Eric Rauchway, an American historian at UC-Davis (and an old grad school colleague of mine), published a timely book earlier this year, The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction. And it sets him up perfectly to talk about an historical moment that's now back on our minds.
Rauchway appeared last week on EconTalk (iTunes - Feed - MP3), a podcast that's getting some play lately, and spent a good hour surveying the economic crisis that all others will be measured against. The conversation starts with the aftermath of World War I, where John Maynard Keynes saw the economic problems beginning. (Read online his 1919 book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace.) Then, it moves through the 1920s, the stock market crash, Hoover's attempts to restore stability (which weren't as bungling as his historical reputation now suggests) and finally FDR's New Deal and the effects of World War II. If you have an hour, you'll learn a good deal.