes to deal not only with the notorious negative aspects but also with the less known positive features of the decade: The unemployed were a minority of the work force and those who had work were usually better off. He does not overlook the more subtle aspects of the Thirties such as the feelings of guilt experienced by many who had lost their job. A particularly attractive characteristic of this literary history are the fourteen plates and the supplementary references to the arts. Furthermore, Conn draws attention to the fact that there were also affirmative and even conservative tendencies in the hungry and red Thirties such as a striking preoccupation with restoring the past. Colonial Williamsburg (1928) and the Cloisters in New York (1938) are probably the best known examples.