A Short Introduction to The Great Depression & The New Deal

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 (iTunesFeedMP3), 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.

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Radio Free World

Radio­Be­ta is a newish ven­ture that allows you to reach radio sta­tions around the globe, to cre­ate your per­son­al playlists, and lis­ten to them for free. Just search by geog­ra­phy or genre, and then start lis­ten­ing in the play­er on Radio­Be­ta’s web­site.

Obvi­ous­ly, you will encounter many sta­tions on Radio­Be­ta broad­cast­ing in a for­eign lan­guage. To learn a new lan­guage, please vis­it our col­lec­tion How to Learn Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & 37 Oth­er Lan­guages, and you’ll be on your way.

via Life­hack­er

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Download New Book From the Free Culture Movement

A quick heads up…

James Boyle, a law pro­fes­sor at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, has just put out a new book called The Pub­lic Domain: Enclos­ing the Com­mons of the Mind, and it basi­cal­ly tells cit­i­zens what they need to know about intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty law to take mean­ing­ful part in our emerg­ing infor­ma­tion soci­ety. The book clear­ly com­ple­ments a lot of the work done by Lawrence Lessig. You can snap up a copy in three dif­fer­ent for­mats (Free PDF copyFree HTML copy, Buy on Ama­zon) and also find oth­er free, down­load­able books at Cre­ative Com­mons.

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T.S. Eliot on YouTube

Michael Gough (I believe) reads the poem that launched T.S. Eliot’s career in 1917, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (get the full text of the poem here)

For more free down­loads of clas­sic audio books and poet­ry, see our com­plete col­lec­tion.

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Footage of Nietzsche’s Final Days

Niet­zsche’s final days weren’t ones that you’d wish on any­one. Some biog­ra­phers spec­u­late that he con­tract­ed syphilis, which even­tu­al­ly trig­gered his decline into mad­ness in 1899. Two strokes fol­lowed, then pneu­mo­nia and it was all over in August, 1900. The footage below is appar­ent­ly from 1899, and we’re now adding it to our YouTube Favorites, which cur­rent­ly has 399. Who wants to put it over 400?

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10 Best Books of 2008

Each year, The New York Times names its 100 Notable Books. Then, they short­en the list and name their top ten.

The Times pub­lished 100 Notable Books of 2008 last week­end, and now we have The 10 Best Books of 2008. We’ve list­ed the books below, along with links to the first chap­ter of most works. For more insight into what the book review team found spe­cial about each book, just click here.



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The Wire: Four Seasons in Four Minutes

Some have put it on the lev­el of a Tol­stoy nov­el. Oth­ers have made the com­par­i­son to Dick­ens. No mat­ter how you slice it, The Wire is TV at its best. Below, we have post­ed a fast-mov­ing sum­ma­ry of the first four sea­sons, which was made in the same for­mat as the viral video The Nine Minute Sopra­nos. The fifth and final sea­son of The Wire is not includ­ed here. But that’s just as well. If you want to watch the series in full, you don’t want to know how it ends. Actu­al­ly, on sec­ond thought, you may not want to watch any of this. Move for­ward at your own risk.  


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Voices from the Depression: Studs Terkel Interviews

Not long after Studs Terkel, the his­to­ri­an of the every­man, died in Octo­ber, This Amer­i­can Life fea­tured a series of inter­views that Terkel once con­duct­ed with Amer­i­cans who lived through the Depres­sion. (Lis­ten to the mp3 here.) The tapes would even­tu­al­ly pro­vide the mate­r­i­al for his book, Hard Times: An Oral His­to­ry of the Great Depres­sion. And, as you’ll see, these record­ings make this trans­for­ma­tion­al moment real in a way that few oth­er his­tor­i­cal sources can. You’ll hear the voic­es of real peo­ple, recount­ing their dai­ly expe­ri­ences and remem­ber­ing the race and class divi­sions that ran deep in Amer­i­ca. You’ll also hear about the humil­i­a­tions and acts of kind­ness that were part of every­day life. (NOTE: The inter­views start about 6 min­utes into the record­ing.)

You can access more of Terkel’s audio record­ings over at the web site, www.studsterkel.org. The site notably fea­tures more inter­views from the Hard Times record­ing ses­sions.

Thanks Robin for send­ing these clips our way.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.