The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression

The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression

Shirley Temple and 1930s America

Large Print - 2014 | Large print ed. --
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Her image appeared in periodicals and advertisements roughly twenty times daily; she rivaled FDR and Edward VIII as the most photographed person in the world. Her portrait brightened the homes of countless admirers: from a black laborer s cabin in South Carolina and young Andy Warhol s house in Pittsburgh to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover s recreation room in Washington, DC, and gangster Bumpy Johnson s Harlem apartment. A few years later her smile cheered the secret bedchamber of Anne Frank in Amsterdam as young Anne hid from the Nazis.

For four consecutive years Shirley Temple was the world s box-office champion, a record never equaled. By early 1935 her mail was reported as four thousand letters a week, and hers was the second-most popular girl s name in the country.

What distinguished Shirley Temple from every other Hollywood star of the period and everyone since was how brilliantly she shone. Amid the deprivation and despair of the Great Depression, Shirley Temple radiated optimism and plucky good cheer that lifted the spirits of millions and shaped their collective character for generations to come. Distinguished cultural historian John F. Kasson shows how the most famous, adored, imitated, and commodified child in the world astonished movie goers, created a new international culture of celebrity, and revolutionized the role of children as consumers.

Tap-dancing across racial boundaries with Bill Bojangles Robinson, foiling villains, and mending the hearts and troubles of the deserving, Shirley Temple personified the hopes and dreams of Americans. To do so, she worked virtually every day of her childhood, transforming her own family as well as the lives of her fans.

Publisher: Farmington Hills, Mich. : Thorndike Press, c2014.
Edition: Large print ed. --
ISBN: 9781410469120
Characteristics: 481 p. : ill. --


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Dec 19, 2017

The outline and reviews of this book explain that it is a cultural, sociological study of how Shirley Temple fitted in to Rossevelt's New Deal, to try to drag USA out of the Great Depression.

It is not a flothy story of this child film star, but something far more important. I found it very interesting, giving me an insight into a part of history I knew little about.

ChristchurchLib Jun 30, 2014

When Franklin D. Roosevelt moved into the White House in 1933, he was determined to restore Americans' spirits and the American economy, but he needed resources besides social and economic measures to restore consumer confidence. Cue the entrance of Hollywood child star Shirley Temple, with her irresistible smile and engaging talents. In this fascinating book, cultural historian John Kasson shows how her 1930s films raised spirits, incidentally leading Americans to spend millions on movie tickets and memorabilia. Her partnership with co-star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson also gave hope to African Americans while significantly breaking a racial barrier. Not just a biography, The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression presents an absorbing study of cultural history. July 2014 History and Current Events newsletter.

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